By Johan Trygg
When the Swedish summer shows it´s best side with a temperature of about 30 degrees Celcius - the new Team Nordic Athlete meet up at their first training camp at Idre Fjäll, a mountain destination about 160 km north of Mora in Sweden, close to the Norwegian border.
“This is the first time all athletes meet, so we will focus on getting to know each other,” says Team Nordic Athletes Sports Manager Espen Traeldal.
Former Team Mäenpää, now Team Nordic Athlete, aim high for season XI and are currently gathered for their first training camp.
The team will be at Idre Fjäll for a week until Monday, June 29. Idre Fjäll will be a recurring training destination for the Pro Team. For team captain Morten Eide Pedersen it is a well-known place, as he has been to several camps at the destination before.
“There will be some hard training sessions but otherwise we will focus on basic training this week. The conditions in Idre are ideal for roller skiing, both on the roads and at the roller ski track and it's very nice for running in the mountains and marshes,” Traeldal informs.
Attending the camp are: Morten Eide Pedersen, Hannes Mäenpää, Hans Mäenpää, Viktor Mäenpää, Linn Sömskar and Hedda Bångman. Only Niko Koskela is missing. The Ski Classics legend, Oskar Svärd, is also attending the camp to train with the Pro Team.
“Oskar will share his experience from Ski Classics and that is of great value to us,” says Traeldal.
Morten Eide Pedersen is a big profile in Visma Ski Classics. In season X he won the Climb competition and over the years he has been on the podium multiple times in different races and has won the Jizerska Padesatka three times (2015, 2017 and 2018).
Ahead of Season X, Morten was a new member of the French Pro Team, Team Jobstastion. When the main sponsor withdrew their sponsorship, the Pro Team, unfortunately, had to be closed down. Eventually, he became a member of Team Kaffebryggeriet.
Now, Morten is thriving in his new role as Team Captain of Team Nordic Athlete and can prepare for next season without distractions for season XI.
“We are doing great here in the heat and it feels good to meet the other members of the team. We will get to know each other and make plans for the upcoming season. Hopefully, I can share my experience with the younger athletes in the team. I’m also happy that we have two strong ladies in the team and that we will be able to compete in the Pro Team competition,” Morten says.
When talking of his own goals for next season he mentions to win The Yellow Champion bib and to focus on the big events Marcialonga, Vasaloppet, and Birkebenerrennet. As we have written earlier in this article Morten has won Jizerska Padesatka three times already.
"I'm aiming for the podium in those races. To win, all details must work perfectly."
Morten wants to develop and push himself in the training but also states that it is important to have balance in the training.
"You should not do too much too early in the training season," says the Norwegian.
When there are no regular roller skiing competitions this summer, Team Nordic Athlete chooses to participate and support the Virtual World Classic Tour.
"It feels good to support the concept and at the same time get some high-quality workouts."
Former Swedish World Cup sprinter Linn Sömskar, is now doing her first preseason as a long distance skier. So far, she has not changed her training that much since she doesn’t want to lose her speed, but of course, there will be longer workouts and more double poling added to the training schedule.
"It’s inspiring to get some new input from my new teammates here at the training camp. I only knew Hedda from before.," says Sömskar.
Linn Sömskar becomes an interesting new addition among the Pro Athletes in Visma Ski Classics together with her teammate Hedda Bångman.
"I’m glad that I got the opportunity to be a part of Team Nordic Athlete. The joy of skiing came back to me since the decision was made. I will be an underdog, but I am very motivated,” says Sömskar.