Sunday, 1 May 2011

Skarverennet

So the season is over! Yesterday marked the end of the season with the final race, skarverennet, a 38km race from Finse to Ustaoset.
As Finse is in the middle of nowhere in the mountains in Norway we have to take a train up to the start. I took the train up to the start at 9:50 and arrived with about an hour to the start. After getting my clothes ready, and queueing for the loo it was about time to start the race. This year the race was starting in a hunting start format. With the girls starting 12min before us, and the winner being the first one across the line 38km later.
I had a bad start position as it was just a free for all for start places. When the gun went off i took several kms to settle into a good group. In my group i was skiing with Vetle Christiansan one of the Junior National team members for biathlon, Odd - Bjørn Hjelmeset, although at the end of is career and a classic specialist he is still respectable at skating. The other person of note in the group was Tord Asle Gjerdallen, but we eventually dropped him.
After the initial uphill for 4km or so we came onto a long flat section. After this another long uphill followed. On this uphill the group got whittled down to just me and odd bjørn, with a few people arriving then disappearing again such as the Swiss star Crudin Perl.
It was around here i noticed that lots of the girls we were catching were in the classic track to the side and double poling on skate skis. I had no idea why and just assumed they had become too tired to ski properly. I quickly discovered why they were double poling. The skate tracks were getting trashed but the classic track stayed firm and icy. So i hopped in the classic spur and double poled. It seems bizar, but i double poled for about 10km leading Odd Bjørn, one of the worlds best double polers. We came to about 12k to go where i received a drink from Geir Endre. He was standing next to Roar Hjelmeset, the Norwegian junior national team coach and brother to the guy i was skiing with. He must have said something or given his brother something good in his drink because he quickly dropped me after this. He went on to beat me by just over 3 mins, all taken out in the last 10k.
The last 10k was agony. By now the sun was high, my camel back was empty and i was feeling tired. The heat in the last few kms was immense, it felt like i was trying to ski in a sauna. With 7km to go there came a long up hill drag, i past one of the Junior National team girls and asked them how much uphill was left. They informed me it was the last and i rejoiced in this information. However they were wrong. I kept pushing hard over the next 2kms, to turn a corner and see a hill. It was like hitting a brick wall. Some people i had passed earlier in the race caught me. Feeling pretty pissed about it i was happy to finally be on the last downhill to the finish line. As i came off the downhill into the finish straight Vetle appeared from nowhere, came along side me and said "hello my friend" before proceeding to sprint off and beat me by a mear second. He was the fastest person from NTG and fastest from our Norwegian club, Geilo il.
I was pretty annoyed he beat me, but i later found out he started in the seeded group that starts infront of everybody else. (by about 20m). Clearly that is where he got the extra second from :P
I think Skarverennet will have been my last ski session of the year. Perhaps i will take a trip this week before i go home next weekend.

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