Written by V!
Accompanied by a rare east wind that made for calm waters in the archipelago islands off the coast of Gothenburg, we set off on our first Mixed Team Sprint, covering 16 swims and 17 runs over 17.5km. It was an incredible experience!
The first run was 3.2km and we settled into a steady pace as we ran up out of Styrsö Bratten. As the field thinned, we attached the tether and Daniel pulled me along some forest trails and over the classic archipelago rocks. There was a bit of a bottle neck near the first swim as the trail narrowed to some stepping stones along the coast, and we had to be patient as some participants in front of us struggled with the technical terrain.
Our first swim entry was an exciting jump into the balmy North Sea, and we had a section of five quick 200m runs and swims. Our transitions were pretty smooth, although we did some slipping and sliding over the wet rocks to get in and out of the water. There is nothing you can do to prevent that!
By the seventh leg we were lying in 12th place and we had a nice 850m run to pick up the pace and take in some of the scenery. As we clambered over the rocks, we passed several Swedish red wooden cabins typical of the area. Things started to heat up in the next few swims as we were stung by the lion’s mane jellyfish that infest the ocean around the islands. These are harmless, but their stings pack a punch, and unfortunately I caught one in the face during one of the early swims and we both picked up stings on our arms and legs.
The swim legs were generally our strength, though. Daniel swam some great lines and we overtook several teams on the longer sections. The tether was perfectly measured and we were able to coordinate the difficult entries and exits, which included jumping off jetties, climbing up ladders, launching off rocks, and wading over shallow waters concealing treacherous footing. I had to deal with lots of seaweed on the tow rope at the exits, but fortunately, no jellyfish joined us for a ride!
We filled up with water at the aid station in Kårholmen on the way out and back, and we managed our race fuel well with gels on the longer runs. At times it was hard to see the course markers, as there was not always an actual path to follow over the rocks. Daniel did an amazing job keeping us on track, and we made the most of the sections on the boardwalks and trails. There was a particularly fun section near the end which had four quick swims and runs of 25m – 25m – 15m – 35m. The islands here were just chunks of rock sticking out of the sea and there were no markings at all. It was a good part of the adventure!
The rest of the course was lined with spectators and we were cheered on our way at every point. It was really encouraging to see so many people out on the islands supporting the race. The last leg was a 2.65km run on Styrsö and we set a fast pace all the way to the finish. We crossed the line in an unbelievable fourth place in 3.03.50. It was a fantastic first team Sprint and we are looking forward to racing together in the future.
|Race route #1.
|Race route #2.
|At the finish after an amazing day!
Race result6 August 2023
17.5km (13.8km run, 3.7km swim)