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Vasaloppet isn’t a matter of VO2max

Stian Hoelgaard at the finish after Vasaloppet 2017. Photo: Ski Classics
Stian Hoelgaard at the finish after Vasaloppet 2017. Photo: Ski Classics

Stian Hoelgaard (NOR) shares his best Vasaloppet advice. Photo: Ski Classics

Get the inside tips on how to prepare for the 90km classic race from Sälen to Mora.

“There are two things that make or break Vasaloppet, and it’s not your endurance or your VO2max. It’s your ability to work manage pain and fatigue and staying mentally focused,” says Stian Hoelgaard (NOR), who was on the Vasaloppet podium both in 2016 and 2017.

His top advice is to find small partial goals along the way and make sure you stay fueled and hydrated the whole time.

“Find something to look forward to along the way, and take advantage of the feed stations. It’s fun to arrive there, and always lots of people cheering,” he says.

In addition to the race supported aid stations, the pro teams have feed stations every five kilometers, and you should too.

“Most people will run out of fuel in Vasaloppet, but make sure it doesn’t happen before the finish line. That means feeding frequently and start taking feeds early,” Hoelgaard says.

The short rule is that you cant skimp on fueling for the first 80 kilometers, but if you feel great when you get to the last feed station and your battling for positions, you can consider passing it. But be aware that you can go from fine to fatal in a couple of minutes at this point in the race.

Equally important as food, make sure you have good skis that fit your weight, technique and skill level.

“Your performance and experience is totally dependent on good skis. If you are using kick wax, its worth it to stop and adjust the wax if conditions change,” Hoelgaard says.

The pro teams generally use double-pole specific skis designed for max speed and propulsion without kick wax, but Vasaloppet was won on kick wax as late as 2012. And have you considered the new Redline Intelligrip skin skis?

Check out the selection here

Stay tuned for more advice on how to attack the course, kilometer by kilometer.

This is Ski Classics 2018

Vasaloppet already has more than 60,000 skiers signed up for the 2017 winter festival. Photo: Vasaloppet

The marathon race series just announced the event schedule for the upcoming season.

Vasaloppet already has more than 60,000 skiers signed up for the 2017 winter festival. Photo: Vasaloppet

Vasaloppet is one of the 11 events that make up the 2018 Ski Classics race schedule. Photo: Vasaloppet

Season 8 of the long-distance ski championship consists of 11 events from the end of November through mid-April. (See complete schedule below)

The 2018 Ski Classics season
There are several changes for the 2018 season, starting with a new format for the Pro Team Tempo, which is the opening show of the 11-event series. This year, the Pro Team women’s tempo will be run as a pursuit race following the Pro Team men’s team tempo.

The season can be divided into three distinct phases: The first consists of two events at altitude before Christmas. From January until mid-February, the racers embark on five events in Central Europe before the season caps off with the four-race Nordic Tour mini-cup consisting of Vasaloppet (SWE), Birkebeinerrennet (NOR), Reistadløpet (NOR) and Ylläs Levi (FIN).

Vasaloppet China in early January is out, as is Årefjällsloppet in Sweden, cutting the schedule from 13 to 11 events.

Strong Madshus Marathon team
This year, Madshus racer Stian Hoelgaard (NOR) won the youth competition for the second consecutive time and with a crushing margin. He is as motivated as ever for the upcoming season. Also, 3 Madshus women among top 5 in the Overall Ski Classics Champion competition: Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) of Team United Bakeries was third, Sara Lindborg of Team Särneke was fourth and Emilia Lindstedt (SWE) of Team Ski ProAm was fifth.

Madshus racer John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won the 90km Vasaloppet in Sweden, the world’s largest and oldest classic ski race, for the third time.

Story continues below

Stian Hoelgaard was third in the 90km Vasaloppet 2017. Photo: Ski Classics

Stian Hoelgaard won the 2017 Ski Classic Youth Competition. Photo: Ski Classics

 

2018 Ski Classics Schedule
Event 1: 26th November, Prologue, Pontresina Switzerland 10 km
Event 2: 2nd December, La Sgambeda, Livigno Italy 35km
Event 3: 13th January, Kaiser Maximilian Lauf, Seefeld Austria 60km
Event 4: 20th January, La Diagonela, St Moritz Switzerland 65km
Event 5: 28st January, Marcialonga, Trentino Italy 70km
Event 6: 3rd February, Toblach-Cortina, Italy 50km
Event 7: 18th February, Jizerska Padesatka, Czech Republic 50km
Event 8: 4th March, Vasaloppet, Sweden 90km
Event 9: 17th March, Birkebeinerrennet, Norway 54km
Event 10: 7th April, Reistadløpet, Bardufoss Norway 50km
Event 11: 14th April, Ylläs-Levi, Finland 67km

 

Aiming for a New Double

John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won the Birkebeiner less than two weeks after winning Vasaloppet. Photo: Inge Scheve
John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won the Birkebeiner less than two weeks after winning Vasaloppet. Photo: Inge Scheve

John Kristian Dahl (NOR) won the 2016 Norwegian Birkebeiner, less than two weeks after winning the 90-kilometer Vasaloppet in Sweden. Photo: Inge Scheve

Defending Birkebeiner champion John Kristian Dahl (NOR) will double-pole the classic race on Saturday.

Hoping to repeat his double victory from last year when he won both the 90km Vasaloppet and the 54km Birkebeinerrennet back to back, the 35-year-old will take on two mountains without kick wax.

