A Canadian in Norway!

FasterSkierFebruary 25, 2005

Sarah Peters from Canada won Norway's second largest ski race, the
Holmenkollen marathon on February 12. Here is her race report and some

See previously posted stories Sarah Peters Wins Holmenkollen Ski Marathon
http://www.fasterskier.com/racing1918.html and City Of Lakes Winner Sarah
Peters Is Enjoying Norway

Sarah's report:

On February 12, I competed in the Holmenkollen Skimaraton
or Holmenkollmarsjen 2005. This is a 42 km classic ski marathon. It is the
citizens race associated with the Holmenkollen World Cup Ski Festival held a
month later. It is the second largest ski marathon in Norway, after the
legendary Birkebeiner, with over 3000 participants! It was a truly AMAZING
experience, both exciting and a little scarey!

The race is normally held on a point to point course from Hakadal to
Holmenkollen (Oslo). Due to snow conditions, the race was moved to Gasbu
north of Oslo. It was held on a 42 km loop course. (Gasbu is also the back
up site for the Holmenkollen World Cups.) The course climbs gradually from
the start for about 5 km and then plunges back down before going all the way
back up. You reach the highest point of the course at 17 km. After this it
is flat and rolly until you rejoin the hilly race trails for the last ~7km.

On race day, I arrived early as to beat any last minute parking problems and
registration mix ups. The race is a seeding race for both the Birkebeiner
and the Vasaloppet and therefore attracts thousands of competitors. The
Gasbu stadium was already alive with music and booths and skiers waxing and
warming up. I met friends Torgeir Grothe Liem and Claudia Reithofer for
waxing and warmup. The day was gorgeous and the tracks deep, dry and cold.
We waxed successfully with Rode Multigrade Purple.

Due to the thousands of people, warming up was petrifying. The many tracks
out of the stadium quickly filed down to three which produced a fair amount
of warm up congestion. I had to weave in and out of people very quickly and
came close to collision, oh, maybe ten times!!! When I finally got back to
the stadium to start, my heart was already beating out of my chest!

But initial fears aside, the 500 elite wave start went quite smooth! I
stayed relaxed for the first couple of kilometers and was able to get into a
good position by about 5 km. The first part of the course was challenging.
The hills were all skiable but continuous! I felt strong forged ahead on
this first 17 kms. Throughout the race, I was always skiing with someone
but had no idea what position I held. I am sure I was told, probably
repeatedly, but my ears could not interpret the excited Norwegian cheers!!

The race took me 2:20 but went so fast. At every 5 km marker, I would think
'Wow, I'm flying!' This was a FANTASTIC way to feel because there's nothing
worse than a nevery ending loppet. One where you do not have enough energy
or have muscular complications. My only complications were male master
skiers who couldn't stay off my skis!! I guess master skiers are as intense
no matter what country you're in! There were drink and gel stations along
the course and many of them had energizing music and spectators cheering you
on to the finish.

Although the last few kilometres were really challenging, I finished strong.
I was surprised and excited to finish and find out that I had won! They
interviewed me immediately, handed me my memorial pin, and then funnelled me
into the post race refreshment line. Post race refreshments included bear
and polse (hotdogs) wrapped in lompe (potatoe pancakes)! Yum! I received a
beautiful piece of Norwegian glass and a nice monetary prize for my win. I
still can't believe I won a classic race in Norway but my trip and
participation in the race was truly wonderful regardless!!

Thank you to the City of Lakes Loppet for sending me to Norway to compete in
the Holmenkollmarsjen 2005. Thank you to the Holmenkollmarsjen organizers
for the stay and entry! And a huge thank you to the many wonderful people
in Norway that took such good care of me!!


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