T minus 5: Celtman Extreme Triathlon

The Celtman race is now approaching fast. The race starts on Saturday 0500 UK time. I am slowly getting ready, but still a bit unsure about my form. I have been training quite well an consistently, but there are some question marks that make me unsure on how I will perform.

The Celtman race (www.cxtri.com), for those who don’t know it, is an epic race in the most remote part of Scotland, Torridon. It compares with the infamous Norseman Extreme Triathlon (www.nxtri.com) in Norway which I will be racing in in a month…..

But starting with the Celtman. It is an ironman+ distance race, 3900 m open water swimming, 202 km biking and a marathon at the end. It is quite unsupported and during the bike you need your own support vehicle, and for parts of the run it is mandatory with a support runner.

But what about extreme? Well – the swimming is in a sea loch, about 10-15 degrees Celcius. Many have hypothermia after the swim. The biking is in the Scottish mountains, and even though it is on normal roads with asphalt, the total ascent is well above 2000 meters. That is a HARD bike section. Adding to that of course winds, rain, snow and whatever you can expect from the Scottish highlands summer weather.

The run is the hard section of the race. It is a marathon, where some parts of the run is in very rugged terrain over the mountains. Mandatory safety equipment include compasses, maps, survival bags, complete wet proof outfit etc.

First person over the finish line will use about 12 hours or more.

This is what the organizers say:

What’s “Extreme” about CELTMAN!?
Is it the huge distances?
Is it the elevation gain?
Is it the difficult technical paths?
Is it the cold water?
Is it the remote location?
Is it the unpredictable weather?
Is it the midges??
All of the above?

I did a lot of running, certainly trail/off-trail this spring. I have had great support from Icebug (www.icebug.se) with great shoes. That is a cooperation that I really value! However, when running Göteborgsvarvet, I got an acute Plantar Fashiitis, which has been a problem since. Last few weeks, I have been using the Arc Flex System (http://www.archflexsystem.com/ ) sole in all shoes, everyday shoes, running shoes and even biking shoes. With these soles I have been able to control the plantar fashiitis. I think I will manage during the competition. However, the long runs have been suffering, as I have had to be gentle on my foot. Results this far during the season has been good, 2 silver positions in 2 different trail/ultratrail marathons plus a completion of a 115 km Ultra in Spain.

The biking is difficult to say. During the last month I have been quite consistent on the bike, and the Vätternrundan gave some confidence. Even though I had a weak period during the race, I was very strong the last 200 km. But the main issue is the bike. Due to various reasons, I got my triathlon bike only last week! This is naturally a very dangerous strategy, but hopefully it will be OK. During the spring, I have also been able to monitor and self-coach my training well with my iBike power meter (www.ibikesports.se).

I have been very consistent with the swimming during the spring, and I have never perfomed so well in the pool. The key has been early-bird workouts with the local masters group. But the confidence has not been fully kept when transferring to open water swimming. With the wetsuit I have, the Sailfish One (www.triathleten.se), I would be swimming faster. Mixed feelings. This morning, I was doing an easy swim just to get the right feeling. But lacking sleep, the feeling was the worst ever. I guess I have to do another session to get that final confidence.

Putting it all together, I think I have the ability perform well if everything turns out good, but there is a high level of uncertainty.

It is required to have a support runner for parts of the run sections. I have hed the opportunity to recruit Oscar Olsson, a pro Swedish long distance triathlete who is helping me. It will be great. (http://www.o2tri.se/). Also, my wife and great kids will be there for me as well. Love u.

Vaya con dios.

First pic of the new rig. Hitting it at 55 km/h and 450 watts or so. Slightly more drop now and great shades from www.x-kross.se

IMG_3919

The most recent forecast for the race day. Right now not too bad!

IMG_3921

Celtman och Norseman i år. Vad skall man då gära 2014 (förutom Ultra Trail Mont Blanc).

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