“I’m dreaming of a repeat of last year’s double win, although I think it will be harder to pull off this time, given the back injuries I have battled this season,” says Dahl.

“After Vasaloppet on March 5, I’ve had to cut back and go easier than I planned due to the back injury. But you never know, cutting back might be the perfect move to release peak performance on race day,” he says.

Just days before the Vasaloppet a week and a half ago, Dahl was in such pain that he feared he had to skip the 90-kilometer race in Sweden. But on race morning, he decided to give the race a shot, and made his move only 4 kilometers from the finish, winning by a fraction of a second. Read more: Dahl Defends Vasaloppet Title

Dahl defends Vasaloppet title

John Kristian Dahl won Vasaloppet for the third time. Photo: Madshus
John Kristian Dahl won Vasaloppet for the third time. Photo: Madshus

John Kristian Dahl won Vasaloppet for the third time. Photo: Madshus

John Kristian Dahl won the legendary 90-kilometer classic race from Sälen to Mora for the third time, defending his victory from last year.

In addition to winning Vasaloppet last year, Dahl also won the race in 2014, his first season as a marathon skier.

Despite injuring his back in preparation for the Vasaloppet on Thursday, Dahl fought his way to the front of the pack with 4 kilometers to the finish, and won the sprint finish by a tenth of a second and a few centimeters, clocking in at 3:57:18.1. On Thursday, the 35-year-old was in such pain that he wrote off the Vasaloppet this year.

“This is amazing, a miracle. Two days ago, I couldn’t ski at all, but I thought that I would try to start the race. My back got better in the race, but my arms were totally depleted at the finish. And given that I felt cooked already at the start, it feels like a miracle that I am standing here,” Dahl said at the finish line, his voice trembling.

“I was tired already after 30km and had to let go of the lead group. But I fought my way back, taking it step-by-step and hill-by-hill,” Dahl said to reporters after the race.

Madshus marathon racer Stian Hoelgaard was third, only 0.6 seconds behind Dahl. With 903 points in the overall Ski Classics youth competition, Hoelgaard now has a substantial lead to Oscar Persson, who is second with 394 points. Hoelgaard is also third in the overall Ski Classics champion competition only 12 points behind second place.

Among the women, Madshus marathon racers Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) of Team United Bakeries was second, and Sara Lindborg (SWE) was third. They finished in 4:21:21.3 and 4:28:47.6, respectively.

Top 3 men
1. John Kristian Dahl, Team United Bakeries. 3:57:18.1
2. Andreas Nygaard, Santander, 3:57:18.2
3. Stian Hoelgaard, Team Leaseplan, 3:57:18.7

Top 3 women
1. Britta Johansson, Norgren, Lager 157, 4:19:43.4
2. Astrid Øyre Slind, Team United Bakeries, 4:21:21-3
3. Sara Lindborg, Sernäke, 4:28:47.6

Still time to sign up for Vasaloppet

Vasaloppet already has more than 60,000 skiers signed up for the 2017 winter festival. Photo: Vasaloppet
Vasaloppet already has more than 60,000 skiers signed up for the 2017 winter festival. Photo: Vasaloppet

Vasaloppet already has more than 60,000 skiers signed up for the 2017 winter festival. Photo: Vasaloppet

 

More than 60,000 skiers are signed up for the 2017 Vasaloppet winter festival – are you?

Last year the Vasaloppet winter week had 68,024 participants between the nine different events: Kortvasan 30km, TjejVasan 30km (women only), Ungdomsvasan 3km/5km/7km/9km, Öppet Spår 90km (Sunday and Monday), Halvvasan 45km, Stafettvasan 90km (relay) and Vasaloppet 90km.

This year, Vasaloppet winter week has added two events: Nattvasan 90km skate night race on Friday March 3, and Blåbärsloppet 9km on March 4. With the exception of Nattvasan, which is a 2-person team race, and the original Vasaloppet 90km race, all events are still open for more skiers. The 2017 winter festival opens with the 30-kilometer Kortvasan on February 24 and concludes with the 90-kilometer Vasaloppet on Sunday, March 5. Which one will you try?

About Vasaloppet
The legendary Vasaloppet, a 90-kilometer marathon ski race from the village of Sälen to Mora in Sweden, was first run in 1922. The annual event is held on the first Sunday in March, and is the oldest, longest and biggest cross-country ski race in the world (in terms of participants).

The course record for the 90-kilometer event is 3 hours, 38 minutes and 41 seconds (2:26 per kilometer), and belongs to Madshus marathon racer Jörgen Brink of Sweden (2012). Brink is also the only athlete who has managed to win the Vasaloppet three consecutive years (2010, 2011 and 2012).

Every year, almost 70,000 skiers participate in Vasaloppets vintervecka, the weeklong ski festival consisting of 10 cross-country ski events with the original Vasaloppet as the final race. Nattvasan was added for the 2017 lineup, and all the 1500 entries for the skate event filled up shortly after the new event was announced last spring. As usual, all the 15,800 entries for the original 90-kilometer Vasaloppet were taken within minutes when the online registration opened.

Madshus is the official ski and boot supplier partner with Vasaloppet.

In addition to the partnership with Vasaloppet, Madshus is already the exclusive equipment supplier of the Norwegian Birkebeiner cross-country ski marathon.

From the Vasaloppet course this week. Photo: Vasaloppet

From the Vasaloppet course this week. Photo: Vasaloppet

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