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“I am a sensible and rational woman. This race is the exact opposite: soccer mom overcomes extreme challenge in Norway

Bianca Drolet

Bianca Drolet Norseman

Quebec's Bianca Drolet competed in the Norseman Extreme Triathlon in Norway in August 2023. PHOTO PROVIDED: BIANCA DROLET

42 years old – Laval

Single mother of three sons, self-employed human resources specialist

· Norseman Xtreme Triathlon 2023

For what?

“Add spice to my life and find my wall, my boundaries.”

Bianca Drolet wanted to “spice up” her already busy life. Raising her three sons had not brought her to her knees. This single, self-employed mother wanted to overcome adversity and… “push her limits.”

This was the Norseman, an extreme triathlon organized in Norway. The 290 athletes will swim 3.8km, cycle 180km on winding and mountainous roads and run 42.2km before reaching the finish line at the summit of “Zombie Hill”, Mount Gausta, which stands at 1883 meters above sea ​​level peaks.

Bianca Drolet Norseman

Quebec's Bianca Drolet competed in the Norseman Extreme Triathlon in Norway in August 2023. PHOTO PROVIDED: BIANCA DROLET

Even the organizers of the event advise against it. “It's not for you. It's nothing personal, we can read in the brochure describing the event. It's a race for the winners.”

Bianca Drolet identified with this ordeal. She wanted to fight one of the biggest fights of her sporting life.

“I was pretty scared that I wouldn’t finish. That interested me. “I was lucky enough to only experience a few failures in my life,” says the human resources professional. Failure and adversity are very formative. They enable us to gain humility and resilience.”

In contrast to rationality

With her goals, she also wanted to be a role model for her sons and family members, but also to take risks and not regret it later.

“I am a sensible and rational woman. This race is exactly the opposite. It was my first and probably my last extreme triathlon,” she confirms humorously in an interview with Le Journal.

The Norseman is characterized, among other things, by being recognized as the most difficult swimming section in the world. For what? The participants have to jump from a boat in front of the fjord and reach the shore 3.8 km further. The water temperature rarely fluctuates above 10 degrees Celsius and the risk of hypothermia is ever-present.

Bianca Drolet Norseman

At the start of the Norseman Triathlon in Norway, participants jump from the boat into the fjord to swim 3.8 km. PHOTO PROVIDED BY BIANCA DROLET

For the 42-year-old Quebecer, completing this distance before the time limit of 2 hours and 15 minutes was her biggest challenge. That's why she wanted to be one of those fighters.

First win

But when in doubt, she asked her boys, who accompanied her on this adventure, to keep the hotel room until the last minute. In case she is eliminated.

When she came out of the water after 115 minutes and looked at the clock, she could hardly believe her first victory. “I was shocked. There were more than twenty swimmers still in the water. It exceeded all my expectations.”

Despite some minor logistical issues, she was able to make up some time with cycling and running, her greatest strengths.

Bianca Drolet Norseman

Quebecer Bianca Drolet saw all the colors as she took part in the Norseman Extreme Triathlon in Norway, where the weather was wild. PHOTO PROVIDED BY BIANCA DROLET

“I had never covered such a long distance [après] two hours of swimming and four hours of running [m’attendaient]. Given the cold and bad weather, I think I met my challenge well,” explains the woman who stopped the clock at 2:43 p.m.

“Because we are really faced with the forces of nature that are very unpredictable,” she continues. It's extreme. You have to learn to be comfortable with discomfort. That’s the other challenge.”

No mercy from Mother Nature

Last summer, the Norwegian weather did not have its final word on the conclusion of the event. There was a huge storm in the final part of the ride as participants crossed the finish line amid heavy rain, strong winds and thunder.

Reflecting on the motivations that brought her to Norway, the woman, who compassionately describes herself as a mother and soccer mom rather than an endurance athlete, believes she “flew over the wall.”

“I realized it was intangible. We place it where we want it. You can never really achieve it because it's a question of attitude. This wall doesn't exist if you don't want it to exist. There's no point in looking for him because I don't think he can be found. Every trial makes you stronger and more tolerant.”

Bianca Drolet Norseman

The Norseman is an extreme triathlon that takes place every year near Oslo, Norway. AFP

To hell with finances

Putting in the physical effort to get through an event like the Norseman doesn't come without other sacrifices, especially for a single mother. Bianca Drolet has not only increased her training hours while caring for her three boys, but she has also reduced her working hours.

Amid inflation and the rising cost of living, the 42-year-old didn't back down.

“When I was running my company, I reduced my working hours so that I worked almost part-time,” recalls the human resources specialist. I managed my work, training and mothering schedule. I wanted to be available to her. This schedule went like clockwork.”

Bianca Drolet Norseman

The Norseman cycling event takes place over 180 km on the winding and mountainous roads of Norway. PHOTO PROVIDED BY BIANCA DROLET

Intensive training

She maintained a training rhythm of 16 to 23 hours per week for several months until she flew to Northern Europe to compete last August.

“Everything was planned. “I had two to three training sessions a day, six days a week,” she emphasizes.

In preparation for such an endurance test, his laps in the swimming pool, his bike rides and his running routes lasted less than 30 minutes. More like hours.

Priceless wealth

Added to the physical and time investments are the purchase of necessary equipment, registration fees and travel costs in a country where the cost of living is among the highest in the world. From a quick sum, we can guess that the adventure cost “a lot.”

Bianca Drolet Norseman

Quebecer Bianca Drolet took part in the Norseman Extreme Triathlon in Norway in August 2023, where she was accompanied by her three sons Jacob and Antoine, 18 years old, and Nicolas, 16 years old. PHOTO PROVIDED BY BIANCA DROLET

“To be honest, I haven’t taken stock yet. “I don’t think I want to do that,” she says humorously six months after her success. I think it would just obscure the story. Because if I wanted to do it right, I would also have to calculate the hours I didn't work for weeks. They also come with costs.”

“I prefer to tell myself that I could afford it. 2023 was a crazy year, but in many ways a year of abundance. I rate it extremely positively because I took on this challenge, traveled with my boys and viewed beautiful landscapes during the race.

“All of this is an inestimable wealth,” she adds positively. I am self-employed. Since the pandemic and the labor shortage, there is no shortage of human resources. I can add additional hours to the office at any time.”

The one who coached her boys in football for five years and played her motherly role well wanted to take on a new challenge. She completely pampered herself, regardless of the costs involved.

To hell with spending. The Norman's adventure was worth every penny.