Despite Injuries And Cramps: Aukland And Hjelmeset On Top At Wolf Mountain Double Marathon Mountain-Relay
Anders Aukland and Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeset won not unexpectedly the cross country and biathlon champion meet at Ulfskollen in Skien, Norway this weekend. The competition wore down one champion after another with cramps and leg injuries, but the winners got a nice pay-check for the â€œworkoutâ€.
Five two-person world famous â€œWorld-Cupâ€ teams started at 10 AM on Saturday morning. Each person was going to run the length of a marathon up and down the mountain with tag-offs between each trip up and down to the top. Each skier would cover 10,000 altitude meters.
Frode Estil got sick the day before and former national team skier Erling Jevne was called upon as a last minute substitute.
– I was in the barn and got a call Friday night asking if I could step in. I had 40 minutes before the train was leaving and no time to think. I just said yes and ran down to the train station with my bag, said Erling.
He realized the hard way throughout the race that he is not training full time anymore and had to use poles on the last two trips to the top to even make it up.
– I’m totally worn out. This is crazy and I’m not trained for this anymore said the farmer that claims that he is training twice a week at the moment.
Jevne ran on Kristen Skjeldal's team, and the two oldest competitors ended up in last place.
Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeset and Anders Aukland are not training twice per week. The super-duo lived up to the expectations and won, but it did not look good ahead of the last leg.
– I have re-injured an old injury and I have leg cramps, was Helpmeets comment before he started on the last leg with a two-minute lead to Mathias Fredriksson of Sweden. Hjelmeset didn’t disappoint however and increased the lead despite the complaints.
– I lost lots of time coming down on the last leg. I couldn’t run anymore and had to walk, said Hjelmeset.
Anders Aukland had the same experience.
– I’m not used to running downhill this way either and got sore feet when they were sliding inside the shoes, but I avoided cramps said Anders.
Are you afraid of injuries and potentially losing valuable training time?
– No, it only hurts in the muscles and it should be back to normal after approximately four days with other types of training. I was afraid of twisting/stepping over and injuring my feet, so I was careful going downhill, said Anders.
Jaak Mae of Estonia was unlucky.
– I â€œstepped overâ€ on the sixth leg. I was tired and un-concentrated and it happened suddenly. I got it iced down quickly and I hope it heals fast, said Mae that had to pull out.
His team-mate Andrus Veerpalu could, despite Mae’s injury, finish the race. A spectator, Stale Talmoe stepped in and ran the last leg for â€œTeam Estoniaâ€ and they ended up in fourth place. (I guess they’ll have a rule book, jury and TD next year)
The organizers had hired the national team’s chiropractor Ulf Asheim to help all the skiers between each leg
– We mostly saw problems like blisters and sore feet. Mae’s injury was the only serious one. They should feel back to normal after 3-5 days. We are not recommending running or weight training tomorrow, said Asheim.Â
But some training is needed.
– I will get very sore if I’m not training tomorrow, said biathlon skier Lars Berger. He admits that this was harder than he had envisioned and that more recovery than anticipated might be needed. Berger had teamed up with Frode Andresen and captured third place, roughly 14 minutes behind the winners.
Sweden’s cross country team with Mathias Fredriksson and Anders Sodergren captured second place. Sodergren started very fast and even broke the old up-and down record on the first leg. They ended up 4 minutes behind the winners.
The total prize purse was roughly $40,000 and approximately $14,000 went to the winning team, not bad for a day’s (hard) work (and some sore feet).