Norseman Extreme Triathlon - TriathlonFull Ironman

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17C / 63F
Total Time = 16h 20m 30s
Overall Rank = 142/230
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

This is The NORSEMAN. Totally unique in so many ways. It takes you from the deep fjords to the highest mountains of Norway. Just a look at the finishing time tells you that this is no walk in the park. The race organizers have instead created a race where you cannot come alone, no, you need to bring your own personal crew and you can at best only achieve a black T-Shirt. To me this was this years challenge. After hitting 40 and almost 100Kg I started running, after many attempts I finally got to do Boston and needed a new goal. Did a sprint and a 1/2 in 2008 with no major problems and managed to get enough training in for this ultimate test of endurance. I live in Canada but Norway is where I spent most of my life. I know the fjords and the mountains and seeing the racecourse made me think that this is just not for any mortals. But hey! I can do half without dying so why not the full thing and why not in my homecountry. I managed to sign up. My sing on was sent 7 minutes after online registration was opened, that put me on a waitlist for 2 months. Only 250 starters are alloved in due to the extreme nature of this race and the roadconditions open to traffic. I placed my two kids for 3 days at a friends cottage, took 2 other friends with me pluss a car and set off to Eidfjord. The day before is a special day. The town is flooded with triathletes and their crews, almost everyone in sight has something to do with the race. They even have a mini tri 1/10 off the full norseman for anyone to try. One of my crewmebers Sturle decided to sign up 1 hour before the start. He had to borrow a very red swimsuit and he only had slippers to bike and run in. But what a sport! He did an excellent swim, a very bad bike part due to squeezing breaks (he did not notice) and then a very sedated run. The whole town is out watching and there is music and fun along. Weather was perfect and everything looked pleasant and peaceful. The fjord was totally blank, no wave could be seen...
Event warmup:

It is 3 AM in the tiny township of Eidfjord, a hamlet by the Hardangerfjord between mountains and glaciers. The water is a mix of melting water from the glaciers and saltwater from the North Sea. This year it was quite salty and had the nice temperature of 17C. 4 AM you get on a carferry and it sets out into the darkness with only towering mountain silouettes visible in the coming dawn. 5 AM some daylight and it was time to jump off the front end of the cardeck (4 meter freefall) into a windy choppy fjord. The ferry stopped 300 meters from the startline so we all got plenty of warmup. The water was clear, not to cold, had on neoprene socks and hood. Swallowed enough saltwater to keep me hypernatremic for a while. Stinging jellyfish was everywhere but seemed to keep more than 2 meters down. And tide was going out. The race directors had warned that headwind, waves and tide would make this years swim a slow one. The fjord is about 400 meters deep and best way to avoid the current is to stay very close to shore. 0515AM the ships horn sends out its loud omnius haul between the steep mountainsides. We are off.
  • 1h 32m 4s
  • 3800 meters
  • 02m 25s / 100 meters

After the long warmup swim it was actually good to get going. Tried to draft but we very quickly spread out and I focused on follow the shoreline about 3-7 meters from land. This way I could see the cliff as it dived into the darkness of 400 meters. I had some problems with the breathing for a while as every bloddy wave hit my face when I needed air the most. But about halfway we round a point and the water was much calmer, here I got into a nice routine but had some cramping in both calfs forcing me to do 1 minute or two of breast stroke. I sometimes get these and I know they go away once I change my swim style just for a bit. So no major concerns. We had to round a blinking bouy at the bottom of the fjord and turn north into Eidfjord "downtown" and the organizers had started a big bonfire on land to help out with navigation. My goggles stayed clear, no leak and the bonfire was in sight all the time. Finally I could set my feet on the sand and the racedirector himself was standing kneedeep helping swimmers up on land. My time was 1:32 I was thrilled I had sceduled for 1:35 and had taken 3 minutes on my scedule.
Transition 1
  • 07m 8s

One of my dear old friends and crewmember was waiting he immideatly took on the role as male stripper for the day. Suit came off nicely and I took all the time I needed to put on proper gear for what was ahead. Sunscreen and shades.
  • 8h 04m 56s
  • 180 kms
  • 22.27 km/hr

