Top talent was on display this weekend as the women’s cross-country tour took to the fog of Oslo. I know what you’re thinking, “Oslo is normally so beautiful this time of year.” You, my friend, are wrong. The snow was heavy, the jackets were small and thighs were burning.
Coming into Norway you knew the home crowd would be all hot and bothered from their local girls Mari Bjoergen and Ingivld Flugstad Oestberg (yeah, that’s her real name). You could see the Swedish princess Charlotte Kalla was full of sheer determination and our American Sadie Bjornsen was no slouch herself. However from the starting whistle, Bjoergen laid claim to her domain. I mean she just absolutely destroyed the competition. She was going uphills at the same pace I go down them. After the second lap she already had a 19.4 second lead on the second place Princess Kalla. Sadie was keeping a steady 13th place for the initial phase of the race and you just had to wonder how much the slush was affecting her legs.
As we hit the 8 km mark, first place was all but secured. This finely tuned machine maintained perfect form through water stops, turns, and photography check points. You could not break Bjoergen’s focus. The rest of the pack was still lead by our Princess followed by a culmination of Nordic countries. Not for lack of trying as there heart rate (brought to you by Polar) was an astounding 169… Oh and Sadie dropped down to 14th, it just wasn’t her day.
5 beer and 50 mins in, I started catching a buzz and the field started thinning out. Bjoergen must have found a different kind of a snow because she was now a full minute and 45 seconds in front of the Swed and a new face Kowalczyk from Poland. You could tell this wasn’t much of a spectator sport as the cameraman kept panning out to shots of fans tailgating around the course next to massive fires. If you’re wondering, yes, it seems every Norwegian has a flag winter hat.
As I literally spilled into an hour and ten minutes into this gripping event, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was what Norway is always like. Just so cold all the time that you have nothing better to do but watch people ski in circles for over 50 km. Then I realized we NASCAR which is absolutely brutal. At least these babes make right turns as well as left ones. Also, these athletes are shredded.
The fog was so thick by the end of the race you couldn’t see 50 feet in front of you. Did that stop Bjoergen from having a massive smile on her face and continue to eat hills? No, beast mode was at full throttle. Even the questionably see-through tights team Norway was provided did nothing to slow her down. She slipped a grand total of 3 times during this entire race. I was in full couch potato mode and spilled my drink more then she messed up. The race for the top three was waaaay more entertaining. Slugfest in the final km. Two Finn’s Parmakoski and Niskanen had the firepower to finnish strong (get it?). Our early favorite (and still my Princess) Kalla was left in the dust finishing in a disappointing 5th. Oh, and Sadi? Let’s just say we need to get back to the training grounds.
Theses chick’s destroyed hills in heavy slush and shitty conditions in under an hour and thirty minutes. I had traveled to the fridge and the toilet (twice) in the same amount of time. Was watching this a desperate cry for more Premier League? Maybe. Did I feel extremely lazy watching this? Yes. Do it for Culture.