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NORSEMAN 2008 RACE REPORT
Wed Dec 17, 2008 3:56 pm IRON MONKEY
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This is such a belated race report, I had to question if it was worth doing one... well I decided to do one, but I will try and keep it short... even though it isn't

As mentioned in the forestman report in the last blog post (before last), preparation was far from ideal for 2 IM in 4 weeks, and since FM, I had got my house and had started to do it up. Not much training was going on, not that I was in the mood for it straight after an IM.

Every thing was last minute. I went to pack my Soloist the night before, and as I took the pedal of, the housing in the crank came loose meaning I couldn't get the pedal of and it was loose in the crank. Oh dear, over to the TT bike which has the same crankset, but I couldn't find my crank extractor. The only thing I could do was chuck my audax bike in the box and hope everything would be OK. As I did this in a rush I decided to use the wheels which were already in my bike box, and I just swaped the cassette over from the wheels normally on my audax bike to the ones in the bike box. (the ones in the bike box were lighter)

Anyway, of to Norway we all went... my parents and girlfriend the support crew. We had to get up at the crack of dawn (2.20) to get to a very chaotic Stansted and very long queues. We just made the plane and of we went.

We got over to the other side, and got the hire car which wasn't what we ordered and apparently an upgrade ???? We met a fellow tritalker looking very in need of a lift (Dave) but we couldn't fit him and 2 bikes and all of us in, so he had to get the bus.

It was pouring all day. As we drove to Eidjford I was thinking I really hope it is not like this on race day. As it turned out the weather was great bar a bit of drizzle on race morning.

Now when I got to the camp-site and put my bike together, everything seemed fine, but then as I turned the cranks there was a weird clicking noise. It turned out my cassette was loose, or so I thought. I asked around a lot and no one had a lock ring tool and chain whip (not even the UK support company ??) , but at registration I managed to borrow one from the tri sale stand. As it turned out, I had left the last spacer on the wheel back at home, so it wasn't packed out enough. In the end I used a spacer from mid in the cassette and put that at the back. That enabled me to tighten up the cassette so it didn't rock, but also meant I couldn't use the 14 and 15 gears as they were too close together from not having a spacer in-between. When I changed gear the chain just skipped over these ratios so it wasn't a problem.

So bike sorted, registered at a very pleasant race briefing, a quick cup of coffee in the town and a few photos at the fjord and it was time to head back get some food and an early night.

About to get on the boat:


The ferry trip out was a bit strange with a mix of atmosphere. I briefly chatted to a few tritalkers and had a look round, then it was time to jump in. I wasn't sure to take the chicken hatch or jump, but knew I would take a look at the jump. It looked quite fun, and it was.... the water was not too cold either once I took the plunge. I swam over to the shore, as we were warned that currents were against us and it would be less near the shore. Next thing I know the hooter had gone and of I went... it really was a spectacular swim and the scenery was amazing... now this must have been why I decided to take so long over it. Haha, not really.. the first half went quite well, and when I turned round the dog leg, I could see a big boat straight in front near the exit. At the registration they told us to swim round the boat and it was the only one I could see so I headed for it. BIG MISTAKE. Next thing I know I'm in the middle of the fjord and it is like I'm swimming in treacle, just not making any progress what so ever. I persist at it and keep plodding on, but just not getting anywhere. I take a break and look around, and I can't see anyone at all. At this point I just thought get back near the shore where I can actually make some progress, and when I get there I see a few other swimmers. I carry on up the shore, and finally a small boat in the corner of the fjord comes into view, so I swim up to that round and then up to the exit. Now I knew this was a long swim but I was quite surprised to hear it was almost 2.10 !!!!! that is 55 mins of normal IM swim time... oh well, better just get on with it.

On being told 2:10.. at least I found it funny:


I put lots of bike gear on in transition and even had a coffee from the Thermos, then I headed of. On exiting transition I was quite surprised to hear I was 150th (out of 191 I think) I really though I would be bottom 10 with that time.

This has to be the best bike course of all iron distance races totally stunning. I just took my time and enjoyed myself. Early on I made up lots of places, as I spun up the first hill. My support car went past, and they stopped every now and then to give me jaffa cakes. I had the odd coffee as well. The first 40Km is all up hill, and you go through the old tourist route around the mountains, whilst the cars go through long tunnels. Once you get to the town at the top from 40k to 90k its pretty undulating and exposed.

