The strange ways of the klatremus

9 Jan

After an uncharacteristic bad performance in one race last year Petter Northug commented “Æ e ingen klatremus”. It was an exceptionally steep course. And that, in his backwoods Tronder dialect, translates as “I’m no climber mouse”. Nope, not one of the furry things pictured above.

I, on the other hand, am always at my best going up. Quite like Therese Johaug:

This hot little dwarf put in another beastly upill effort today, coming in second in the Tour de Ski. She ate up two of the three minutes separating her from the eventual winner, Justyna Kowalczyk.

See Therese, we’re compatible. Won’t you be mine?

My climb today was while skateskiing up the West side of the Sognsvann lake. The worst bit of my route was a solid 5% average grade lasting about 4 km. The plan was to meet some beginner colleagues at the Frognerseteren tube station, so I decided the most convenient way up was by ski. A little sweat and paddle power were much better than waiting for a bus and then the subway.

Skating looked like the best call because of the difficult wax conditions, ludicrous crowds and a 78km skate race coming in a little more than a month.

It was a lungbuster, but with a couple short panting pauses I made it over the top. Happily I went early. It didn’t take long for the furiously snowploughing masses heading down and the fishboning herds going up to turn the track into a twin-striped disaster area. It was half barescraped, half trundled to bits when I returned that way. Crowds are now a constant factor when deciding where and when to ski. So I plucked a rare pearl that won’t be ripe again before another big snowfall comes.

With good snow conditions my skating started to feel more stable. I tried to work on efficiency. I think it will take a few days to for it to really come together. But I’m confident that if I mainly skate now I’ll get where I need to be for my monster 78km race. Happily I’ve got a few crowd resistant skating routes that I can ply by night, whose skating surface holds up, and which tend not to get scraped bare.



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