Text by André Santos
Anikken Gjerde Alnaes entered the Visma Ski Classics circuit one year ago when she became an athlete of Team Ragde Charge. At that time, Anikken expected that the change in her career would be tough and fun while training with some of the most accomplished long distance skiers in the world. One year after, Anikken shares her thoughts about her development as a long distance skier.
After her first season, Team Ragde Charge’s athlete Anikken Gjerde Alnaes managed to finish among the best 20 skiers at all events that she participated in, her best result being 10th at Jizerská Padesátka. But more importantly, Anikken’s main goal was to be a contender for the sprint bib, having finished Visma Ski Classics Season XI at the 7thposition in the Sprint Women Competition and 12th in the Champion Women.
Anikken is happy about her achievements, but she admits that she is still developing as a long distance skier and is optimistic about what she can achieve in the years to come. She is also pleased with the way she grew as a skier and improved her skills last winter.
“Almost every day is a day to become stronger. You have to harden up to take the beat from what is coming at you” says Anikken about her life as a long distance skier. “I am taking it step by step and want to develop my skills and capacity needed in long distance skiing. The most significant change this year has been the number of weekly double poling sessions and upper body strength sessions. We need the same ability as cyclists to stay strong for long distances, several days in a row. So, now instead of training two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening, I am comfortable with training four hours in a row.”
Being a long distance skier is a continuous learning process. Anikken feels it has been challenging to find the right balance between the right pace for each distance and proper nutrition at the right time.
“I had some races where I just couldn’t pull it off, and I had to suffer consequences. The learning process continues. However, the first season gave me a lot,” says Anikken.
About her experience being with some of the world’s best long distance skiers in Team Ragde Charge, Anikken feels so inspired and lucky to be able to learn from them. She believes that her teammates will help her to achieve her goal of winning the Sprint Competition.
“Team Ragde Charge is much more than the team that races in Visma Ski Classics. It’s an inspiring, supporting and motivating group of people who are involved. They bring out a lot of joy to every moment” says Anikken, feeling happy about being a member of the team. “The green bib will continue to be my focus for the next season. Sprinting was what triggered me in traditional cross-country ski, so I want to develop this capacity in longer distances.”
Anikken is currently training in Oslo, enjoying the roads of Nordre Follo and taking a few easy days after the training camp in Tønsberg with Team Ragde Charge. Then, she will head to Sjusjøen to her family cabin where her training will get more intense in a hilly terrain. So, it is expected that this talented lady gets event stronger by the time the new season hits upon us.