A handful of athletes participated in the test race. The weather was fantastic with temperatures from 17 (morning) - 24 degrees (day) Celcius.
SWIM: Conditions were challenging during the first hour of the swim due to partly strong wind in the morning hours. In spite of the wind, the water was crystal clear, very fresh and relatively warm at 15 degrees Celcius. Athletes who hadn´t practiced breathing to both sides sure learned to do that during the swim as one otherwise would swallow substantial amount of lake water.
Key takeaways: The course will be modified slightly to avoid choppy water in case of strong wind in the 2016 event
BIKE: With the sunshine, perfect Norwegian summer temperatures between 20-24 degrees Celcius and the strong wind from the morning hours reduced to a comfortable chilling breeze, the bike conditions were close to perfect. The athletes agreed that the bike course was among the most scenic they had ever ridden with its views of Northern Europe´s highest waterfall Mardalsfossen and more than half of the ride along beautiful Norwegian fjords. Though there are no big mountains to be climbed, the course - especially the last part with its rollercoaster profile - is draining athletes for energy and does not provide opportunities for long downhill rests. Accumulated climb was measured at around 2,100 metres.
Key takeaways: The bike course can be used without modifications in the 2016 event
RUN: The first 29 km on tarmac was appreciated for its views by the test athletes. The 2015 course then continued a couple of km´s on gravel road upwards, before a sheep trail took athletes up to Mount Vardfjellet. From there the course continued on trails down to the mountain pasture Kanndalen and then continued upwards on trail to around half way up Mount Skjorta at approx. 1,100 m.a.s. The last 600 metres of vertical climb can best be described as a "pile of rocks" and there is almost no trail. For the athletes reaching the finish line at the peak of Mount Skjorta (1,711 m.a.s.) there was however no rest, as a gruelling descent to the car pick- up in Kanndalen was waiting; with stiff and sore legs the walk down from Mount Skjorta will easily take 2-3 hours for most athletes and poles are highly recommended. Accumulated climb was measured at around 2,400 metres.
Key takeaways: First doing a 29 km "all run" section, thereafter climbing two mountains and finishing off with spending 2-3 hours descending from the peak of Mount Skjorta will be too much for most athletes. The peak finishers agreed that the last part of the run leg had made the 2015 FXTRI substantially harder than its more reputable big brother the Norseman (in fact all other triathlons they had done between them before as well, including the Celtman, Swissman +++). For the 2016 event, athletes will only do one mountain
SUMMARY / CONCLUSION: All athletes agreed that this had been one of the most epic days racing in their lifes. The fantastic weather obviously contributed to this (the athletes would probably had been less euphoric in rain, fog and 13 degrees Celcius...) but all agreed that the course had been truly stunning and - with the modifications described above - will give 2016 athletes a true challenge and a fantastic experience.
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