By Teemu Virtanen
Team Ragde Charge’s Oskar Kardin started the last season with a bang. He broke away from the pack at La Diagonela and left everyone far behind. His performances didn’t wane after that as he managed to be in the top 10 in every race and got two other podium places in addition to La Diagonela. These results gave him enough points to be the third best long distance skier in the Visma Ski Classics Champion competition behind Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Team XPND Fuel of Norway, and Emil Persson, Lager 157 Ski Team.
“Last season was good for me. I think my continuously good results happened because I was able to stay healthy without getting sick and having no injuries during the entire season. In the past, I’ve had good results in some races, but I have always had some problems in the middle of the season. So, my shape has gone up and down,” Oskar describes the reasons for his success last winter.
Naturally, this 29-year-old athlete is looking forward to racing even better in the winter of 2022. His teammate Andreas Nygaard predicts that Oskar will be hard to beat if he stays healthy and avoids injuries. Speaking of which, Oskar fell down while roller-skiing this summer, but he is now back in the saddle again.
“Things like that happen. This time it was bad timing, and I missed Toppidrettsvekan and Alliansloppet. It was nothing serious, some abrasions and a small hit on my back. Now, I'm back in training again after one week with easier workouts. Last year, I missed three weeks of training in September and had my best season so far.So, maybe it was good for me to take a little break.”
He also admits that this summer progressed really well. He was able to train according to his plan and had a chance to undertake a great block of volume training. His test results have shown that he is on the right track, and he can easily build on this spirit of confidence towards the winter season.
Oskar missed some important roller-ski races due to the accident, and Team Ramudden’s Max Novak has truly been the king of the road this summer. Oskar says that roller-skiing is his primary method of training, but one shouldn’t read too much into the race results.
“For sure it's good to be in shape and also race in the summer. But roller-ski racing is something else than cross-country skiing. It's hard to draw any conclusions from just one race, but it's always fun with good results. I guess, we'll see the usual suspects fighting for podiums in the winter, and Max can be one of them.”
If roller-skiing is Oskar’s main method of getting in shape, it is interesting to know a bit more about his typical workouts.
“Most of my training is on roller-skis, I do both intervals and distance training. I do all types of sessions, from shorter ones up to six hours. I use different types of wheels, sometimes fast wheels and sometimes slow wheels. I use both double-poling and classic technique. My skating is really bad, so I try to avoid it and do some biking instead. I do nothing fancy, just hard work. During the summer, I often train 100 hours per month and have two-three intervall sessions a week. My typical workouts in a normal week look like this: 6 x 10 min uphill run on a treadmill, 4-5-hour double-poling on roller-ski and a core strength training session.”
His team changed its name this summer, and it’s now called Team Ragde Charge. The name change was not the only alteration that the team has undergone. There are new members in the Aukland brother’s squad (Karsten Johaug, Kasper Stadaas, Johan Hoel and Marte Mæhlum Johansen) and Oskar thinks that they are now ready to invincible again.
“We have a really strong team this year, and there are some new boys and girls with different skills, and we can all learn from each other. We're aiming to be back on top in the Pro Team competition!”
It goes without saying that skiing is Oskar’s passion, but what kind of a skier is he and what else does he do when he’s not training?
“I see myself as an opportunistic skier in the field who does not fear any distances or course profiles, except maybe Orta, Reistadløpet, and I take my chances when I get them. In addition to skiing, I like to be outside in the nature and spend some time with my friends there. I often go ski mountaineering, hunting and fishing.”
When asked about his greatest dream, or goal, his answer probably surprises no one.
“My biggest goal is to win Vasaloppet one day. For me, that's the biggest race and every year brings a new opportunity to do so. But a lot of things need to be perfect to win. I guess that many of us in the elite group are dreaming about a Vasaloppet victory and only one can succeed per year, so it's a hard fight. For this winter, I'm aiming to win the yellow jersey and do well at the Grand Classics events.”
The fight for the Champion title will be extremely fierce next winter. To conclude the interview, Oskar analyzes his toughest rivals in more detail.
“Emil Persson is good in tactics and has one of the best sprints in the peloton, and that makes him dangerous. Tord Asle Gjerdalen is also clever and has a good tactical mind. He can also go hard for a long time and is one of the guys with the best engine in the field. Ermil Vokuev is really strong, and when he has a perfect day with good skis, I see him as the strongest in the elite group. Andreas Nygaard is really tough, and he is with Emil maybe the best sprinter in the group. Luckily, he is my teammate, and if he win, we win as a team.”
“A potential winner for the next season will, of course, be Martin Johnsrud Sundby who has won Birken before and has proven that he is really strong with many years in the World Cup,” Oskar continues his speculation about potential heroes of the new season. “I'm also impressed by Johannes Eklöv and the results he has shown in all roller-ski competitions this summer. I think he can surprise and challenge us for a victory in some races.”