It was the beautiful nature we expected. It was a bit more pain then we anticipated. It truly was something else.
|Just another Monday morning somewhere in Sweden (Pic: Nadja Odenhage)|
It was the beautiful nature we expected. It was a bit more pain then we anticipated. It truly was something else.
|Just another Monday morning somewhere in Sweden (Pic: Nadja Odenhage)|
Perhaps it is not the brightest idea to write down a race story when the actual contest was just two days ago. Maybe there is a good bit of neutrality gone astray. But, who cares! Let the emotional raging commence.
As soon as you tell somebody about this SwimRun thing you’ll get some questions back. Of course, you have to to run in a wetsuit. Of course, you need to go swimming with your shoes. Of course, you are permitted to bathe with paddles and a pullbuoy. No, you do not have a transition area. More less – you can do what on earth you want as long as you carry it along that course. More questions?
At the same time as this innovative team game called SwimRun is kind of a household name in Scandinavia, little is known about it outer the Kingdom of Sweden. The big mama off all SwimRun races is the legendary Ö till Ö. The organizers of this event also organized this wander from corner to corner of the Engadin valley in Switzerland. As Fabian and I are already (…and gratefully) qualified for Ö Till Ö we decided to take part in this first race outside of Sweden to collect some practical information and understanding before we get on the plane to the join the Ö Till Ö festivity.
As an location the organizers couldn’t have chosen a superior arrangement for the maiden SwimRun on the continent. The sheer splendor of the Engadin is unadulterated inspiration plus the plan to voyage all the way through the vale from Maloja to Silvaplana was just prepared for this idea of racing.
Our pre-race homework was acceptable. As total rookies in this game we did not know how to get ready for something like this. With a number of specific sessions and material testing at the local lake as well as the usual swims and runs we got ourselves set. At least that’s what we thought. The team racing characteristic is particular and produces a motivating vibrant. We were energized and also nervous. Even more worried when we got a pre-race glimpse of the Silvalplana waters before the race. Chilly would have been a nice expression to describe the water. A entire new experience. We tested the waters in our long neoprene suits and couldn’t hack the sensation of this bitter cold water. Raceday won’t be any better. We were sure about that.
As the morning sun made its way up to the blue skies we ran on. A assembly of almost 100 teams. All psyched for vertical running as well as cold water bathing. At this part of my report I need to hold it short… The opening run section just took its toll out of the race and straight away the competition was spread out. The technical part lead us over rocks and straight down the mount into the first whirl. We chatted away and joked about the imminent chill shock. When we entered it was like diving into a pool of enthusiasm. As the better swimmer Fabian is The German Sparkle Party pacing dinghy i can happily draft. I ducked in behind him. Focusing on his T7’s and the emotion of the water. At this time the Goosebumps weren’t caused by the water. We straight got in the flow of things. We straight got into the SwimRun vibe. Into the GSP vibe. When we exited on the other side of the lake we both beamed. This was our kick-start to a unique day.
What happened then can be described as fun. Sore fun. Intensive fun. Magnificent fun. Hideous fun. Icy fun. The course was asking for a superior performance. No excuses and candid racing. We had to stick together. We had to look out for each other. When I had a low, Fabian had a high and vice versa. Throughout the whole 7 hours and 49 minutes there wasn’t 10 meter sandwiched between us. To call it just right team racing would hit he note. We surprised ourselves and got encouraged by the course, the crowds and the variety of this team competition.
When we reached the shoreline of Silvaplana there was not much left. We did our best, went through a lot of dreadful patches and enjoyed the splendor of this race. Always got ourselves up and going. When we heard we got in 8th we were stunned. A notable day with a noteworthy outcome.
Thanks a lot Michael Lemmel and Mats Skott for arranging this stunner. Credits for setting up a race that has precisely what it needs. No fancy substances. No earsplitting music. No hotel buffet-like aid stations. No overfull field. No hectic. No finisher medal – just plain straightforward outdoor enjoyment.
Tack för det. Se dig i 48 dagar!
Neoprene Suit: Custom cut HUUB Archimedes (Click HERE for Preparation Details)
Pullbuoy: HUUB Big Buoy (Click HERE for Preparation Details)
Goggles: HUUB Acute (Smoke/White)
Paddles: Standard Swedish XL
Compression Socks: CEP Run Socks 2.0
Compression Calf Sleeves: CEP Quad Sleeve
Shoes: Brooks T7
Philips is a household name. No introduction needed there. With their “ActionFit” Series they provide a nice set of sports earpieces. I gratefully got my hands on the Philips SHQ3200, an earloop piece out of this series.
While jogging, headphones should be there and don’t cause any troubles. Whilst running or cycling I clearly do not want to fix them over and over and the sound need to be on point. Not much to ask for, really.
Straight to the point so – The SHQ3200 is a pretty suitable compatriot when you out there training. The sound is quality and pretty decent. While it lacks a bit of punch in the bass it still delivers a great clean sound atmosphere. Particularly the midrange sound is where I found the SHQ3200 on top of his game. The sound is convincing and brings solo instruments and voices a clear benefit. If you are searching for a really loud, high volume headphone. This is not the one for you!
