Written By Teemu Virtanen
Statistics by Polar
As Vasaloppet is the longest and most demanding race in Visma Ski Classics, it would make sense to take a closer look at two athlete performances and see what kind of an endeavor the Sälen-Mora journey really is. We have Stian Hoelgaard, Team Koteng, who finished second in the race, and then a serious skier who started in the first group behind the elite – let’s call him Mr. Vasalopp. Some interesting facts ensue when comparing these two skiers.
First, we should start with some basic bits of information. Stian spent 4:49:34 hours on the course while Mr. Vasalopp’s total time was 5:32:37. These are the times taken when they turned their Polar watches on and then turned them off after crossing the finish line. Stian skied 90.59 km while Mr. Vasalopp’s watch showed the total distance of 90,44 km. Stian’s maximum speed was 47.1 km/hour and Mr. Vasalopp went 32.6 km/hour on a downhill.
When comparing these two great performances, we can detect some interesting differences. Stian was about 40 minutes faster than Mr. Vasalopp, but the latter spent much more energy during the race as his total calories burnt were 6299 while the former burnt 4802 calories. Stian’s maximum heart rate was 178 and his average rate was 148 while Mr. Vasalopp reached a maximum rate of 185 beats and an average of 160 beats per minute. Of course, the heart rate is very individual and varies depending on a person.
The most valuable and intriguing evaluation comes when we focus on the heart rate zones of both individuals, which indicates the intensity of their performances. Stian didn’t spend a single second above his anaerobic threshold limit (zone 5) while Mr. Vasalopp pushed himself harder and spent 10% of his racing time within that zone (33:33 min).
There is still a great difference between these two skiers and their times spent on the next level (zone 4 – below anaerobic but above aerobic thresholds) as Stian skied only 4 minutes and 47 seconds on that level while Mr. Vasalopp’s time in that zone was 52:29 min. Mr. Vasalopp spent half of his racing time skiing within the third heart rate zone (above aerobic threshold) while Stian spent half of his time one level lower (zone 2). Stian also spent relatively long time skiing on the lowest level (zone 1), over an hour, while Mr. Vasalopp didn’t even get to go there at all.
What do these figures tell us? Very simply that the race was much easier for Stian than for Mr. Vasalopp who ended up skiing closer to his maximum heart rate levels and his maximum performance level than Stian. That is the reason why Mr. Vasalopp burnt more calories than Stian as his personal pace was higher than Stian’s according to their physical ability and shape.
Stian didn’t even get near to his maximum heart rate during the race, but Mr. Vasalopp got very close or maybe even up there as we don’t know his personal highest heart rate. Of course, Stian’s heart rate went up in the final sprint and a few kilometers before that, but at that stage it is hard to raise one’s heart beat due to the length of the race. Due to the extreme conditions and slow pace, Stian didn’t use his full potential in this race, but Mr. Vasalopp most likely skied as fast as he could. Hence, the recovery time will be much longer for Mr. Vasalopp. So, Stian should be ready for the fast-paced skating race in Switzerland this Sunday, but Mr. Vasalopp may need to skip this weekend and rest.
Stian Hoelgaard's Vasaloppet performance: https://flow.polar.com/training/analysis/3269793613
Mr. Vasalopp's performance: https://flow.polar.com/training/analysis/3270896498