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
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