Maybe more important then the sound is the fit when it comes to an earpiece that should be a handy training partner. The earloop is alterable and after you get used to the shape it fits precise and secure. You can individually alter the loop-piece, so with a tiny bit of patience you will make this one fit for good. The cable has a perfect length and I found the little clip particularly handy to have a secure fit and no troubles with the cable moving around.
Another feature, which adds to the stability and the confidence, is the water resistance. I never had earphones that were sheltered against water. Looking into my box with old gear there are quite some headphones that lost the war against sweet and rain. Big bonus point there!
With the pleasant and individual look as well as the great processing you will find a good day-to-day partner for your runs. And also the price is pretty decent. The interweb tells me that you get this piece for about 28 EUR. That is pretty fair!
To cut it short – I just love this competition. Such a fine format for early season multisport bashing. Run 5k, mountain-bike 17k and close the Reece with a 4k scamper. Quite some suffering integrated.
Like last time the Dirty Race was a sellout. This time it was not as freezing as last year so everyone who signed up also raced. This year it was just muddy. And there was some proper sludge. Definitely the muddiest contest I ever took part in.
Basti and I arrived early enough to cycle one loop of the bike route. We just couldn’t hack it. Deep and damp Natural-Porridge all over the place. When we finished the Reece we already looked soaked and set for a clothes change.
Life is made up of marble and mud.
The first run was just to warm up for the foremost fun of the day. So I took off in a pleasant pace on the tarmac road. No mud there but some overly motivated participants. Looks like the off season was too long for some. Sooner or later all the sprinters got caught and it was mountain bike time. I tried to move as smoothly as possible. I knew that once the main pack got through the first of two loops it will get even more tricky and additional power is required to surf these waves.
I tried to stay away from groups of riders as triathletes are not know for their bike handling skills. In the middle of the first loop I eventually crashed as a guy in front of me stopped abruptly in front of a pond. Well… After that I found the rhythm and the line. At the end of the loop I paired up with the eventual women’s champ Kathrin Müller. She struggled a bit with the circumstances but we kept on sailing nicely together through the mud ocean.
T2 came a bit later than last year. My bike form was not as good as last time (4 minutes slower…) but the track was hard to compare. I entered the transition area with the keenness to finish up strong and possibly run the last part with Kathrin. A couple of minutes later I met her at the finish. My shoe adjustment took a bit longer and she was flying through the transition zone in best triathlete approach. I’m not used to that anymore. So I ducked in and gave the PureDrift’s a solid spin on the finishing 4k (Strava).
The chase after the race was getting all that lawn and dirt of the racing bike and devices. Great service by the organizers as they set up a area to clean the bike. A fun end to a enjoyable day of racing. Until next year.
Tune of the day: DJ Zinc – Live at Deviation Carnival Session
|Pic: Michael Raubold Photographie|
The most successful Irish sportsmen ever was never a man of many words. Sean Kelly’s skill was to ride bicycles. Triumphs were his speech.
In a time were people transcribe autobiographies in their early twenties, Kelly took his time. He retired from professional cycling in 1994 and just now released his book.
The man from Carrick-on-Suir in South Tipperary, Ireland is know for his introversion and for him to open up in a book seems to be a slight spectacle. The 70s and 80s cycling area charms me and since I appreciate the classics and the era that surrounds those races, I have appreciated Kelly.
For me the most fascinating part was reading about his childhood and training in Ireland. I passed through Kelly’s hometown several times when I was living on the isle and I was always intrigued by his aura. Having met him once all my pre-made up clichés and expectations seemed to be true.
The man who took seven straight wins at the Paris-Nice, just to name my personal highlight, delivered a book that is entertaining and not self-promoting. Insight into cycling’s heartland, several team mangers and mates and agreements that were “made on the road”. Don’t expect a book that debates about “juice” and what happened in the hotel rooms. As Kelly states: “I’m not a great one for reflecting or reminiscing”. Give him that and enjoy a book that’s talking and delivering the beauty of road cycling.
It was just too mesmerizing, too baffling and way to appealing.
What started a few years ago with viscous interchange of video clips and articles terminated in a simple and to the point merit application to Anders Malm and the Utö brothers. Since yesterday we know that we are a part of it in this years edition. Team number 35 “German Sparkle Party”!
“Take it easy, but take it.” Woody Guthrie
We extensively discussed this appreciation through training sessions and over certain beers. We both agreed that this is simply outlandish and absurd. But we eternally knew – This one is particular and highly motivating.
On the 1st of September 2014 we eventually will reach Utö MÅL. After 10 kilometers of swimming and 65 kilometers of running Fabian and I will know what it means to be part of “one of the toughest endurance races in the world” – the ÖTILLÖ
Straight at it. Initial competition of the season. Some true classic – the 48th version of the Cross Series at the Haigern. A ‘lil highland just outside my hometown.
Some formats are in place as the organizing TV Flein 1895 take the fields of kids, seniors and juniors through 525 m, 750 m and 1075 m loops across the forest alleyways and trails. No better way to get used to running hard and legitimately fast.
