Tag Archives: Norway

La vie est courte et cruelle

25 Aug

Poor thing. She clearly wanted to make her mark or some kind of a difference. Idealistic spinning course instructor. For me the stationary bike is just training when it’s raining. And I was saving energy for my date with the SkiErg immediately afterwards.

When she came around shouting encouragement I simply avoided eye contact. Ditto when she asked imploringly for feedback, good or bad.

Easy to do in this country. You’re rarely put on the spot where you’re required to break the wall of silence. Even if somebody has a spectacular little breakdown. Just drop your gaze and walk on.


Lemmings in your klister

27 Apr

Interesting spring skiing hazards in Norway. During my last trips this year I rapidly lost all grip because of massive amounts of dog hair caught in the ultra-sticky klister under my skis. However, on the up side, that made klister removal a snap.

But this is even worse. Getting a pissed off lemming stuck there.

Today’s Northug quote

7 Mar

Norwegian hjemmebrent/moonshine tradition

Inne på stadion er det mye ordentlige folk som klapper og heier, men når du kommer til Frognerseteren møter du dem som har drukket hjemmebrent hele dagen, sa 25-åringen /

There are a lot of proper people in the stadium who clap and cheer, but when you come to Frognerseteren you meet those who have drunk moonshine the whole day, said the 25 year-old.

Nice to hear him making an astute observation instead of talking smack. Maybe he was humbled by not beating Marit Bjørgen in the medal count. Gratulerer Marit!

The easy hard way up to the Holmenkollen Ski VM 2011

4 Mar

Made my way up to Holmenkollen to see the men’s ski jumping competition. The rather sad result followed a now typical pattern. Norway got its hopes up only to have them dashed by high flying “Österiches”.

But getting up to the venue was a better though gruelling experience. Since temperatures were in the impossible-to-wax-for-right-around-zero-zone, I decided to skate. Trails prepped wide enough for that are in limited supply, so that meant double-poling for the first 2.5km on narrow classic trails, followed by a beastly climb up the West side of the Sognsvann lake.

I actually took my skis off and walked a bit too, around the bottom of the lake, because the track looked a bit gravelly (slow spot after 2.5km).

Around roughly km 8 I got into the VM ski track and got to pretend I was Northug. Or maybe it was Jason Lamy-Chappuis, since I have the same pair of Salomon skate skis he does. I finally got kicked out just as I neared the ski jump.

If you go this route, be prepared to go a little slower than your normal speed on the way up. Paddle, paddle, paddle, pant, pant, pant! And ready yourself to fly like a winning “Österich” on your way back down.

Birth of a new Interweb meme: Gråtende/Crying Northug

28 Feb

All hail the birth of a new Internet meme!

First there was “Downfall Hitler”. Here’s a superb meta-meme example:

Yesterday witnessed the inception of a new, even more powerful meme, Gråtende/Crying Northug:

Norsk/English transcript:

Det er vanskelig å høre hva Gråtende Petter så. Men det var disse:
Hellner….han var så uhyggelig…så uhyggelig med meg.
Han kalt meg…han kalt meg…en KLAKKER!
Hele turen…hele turen…var ødelagt!!

It’s hard to hear what Crying Petter said. But it was this:
Hellner…he was so nasty…so nasty with me.
He called me…he called me…a KLAKKER!
My whole skitour…the whole tour…was ruined!!

This, of course, follows on the heels of the debate in the Aftenposten newspaper where a milquetoasty journalist cries to momma after some pretentious, meddling prick critiqued his diagonal technique because of the slapping (klakking) sounds he made with his skis.

Confessions of a lycra gangsta

22 Jan

The title of this post would be less kind in Norwegian. Ski Norway becomes more polarized by the day, with battle lines drawn between the turgåer/tour-goers and the kondomdraktmafia / condom-suited mafia:

I’m not making this up. That’s what they call the lycra club here.

I have an uneasy relation with the latter group. I do wear tights and ski a hell of a lot. But kondomdraktmafia tend to be a little older than me, in deep mid-life crisis, desperately clinging to their declining virility. And, as you’d imagine, they’re usually complete dicks.

But I definitely don’t fit with the turgåer group either. Their goal is always to have a koselig / cosy time while they go in slow moving herds with un-predictable packs of dogs weaving amongst them. Their sworn enemies are people wanting to go slightly faster than nearly standing still, who do not like them stopping to chat while taking the entire breadth of the track. They occasionally remind me of American Tea-Partiers when they come out with the same kind of huffy, paranoid, wounded “folksiness”. But I do not speak to them and address the problem by avoiding them as much as possible. My headlight is my friend.

The turgåer have as much of a right to the ski track as I do. And provided I pick my trails and times right, their numbers are such that they are easy enough to go around. However there’s a third group that I agree with the kondomdraktmafia in disliking. They are the løypelabber / trail-trudgers.

They do have the law on their side. Everyone has a right to use the forest. However, stomping up the track-set for classic skiing is technically illegal because while the law guarantees free access, it prohibits destructive activity. But it would be hard to prohibit them from going in between the trackset, in the flat area reserved for skating on wider-prepped trails. That said, walking there is still destructive. Feet pack the snow more than skis do, their footprints make lumps, bumps and even holes when it’s warm, and they track dirt onto the trail that clogs up the bases of skis.

I recently saw one løypelabber posted a comment to a newspaper article where he said that those who oppose walking on ski trails are exactly the same that rollerski skate-style on the roads blocking traffic. Touché. But rollerskiing doesn’t wreck the road surface, cars kill children and should go slower anyhow, most rollerskiing is done on country roads with low traffic, and rolling on little polyurethane wheels is environmentally friendly, which you can’t say about driving.

But today was a good day. I didn’t run into a single løypelabber and successfully avoided the turgåer crowd by taking the very first bus to a great skate trail. For some reason today I flew on the flatter part of the trail coming back to my start point. I was mostly just free-skating at that point and enjoyed ludicrous speed. However one turgåer, or maybe it was a kondomdrakt mobster, attempting to pass in the left-hand track-set had a dumb idea and decided to step out right in front of me. Given how fast I was going the collision could have been nasty. I somehow miraculously got around him but ended up falling lamely, but without harm. He muttered the famous Norwegian word sorry and trundled off. Got off easy this time. But please don’t do it again.

My skating technique was probably helped by a course I took the night before last. It was mainly just a confidence booster. The final exam was going through a transition-rich V2/paddling/V2/V1 sequence of trail as the instructor looked on. I couldn’t believe it when as I passed through that sequence of skate gears the teacher yelled compliments. You talkin’ to me??

Happily it wasn’t all positive. I did pick up a few things. The first is that when paddling your “hang arm” should be much higher than the other arm. That happens naturally but I think I fought it in the past because I supposed it was wrong.

The other was that with V1 you should keep you arms narrow when poling down. Actually you should always do that with your poles with everything but paddling. But since my V1 feels unstable I tend to keep my arms wide to try to stabilize myself. And that actually makes you unstable. Happily I don’t have that vice with V2, where I feel steadier. Still, V1 is hugely important for rollerski racing, so I’d better work on it.

Trip details:

  • Style: Skate
  • Distance: 18.3 km
  • Elevation gain: 308m
  • Temperature: -4C

Thief makes spark getaway

6 Dec

Hilarious, only in Norway news story today of a serial thief making his getaway using a “spark”, like the one pictured above.

Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tord/