Hopefully most blogophiles that come across this infinitesimal fragment of the breathtaking interweb do not need a detailed description to the following lyrics. My brain played B-Real’s renowned hook-line on rewind while Felix and I got ready for the first big competition of the season.
“Time for some action…just” ”Time, time for some, time for some action…just”
It was about time. Time for a severe SwimRun combat. Time to venture to the islet that started it all. Time to travel to the striking east of the Stockholm archipelago. Time to go to the island of Utö – the home of SwimRun.
For this years race I teamed up with homeboy Felix Schumann. Although his Triathlon and Xterra heydays are gone he caught the SwimRun bug at last years Costa Brava race, which he finished in 2nd place side-by-side with Tim Lange. (My race report…). Furthermore he was keen to lead me around Utö and see where it all started.
Our race homework was fairly brief and nearly inexistent, as we did not train together and did not check the course and the distances prior to the race. Fabian and I raced Utö in 2015 (Racereport) but the up-to-date course has changed and is a bit lengthier. However I did remember some portions. Most parts did hit me be surprise, though. Felix and I agreed to have no tactic and to go with the flow. We are far off beeing SwimRun pros I guess.
We set out in a reasonable pace and hit the first swim section after a 2,6 kilometres run in the Top 5. Way to fast for my liking. So we decelerated a little bit and sailed the first techy trail sections and short swims in a well-ordered speed. No shocker – Felix lead all the swim section. Significant info: He did not use Paddles! It surely makes a change if one can swim properly. The first “clean” running segment was a long gravel road and we swiftly found a pleasant rhythm that allowed us to catch up on some other line-ups. It must have been a pretty pleasant pace I guess as Felix filched a hasty “B” as I nudged on.
Like Andre Hook explained in his short race summary, it can be very challenging to recall all the specifics of a competition. Both of us were focused and nearly all transitions went efficiently and smooth. We did not loose unnecessary time. It is no secret that Trail running on Utö is a blast and the technical running took both of our minds off, as we adored the versatile and exciting terrain. Time flew by and all of a sudden Tim and Diane jumped out of the bushes. They followed us all day and made sure there was no negative thinking. Thanks for the effort and thanks for making us grin surprisingly all over the course.
ÖtillÖ organisers Mats and Michael came up with the great idea of cutting down the unnatural sugar sources at the aid stations. As I use dry fruits in training it was a no-brainer for me to eat plenty of what was provided at the aid stations. Although I was pretty hyped by the style of food I must have eaten way too much. My belly started to cramp up and I started to feel sick just after 2,5 hours of racing. Instantly I felt that there wont be a major change until I empty my stomach. It did not take me too long. Four short but effective breaks and an apprehensive Henrik Kindgren (“Do you want me to call the ambulance”) later we were back in grinding mode.
Our careless pre-race preparation and consequent lack of course understanding let to quite some disbeliefs. We could smell the food and the cold beers. But no. As we thought we were on our way back to the finish line our ruthless followers Tim and Diane greeted us just another time. Firstly we thought that Tim’s statement: “Nice one guys. Just another 5-6 Kilometres of running and some swims…” was meant to be a gag. Unfortunately he did not lie. To get some energy back in our lazy bodies we took a gel. Well, I tried to take one. My stomach did not like that try. Still, we managed to catch another team and somehow made it through the last couple of swims. Undoubtedly I ran out of gas in the cold water.
We reached the finish line in 4:58:37 and agreed that this was a tactical nightmare. Despite sleep deprivation (both of us have young families) and the necessary preparation it surely was a fun day. The Utö course is a great course and caters all needs that create this special sport.
As “Sickla-Janne” took care of my beaten legs, Michaels announcement during the Ötillö slot assignment hit me be surprise. We got granted a slot for the World Championships in September. 2017 will be the fourth year in a row that our The German Sparkle Party enterprise will have the chance to venture from Sandhamn to Utö.
“Time for some action…just”
I received some requests regarding equipment. As there are no secrets you’ll find a gear list enclosed:
Wetsuit: HUUB – Amphibia 2 (Prototype): This should hit the stores pretty soon and is worth the wait. Incredibly bendy and durable.
Goggles: HUUB – Aphotic: For me the perfect SwimRun goggle. I dig the Photochromatic specs and the wide vision.
Socks: CEP – Short Socks: You cannot go wrong with this one. For SwimRun I wear the socks one size smaller as usual.
Shoes: Salomon – S/LAB XA Amphib: Salomons first SwimRun shoe is just good. Amazing traction and remarkable fit. A true racing shoe.
Paddles: Swimrunners Size L – You just need the power to paddle them through 😉
Pullbuoy: HUUB – Big Buoy: Just the right amount of foam for my horrible technique and water position. While running I wear my pullbuoy on the back, though. This gives me more freedom while running technical trails.
|Running on empty – Despite some lack of energy we’re having some fun. (Picture: Time Lange)
|Spirits are high as Tim cheers us on.
|Tow the line – we swam nearly all swim sections towed together. In my opinion this is still the simplest way to match speed and efficiency as both team members benefit.
|Tallholmen – the final stretch of the versatile 42,8 kilometer course . Some short transitions make sure that there is no boredom. (Picture: Jakob Edholm)
|Anders Malm – Owner of the Utö Vardshus Hotel and member of the “Original Four” observes what happens to his bet. (Picture: Jakob Edholm)
|We exit the second swim section (350 meter) towards the Dive Tower. (Picture: Pierre Mangez)
|Followed by fellow german Wolf Grohe we enter the water at the Båtshaket Restaurant. The wind creates a choppy 430 meter swim. I forgot to put on my swim cap. It did not take me too long to recognize this. (Picture: Pierre Mangez)
|After a mere of two intense hours racing there is a bunch of fast guys entering the cold waters with Felix and myself (No 118) . German Team 119 Andre and Wolf (Campz.com) and Team 145 Bad Boys Ticino are still close together. (Picture: Pierre Mangez)
|47:15 Minutes after the first team, Pontus and George, we arrive at the finish line in Gruvbryggan. Just in time to refill with some proper beers and warm food. (Picture: Pierre Mangez)