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dryrobe: Racing Through Nature – ÖTILLÖ

For dryrobe, Maddie Meddings crafted one stunner of a film about our Ötillö experience this year. Incredible pictures from this wonderful race.

Ötillö 2023

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. 

Spoiled to be treated by @sauconysverige , @orcasportswear and @maurten_official with equipment that is way better then we will ever be.

See you next year!

Camera Magic by brothers @otto_norin & @themarcushallback

Impressions: La Isla Bonita – Segunda Parte

Vamos – 2nd drop of La Palma imageries

Tune of the day: Róisín Murphy – You Knew

Impressions: La Isla Bonita

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!

Black Diamond – Distance 4 Hydration Vest

Utah based Black Diamond Equipment might not be the trail running household name. However, the brand is a highly respected producer of climbing and skiing equipment. The step towards trail running comes naturally to complete the mountain-based product line up.  I got the chance to test their latest update of the Distance 4 Hydration Vest (Version 2). The 4-liter vest was the latest addition to the Distance collection back in in 2019. The product line features an 8 liter and a 15 lite model. Now it got a proper update. I was using the vest throughout the last couple of weeks on several runs ranging from technical mountain runs to hot runs on the roads.
The first thing that really amazed me was the slender and elastic material. Whilst it was hard in the past to find the right vest, this one felt proper right from the get-go. The light fabric is stretchy but still very secure and comfortable. Even runs without a shirt weren’t a problem and chafing as well as hotspots aren’t an issue. The seaming is pretty thought out and doesn’t cause issues. Something I had been stressed about in the past. Breathability is not an issue, and the vest absorbs water in a efficient way – meaning it doesn’t suck in your fluids and stays light and comfortable throughout the run.
Somewhat of an undisputed highlight – the On-the-go Z-Pole storing. It’s a technique that allows you to gather your running poles outside the vest. There are methods around that can be attached to backpacks but this one is an internal feature developed by Black Diamond. It will only work for poles that can be folded. With the use of two stretch panels, the Z-Pole carry system will let you easily attach the poles and move it over your head to have them fixed on your backside. What sounds difficult isn’t the matter if you take the time to grasp the system. I found it to be a super pleasant trait and you will be able to use it fast and efficient. Even through fast and technically difficult downhills, the poles stayed where they should be.
Here is a picture that shows the stored poles on the backside of the vest. The whole system is quite thought out as the stored poles do not block any of the pockets and allow easy use and accessibility of all features the vest has to over.
The front flask pockets fit two Black Diamond 500mL HydraPak SoftFlasks. Note that only the supplied 500mL flasks are safe to use. I tried some other brands, and they wouldn’t stay. The flasks come with the vest. I also used minor flask and they remained fine and with no problem. Saying that, the provided flasks are super nice, and they comfort the shape of the front pocket which makes it pleasant and easy to run with. I used the vest through faster road runs, and it worked super fine also all the trail running I got in, no problem. Easy access to the flask and a safe storage. These pockets get complimented by a zip up chest pocket, a back zip security pocket and small store pouches that present sufficient storage capacity for essential supplies.
A close-up of the material used throughout the vest.
The update of the Distance 4 Hydration Vest is a proper one. I liked the elementary use and easy access for all provided compartments. The front pocket is well placed and hold more stuff than I was used to in the past. It appears that gels, phone and other stuff falls in the right place and stays safe without moving while you run. I used the vest for work commutes (without PC or iPad) and because of its stretchability it worked wonders when storing clothes and smaller items. Whilst running on trails and on the road the flask stays well and can be used without any problems since they sit at the right height. So, it is not really required to take them out while drinking. The vests center has a large zip-closure section and bladder covering that holds garment and food neatly. I use the pack for daily runs and longer one day explorations. I can not see myself using it for a multi-day outing.

Tune of the day: Big Sproxx – Duality (feat. Planet Asia, The Legend Adam Bomb & DJ Grouch)

Ski is the limit

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)

LTB Podcast: Team Dryrobe A.K.A. The German Sparkle Party

Fabian and i had an entertaining tête-à-tête with Chipper and Chris of the notorious Löw Tide Böyz Podcast. Tune in HERE and give it a listen.

Find the episode on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, and on YouTube.

MAURTEN: Das Pendel schwingt – die Geschichte von Sara Svensk

More paraphrasing material for the finest nutrition brand. Check it out HERE.

ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Cannes 2022

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.

We salute our friends at Dryrobe & Saucony for all the love and faith with this endurance bromance and looking forward to having even more fun next season.

Tune of the day: Youssoupha – Ma Destinée

Ötillö 2022

📸: @denniswernersson
📸: @hkindgren
📸: @hkindgren
📸: @hkindgren
📸: @denniswernersson
📸: @hkindgren
📸: @makkanmakkan

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.

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