By Johan Trygg
Laila Kveli, Team Engcon, has two victories in Vasaloppet, 2013 and 2014 and in 2015 she was second at Marcialonga.
The 32-year-old Norwegian, living in Sweden, has several tough seasons with numerous colds that disrupted the training. Now, however, she sees the light in the tunnel and has the podium in sight again.
“If I can carry out the training I want, the goal is to have my best form at Marcialonga and Vasaloppet,” says Laila, who is getting married the coming weekend. On Saturday, August 1, she will marry Jerry Ahrlin on the border between Sweden and Norway.
Long distance skiing was Lailas melody from the beginning of her career. Laila has nine podium places in Visma Ski Classics, including the victories att Vasaloppet 2013 and 2014.
Laila was part of the Aukland brothers’ Pro Teams, Team Xtra Personnel, Team Centric and Team Santander for many years. Then she gave birth to her and Jerry’s second daughter in the spring of 2016. When she made her comeback for season VII 2016-2017, it was in Team Tynell.
“I am so grateful and happy that I got to be part of the team. It is not obvious that you get a place in a Pro Team for someone who has recently given birth,” Laila states.
After she made a comeback in season VII, there have been some tough years where many colds have disrupted the training. Now, however, Laila has had a long period without illness and the preparation for season XI has gone well so far.
Right now, there’s just one little thing bothering, a crack in a rib.
How did it happen?
“My younger daughter jumped on me when I was lying and resting on the couch… it is not so bad, it heals... but I have to hold back a bit on the double poling training for a while,” says Laila
The many and persistent colds disrupting the training has, of course, been a problem.
“It takes a couple of weeks to come back in training every time. There will be no development when you have to restart all the time,” says Laila.
Because of this, she has not been able to race as many competitions as she wanted in recent seasons. Now, however, she hopes to be able to participate in the entire season XI.
“It is important to have a good base if you are going to race a full season. I hope I have that for this winter.”
However, giving up has not been an option for Laila.
“In some training sessions, you can feel that you have the power. Then you get the motivation to continue,” she says.
Laila on her way back to good old form.
Laila plans the basics of her training by herself but has some help from her little brother Espen.
“Then I have Jerry, who can support me on some workouts. Jerry is also the one who tells me when I need to rest or take it easy.”
The last time Laila felt in top shape was at the end of February 2015 at Tjejvasan. She won the race after close sprint against Emilia Lindstedt and Lina Korsgren, who were second and third.
Now Laila hopes and believes to be back in good old form again the coming winter.
“If I can go through with the training I want to do, the goal is to have my best shape at Marcialonga and Vasaloppet.”
When Team Tynell closed down the Pro Team after season IX, it was uncertain whether Laila’s career would continue.
“We were lucky to get in touch with the company Engcon. Now we work together with the entire company on wellness. It feels so motivating. It has had a significant effect on the staff; they have started to be more active and they feel that they are part of Team Engcon.”
(The company Engcon is a world-leading manufacturer of tilting and rotating work tools for excavators.)
It is Laila’s future husband Jerry Ahrlin who is Team Engcon’s Pro Team Manager. Jerry himself belongs to the Ski Classics Hall of Fame with his six victories. The last one in König Ludvig Lauf back in 2013.
Laila has lived in Sweden since 2009 with Jerry and on Saturday, August 1, they get married.
“We are getting married on the border between Norway and Sweden. Now that we finally had decided about the wedding, Covid-19 was not allowed to stop us. We keep it quite small and not so extravagant,” Laila concludes.