For next year I signed myself up for a different type of challenge: competitions in four different disciplines: from skiing, to cycling, swimming and running.
It’s called En Svensk Klassiker – a swedish classic – and you have to complete these four competitions over the course of a year. You may think that it’s not really close to my interest in the outdoors, but in fact it is. En Svensk Klassiker is maybe not the traditional thought of the outdoors being limited to hiking and camping.
I have been into trail running for a while now and it has brought me even closer to the mountains and the forest. Even if a lot of people think that you can’t enjoy nature while “hurrying past it”. Everyone is different and for me there is nothing that makes me feel more free than reaching the top of a mountain being all out of breath and then feeling like flying downhill.
A activity powered by my own body in nature, is some kind of outdoors activity for me. What’s more outdoors than skiing through the wintery forests of Dalarna? What’s more outdoors than swimming in a river or to run and cycle through swedish nature?
It’s not the kind of activity where you have to be self supported for days or weeks, you don’t have to camp or even wear a backpack with all of your belongings. But does that really lower the value of the experience in nature? It’s not ‘worth‘ less, it’s just different. Besides that: I’m not leaving trail running, hiking, camping or even backcountry skiing behind me. It’s exciting to experiment with new sports and activities and find new challenges.
There are three categories: the full distance, half distance and a third of the original distance, which is exclusive for women.
For a start I decided to do the girls edition, which is called Tjejklassikern.
The four competitions are:
- 30 km on cross-country skis in February/March
- 100 km cycling in June
- 1 km of swimming in open water in July
- 10 km of running in late September
For an extra challenge in terms of finishing time I will try to do all four runs in a total time of under 10 hours.
As of now (not very well trained in most sports) I would definitely be able to finish all four competitions but would be reaaally slow at some of them. I have never ever been swimming in open water – besides the times my leash ripped and I had to go after my surfboard. I have never once cycled more than 60 km in one go. And those times I needed four hours. When it comes to the skiing and running, I’m a bit more inside my comfort zone as I have done the 30 km skiing competition in 2016 and running a 10 k is not really something new for me.
I will have to put a lot of time and training into the swimming and cycling!
Maximum time per competition (to achieve the 10 hour goal):
- skiing: 3 h
- cycling: 5 h
- swimming: 1 h
- running: 1 h
It seems realistic to do the skiing in three hours, but of course it depends a lot on the snow and weather conditions. I still have some time to train and improve my skiing fitness. I really need to make use of this time to get used again to ski without a break for several hours in a row. Hopefully there will be some snow around here soon, otherwise I have to train in the gym on a workout machine and in the indoors Skidome in Gothenburg.
The biggest risk to waste a lot of time, is the cycling for sure. If I don’t train at all, the 100 km might as well take me seven hours. My limit is five hours, which would mean 20 km/h without any breaks. For now my goal is to train in the gym (spinning classes) until I can reach that maximum time and then see where I can go from there. The fastest girls take around 2:30h and most cross the finish line at 4:30 h. Getting closer to four hours would be a dream!
When it comes to the swimming, it’s not easy to predict the required time. I can train during winter and spring in a pool but that’s nowhere close to open water (a river) and swimming against the current (!). Also being in the water with a whole lot of other competitors and wearing a wetsuit. In the pool I want to aim for a time around 20 minutes, but I know that it will be harder in the river. A finish time of around 30 minutes seems more likely. The first step for me is to get going with front crawl. I haven’t really spend any time swimming since school and my technique is very rusty. One lane and I will be out of breath and probably swallowing a lot of water.
The running is not really one of the competitions where I can shave off a lot of time. The best possible (realistic) finish would be 55 minutes. A really, really bad 10 k would take me 70 minutes. Compared to the time I can win in skiing and cycling well, these few minutes are really not a huge thing. But of course I need to train for this as well, even if I know I’m quite the slow runner.
(Hopefully) realistic time per competition:
- skiing: 3 h
- cycling: 4,5 h
- swimming: 0,5 h
- running: 1 h
which would come down to a total of 9 hours.
If I train like crazy and get lucky I might even do better, but I don’t even want to think that this could be realistic. If I can ski a bit faster and cycle like someone chases me, I might get under 9 hours total.
Any tips or recommendations for training and the competitions are welcome!