This is the first article in a mini-series that puts focus on the transition from junior to senior racer. This is often a difficult time in a young racer's life.
You are used to racing your own age group and now you are suddenly up against the seasoned veterans, all the best skiers in your country, the whole â€œwolf pack.â€
These articles will describe how young Norwegians experience this transition, but the situation is the same in any country around the World. We hope this information will help juniors and coaches learn and be prepared!
Thomas Losnegard was a very good junior racer. He qualified for the Norwegian Junior World Championship team as an 18-year old. He skied the sprint at the 2001 World Juniors.
He then raced his first year as a senior last season. He found that the transition was tougher than he had counted on.
â€œThere is an enormous performance difference between the juniors and the senior elite class. I knew that there was a big difference, but it’s tough when you find out that you are five minutes behind the winner in a 10 kilometer race. It’s like being punched in the face.â€
â€œYou have to have a large amount of will-power and desire to continue as a senior racer, unless you were skiing very well in your last year as a junior and made a sponsored team. You know how high the bar is when you look at the average age on the National Team. It’s highâ€
â€œOne of the big differences is that there are so many skiers at a high level in the senior class making top results a lot harder. It really shows on the result list if you have a bad day. I was a bit shocked. If you are a good junior and have a bad day you might still get a decent result place-wise. If you have a bad day as a young senior it really shows up — you are suddenly pretty far down the result list â€!Â
Thomas was working hard in his first season as a senior. He added 50 hours to his total training volume, and he completed his mandatory Norwegian Army assignment in the Sport Division, along with other talented skiers.
â€œI was better trained last year compared to previous years. Tests showed improvements as well, but I didn’t feel that I was racing faster than when I was a junior.â€
Thomas is of the opinion that there is a big difference between sprint races and regular races, and it can be easier to be competitive at an earlier age in the sprint.