Words by Alex Croucher
In October 2011 I decided to sign up to do a long-distance Triathlon. I wanted to do a race that mentally would challenge me as well as physically. While I was searching for a race, I saw the iconic Norseman picture of athletes jumping off the ferry, after some further research into the race I decided it was the one.
I mean if you're going to do an extreme-distance triathlon why wouldn't you want to do the Norseman? Norseman is more than a race, once you have your entry accepted your race starts, not at 5am on the first weekend in August. I spent 10 months training mentally & physically for the event, it became my life. On top of the 10-14hrs physical training a week, I watched the 2010 breaking barriers race film and visualized the race every day. Commit to your training and you will love the event!
You start with a ferry journey into the middle of the dark cold Norwegian fjord, the nervous energy and excitement that's omitted creates an amazing atmosphere. Then it happens...the quiet is broken by athletes jumping off the car deck into the cold fjord, as you get to the edge of the deck your heart rate rises, and then it goes.
You step out into the air and drop into the cold water, as you surface you get to see the fjord and surrounding mountains from a perspective that only a few people will have the chance to experience. This was personally my favorite part of the entire race (If you are fortunate enough to get into the race, savor the time in the water before the race starts).
As you swim back to the shore you drop into a flow-like state, the silence is deafening, and with each breath you take, you get to see the scenery unveil itself to you as the daylight breaks. You almost forget you're racing. Once you are pedaling you get a nice 10km warm-up before you start the climb up onto the Hardangervidda plateau, as you flow through the bike course you get to take in some of the most spectacular views you can imagine.
One of the best things about the race is you get to experience it with your friends/family who are your support crew (bonus for them is they get to see all the views without having to train!! lol). Having them with you is like having an extra 20 watts on the bike.
As you crest the Imingfjell you can enjoy the fruits of your labor with a 30km descent into T2 where the fun begins! As you run out of T2 and try to remember how to use your legs for running. You get a steady 25km run around the lake and out towards the Gaustatoppen, on a clear day, you can see the top of the mountain you are heading for.
While you are zig-zagging up Zombie Hill your mind has time to consider if you will reach the time cut off to get that black t-shirt. You come up to T2 and you either head left and finish the lower course and get the white t-shirt or your training has paid off and you're off up the mountain to get the ultimate prize - The Black T-shirt.
I was fortunate enough to go up the mountain to get the black t-shirt. I have to say the last 5km scramble up to the top of the mountain was amazing, this was topped off by the clear day allowing for the amazing view when you stand at the top. For me the race wasn't about the finish time, it was about getting the black t-shirt and enjoying the experience which I achieved. However as I sit here nearly 10 years on I have an itch I need to scratch, the need to see if I could go quicker at 42 than 32. If you want a challenge and an amazing life experience sign up for this race today. Actually, could I ask you maybe delay it for a year or so as places are limited and I'd like to scratch that itch.