This is the ultimate bike course for any full distance triathlon. Once you are clear T1 you have 40 km of uphill or should I say upmountain. 1300 meter climb is what they throw you as you have water still coming out off your ears. The road winds its way through a gorge and parts of it is inside old tunnels with no lights. Luckily the new highway takes all traffic away from this most incredible scenic climb. After 20 Km you pass Voringfoss a mighty waterfall you can hear in the distance. The road is more a ledge on a cliff. After 20 Km I had to face 500 meters more of climb and this turned out to be the toughest part of the race. I have driven this road many time before but from a car it all looks different. In my mind it was just a tiny bit of road from the waterfall to Dyranut (highest point on first climb 1300 meters) I realized that instead, I had 20 Km to go and now with strong headwinds. But I took it nice and calmly, trying not to get winded knowing that this is just the first of many climbs. Finally I got to Dyranut and my crew was waiting with clothing, drinks and food. Filled all my tanks with water and coke. Ate some hotdog buns with a local caviar inside. This has high glycemic value and plenty of salts. From 40 Km to 90 you cross the largest high mountain plateou in Northern Europe. The road goes through the Hardangevidda National Park where you can see large herds of wild reindeers if you are lucky. The course turns a bit north here and the wind was not as bad any more, did good time and really enjoyed some of the downhills. Got to Geilo about 30 minutes after the scedule suggested by race organizers to finish well with black T-Shirt. Felt good, refuleed with drinks and buns from my crew and started 3 consecutive climbs, each maybe 300-500 meters. Each climb was 8% and thanks to a 27 on the cassette I could sit down most of the time. I knew what was ahead. Passing the last mountain pass 1300 meters above sea level it was time for the second last downhill better get some rest because on 135 Km the last hill is waiting. At this point the weather was perfect halfway down/up the mountains, a bit warm in the valleys and cold on the tops. Very hard to dress for,,had armwarmers on that I pulled up when needed.
Imingfjell is the dreaded last bike mountain. A 700 meter climb 10% switch backs. Cool headwind then hot then cool head then hot....this is where your legs gets done. Finally on the top I could stop, take a leak and restock my bike with as much drink and food as I could carry. Once past the plateou you have a steady drop 1100 meters of downhill to T2 a perfect time to rest eat drink and try not to crash when the meter tells you that you are going at warp speed. After 8 Hours I was happy to see the famous lake Tinnsjo.
Transition 2
  • 05m 17s

My crew had moved all my stuff to T2 and Sturle was ready on his bike to follow me on the run. Was still 30 minutes behind suggested pace but felt good and knew that I still had 30 Minutes to spare for the dreaded cutoff times.
  • 6h 31m 5s
  • 42.2 kms
  • 09m 16s  min/km

My first 25 was good, kept running on a 7min/km nice and slow, I knew what was coming. I climbed the mighty mountain as a kid and can still remember the pain. Once you turn around a hill and you leave the lake you see it. The mighty Gausta 1883 meters above sea level and I knew I was currently on about 200 meters above sea level. It looks like a perfect vulcano but it is not, instead it is one the the last iceage creations. Somehow all the lose rocks in the world found its resting pace here. Zombie hill is first. My first crew member Sturle is resting in the car and my peronal mountain goat Svein is on the bike keeping up the feeding of me. I kept eating and drinking. Water, coke, local sausage, nuts, chocolate, I just kept eating. My legs where tired but not done. First cutoff done 45 minutes ahead and still 20 behind my scedule. This is going great. The medical check was easy, the guy from The Special Forces could see everyone coming up the hill for a long time before he talked to you. They also have a table with snack there so they know if you are able to drink and eat and no one can hide their zombiestate for that long. It started raining but my crew had my extra clothing so no problem, my mood was getting better and better, I knew I would make it!!! just a few more Km and then I will pass last cutoff point. At 37km my bag was waiting and Svein and I set off on a slippery rocky path straight up into the sky. We could see the TV transmitter on the top but also the fog covering the top from time to time. From the road we had all the time in the world. I knew I had done it, I knew I would get my BLACK T-Shirt, I just had to make sure I did not slip and break a bone or two! After almost 2 hours off climbing rocks the top is right in front of me, I take out my champagne bottle (about 2kg of extra weight) pop the top and have a sip as I pass the finishline!
What a day, what a feeling, what a race, what a place!!!
Post race
Warm down:

