Norseman Xtreme Triathlon has been my main goal this year. Starting the season a topp 3 was my goal. But with a severe lift in performance level in Norwegian triathlon, my results this year made it more realistic to get into topp 10. That was my goal leaving for Eidfjord friday morning with my crew.
It was my 3rd attempt on this race, that has grown into a pretty big international race, allthoug it has a limitation on 250 participants. This year they could have done the race 3 days in a row. 640 triathletes wanted to take part in this adventure! My 2005 rookie year saw me get 4th place, way behind course record holder Bjørn Andersson. 2006 was a very hot year (to be Norway) and saw me bonk to a 14th place.
Coming to beautiful Eidfjord, at the end of Hardangerfjorden, always makes me very calm and motivated. Its so beautiful here, and everything is so relaxed. The fantastic Norseman Team makes it even bether. After checking in on Quality Vøringsfossen Hotell I got a short swim-bike-run in, and a good 2h nap before dinner.
The night before an Ironman is never filled with much sleep. Not before Norseman either:-) With an 5am start, and bike-check in at 3am, its not a long night. So with the alarm on 2am I got som bread with jam in, checked in my bike (with lights and reflective west cause we had to go through all the tunnels this year) and got onto the ferry.
Imagine the normal Ironman athmposphere. Put it onto a car-ferry taking you 3,8km out on a 400m deep fjord in the dark. It just has to be experienced! Lots of doubtfull, scared faces. And when it stops 20min before start, the only thing you see is a lot of yellow cayaks way down on the dark sea. 10min before start they open the ferry front. You can jump 10m into the se from here, or take the "chicken door" from the lower deck.
I opted for the "brave jump" and calmly swam to the cayak closest to shore. When the ferry "buuuurrrrrped" us away I swam all I could for 3-400meters. Managed to get into the 3rd pack but did not make it up to the 2nd. My pack splitt in 2, and we where 4 swimming pretty close to shore with me in 3rd all the way. It felt very comfortable and I got a bit scared we swam to slow. But trying to pass and bridge up I realised we had some current against us, and the pace was pretty good. Near the end my lead out men swam a bit to close to shore to my taste, and I could see the other split of group 3 comming from behind to the left. So I crossed over to them and followed them up in 28nd place in 1.06. I was with guys I had planned catching on the bike, so pretty happy. 12min behind the lead.
Onto the bike I had "Team BK Triathlon - Ridley" teammate Even Olsen with me and we started catching people right away through the tunnels. My plan was to ride hard, and try to get as far up as possible without blowing on the run. After the last tunnel, race favorite Henrik Oftedal came by, and I decided to go with him. So did Per Martin Lund. We rode hard on his 10m, sometimes a bit over LT. But we had to let him go just before the Hardanger Plateu started at Dyranut. Riding over the plateu was pretty uneventful, except beeing passed by David Ekroll and catching belgian Wim De Doncker. He did not look very comfortable in Norwegian mountains.
At Geilo, halfway on the bike, me and teammate Even got to work and dropped Per Martin and another Belgian. We where now 7th and 8th on the course and rode hard over the 3 mountains to Uvdal and down to the start of the last clim on the bike, Immingfjell. I felt very strong and kept on pushing with Even following close.
Then....3km from the topp....BANG!! My legs just blew up. Big time. I could barely get to the topp on my 39-25!! Lost over 2min to Even to the topp. Got some coke and gel from my crew passing the summit, but I was still in big trouble. Big trouble. Descending down Tessungdalen, with lifethreathening bad road surface, in 50km/h, and seeing only stars, is not what I recomend anyone. Its a miracle I stayed on the road!
So I was pretty pleased to arrive in T2 in 11th place, and my legs felt ok starting the run. The run in Norseman is 25km flat around Tinnsjøen lake, then a 17km climb ending at Mount Gaustadtoppen. Last 6km is only on rocks and is called zoombie hill among Norsemen. My legs felt ok, but my stomach did not. Had to do 1 port a potty. Then another. And another. My stomach cramped badly after 10k and I was in even more trouble. I was now out of topp 20, but managed to "run" all the way to the start of the climb. I must have looked terrible, cause even my brother looked consernd. Starting the climb i tried to keep running, but it was all over. I had to walk, and had a big talk to myself behind closed doors to even get mental strength to carry on to the topp. I was in a big black hole, and still had 17km to Gaustadtoppen...
My crew tried everything to get me going again. Even other participants crew tried (Thanks!!). But my way to hard biking had made my legs dead, and my stomach very angry. It was going to be a long day just to finish this one!
So I kept on walking, and feeling a tiny bit bether, jogged the last 600m to Stavsro where we left the road and headed into the mountain. I felt confident I would make it to the topp at that point, but when it got steeper I started doubting again. I was a real mess, prbably cause my stomach had not taken up any energy for a good while. I was a zoombie at Zoombie Hill. With 2km to go I had to tell my fantastic crewmate Sven to walk in front of me. All I could focus on was follow his footsteps to the topp.
Making it to the topp in 13h 36min, and 46th place, I was completly wasted. I have never been so tired my whole life. For some minutes I had no clue where I was....
46th was not what I hoped for, but I tried all my best to make it into topp 10.....and is somehove proud I did not give up. I got my 3rd black T-shirt:-)