Adventure at XTERRA Denmark
I’m borrowing from XTERRAPlanet.com:
[Conrad Stoltz and Kathrin Mueller captured the XTERRA Denmark Championship in “Viking weather” at the beach and forest of Tisvilde.
The ominous gray skies opened up just as the race started at 1pm. The cold North Sea, somewhere around 17 degrees Celsius (63 Fahrenheit), was just the start of the challenge Mother Nature dished out for competitors. To follow was slick roots, soft sand, biting trees, treacherous, relentlessly steep hills, pouring rain and slinging mud that made for blinding conditions.
Nobody handled better than the “Caveman” – seven-time World Champ Conrad Stoltz who won his second major in as many weeks (it was XTERRA England last Sunday). By midway through the two-lap bike course he was up by almost two minutes and by transition it was more than four.
Interestingly, the last split he got was still 1:40 (from after the first lap on the bike) so he figured he better lay down the hammer early on the run lest he might get chased down by the younger guns behind him. As such, he made even more time after the first lap on the run, until he heard he was five minutes for the good.
“I got off the bike and heard I had 1:45 on three people, and thought I’m gonna have to run hard because who knows how fast guys like Ben are going to run. I didn’t know I had that time,” explained Stoltz, who collected his unprecedented 51st career XTERRA Championship win.
He shared his thoughts after the race, saying “During the swim the rain came pouring down, which changed everything. It made a relatively easy course quite technical, which made it fun for me. Today was much more technical and slippery than yesterday. I crashed one time and I could hear my neck go “crraaacck”. I just clipped a pedal because you can’t see with all the water and mud in your eyes. It was just a little bump in the trail and my pedal caught it and I went flying and I could hear my neck wrench. And the run course was very challenging, long sections sliding down my backside, holding on to trees. This was my first time here and I really enjoyed it, and would love to come back and support the sport here. People here are passionate about the outdoors and it’s great to be a part of this event. It’s really true to the XTERRA tradition where you can combine a great country and experience with exceptional racing. I think the race was fantastic. Muddy and cold and wet, you really have to thank the volunteers for braving these conditions as well. Hopefully it grows from strength to strength and XTERRA builds roots here in the Viking country.”
Behind Stoltz was a marvelous duel for 2nd, with Dan Hugo (7 World Tour wins this season), Ben Allen (2 World Tour wins this year and 7 last) and Francois Carloni who captured his first major in Greece this year.
Allen led out of the water, followed by Hugo and then Stoltz. About 6K into the bike Stoltz passed Allen, then Hugo caught up and those two rode together until Carloni went flying by during the second lap and took a one-minute lead on Allen and Hugo heading into the run. Ultimately both Allen and Hugo caught and passed Carloni (as did Jan Pyott to take fourth down the finish chute) with Allen finishing runner-up.]
I did cheat a little- by running a new super sticky Specialized rubber compound called #Gripton on the front tire:
Ducking wet branches & staying low with the Command Post seat dropper.
Going from dense forest to beach in 10 seconds.
Long, soft beach run x2 to amp up the pain.
Trying to find traction.
Each lap had 5 really steep, short hills- and down hills. Hard enough after the sandy run and pedally bike, but in the wet there was no grip on the trail- you had to go find it in the leaves and grabbing onto trees
The muddy parts of the run course were also the steepest parts. Really really steep. Knowing it might be “a bit damp,” I beefed up the grip on my Hoka Huaka racing shoes by putting 5 short screws into the sole of each shoe. But by the time we were on the course, it was much wetter than anyone anticipated, and no amount of crews could stop me from going down at least half of the 10 little hills on my backside, out of control…
How could road running ever be “fun” again?!
Finally putting the good form I’ve had all year to good use. XTERRA Championship win #51
I thought I “washed” my face with the water from all the soggy pine branches, but apparently not…. Pic by #PrincessHotstuff
My race kit is officially trashed. Europe has been wet this year: 3 of the 4 European races I did has been in the rain. (Italy, Germany & Denmark were mud baths while XTERRA UK was summery)
Hats off to Steen Aagaard and his XTERRA Nordic crew for the big effort and fine details. Also Specialized Nordic who brought the Test the Best fleet. The #Fatboy was by far the most popular test bike.
With the XTERRA Europe Series drawing to a close, there was some tooth and nail racing! Well done everyone.
If you took this check to the restaurant, you could buy about 10 beers… A local brew sets you back 80 Kronen – $16 or R160 Not a cheap country, but quite unique and definitely worth coming back for.
Impervious to the cold, (I’m wearing my entire wardrobe) “tough like a Viking”- Organic chef Casper Vulpius served delicious warm food from his modified Airstream all weekend. (I liked the venison, wild rice and chutney)
Racing in the wet is not only a physical and skills challenge, but also equipment wise: After 15km the sandy watery mix had completely worn out my rear brake pads, which encouraged smooth lines and early braking (front only) even more.
Now that is a clean chain. Sand and dirt sticks to Squirt chain lube’s wax, which then falls off the chain- leaving the chain clean(ish) even in the harshest conditions. “Dry” lube does not refer to “only use in dry conditions.” It means after its applied properly, your chain will feel dry to the touch. As opposed to “oily” – like other lubes.
These conditions wreck havoc on your drive train. Squirt chain lube, official chain lube sponsor of XTERRA, is a wax and water emulsion with no petroleum products added. Petroleum (oil) is what makes the sand (dust in dry conditions) stick to your chain and creates a grinding paste, which quickly eats up your drive train. Not to mention the high friction and noisy chain it causes.
The course meandered through what seems like little hills and menhirs, (planted stones) but they are in fact Viking graves. Kings and chiefs were buried here- with their servants, to look after them in the after life. And the servants didnt have a choice…
Traditional Danish country home with thatch roof and Danish flag
Our Danish summer vacation rental with South African braai, and blackberry and raspberry bushes all around.
Did you know? 40% of the Danish population ride their bicycle every day… (as you think about that figure, consider the weather)
On my day off, we visited the town of Helsingor and (above) the castle of Kronborg. Also known as the castle from Shakespeare’s’ “Hamlet”. Even though Shakspeare himself has never been there
Dating from 1500 AC
Sweden on the horizon and the gateway to the North Sea, the Danish King collected a gold coin (each way) from passing ships.
Holger the Dane: “According to the legend, when the kingdom is threatened by a foreign enemy, the stone figure will turn into flesh and blood, and Holger the Dane will rise to defend his country. ”
#PrincessHotstuff at the gates
Kronborg Castle B&W #PrincessHotstuff
Now visiting family in Treviso Italy, some R&R for a week, then back to USA for the ramp up to XTERRA Worlds in Maui.