Norseman Xtreme Triathlon

Over the weekend Ellen participated in the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon. when looking at details of the race and the profile I am not sure if Xtreme adequately describes it. Ellen had to endure, a swim in the cool waters of the fiord, a rather hilly bike run and then finish with a marathon with the last 15+k being a mountain climb.  Ellen was 8th Female and 126th overall, well done.

Here is Ellen’s account of the race

My trepidation at the tag of the Norseman ironman event in Norway as ‘the world’s toughest long-distance triathlon’ was somewhat calmed by the beautiful conditions we enjoyed at 4am as the car ferry left the shore of the Hardangerfjord, shining with viking-like braziers.   Norsewomen are in a severe minority, 30 out of a total of 230 competitors, but at this stage it carried a great advantage with a satisfying role-reversal of sauntering past hardened men queuing for their facilities on board.  The jump down from the ferry (4m drop) an hour later into the shimmering green, flat water was almost inviting – no need to stoop to the alternative side exit at water level, described at the race briefing as the ‘chicken door’.  Once we had rounded a corner in the fjord, it was possible to sight in a straight line towards the massive bonfire lit at the end, although as I cooled down progressively despite my neoprene hat and boots, it could not have come soon enough.  An entire change in transition in order to combat the cold may be one reason why I seem to hold the record for the slowest swim to bike transition of the entire day, with a time of 14 minutes…  The conditions held for all but 5km of the bike, ensuring that stunning views were to be had throughout the climb up to and across the Hardanggervidda Plateau, then up the Imingfjell mountain.  The race manual suggests there is a total of 5000m of ascent in the event, but I felt strong and confident in the hills, eternally grateful for Tongy’s bike training sessions.  I wished I had brushed up on my basic Norwegian to appreciate where there was local support.  In other triathlon events I would hope to gain ground on the run, and in this case I had to pick people off on the first 25k of the run along Lake Tinnsjoen on flat ground, before the start of the climb from 25 to 42k, almost all of which must be walked.  Given that the coveted black t-shirt is awarded to the first 160 finishers, I felt the pressure to ensure that I was comfortably within that 160 group by the end of this first 25k of the run, after which it was possible to appreciate the scenery further on the way up ‘zombie hill’ and on a completely clear, 360 degree view to jagged snow-capped mountains from the top of Gaustastoppen mountain at 1850m – and of course last but not least the black t-shirt!



“If you are comfortable with your training regime then you should be concerned. You can only make the big gains by being out of your comfort zone.”
- Me

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