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A hard day in Norway - Norseman 2008 (Long report,sorry!!)
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neillm




Joined: 11 Jul 2007
Posts: 412

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 7:03 pm    Post subject: A hard day in Norway - Norseman 2008 (Long report,sorry!!) Reply with quote

What a place and what a race, where do I start ...... well it all started when I got chatting to a bloke at Rothersthorpe Services petrol station about 4 years ago, I was off to do IM Austria and he had an IM Austria car sticker so I asked him about it.... during the conversation he said he was off to Norway to do some ultra tough IM event .... "nutter" I thought, but here I am having now done it ... well the 'white' version anyway .....

Entered whilst in Florida last year having just done IMF, and then my parents offered to be the support crew which was perfect as they are regular visitors to Norway and would be taking their camper van so the logistics were easy.

Me & Mrs M flew into Bergen on the Thursday night (It was one of the 270+ days of the year and was raining when we arrived surprise, surprise) but we were quickly whisked away to a nearby camping hut for a good nights sleep. Friday was a very pleasant drive over to Eidfjord, in and out of tunnels, on and off ferries, very pleasant with amazing scenery..... only thing was it was very very hilly ... it was like "wake up Neill, this is reality!!!" .... Settled in to the campsite at Saebo ready for the big day.

Day before:
Had registered Thursday afternoon so was an easy day, my dad kept telling me to eat more .... not sure I did eat enough but plenty of ham rolls and pasta was hopefully gonna fuel me the next day. The briefing was interesting, a local musician played some haunting music and the race organisers impressed on us how 'close to the edge' in terms of health & safety etc.. this event was ...if we didn't know what we had let ourselves in for before we certainly did now!!!! The sun was out so everything was optimistic..... then I had a look at part of the first climb ...oh dear it looked steep and long ..... "oh well, best go and eat some more" said my dad!!!

Race day:
Alarm went off at 2.45am ....whaaat!!! Although had barely slept the night before .... so wolfed down a big bowl of cereal and a bannana, threw all the stuff in the van and drove down to the start ... it was raining, and it was dark, it was dark & raining and I was bricking it.... set up the bike stuff and went to get on the ferry .... "no support aloowed because it was only a small ferry" .... couldn't quite understand this but had to hand my glasses to the wife, kisses from her and me mum, firm handshake from my dad ..."Good luck boy" .... I felt like a condemned man as I walked onto the ferry ... it was still dark, and it was still raining, and without my glasses I couldn't see ...so it felt lonely and scary.....

By the time we were ready for the off though it had stopped raining and was almost light, as I jumped off the back off the ferry I braced myself for the cold .... but it was surprisingly warm ....ok game on, and the horn blast sent us away...

The swim felt easy, lots of room, no washing machine so it was very pleasant .... although as the tide was against us it was very long... I think it was long in distance too, I looked at my watch as I exited 1hr 35mins ... slow I thought, but as I came into T1 there were loads and loads of bikes so looks like I did ok .....

That was the end of doing ok, as for the first half of the bike ride a steady stream of riders went past me, not so much on the steep bits but everywhere else unfortunately .... but I was intent on taking it easy, trying to keep the intensity down so my dodgy stomach might hold up ...

The first climb up behind Ovre Eidfjord is amazing, winding up the old road, through old tunnels, massive cliffs with low mists all around, lots of company, and feeling strong .... back on to the main road at Voringfoss and the hills although not as steep just kept going, and going, and "ahh we must be at Dyranut now, oh no just another hill ahead!!" ... eventually the 40k mark was reached .... my support team had been at various ponts so far but I decided to have a proper stop here ... put on my overshoes and a cag, had a sandwich and changed my bottles ... and then away ... thank god I had the cag as the wind and rain pushed in and the next section wasn't as easy as I hoped - the road wiggled a bit, but eventually it dropped down fairly steeply to some lakes ...here the sun was out again, had a quick pit stop with the ever present support team, and then it was motor on down a great fast section to Geilo - half way point. My support team were amazing, they had a deck chair and a bowl of hot soup ready and waiting .... so it wasn't long before I was off again .. heading towards the next tough section, this consisited of 3 hills of 6/7% (about 3 to 4k each), first one went by ok, the second wasn't so easy as my legs seemed to turn to jelly half way up ....oh dear the spectre of Imingfjell was still hanging in the distance .... Stopped at the bridge before the last of the 3 climbs and stuffed half a nougart bar down ... the third hill then felt ok (sugar rush maybe?) ... and then it was the fast desent to the foot of Imingfjell ...

Imingfjell:

I felt absolutely b*ggered at the bottom of the climb, so climbed off my bike and threw myself into the verge for a rest ..."how Am I going to get up this I thought..." ... I felt low and doubted my ability to complete the event, but my support team were there to gee me up ... force feed me ...and set me off again .... and somehow, unbelievably I felt some strength in my legs and off I went, met up with Neil Dallaway (aka Ironmonkey) and we cycled most of the hill together finally reaching the top to great relief .... phew ... another bowl of soup, a quick rest and I was off .... and after the shortish flat bit was relieved to turn out of the wind and head down the mega-fast desent to T2 ... unfortunately my stomach wasn't happy and I felt mighty uncomfortable as I plumetted down the bumpy road, finally reaching T2. Bike time about 9hrs 20mins.

