If ever there was a “bucket list” race, a race you absolutely have to do, it is the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon. It is an unsupported iron distance race in the fjords and mountains of Eidfjord, Norway. Only the extremely fit, or slightly insane, athlete need apply. Challenging and tough doesn’t even begin to describe the Norseman course. It’s as if the race founders went out of their way to make the course as tough as humanly possible.
The swim is in a fjord, which by definition means a deep inlet of sea between high cliffs, typically formed by submergence of a glaciated valley. This means it’s cold. Very cold. Water temperatures on race day are expected to be between 15.5 to 17.5 degrees C. Then there’s the bike, 180km with over 3,000 meters (yes, meters!) of climbing. If your legs aren’t cooked yet, you still have to run a marathon, the last 17k of which is an extreme climb up to 1880 meters.
Insane? Very much so. The intermediate cutoff times make the race even more challenging. You would need to pass the 32.5km checkpoint in 14:30 and the 37.5k checkpoint in 15:30. Get through this and you’ll go up the mountain to finish and get a black finisher’s t-shirt. Don’t make it, you’ll still complete the distance but further down the mountain and earn a white finisher’s t-shirt for your troubles. To make things even tougher, it’s an unsupported race.
So make sure you have your support crew prepped and trained. Yes, trained. They are the ones that will be bringing you all your essential nutrition, extra clothing (it will get cold up there), medical supplies and anything else you may need throughout the race. That in itself is an endurance event, so they will need to be trained. How do you race a race as tough as the Norseman? What do you need to do on the swim, bike and run potions of the race to make sure you earn that infamous black t-shirt? Read on and find out.