Visma had some available tickets for Marcialonga 31st of January that were available for all employees to apply for with deadline 13th January. Lisa Rudi, Atle Myhrer, Stig Atle Freitag and Joe Erlend Langeland were some of the lucky winners! We got the message 14th February and we had 2 weeks time to prepare ourselves for a 70 km ski race in Italy! We were excited, but also a bit nervous, because none of us have been skiing for 70 km in one row before. Joe was the one who was best prepared since he has been training for Vasaloppet (90 km race in March), but Stig Atle hadn’t been skiing since winter 2015 and you could find Lisa stressing around on her skis in the woods close to Oslo the 2 weeks before the race.
All of us did meet up at Oslo Airport Friday 29th January ready for Marcialonga without really knowing what we had applied for. So far everything went according to the plan, but that didn’t last for long. Stig Atle’s luggage didn’t arrive to final flight destination except of his skis which of course was the most important. We rented a car and put in Cavalese in the GPS and arrived at the hotel on Friday evening.
The Hotel Olympinico where we lived is owned by the founder of Marcialonga, Franco Nones. In this hotel the Norwegian national ski team stay when they attend ski race in Val de Femme. There were pictures on the wall with him and skiing stars like Petter Northug and Therese Johaug and maybe you will find the picture of us together with Franco Nones on the wall next time you visit the Hotel!
Since the race was on Sunday we had the Saturday to explore the area and do the final preparations. We were surprised that there was no snow at all except of a white line in the valley and the villages – that was the ski track made of artificial snow. We tried it out on foot 🙂
Other preparations we did on the Saturday was enjoying the SPA at the hotel, playing table Fussball, eating italian pizza, waxing the skis and hoping that the excitement for the race wouldn’t disturb a good night sleep. Then we were prepared and ready for the big day!
At 630 on Sunday morning we were sitting in the bus heading for the start area. We were excited, a bit nervous and tired after a night with bad sleep while discussing that 70 km is a very long distance and if we had done a good job with the ski waxing. Joe and Lisa started at the same time and Atle and Stig Atle 2 minutes later. We soon discovered that waxing skis for this race is a challenge even for the local sport store that had helped Lisa and Joe. Since more than 5700 had started before us we could just forget about having a good ski track. The snow was wet and it turned into slush and water when the sun came.
Despite bad ski waxing and a terrible track we were all in good mood and motivated to cross the finishing line some time in the afternoon. Along the ski track there were lots of people that cheered for us and the organizer ensured that we got enough water, chocolate and food during the race so that we didn’t lose energy. It was mainly people from Scandinavia and Italy in the race and all of us passed several of them during the 70 km! That was motivating!
70 km is long, but the last 10 km felt the longest of all 70 km! The last 2 km is an uphill and usually you are not very happy about meeting one of these in a ski track, but this time it was different – we were soon done with the race! It was a fantastic feeling crossing the finishing line! We did it! We celebrated with beer in the Visma Ski Classics Trailer and concluded that it will probably not be the last time we are going Marcialonga!