Run:
Or more correctly Run/Walk .....
Started off at a very pleasant sunny lakeside setting, got some kenda mint cake inside me and off I went, joined by my wife who proceeded to run/walk with me for the whole marathon (her first full-marathon!!!) .. it was ok at first but after about 5k I lost the mint-cake & some of the soup on the side of the road .... the back t-shirt was now fading ... but we pushed on and my mum and dad met us with the van every couple of k, my dad still telling me to eat ... I tried to eat & drink but it kept coming back up, and the walks were getting longer, and the runs were getting shorter .... until finally we reached Zombie hill .... OMG ... the sign said 10% at the bottom and it went on for ever ...... the black shirt was gone, but I was comfortable (????) for the white so it wasn't too stressful ... it was still a relief to get to the checkpoint at 32k and head for the hotel ... it was to the hotel then back to a turn around point, then back to the hotel .... I was a zombie now, but was joined by the rest of my support team for the last 3k and finally after 18 and a half hours we reached the white t-shirt finish and within 10mins I was in the shower then bed......


This is an amazing race, and a great experience but very tough.... beforehand I wanted the coveted black t-shirt, but I am pleased to have made it to the finish and will wear my white shirt with pride...... thanks to my support team for a brilliant effort on their part, and congratulations to all those that finished in black or white!!!!!!!!!
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mitten.




Joined: 10 Nov 2006
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Location: Sarf East

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

May I be the first to say congratulations Neill and an awesome effort. Black, White ? sounds like it doesn't really matter - beating the course is what counted and you certainly did that. Great effort, well done
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Toyota_Crown




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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice one m8 - get your own white coat Wink
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Fully Ferrous




Joined: 07 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well done mate. have half an eye on one of those black fellas myself Wink
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IRON MONKEY




Joined: 06 Jun 2005
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Location: Wolverhampton

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 8:15 pm    Post subject: Re: A hard day in Norway - Norseman 2008 (Long report,sorry! Reply with quote

Well Done !! A great achievment as its a tough race.

Nice chatting with you over the weekend.
.. as I said I think the Forestman took a bit more out of us than we imagined.

neillm wrote:


(aka Ironmonkey) and we cycled most of the hill together finally reaching the top to great relief .... phew ...


.. heres that pic I told you about ....

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putt putt




Joined: 23 Apr 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

great effort - well done. When someone asks you if you have an IM you can say "have I done an IM............"
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adrian73




Joined: 02 Nov 2006
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Location: Manchester (in spirit)

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Superb report! Well done on taming the course!!!

By the way, what's your IM time? Just to have an idea of how they compare time wise.
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repoman




Joined: 19 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great effort Neill, well done.
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gingeadams




Joined: 12 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FANTASTIC effort guys - I know how hard that race is from last year, and I was so jealous of you all on Saturday!

I really believe there's no other race like it. WELL DONE!
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MrsTricky




Joined: 18 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clap Worship That's a top report Neil of a truly amazing day. I'm sorry I didn't get to meet you but we must have passed somewhere in the dark on the final 10K - or the walk of the living dead as we called it!

You are so right about feeling lonely and scared on the ferry - I was too. That ferry journey was one of the most surreal and terrifying experiences I've ever had Fear

Do wear your white t-shirt with pride - I will be. We earned them Very Happy
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neillm




Joined: 11 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
mountaingirl wrote:
I'm sorry I didn't get to meet you but we must have passed somewhere in the dark on the final 10K - or the walk of the living dead as we called it!


I was thinking the same thing, I was waving to everyone on that last section in the dark.

Well done to you too, it was certainly one hell of an effort to finish .... even the bit between 32k and the hotel had plenty of ups & downs!!! We definately earned them t-shirts!

Recovery seems slow - I am still absolutely starving ..... I'm at work and I've eaten all my lunch already ..... shall take me a few days before I want to think about training or the next race!!!!
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pip




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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done, it sounds so tough
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MrsTricky




Joined: 18 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

neillm wrote:
I was thinking the same thing, I was waving to everyone on that last section in the dark.


Ah, you must have been one of the two that didn't look like you were dead then! Aside from a German guy called Gunther, who was in very good spirits, and one other (which must have been you) everyone else was totally out of it - it freaked me out a bit as I was actually feeling quite good over the last 10K.


neillm wrote:
Recovery seems slow - I am still absolutely starving ..... I'm at work and I've eaten all my lunch already ..... shall take me a few days before I want to think about training or the next race!!!!


I woke up at 6.30 because I was so hungry and I have been eating ever since Rolling Eyes I'm still hungry!
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Cleo




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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done, Neill!!!
Can't believe we missed meeting you as it seems you were even at our same campsite at Saebo!
I love it that your father was constantly telling you to eat! Poor guy must have been pretty worried.
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Gus




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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Epic effort, Neill, and many congratulations on finishing. Sounds well deserved!
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