“We scream as we become World Champions“
With a big personal win in the bag from the 3k, I was more than ready to battle it out at the infamous OCRWC Team Relay event! This would wrap up an incredible weekend were Ida had managed to podium both at the 3k and the 15k, and Nikolaj ran very well and finished 8th on the 15k. We knew from the start that Team Sweden would make a superfast team with Karin Karlsson (strength), Ludvig Werkmaster (speed) and David Nordstrøm (technique). What we didn’t know was if the Canadians or the Americans would assemble a team, as Ryan Woods flew home early, Nicole Mericle got hurt on the 15k and Lindsay Webster had decided not to do the 15k because of injury. There would be an American team, but with “new” names.
In 2018 the team relay had a rather long strength part, which had left Ida with a big task. This year it would be shorter, which we considered an advantage. Mine would also be short and have less obstacles than expected – which meant I would have to focus on every detail. Nikolaj would start the show though, with a 4-5k muddy trail run with 22 obstacles. Here’s your point-of-view story from the fastest Danish OCR athlete:
A fast start, by Nikolaj Dam
“As it has been at every championship race the Speed Section is the first part of the relay which means I had to start the party again. After a not-so-satisfied individual run Saturday, I was in it to Suffer my soul out to help get the best start for the team.
I had my eyes on a fast Swedish guy called Ludvig Werkmaster whom I’ve had many battles with at the Toughest series in Sweden, Denmark and Finland. We knew the Swedish team was very strong, so It meant the world If I could give us a lead.
Off we went and just as I expected Ludwig got out in a blistering pace. Usually I’m not that kind of a fast starter, I like to first get the legs going for some hundred meters before the engine really starts. But this time it started right away! The only thing on my mind was to keep up with Ludwig the first part and try to break away halfway into the course.
We are running hard but close to each other until “Stairway to heaven” – I took on the obstacle as fast as I could and felt it was very slippery again as it was yesterday. I managed to get going and got through the obstacle – in the same moment, I am looking to my left and Ludvig was falling off. That’s was the cue to try and find the extra gear. The seconds after I look to my right and a fast shirtless guy is running past me. I am thinking to myself “he must be an American”! So, mission is changed. Now I must chase him down. We keep on pushing through and I manage to get in just 4 seconds after Logan from USA at the transition.
Logan from USA who I found out later is an American Ninja warrior participant and Boomerang Champion. Oh, yes, a boomerang CHAMP! And apparently, he runs fast too!”
Coming in hot with the Americans in front and Ludvig on his tails, Nikolaj drops to the ground and Ida pushes off on the strength leg. She’s battling Team Sweden the Team USA and is in it to win it!
Battling for seconds, by Ida Mathilde
“Team relay at the OCR world Championships is always my favorite event! Though, it’s also often the event where your body is most smashed after 2 hard days of racing. I have the strength section of this years’ team relay, and when I saw the obstacles for this I felt excided and ready as there was a lot of heavy carries, which suits me every well – I guess I just really like running around with heavy stuff on my shoulders!
I was super excited, when I saw the 2 male athletes approaching by the speed section. Nikolaj, had given me about a 10 second lead down to the Swedish rival team, which we knew would be our hardest competitors, but the Americans were in front. I start my section with a short run, until the first Atlas stone carry approaches, I manages to get in on my shoulder and push hard, straight on to the next 2 carries: Uranium Rod drag and Bomb Carry – I have a good and stable high pace leaving me with some surplus of energy getting on to the short running section of the strength part. I’m chasing down an American athlete, a man, who’s going hard. I won’t let him go and I speed up into the two technical rigs “Valkyre” and “Nuclear rig” – both luckily goes smoothly and I pass the chip on to Leon leaving us with 15-20 seconds to the Swedish team, just a tad behind the Americans.”
The unimaginable had happened, Ida almost made up time on the American team and simultaneously kept Karin behind her – how’s that for a good performance! But hey, let’s dig into my race experience as I battle the technical part of the relay directly into the teamwork and final part.
A very tired Ida Mathilde is rushing to place the chip on my wrist. I’m impatiently waiting to get a “GO” and head directly into the adjusted Sabretooth monkeybar. I know it has to be an all-out effort to keep super-fast David Nordstrøm (sub-9 minute 3000m!) behind me. I go long on the monkey bars on run hard as soon as my feet touch the ground, directly into the Force 5 rig inside the tent. I overtake the female participant of the American team, ring the bell and find a good pace heading into the low rig. It’s a lot more slippery than on Friday, so I make sure to get a good grip and not make any mistakes. DING and the bell is rung, I race through the forest and feel strong on my way to Ninja Rings. I take a small chance and do a big leap whilst taking the rings off at the same time, and nail it! Tossing the rings I remember how slow I looked here at the 3k (soooo tired…) and I speed up.
I’m running well through the forest and up the slight incline to Snake Pit. I hadn’t seen the obstacle was adjusted from Friday, so crawling underneath the hanging rope I almost crawl out of the obstacle before realizing where the bell was! I slam it and run back into the forest, DING, noticing that I had built good lead on David.
The pain is getting real as I clear the slippery ramp wall and run up towards Skull Valley, my 3rd last solo obstacle. I try to skip a couple of grips but get nervous and lose a bit of flow – add some water and mud, everything changes in the game of OCR! DING and I’m done, now surrounded by friends, family and cheering fans as I clear the awkward over-under-over and head into Gibbons. I had a serious struggle here on Friday and I can’t have that happen again. I invest 5 seconds in preparing with the wooden bars and lock in the grips. Slow is fast and I take no chances, knowing I’ve done well when I hear the final DING!
I meet Nikolaj and Ida who are ready to help my tired body move forward. We clear Triumph and using only one lane, the skitch bars – but without the skitch grips. This gives me just a short while to breathe as we send off Nikolaj to the Yoke carry, since only one can do it at the time. Ida and I follow along, making sure to stay in control and ready for a quick carry. We run hard on the carry and onto the balance beams, were the final plan is set into motion. Nikolaj and I would start to run hard away from Ida, to reach the final Inov8 wall first. Nikolaj would then be the base and I would climb to the top. We’re quite short so standing on his shoulders didn’t do the trick – so he did a solid push press (the truth is Ida helped, but it’s cooler if we say Nikolaj did it with pure power) and I get my fingers above the top. Ida climbs Nikolaj and once we can lock hands, she’s safe. Now she will have her legs down for Nikolaj to grab her X-talons, then he could grab my hand and I could pull him up.
The plan was perfect, the execution was perfect and the finish sprint is one I’ll never forget. Holding hands with the team we scream as we become World Champions together!