On the top you get some warm tomato soup from the organizers and I think that is the best soup I have ever had. There is also a tiny rock hut where they have an indoor cafe. During the race they keep it open for the racers and their crews. My crewmember now has to leave me. The organizers wants everyone down from the top before darkeness comes and only the racers gets to do the easy ride down. During the good old cold war the Norwegian Army and probaly the US too saw the crazy need for a funicular inside the mountain so that crews could maintain the radars on the top during bad weather and winter. So a top secret tiny 40% incline cable car goes down inside the mountain. It can take only 10 people at the time and it takes you 10 minutes to reach the bottom 800 meter lower. Here you exit from a steep car to a tiny electric railcar that takes you straight out of the mountain. The new glasnost and lack of cold war has made this instalation available to us racers but it is still not opened for general traffic. Since its capacity only racers gets to take it, my crew runs down on his own and I spend 1,5 hours waiting for my turn along with other finishers. Once at the bottom my crew is waiting with a warm car to take us to a local hostel where we have two tiny huts waiting for us and some much needed sleep.

Event comments:

It is one of the races that cannot be compared to others. You need your own crew, it has extreme climbs, climate, nature. Overall it is one of those one in a life time. But at least one athlete has done every race for as long as they have done it 7 seven years in a row. You meet some pretty damn impresive athletes and the setting, crew and athmosphere is electric.
The whole NORSEMAN experience culminates the day after. Everyone meets to celebrate the winners and each others. This years winners where Tom Remman a local racer who lives next to the bike course. He did the race in 11:20 witch blows my mind, I cannot imagine what amounts of endless training that makes a body able to do this in that time. The winner of the women was Susanne Buckenlei from Germany Time 13:21. And then there is the rest of us 176 athletes that got the mighty BLACK T-Shirt. Lots of honour must go to the organizers and the sponsors. Please keep the race as it is. It makes it absolutely unique in todays racejungle!

What the hell am I to do next???!!!
Arne Nes Toronto Canada

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Last updated: 2008-10-30 12:00 AM
01:32:04 | 3800 meters | 02m 25s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/230
Performance: Good
Suit: Full blue seventy, hood and socks
Course: 3800 meters from the ferry to the dock of Eidfjord. Follows the south shoreline in to Eidfjord. Dept 0-400 meters
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 17C / 63F Current: Medium
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Below average Drafting: Bad
Waves: Average Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 07:08
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
08:04:56 | 180 kms | 22.27 km/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/230
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind with gusts
Course: Brutal bike course: First hill is 40 km and takes you up 1300 meters. After that more mountains up and down, final mountain is Imingfjell and it forces you 700 meters up through switch backs at 10%. More descriptions under commens.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 05:17
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
06:31:05 | 42.2 kms | 09m 16s  min/km
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/230
Performance: Good
Course: There is no other marathon course like this on mother earth. It lures you into thinking that this is just a nice run along a very nice road and lake, lots of trees gives shade and your crew member is there to handle all your needs. But after 25 Km it turns into what makes the NORSEMAN what it is. Just before entering Rjukan where the Heroes of Telemark did their sabotage during the war the road turns left and you have 10% climb for the next 7 km. No one runs, you just try to have a steady stride and good speed uphill. They call it ZOMBIE hill. Once you pass 32 Km it levels out a bit and you have to pass a medical check. This is also the first cutoff point. Then you continue on the road to 37 KM here you have next and LAST cut off. This is also where you pick up your backpack with food, drink and clothing for the last and final climb. This is also where you have to have a crewmember joining you. If you dont make the first cutoff point you can have a shot at the white T-shirt, they will let you finish the distance on the road making it the second toughest full distance race in the world.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5