Arne Idland is a man who is never satisfied with his achievements. Turning Norwegian biathlon into gold medals-casting machine? Check. Creating world’s biggest rollerski festival, rivaling best World Cup events in both skiing and biathlon. Check!
This year Arne and his team came up with a race that’s so bonkers – we absolutely love the very sound of it.
Forget about Spartan, Urbanathlon or whatever else you thought is an ultimate test of fitness.
Forget even about Blink Festival own crazy race, Lysebotn Uphill that leaves world’s best skiers ( by definition fittest people on this planet) wreathing in pain at the finish line.
Because this year Arne has decided to stage Lysebotn Doublepoling Only race
That’s right – 7.4km to the summit of Lysebotn anybody who signs would have to do using doublepoling technique as the race going to be held on identical IDT Classic rollerskis without ratchet wheels
To remind you, Lysebotn starts with almost flat 1Km – but then there’s 6.4km climb with an altitude gain of 640 meters – exactly 10% average climb gradient. In comparison, Tour de Ski’ famed Alpe Cermis climb in Cavalese has an average gradient of 11.6% but it’s “only” 3.6 km of length – and again, that’s in skating style.
You’d almost think that the new race is so tough there will be no takers for those 50 reserved slots ( men only this year) – but you’d be wrong.
None less than Sjur Røthe, reigning world skiathlon champ, tells Aftenposten that’s he’s “100% in” . And Martin Sundby seems to be ” thinking of it”
On the other hand, Visma Ski Classics teams will effort to prove their mettle – Team Koteng, for instance, intends to field all of its skiers, including current Vasaloppet king Tore Björset Berdal.
So, it’s shaping up to be a battle of giants!
Here’s something that needs to be added to convey the importance of the event:
Lysebotn Climb was hitherto one of the most popular events on the Norwegian NRK TV throughout the whole year, scoring absolutely crazy market share of some 55.2 % – not quite the Super Bowl in the US ( 67%) , but fairly close, you would agree. With introduction of the all-new DP event – that’s expected to kick off 5 minutes after men’s freestyle race, – ratings will only climb farther – and, hopefully, not just in Norway
pictures courtesy of Blink Skifestival/Axelar