Sälen, Smågan, Mångsbodarna, Risberg, Evertsberg, Oxberg, Hökberg, Eldris. Followed by the finishing line at Mora, but this is no ski race. In August people will be cycling in the tracks of their fathers, and Axelent is entering a strong team!
Nikodemus Emanuelsson works as a quality coordinator at Axelent in Hillerstorp. In his teens he was a road cyclist but now, a bit further down the track, he has switched to thicker tyres. In September, he and a group of colleagues from Axelent will be taking part in the Cykelvasan mountain bike race together.
“I was best at around 16 when I was among the elite in my age group, but I felt it took up too much of my time. There was only one rest day a week and races nearly every weekend during summer,” says Nikodemus, or Niko, as he is known.
How good were you?
“I beat some of today’s pros, but that was a few years ago. It’s all mountain bike now, which is still quite new to me.”
The classic Vasaloppet ski race also became a cycle race a few years back. Cykelvasan is considered a relatively easy race, that is to say not as technical as other mountain bike races. But like the ski race it is ninety kilometres through fields and forest, which naturally requires a good deal of training.
Does your training background give you any advantages when competing in Cykelvasan?
“I’m used to high speeds from road cycling, but in forests it’s far more technical with a lot more speed changes. How and when to change gears is another technique you have to learn on an MTB, how to approach slopes, etc. It's a technique that all contestants should practice,” says Niko.
This is where Axelent’s sports hall comes into its own. Every Friday, eight spinning bikes are put through the motions and more sessions can be booked if needed. Spinning bikes are perfect for interval training because they build up the right kind of fitness. But Niko has his eyes set on something else:
“There's an Ironman event in Jönköping in July in which I’ll be competing. My training is more geared towards that at the moment. It's more quantity training than anything else. After the Ironman I’ll be fully focused on MTB training and technique.”
Have you taken part in a mountain bike race before?
“Not as yet, but I’ll be running a seeding race prior to it in order to be placed in the right group.”
Do you recommend this approach to others?
“Definitely. If you don’t, you could end up in a slower or faster group. It's also a good idea to get a feeling for the race before climbing into the saddle to cycle 90 kilometres.”
What do you mean by “feeling”?
“Well, to start with you’ll be cycling with others all around you in groups bunching up between your front wheel and somebody else’s back wheel. This is a very important technique to learn.”
Will you be practicing this with the Axelent team?
“Actually, it wouldn't be a bad idea to arrange a few outdoor sessions.”
Will you be having an internal contest between the Axelent people?
“I don't know. It’s all about completing the race at the moment, but I’m sure competition will sharpen the closer we get to the race.”
29 people from Axelent will be taking part in Cykelvasan 2019. Axelent’s sponsored athletes Johannes Rydzek, who has Olympic and World Championship medals in Nordic combination, Ferry Svan, World Championships in timber sports, and Anna Seidel, short track star, will be taking part. The Axelent starting line-up includes colleagues from Sweden, England and Germany. The race is on August 10th.
Tips from the pros
Calle Friberg is multiple Swedish champion in MTB. Here are his thoughts surrounding your first MTB race.
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