Ravnan kept the lead for the first part of the course, but the expertise of previous champions Vold and Hovda soon came through as they broke through to the front of the course and started to show what makes them so utterly unbeatable on a bike course that can quickly chew you up and spit you out if you don’t pace it accurately. They describe this race as the one where you can ‘find yourself all alone on a small bike on top of a big mountain plateau’ and watching the athletes string out alongs the course in the mountain fog, it quickly became apparent why. The landscapes are just huge in this race, although the views probably weren’t enough to distract those at the front of the race chasing the win.
Anything is possible at Norseman though and the sun broke though on the bike course, leaving athletes who had prepared for typically windy, cold and wet Norseman conditions baking in the sweltering heat. With Vold in the lead, the two athletes arrived at the 500m climb to Immingfell looking focussed. In an interview before the race as part of a panel interview led by 220 [follow link here], Allan Hovda revealed that himself and Lars Christian Vold had trained together on the course a couple of weeks previously and he’d identified that Vold had the edge on the technical descent at Immingfell, so he’d spent some extra time training on those roads. It really showed during the race too, as both athletes swept down the descent tucked down on their tri-bikes’ crossbars, aiming to get as aero as possible as they navigated the technical hairpins and treacherous descent.
Vold entered T2 first, but with Hovda hot on his heels it was clear we were in for a tense finish in the mountains. The Norseman run route is famous for its brutality. The first 25km are flat and follow a tarmac road, then after that you start to gradually climb with the infamous Gaustatoppen mountain peak – ‘Zombie Hill’ – rising up into the distance ahead of you like some great monster, as if to taunt you with the distance you have left to climb.
THIS is where @nxtri finishes