Time for a Coffee Break:


Again great views and at this point I wish I had aero bars on. The plan was for my support team to meet me at the 90k town (I forget the name of the towns as it is so long since the race was on) as I went through I saw them, and I assume they saw me, but they didn't. Anyway from 90k to 150k there are 3 small climbs and one big one. I kept assuming that the support car would be coming past, and give me new bottles and some more jaffas. I had ran out of liquid a long time ago, and it was also getting hot. By the time I was up the 2nd climb of the 4, I thought I had better give them a ring. It turned out that they hadn't seen me, and assumed I was going really slowly. Now I know I was going pretty slow but not that slow. As luck would have it there was some chocolate stuck on my phone from a long eaten jaffa, which I licked of to keep me going a bit longer. Eventually they turned up and I got restocked, and also lost several layers. So of I spun in my smallest cog, and my smallest chain ring. Having a triple made it easy. I always find if I have a lower gear I use it, so from a point of view of taking it easy, having the triple was great, but if I wanted a good time, then just a 27 cassette would be best.

Final climb of the day (on the bike):


The final climb was the toughest since the first one, but great views. I got to the top and the last 30k was all down hill.. time to hammer it. I really enjoyed the last 30k and before I knew it I was in T2. Bike time was 8 hours, but ride time was 7:30. My stops with the support car were too long.

A quick change and stretch, and details to my Dad on how to pack up my bike and I was of, within 5 mins. I was feeling pretty good, and running quite well. A lot of people say that the first 25k on the run is pretty boring ?!?! maybe in relation to the rest of the race but in comparison to other races it was awesome. I slowly started picking of spots, let them overtake me as I stopped at the support car for drinks and a chat, then over took them again. If I knew that k's 25 32 were un-runnable I probably would have cracked on.

Ruuning to the mountain - The finish is on the top of that:


25 to 32k is what is known as Zombie Hill, and it almost broke me. At this point my Dad drove on to drop my Mum and Thanh my girlfriend at the entrance to the mountain so they could get to the top for the finish. There was a checkpoint at the bottom of Zombie hill, and I had some drink, and a salt tablet which they offered me. My tri-suit was covered in Salt residue, but I broke the golden rule of not trying anything new on race day. I had been drinking and eating crisps along the first 25k, so it was probably not needed. Anyway, I entered Zombie hill, which is like an alpine climb with switch backs and very steep. For some reason I started running up it, thinking it would be ok, if I took some walk breaks, but I think this pushed me other the edge. I started to feel real bad, and thought I was going to throw up. My stomach felt really bad, and I blamed the salt tablet. I also started to get real cold as I was out the sun, going upwards, and only had a trisuit on. I rang my Dad, and asked him to come back ASAP as I needed some clothes, and some water to hopefully settle my stomach. He was still driving up to drop the others of, so he was going to be a while. I had a sit down, and got told by a fellow competitor that it was dangerous to stop. I agreed but needed a short break I thought if I get too cold I'll crack on. For the next 10 mins or so, I walked, stopped, walked stopped and was slowly feeling better. Eventually my Dad turned up, so I grabbed some more layers and a swig of water. I felt a lot better, and managed to carry on upwards. So I started to feel better, but I was about to become totally demoralised. My Dad drove a bit up the road, and I soon caught him up. I asked him the time as I didn't have a watch on, and he told me whatever it was, I forget now. For the first time I thought I wasn't going to make it. I thought there was 40 mins to do 8k, which doesn't seem unreasonable, but up zombie hill, it felt very unreasonable. The reason i thought this was because I got confused on the check points. They said you couldn't enter the mountain, if you got there later than a set time which was 8k away at 37.5k. As it turned out the entrance to the mountain was at 37.5k, but the check point where they decide if you can continue to the entrance was at 32.5k. So a few k's later I went round a corner and had my spirits lifted immensely as I knew I could continue and finish at the top. From 32.5 to 37.5k it flattens of a lot, and even though it is uphill is more than runnable. I even managed to run a fair bit of this, as I was feeling fine now and rejuvenated with the black t-shirt moral boost.

At the bottom of the mountain, I got my backpack out of the car, showed them that we had the required stuff (spare clothes, torch, food, water) and we were allowed to get on with it. We were moving pretty fast and made it up to the top in just under a 100 mins, and made up quite a lot of positions. Stepping up the big rocks, used different (or so it seemed) muscle groups. The sun was going down now, and by the time we were near the top it was pretty much pitch black. No finish line, just get to the top, have a snap, handshake and told to get into the hut for soup and a greasy burger if you want it.

