Thursday, 5 November 2015

11th Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon 2013

On the eve of the 11th Isklar Norseman Xtreme lighting and gale force winds battered Eidfjord. At 5am after a 3am alarm call the other competitors and I jumped off back of a ferry into choppy glacial fed fjord. The swim was slow for everyone, not just me thankfully. It was cold but manageable and 254 athletes headed for the fire lit beacon on the shore. T1 was a blur... Although my race support, my wife - Mette Anderson was invaluable and dispatched me swiftly helping me to change into my bike clothing.

Passing Geilo through before the lightning storms

I've never been so cold on the bike
The 40km climb from Eidfjord through the mountain was breathtaking and allowed me to hit a rhythm. It was only on the climb towards the Geilo Alpine ski resort that light rain gave way to a ferocious headwind, torrential rain, hail stones, thunder, lightning and a thick fog throughout the cycle. This was the toughest bike course I've ever raced. Each time I heard a motorcycle approach I thought that it was going to stop me to tell me that the race had been cancelled because it was too dangerous. It was very scary on the wet steep descents and I struggled to hold onto the handlebars in the cold. At one point I lost the front wheel on a bend and then the back followed. I drifted sideways across the bend and I'm not really sure how I bought it back but in that second I felt sure I was about to hit the deck. Cold and wet I made it safely to T2 where I met Mette.
Arriving in Rjukan with just Zombie hill, a 12km ascent and then a further 5km of rough trail climb to the summit of Gaustatoppen, we were fortunate that there was a change in the weather. All the competitors took strength from this and pushed hard for the finish. It’s an epic climb and the Hardangervidda plateau is one of the beautiful places I've ever been to. It’s an amazing feeling to summit and receive the black T shirt. This really is an iconic race.

The remaining 5km up to the summit

Almost there... still moving forward!
One of the unfortunate outcome of the days lighting strikes was that the internal cable car which is normally used to transport finished athletes down from the top of Gaustatoppen was disabled. This meant we all had to hike an additional 5k down off the mountain once we had finished. I did this with a fractured left foot that Id sustained in the ascent.
The Summit of Gaustatoppen
This really is the most 'EXTREME' race that ive ever done...I felt wounded and broken on completion. Despite this…. time will tell, but maybe it won’t be the last time I visit Norway!

 Swim -1.08 hrs Bike - 6.58 hrs Run - 5.35 hrs Total -13.47 hrs


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