Claiming the honor and record after a second-by-second battle in the gym
Seconds were crucial in the fight for a new record and 25.000 Norwegian krones in the Ragde Indoor Challenge in the men’s class. But no one came close to beating Therese Johaug. Her record stands firm.
Photo: Team Ragde Charge
Many pushed themselves to the limit during the Ragde Indoor Challenge. Only one emerged with the record.
It’s been busy in the gym for Team Ragde Charge. In recent weeks, the Ski Classics team has held its annual internal competition, the Ragde Indoor Challenge, open to other athletes looking to challenge Pro Team athletes. This year concluded with a thriller showdown for seconds, honor, glory, and 25.000 Norwegian krones.
Watch the duel video later in the article.
This is the Ragde Indoor Challenge
The Ragde Indoor Challenge is a brutal combination session consisting of a 5000-meter treadmill run with a 10 percent incline, a 5000-meter SkiErg session at resistance 7, and a 2000-meter rowing machine segment. All professionals run without a break, while amateurs get a five-minute break between each exercise.
The test was initially developed as an annual fitness check for the team’s own athletes. However, in recent years, the team has invited anyone willing to challenge the Pro Team athletes or themselves to join. This year, Team Ragde Charge also put up 25.000 Norwegian krones as a prize for the best woman and man who beat the current record in their class in the Ragde Charge gym, according to Langrenn.com.
Over 60 men with backgrounds in triathlon, rowing, cycling, as well as cross-country skiing participated, and, in the end, it came down to seconds in a professional showdown between long-distance skiers and rowers. The organizer’s team’s Johan Hoel settled it with a 17-second margin over Jonas Juel from the national rowing team.
Both are fast on their feet, but Hoel gained a lead already in the run and increased it through the skiing segment. However, the long-distance skier was crushed on the 2000-meter rowing machine. Nevertheless, it was enough for both victory and a new record, earning 25.000 Norwegian krones ahead of the Ski Classics season starting on December 9 in Austria.
Hoel completed the three segments in a total time of 46 minutes and 43 seconds (22:31/17:05/7:08), while Juel clocked in at 47:00 (23:05/17:16/6:39). Thus, they both beat the previous record of 47:06. Third place went to Simen Østensen with a total time of 47:14 (21.25/18.26/7.23).
“We are greatly impressed by the effort of those who participated, and it’s incredibly cool that cyclists, triathletes, and rowers stopped by and gave it their all,” says Jørgen Aukland, ProTeam Director for the long-distance skiing team Ragde Charge.
The article continues below.
Therese Johaug’s record stands firm
In the women’s class, Anikken Gjerde Alnæs, also from Team Ragde Charge, won. She clocked in at 56:34, winning by almost three minutes. However, the long-distance veteran is still far from Therese Johaug’s record of 51:23.
Alnæs now holds honor and glory but needs to practice more to secure the cash prize.
The competition will be set up again next fall. That’s when Ragde’s gym will open again for anyone who wants to challenge Therese Johaug or Johan Hoel.
Jørgen Aukland, who developed the test four years ago, explains that the combination session in the gym is as honest as it is brutal, providing a good indication of both physical and mental status.
“This power test says something about basic capacity and strength, and it requires a solid dose of mental effort. For all skiers, this is an incredibly good test and a challenge that makes you better,” says Aukland and elaborates:
“To take on this test requires motivation, high capacity, strength, and a willingness to suffer. Those who complete it are shocked at how high their average heart rate is throughout the competition. There is never any rest, not even an opportunity to calm down. Especially, the transition from running to poling on the SkiErg is demanding, and the numbers and feeling are much worse than in a regular hard work out on the SkiErg. The combination of running fast and poling fast on the SkiErg has proven to be challenging for many.”
Curious about life on a Pro Team? Check out the gripping documentary series Ski Classics Ski or Die: Get behind the scenes of three major Pro Teams and gain insight into the passion, team spirit, and camaraderie that drives athletes in one of the world’s most demanding sports.