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Norseman, uberman and the most extreme disciplines of triathlon

Female triathlon competition
Immersion in uncontaminated natural environments, confrontation with fatigue and loneliness are thus transformed into a road capable of freeing us from social conventions and superstructures and help us to find answers leaving us in the company of the most essential part of existence: our body.
The triathlon is a sport divided into three stages that take place in succession and without interruption: swimming, cycling and running. Since 2000 it has also been an Olympic specialty, both for men and women.At first glance, one might think that competitions of this kind are only excellent occasions where a group of physical endurance enthusiasts can show off their condition, but that's not the case.
In fact, looking at the faces of those who reach the finish line, there is the doubt that these races probably have a much deeper meaning: they are unique opportunities to enter a sporting dimension where time trial and ranking no longer matter. One of the main reasons that lead an athlete to triathlon is the need to go further, to try to see what you can do when you do not set limits: a challenge with yourself, an attempt to get to know each other even better.
Running on the beach after the swimming session

What is triathlon?

The triathlon is a sport that is still relatively unknown. It’s unclear what the differences are between the various specialties of this discipline, but let's try to see them in detail. The classic triathlon, also known as "Olympic", includes 1500 meters swimming, 40 kilometers cycling and 10 kilometers running. Often confused with the latter is the Ironman, which instead designates the longest distance triathlon, and is owned by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), which organises regular races in various parts of the world. Here you start with 3800 meters in the water, 180 kilometers in the saddle and end with a marathon - the classic 42 kilometers and 195 meters.

Triathlon Bike Section
In addition to these classic and best-known competitions, there is an extreme segment of races in which the protagonists emerge with physical and mental qualities out of the ordinary: we are talking about Norseman and Uberman, famous for being among the toughest triathlon races on the planet. The Norseman is run every year in Norway, on the classic distance of the Ironman and other competitions organised by the WTC. However, unlike the latter, there is no assistance from your team along the way: participants must manage on their own. On average, 250 athletes participate each year, but not all of them make it to the finish line.
The runners are monitored throughout most of the race, including through a GPS placed inside their tracksuits. There are several refueling areas and several medical checkpoints to ensure that the athletes can continue the race. As a reward, nothing more than a T-shirt: white if you get in the first hundred, black for all the others. To win it you must prepare to jump from a ferry and swim for 4 kilometers into the Hardangerfjord, in the dark and surrounded by two sheer rock walls, up to the town of Eidfjord.
Group of cyclists in the triathlon
Once out of the water - average temperature 13° C - you start for the 180 km by bike, facing a path of about 2500 meters of positive difference in altitude beaten by the wind, up to Rjukan. Finally, the most grueling part: the marathon. The first 25 kilometers are flat and lead the participants to the foot of Mount Gaustatoppen, where the road begins to rise steeply. The finish line is 1850 meters high, and in the last 4 kilometers, the rocky terrain is so impervious that you cannot run, in some places you find it difficult to even walk. Adding up the various tests, you get a total of 226 kilometers and a difference in height of over 5200 meters, of which 2000 is in the last 20 kilometers of the race.
The women's record was set by Anne Nevin in 2017, with 12 hours 4 minutes and 18 seconds. The men's record, set by Lars Christian Vold in the same year, is 9 hours 52 minutes and 10 seconds. Celtman and Swissman are - respectively - the Scottish and Swiss versions of the Norwegian Norseman.
Cyclist on track
For those who want to go even further, there are the Ultra Triathlons where, unlike a normal triathlon event, the three disciplines are not necessarily carried out in direct consecutive order: usually there are daily sessions for each activity, then repeated for several days until the required distances are completed.

Uberman and norseman: the extreme variants of triathlon

Among these, the Uberman is one of the most challenging and takes place in southern California, covering a total distance of almost 900 kilometers. It starts from the island of Santa Catalina and swims for 33 kilometers in the open Pacific Ocean, up to the coast of Palos Verdes. From here, crossing first and then leaving behind Los Angeles, you complete 643 kilometers of the bike with over 6000 meters of elevation gain, reaching even 60 meters below sea level in Badwater Basin - the lowest point in the United States. From here, the athletes run 217 kilometers through the Death Valley, almost up to the top of Mount Whitney, which at 4421 meters is the highest peak in the contiguous United States, excluding Hawaii and Alaska.
Road bike session in the triathlon in the middle of the mountains
Few people take part in this very particular race; each athlete must provide for himself for the duration of the event. In 2016, at the age of 51, Italian Giorgio Alessi was the first athlete to finish Uberman, but only after swimming for a distance equivalent to crossing the English Channel, cycling for something like four stages in succession of the Giro d'Italia and running five consecutive marathons through one of the hottest deserts on the planet.

However, Uberman's record to beat was set in 2018 by Gerard Chalton, who completed the course in 166 hours and 40 minutes.

A physical effort that lasted almost 200 hours. However, the record to beat was set in 2018 by Gerard Charlton, who completed the course in 166 hours and 40 minutes. The next Uberman will start on October 10, are you ready yet? The completion of a triathlon race, although not as extreme as the examples above, requires a mental attitude and a physical condition certainly over the top.
Bike running

Indoor training for triathetes

In the planning and athletic planning is necessary to carefully evaluate the technical characteristics and conditions of the race to be prepared, without making mistakes. The triathlon should not be considered as a simple succession of three disciplines where you prepare the best by training separately in individual activities: the triathlete, to have good results, must conduct training certainly specific, but also and above all combined. Particular attention must be paid to the various transitions because the real difficulty - when you start an activity immediately after finishing the previous one - is to be able to immediately have the right posture, rhythm, and intensity.
Indoors, effective and indispensable help is given by an adequate high intensity training here comes into play the Skillathletic Training Method, designed specifically to meet this type of need. The ability to switch from Skillbike to Skillrun during your sessions can be the first step towards the top of your Norseman or, who knows, the next Uberman.

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