Saturday, August 8, 2009

Norseman: Extreme Ironman

Two Singaporeans, Don Ng and Kok Chuan will attempt to complete the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon in Eidfjord, Norway. This extreme, multi-sport event, and boutique race (meaning limited participants and entry) can be described as Ironman triathlon distance meets cross-terrain conditions. Both Don and KC are seasoned Ironmen finishers, and this will be their next milestone in their personal portfolios of achievements.

Described Clifford on his blog: 'Participants will board a ferry at 4.00am, on 8 August to the 3.8km mark. Here they will jump into the cold water. No canon for the start; the ferry will blow its horn. The water is green, and there will be current going against them. The top seed took 1.08 hours to complete last year. After the swim, the bike will move east towards Dyranut. It is 40km (8-10% gradient) from T1. We have checked the route and it is UP, UP, UP till the 40km mark. The average biker will take 2 hours to reach there. That will be the first Support Zone. Thereafter, 4 big mountains will be waiting for them. The last, Imingfell being the steepest of all 5. Then the descent will be high to T2. Bike time of 8-10 hours is not uncommon. The first 25km of the run is rolling (not too bad in local context) and then, the killer 17km will kick in. That will be UP all the way till the 37.5km mark. 37.5km is the mountain checkpoint (you can only get to go up if you reach there before 15 hrs 30 minutes), the last 4.7km is a uphill climb to the top of Mt Gaustatoppen (1850m). Participants are to carry a backpack with some compulsory items inside. Those finish at the top will get a BLACK Tee, those finished below will get a WHITE Tee.'

What is unique and relevant for us, is that they will be the first two Singaporeans to attempt this highly, challenging course. Incidentally, Don was the first of two Singaporeans to complete and attempt Ironman Lanzarote 2008 - one of the hilliest courses on the Ironman circuit. The duo will be ably assisted by Clifford Lee, an 8-time Ironman triathlon finisher who will double as support crew, bike mechanic and videographer.

According to Clifford: 'There is no aid station. The aid-station is the support crew's car and there are designated support areas. Support crew has to accompany participants up the mountain. No crew, no finish. Both of them have tested the water - it is freaking cold. Colder than any IM swim so far.'

We wish the Team all the best, and trust they will do their best. They have demonstrated their courage for showing up.

Leadership Lessons: The Crew ensures their total and collective success. There is a distinction between finishing early, and earlier. Thus, it pays to lead if you wish to place higher in position. Like Alan Geraldi's completion belt buckle for his ultra-marathon, these 'medals' mark one's milestone towards nearing their potential as leaders.

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