US Norseman winner - race day has arrived


Jessica Kelley our US winner and her family AKA support crew have arrived safely in Eijford, Norway. The water is currently calm and weather is perfect, below Jessica looks relaxed after her pre race swim today, the water was beautiful.

But a storm is brewing for tomorrow race day. Rain, thunder and high winds are forecast which could make Norseman into a real test for Jessica. Read her last update before race day...

"There’s no 'I' in Norseman. As I type this, I'm sitting in my hotel at the edge of a Norwegian fjord, with a million little details rattling through my brain. But the thing I am thinking about most is gratitude.

Before you roll your eyes and click to the next page, stay with me for a moment. This won’t just be a list of thank yous to family, friends and sponsors. I promise to offer a bit of insight into what it’s like to prepare for Norseman – and the fact of the matter is that I absolutely could not have prepared for the event without the help of a LOT of people.

First up: Tom the Super Husband. Sometimes people ask me: How do you do it all? The answer is, I don’t. My husband helps me with pretty much everything. I’m a horrible cook, so he comes home from a long day at the office and prepares our evening meals. He’s also a former bike mechanic, so he handles almost all of the repairs and maintenance on my bike. Although I try to get regular massages, I can’t afford them as frequently as I’d like, which means Tom acts as massage therapist too. Speaking of therapy, at least once a week the poor guy has to listen (or at least, pretend to listen) as I lay on the couch post-workout and whine about being tired and other inconsequential matters. He provides a huge amount of practical and moral support. And to top it all off, he will be acting as 'support crew chief' on race day. There is no way I would be able to do races like Norseman without his help.

Next: the Grandparents. We are traveling to Norway with our 2-yr old. We’re not as crazy as you might think, though - my mom and my in-laws are also joining us. In other words, we are bringing in the cavalry! THREE grandparents! And not only are they helping with childcare, they are part of my support crew during the race! How cool is that?! My in-laws are totally into it, and have been emailing me GPS files of the course and race reports from past participants. My mom, who is in her mid-60s, has been training hard and plans to accompany me up Mt Gaustatoppen, assuming I make the cut-offs.  Knowing how hard she has trained to hike up that mountain is perhaps even more motivating than the black t-shirt itself. My mom has also come to my rescue multiple times during training when I needed someone to babysit while I went for one more swim, bike or run. And although my dad and step-mom can’t make it to Norway, they have been incredibly supportive from afar, cheering me on and letting me know they believe in me. Thank you to ALL of the grandparents for everything.
Jessica with Mike Tate our UK winner

Friends and family: I’ve received incredible support from friends and family. My aunt clued me in to the secret family mantra, which I have already used to get through some tough workouts, and will definitely repeat to myself on race day. A friend and pillar of the local bike racing community sent me a Norwegian Krone as good luck - I'm hoping if I carry it with me, perhaps I will ride as fast as she does (not likely).  We were loaned luggage and bike boxes and car seat transporters and then shuttled to the airport with all of the above (we managed to fill an entire Eurovan, if you're wondering). Previous participants patiently answered my numerous questions. And then there were the Facebook messages and emails and phone calls from friends, wishing me luck and making me smile. 

Sponsors: When I first won this contest, I knew that blueseventy would provide me with a race kit, including a new Helix wetsuit. But I didn’t really understand how generous they were going to be. The guys at blueseventy have been great to work with and always made sure I had everything I needed. I plan to continue using blueseventy products for many years to come, and not just because my Helix is so well-designed that it makes me feel like I am cheating!  

Matt Dixon of purplepatch fitness has also been great. He and I had a phone consult a few weeks ago. Matt owns purplepatch, and guides many pro triathletes to big wins at big races, so the fact that he took time for a phone call meant a lot to me. After chatting with him for just 45 minutes, it was clear to me why the athletes he coaches do so well. He gave me one of the best pep talks I’ve ever received, and helped me plan a taper and race week that have left me feeling excited and ready to race.  

Blue Steel Sports has also been incredibly supportive. They make some great anti-chafe cream that kept my bum happy over the hundreds of miles that I rode in prep for Norseman.

And last but definitely not least, the crew at Head 2 Toe Spine and Sports Therapy has been amazing, making sure I stay healthy and strong through some really big training weeks. 

Race day is tomorrow (!!) and I am a little nervous, a lot excited, and very grateful to all the people who helped me prepare for this fun adventure"