The Lofoten X race is part of The Arctic Triple in Norway and 10 tough Norwegians swam in 5 degree C water, and braved -5 degree C air temps for the other segments in this test event.
The Arctic Triple consists of the Lofoten Triathlon, the Lofoten Utratrail event and the Lofoten X. The first 2 events had already been tested in August and October of 2015 in anticipation and preparation for the first official versions this summer. The winter themed Lofoten X test event took place this weekend and it likely tested the will power and passion of all the athletes and the volunteers. How exactly the official version in 2017 will be handled is not yet determined, but the 10 athletes (3 female, 7 male) who participated in this test edition swam 1.5km in very cold water, then switch to a 7 km mountain segment either on skies, or just on their feet, and the final event was a half marathon run. It looks beautiful, but very, very cold.
Feeling refreshed after 1.5km in 5 degree Celsius water.
Each athlete had a safety buoy and dry suits seemed to be the norm here.
Swimming past snow covered surroundings.
Avoiding other swimmers was less of an issue here, but the athletes had to avoid ice segments.
Alone with the cold water and the thoughts of reaching land again.
Most athletes in the event had not swum in a dry suit before.
It is not so easy to switch clothes when your fingers are cold. But helping hands are willing and eager.
The 7km mountain adventure meant an elevation gain of 1000 meters and covered 2 peaks. (Pilan and Sautinden
Stunning views, but hard work.
Up, up and up.
The skiers certainly had an advantage on the descent.
Half of the athletes decided to wear snow shoes for that mountain challenge, and that included all 3 female starters.
Pushing through the deep snow.
But only 3 athletes opted to tackle the mountain event on skis.
No matter which direction you looked, the views were stunning.
I think I mentioned earlier that it was cold.
Time to switch gear for the final 21k run.
Run, run and run.
All 10 athletes finished the event and although the focus was not on results, Agnethe Bergsaker (snow shoe) was the best female athlete and Christian Dramsdahl (ski) the fastest male.
"The Lofoten X test race was more than any of the other tests! For this one there is still to be decided on what the third and final race in the triple will be. We want to have a spectacular winter race that also fits with the other two – an ultra and a triathlon, but still we want it to be like no other. We’re lucky to have many good options," said Maria Terese Karlsen, the project manager for The Arctic Triple.
All images © Kai-Otto Melau
More info about The Arctic Triple can be found at thearctictriple.no