I selected the 6k possibility and was content with my 23:42 time (Strava). I knew that I miss some leg pace and a bit of strength but nonetheless it was some proper testing. You never kick as solid as you would in a racing situation.
Completed a 115km week with some cool-down shaking, sausage, Frankenmeister burden and proper home-grown Glühwein with the lads. You got to love this kind of winter contesting. Handsome atmosphere.
Tune of the day: Ladi6 – Diamonds
Pioneering sole material sporadically get’s on the market. A firm quantity deserves the brand “groundbreaking”. In the case of the latest “Boost” midsole fabric it deserves the use of this mark. Developed by German chemistry powerhouse BASF and utterly used by the three-stripe brand from Herzogenaurach it seems to be the latest material tale these days.
Adi Dassler’s descendants prepared one of their finest models with this power returning stuff (it is made of TPU instead of the conventional EVA). In the midst of the release they issued a new-fangled edition of the “Adios” as well as a number of other new running or updated models. The improvement on the “Adios” comes with a fresh & distinct color blend and a comprehensive tune-up of the by now well done fit of the performance lightweight racing shoe.
A 10mm drop is maybe a bit too much for my likes as a fore-to-midfoot runner but makes the rigid hell feel a bit better and nevertheless brings across a high-quality “run fast” sensation in a well shaped setup. As common with adidas shoes the toe box seems a bit slim for my foot but was not a real problem with the “Adios” (I tested the shoe in size US 13).
First of all we need to look into this miraculous wonder material quickly. Adi’s people say that the material provides a “industry leading” energy return as well as being not so temperature sensitive and basically longer lasting. Without going into further facts by discussing the data sheet they provide there is no discussing on the energy return data gathered in all the lab testing they did. But there is no real data available that provides any benefit on the actual physiological performance of an athlete. You could argue that heaps of adidas sponsored distance runners make use of the shoe as the go-to model when it comes to any road race distance. But the amount of data that talks about the new material is not backed up by any testing with athletes.
I wanted to experience it myself and had the chance t snap a media sample from adidas. So I got this newbie on the street as soon as I received it. The “Adios Boost” is a competition shoe without any hesitation. Minimal and simple design makes the “Adios” a classic since years. One of my very first racing flats where some pretty green ones ages ago. I recalled them as soon as I got them out on the way.
This time the shoe does feel a bit more cushioned and way more flexible as the first impact on the secretive midsole was very positive. A direct, simple feeling backed up with some cushioning that just does the job instead of slowing down the stride. I’m not sure if it was a good choice to read through the product description before going out but I was waiting for that light bouncy emotion. And I did get a bouncy feeling. It jog’s very smooth and gives enough flexibility without being too clumsy. Saying that the real sensation comes more from the heal part. I usually strike in the front or the middle so the effect was still there but is more apparent when pushing more in the rear part.
The heel could be a bit lighter and less inflexible but did not cause me any problem during my test-phase over approximately 150 kilometer in this shoe. I tried to take the shoe through all kinds of training runs. From track workouts to long runs. Always positive and dynamic towards my jog. When it comes to off-road running on trails and wet dirt surfaces the sole can be delicate. But this shoe is not made for anything beside the road or track.
It was fun to take the Adios Boost through the paces. The direct feeling of the shoe together with the snappy responsiveness produced by the mysterious “Boost” material make this shoe a really nice racing flat even with a 10mm drop. Be aware of the toe box when you consider the shoe as this could be a problem with a racing rifle like this.
▪ Weight: 220 g (size UK 8.5)
▪ Clover-shaped Coolever mesh upper for heat and sweat management and increased performance; Synthetic overlays for added support
▪ Non-slip lining for comfort and performance
▪ Extended TORSION® SYSTEM for midfoot integrity
▪ boost™’s energy-returning midsole keeps every step charged with an endless supply of light, fast energy; Moulded responsive EVA sockliner for anatomical fit and great step-in comfort
QUICKSTRIKE outsole decreases weight and increases flexibility and durability; Continental™ Rubber for optimal grip in wet conditions
Tune of the day: Midlake – It’s Going Down
Seems like this part of the www was on holiday. It unquestionably was.
Shortly after Christmas eve I ventured down south to spend a few weeks around the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia together with two friends. I like to head to the Horn of Africa at that time of the year. Perfect temperatures make this place even more worthwhile and fascinating. Following a number of stints in Kenya and Uganda I headed even further north to travel to one of the oldest locations of human life.
We spend some days in Addis Abeba and then travelled further south. We went to the “Town of Runners” – Bekoji and spend some time in the running capital before we went back up north to the Simien Mountains National Park for some striking hiking.
“I wanted the world to know that my country Ethiopia has always won with determination and heroism.”
I’m heading back home genuinely impressed by a very friendly and calm nation. Ethiopia is the only African country to defeat a European colonial power. The feeling of independence and pride is still evident. The energy and positivity of the people was inspiring and very motivating to get back down to explore even more parts.
Pictures say way more than words. Just head over to my tumblr to observe a number of shots from the trip.
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