Sometimes we wonder what the limits of human endurance are; Hrvoje Jurić tested them biking to Nordkapp in the middle of winter
He started the trip from a deeper motivation. Five years ago he didn’t even know how to ride a bike, didn’t love travel and preferred solitude. At the time he was finishing a college he didn’t want, was in a bad relationship and worked three jobs, some of which have yet to be paid, writes Nezavisni.hr on June 14, 2016.
“At one point, I decided to escape that life, grabbed an old bike and hit the road with no experience. After every journey, I became more open to myself and other and began to write, something I always wanted. In 2013 I started my first trip to Nordkapp from Croatia, which took 78 days. The second time I decided to cover 2,100 kilometres from Oslo to Nordkapp in the middle of winter, with extreme conditions and temperature down to -22 Celsius,” spoke Hrvoje Jurić at a travel lecture in Koprivnica, stating such adventures take 20% of physical strength, with the rest being psychological.
“During the entire trip my life was in danger. I stopped at gas stations where I could sleep, shower, eat… as there was nothing around for kilometres. My first real trouble was climbing the mountains, as the road goes up and down, with the wind blowing 100 km/h. And then I encountered hurricane storms in the Arctic circle, having to ask for transport for some 35 kilometres, as that section was deadly. It was also dangerous passing through the numerous tunnels, winding and narrow with trucks and buses,” says Hrvoje whose trip sparked interest in Norwegian media, including the Queen of Norway.
He had around 200 kilos of equipment on his bike. His journey took 36 hard days, where only three things could have stopped him . his mind, ice rain and snow storm. But perseverance and strong will prevailed, even through the toughest part – a snow storm.
“It was ghastly when the twisters came, raising snow and heading for me. I threw myself on the bike, hugged it and held on. I felt my end was near, with my life flashing before my eyes. The wind was so strong it threw me on the road. Although I had three layers of coats, pants, gloves, the snow found a tiny hole near the gloves, entered beneath the layers and drenched me all over. The only thing I could do was keep driving for the next 15 kilometres in -12 Celsius weather. I couldn’t feel my legs or arms, experiencing hypothermia, with consequences left over today,” says Jurić, showing off his limp left arm joint, while the right shoulder blade gives in after exertion.
After a few days of rehabilitation, he continued his trip for the final 240 kilometres to Nordkapp. It’s a no return section, with no one to help you and practically means an end to anyone in trouble. The Croatian ambassador in Norway did give him a cell phone to call for help, if need be.
“Finally, I arrived the my goal, the northernmost huge rock Nordkapp symbolizing the end of the world. It looks magnificent and the globe statue there represents the end – nothing but sea beyond. One must listen to himself and after falling keep going forward,” concluded Jurić, whose notes and 40 pictures from the trip were made into a book titled “By the Ice Road to the End of the World – from Oslo to Nordkapp,” to be translated into Norwegian. His next bike trip is in August from London to Istanbul.