Job Done:


My mum had only just got there, as it took her 4 hours to get to the top... and then it was time to come back down again. There was time for a 5 min sit down, and a quick chat at the top, then it was decision time. Either walk down with the guides or stay the night in the hut. I was very very tempted to stay there, but knew it would be just as much of a pain to come down in the morning. So I got out, and joined the guided trip back down. We all got given a black Norseman blanket to keep warm and I think that for my Mum that is as valuable as the t-shirt I got the next day. Once we got going it was fine, but it took just over 2 hours to get down. My mum fell over (as we all did) a few times, and had to have a sit down for 5 mins, so if you were in the last group down that is the reason for the stops. Just as we got down it started to rain, so good timing.
We all jumped in the car, got to the hotel, quick shower and into bed, pretty much within 20 mins. Asleep within 2 seconds of getting in bed.

My race time was 17:22:20 and 137th out of 171 black finishers. With the early start to get the ferry, and the 2hr walk back down I now know I could do a 24hr event, which would be MTB enduro type things instead of a TT or double IM.

Next day was up for the presentation, food back at the hotel, packed the gear, whilst the community shield was on the tv, nap then out for dinner. A few expensive beers, then bed, up early to get to the airport.. then home! Fish and Chips and a few cheap-er beers.

I definitely want to do this race again, and do a decent time. There is nothing else like it. There is something about going out into the middle of a fjord on a big ferry and jumping in to start an iron man race which finishes on top of a mountain. May have to wait a few years though for my return.

Previous replies:

Sue Thanks. I hope it continues.
GreenDragonFly Thanks, welcome to my blog.
Poet So you got to see what a proper ground looks like.
MountainGirl Well here it is. More photos on my facebook page, if you've not yet seen them.
PaulL No it was free (sort of). Normally about 100 quid for a DXA scan. Glad you like my bones.


~   Last edited by IRON MONKEY on Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
Wed Dec 17, 2008 5:00 pm Poet
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Nice report, worth the wait, there!

Seems like a race to do in future from reports, definitely. Well, TBW doesn't clash with The Vit now, but it is on a Bank Holiday weekend Sad

Pennine Duathlon for you then? I'd crew you (and T_C) for that, just ask!

Wed Dec 17, 2008 5:10 pm Bluepoolshark
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Good report there and well done on the black t-shirt Very Happy Guess you were in the massive freight train of people that I came down the mountain with as I finished just before you so may have seen you at the top?
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Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:36 pm Sue
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your right, it wasnt a short report
--had to make coffee half way through
But great to finish, well done
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Thu Dec 18, 2008 3:09 pm MrsTricky
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Great report, brought it all back to me Very Happy It all seems like so long ago...
Thu Dec 18, 2008 3:42 pm Slacko
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Top stuff Neil, thanks for taking time to write it up. Definitely on my 'to-do' list this race!
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Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:26 am Cleo
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Excellent report! Had a real giggle over the idea of you licking your phone for a few extra calories!
Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:57 am Daz
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Enjoyed reading that report. Very well taken photos of you too.
Liked the jaffa residue licking off the phone and zombie mountain. Must have been fun on the craggy hill towards the finish.
Some races are all about getting to the finish and the achievement of that.....not about the time. I learnt that myself this year. And these races are as much fun, if not better than flat all-out races.
See you next year!
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Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:24 pm Silje
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Excellent report Very Happy I so want to do this race as its in my own country and it looks fantastic Exclamation
Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:35 pm Paul L
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Epic Report. Cool (I'll add the link to the thread after Christmas) Take care, Paul. Very Happy
   
TLD06 Finish
 
_____ Relevant Personal Bests _____
 
Half Marathon: 1:24, Solent Half 07
Full Marathon: 2:58, Milan 07
10k - 36.34

Half Ironman: 4:45:12, Beaulieu 08
IMUK: 11:08:17, IMUK 07
IMCH: 10:46
Standard Duathlon: 2:05:25, New Forest 07

10 TT: 21.57
25 TT: 56:36
50 TT: 1:58:22
100 TT: 4:08

IM Race report links:
TLD05
TLD06
.. .the rest in the blog somewhere ...





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