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In the last few years my thirst for competing is gradually decreasing. I’m passioned about training but it gets harder and harder to enter that emotional state that is necessary to compete properly. But then there is this first Monday in September that repeatedly produces this distinct merge of anxiety and expectation. Even after all these years @otillorace brings up disregarded pre-race nerves and makes me able to release the emotions needed.
@danielwrowland and I had a flawless start to the day. Through an entry on one of the first isles Daniel slid and fell badly. Adrenaline kept us going but the pain increasingly got worse. At the end of Kymmendö we had to call it a day. It hurt, but it was the only decision. We went straight to the hospital and fortunately the MRI Scan illustrated that no bones and only feelings were fractured. I’m still in awe of how long Daniel fought his hurt.
Huge thanks to everyone at @dryrobe for making this possible. We couldn’t ask for a better partner.
See you next year!
The 708 km2 atoll of La Palma has its moniker for a reason – La isla bonita (English: The Beautiful Island).
In 2016 I spend some weeks on the island and wrote about it on Slowtwitch.
Now I returned to one of my absolute favorite places for a month with my family. In the next few weeks, I will post some of the visual features of this visit. Enjoy!
XC Ski season is in full swing and I’m loving it. Living in a major city that has so many ski possibilities is unusual and I’m really appreciating it. With Vasaloppets Öppet Spår Monday (Track) and the Nattvasan (Track) coming up, I really appreciate getting stuck in the skiing mode.
Tune of the day: Jon Hassell -Psychogeography (Zones Of Feeling)
Upper class entities, extravagant boats, heartfelt sunlight, good-looking, tanned people and that leisure extravagance sensation is what society is looking for at the world-renowned French Riviera. With dissimilar inspiration and goals, Fabian and I made our way down to the metropolitan that commonly is known for the rich and famous, its posh hotels and restaurants – Cannes.
After the Ötillö World Champs we were not looking to get a new yacht or leisure time at the local sand seashores, we wanted to book our ticket for next year’s World Champs in the Archipelago – as soon as possible. Last year’s jaunt to the Republic of Malta was a rather fruitful one but due to travel and work trials we had to settle for the subtropical Mediterranean climate in the south of France.
Cannes is the first competition to qualify after the WC and that means that a lot of lineups mean business. France took on the sport of swimrun fast and that results into a lot of fit and competitive équipes on the start line. However, we wanted to go for it and see what we can do – Now or never. Well, for 2022 anyway.
The competition went off with a lot of motivated racers on a long downhill slog from the local fort at the Île Sainte-Marguerite just outside the city. Seemingly, it took the man in the Iron Mask (Reference here) 11 years to leave the isolated woodland of St Marguerite. Not us. After approximately 4k of jagged trail bumping the first early risers were railed in and it was time to cool off from the sun with the first swim. For the premier 1,5 hours we ran and swam between this island and Île Saint-Honorat, a place that used to be the play area for some local monks, sharing their time between prayer and producing red and white wines. Nothing that we had time for on this beauty of a day.
With about 20% of swimming, this course is one of the most swim heavy on the entire tour. We left the islets and headed straight for Cap de la Croisette and the mainland Cannes. Fabian skippered the rusty GSP liner over these 1300 meters, the longest bath of the day. The Promenade de la Croisette was about to follow throughout the longest run (9+k). And it was action-packed one on a sundrenched Saturday along the popular waterfront boulevard. Merci to that cyclist that made way for us and created some frightened expressions along the way. The run led through town and out to a local park. I decided to not take the wetsuits off which might not have been the cleverest idea on this day. Plenty of dogshit on the street and some nasty climbs on and off road later we arrived at just another coastline ready to wash and cool off for yet another time.
Some swims and some run later my friend Daniel Rowland (which I haven’t seen since Chile 2011) caught us by surprise as a unexpected bystander as we headed back from the marine in the direction of the elevations of the local forestry. An abandoned and steep train track and loads of scrambling and ascending later it was beach time again. And after a disturbing visit to the local stark-naked shore, we went back into the water to enjoy more of these stunning jellyfish chews.
At the end it got pretty hectic as the lack of exercise and the unaccustomed exposure to sunlight decelerated our efforts. We paid for it with an extra inch on the suffer score during the last swim and a almost passed-out Fabian at the finish line – Raw fact: 4:57:13 for 8th place. Fortunately the uninterested local ambulance wasn’t needed, and the rehydration process got underway instantly.
Now its time for a proper season break, skiing and whatever the 2023 Swimrun term will throw at us with some pleasant unsanctioned explorations and well picked races aligned.
Tune of the day: Youssoupha – Ma Destinée
Our maiden voyage from Sandham to Utö back in 2014 took us 11:08:01. This Monday the finish line clock stopped at 8:52:08, a time that would have placed us 4th in 2014.
Throughout all the years the times have been improved massively. A winning time under 7 hours is now within reach. While it aids that the actual course altered from merciless bushwhacking fragments to proper trail through the years, the actual performances shouldn’t be underrated – this competition will always have the raw capability to decipher fitness, soul and the will to dig deep.
I’m grateful for yet another expedition to the dark side and an even sweeter exit together with Fabian.