The Most Grueling Cross-Country Race Of Them All

FasterSkierFebruary 11, 2004

The Swedish 90 Kilometer long Vasaloppet has been a nightmare for Norwegian skiers for more than four decades. One Norwegian World Cup star after another has failed in their quest to become the first Norwegian since Ole “From the forest” Ellefsaeter won it more than 40 years ago!
Oddvar Bra, Vegard Ulvang, Bjorn Daehlie, Erling Jevne and dozens of other great 50- kilometer skiers have all come up short to win the “Vasa” Super marathon.

The race is not up and down, it’s not diagonal – it’s (mostly) double poling for 90 kilometer!
(I remember being at a training camp in the seventies and one of the best Norwegian Marathon skiers at that time, Magnar Rismyr were being made fun of by some of the National team skiers following one of his many 4 hour long workouts (often two per day were the rumor those days).
His comment that day was “Well, they are not laughing when their arms are hanging down at the 60 kilometer mark in the Vasa”.)

Jorgen “The Double pole Phantom” Aukland has decided to forget about the overall victory in the Marathon Cup. He was sick and missed the first classic race in the Czech Republic and last weekend's classic race in Estland was cancelled. He is not as strong in skating and is skipping the American Birkie.

Next up is the Vasaloppet and The Norwegian Birkie – both classic races.
– It’s important to ski fast in Vasaloppet. It’s my most important race this season, says Aukland.

Tapering with his brothers
Jorgen is currently in the last training and peaking phase before the Vasaloppet. He and his brothers Anders (World Cup race winner this season) and Fredrik are also staying at Beitostolen, Norway where they are focusing on distance training in flat and easy terrain.

Next up is another camp, this time in Sweden with other member of the long distance team. The last race before Vasaloppet is a smaller race called Skinnarloppet, also in Sweden.

– We are training twice per day at the moment. We are backing off when it’s two weeks to go. That’s the time we need to recover and feel good. You can’t start training for Vasaloppet now. You started that process in May, says Jorgen.

It’s obvious that Jorgen has done that. He place second last season and the season before.
Jorgen feels that it’s his brother Anders that’s the favorite to win this year.

– Does Anders agree with that?
– Yes, says Jorgen and laughs.
We are not quite convinced about that….


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