Mattias Hargin competes in the Are Extreme Challenge
Since 1997 the multisport competition Åre Extreme Challenge has been taking place in Åre, Sweden. This year, on a Saturday at the end of June, about 900 competitors first completed 18 km of kayaking on the Åre lake, and after a changing gear, ran up the Åreskutan mountain, going from 400 m.a.s.l to 1420 only to descend on the other side for a total of 15 km of running. After reaching the little village of Huså, it was time to jump on their mountain bikes and pedal another 32 km back to Åre.
It took the winner 5 h, 6 min and 20 seconds to complete the 65 km long Challenge.
Swedish alpine skier, Mattias Hargin was among the 900 competitors that day. With his teammate Petter, Hargin competed in the Duo category. They finished 12th out of 50 competitors, crossing the finish line in 7 h 17 min and 54 sec.
The Swedish Federation had a chat with Hargin after the event, and found out why would an alpine skier take up such an endurance challenge, what were his plans for the upcoming season and more.
Q: How come you decided to compete in the ÅEC?
MH: Some friends came up with the idea of a challenge, so it turned out that we had four duo teams on the starting line and raced against each other. It was funny especially since my team won the battle.
Q: At which part of the race did you feel strongest?
MH: I felt really strong running up the Åre Mountain.
Q: Did all the different parts go well, or did you have any accidents?
MH: Things went on nicely throughout the whole race, there were no accidents apart from my race buddy Petter cramping and having to fight really hard for the last two hours.
Q: Have you had a different training schedule because of this competition?
MH: The only thing was that the last 3 - 4 weeks before the race I did some extra fitness oriented training with much less strength. Now after the race, I have to make up for the strength train that I missed.
Q: Will this challenge give you something that will benefit you as a skier, something you would not get in your regular workout?
MH: The only advantage is that I am in great shape earlier than usual. And also, these seven hours of hard work has given me some experience, our ski training in the future will probably not feel so heavy.
Q: What was your goal before you started?
MH: The goal was to win the internal competition against my friends, and it was nice to achieve just that. I also had a small target to finish under 7 h. Now we stopped at 7 h 18 min, but next year I aim to improve that.
Q: You ran in the duo category, who was your race buddy?
MH: I raced together with one of my oldest childhood friends. We know each other very well, which was probably an advantage.
Q: Have you been training together so you kept the same pace? Or how did it work?
MH: Unfortunately, we haven’t really worked out that much together before. While I could put all the focus I wanted on training, my friend has a regular job with long work hours, which made it difficult for him to get the right amount of training. He had to go more on willpower than muscles throughout the race, which he did well.
Q: Some other plans for the summer?
MH: Now I will be in Stockholm until the middle of July, working out and spending time with family and friends. Then my girlfriend Matilda and me are going with four of our friends to Bali for a two weeks surf trip. That will be really nice.
Q: Summer is short, and a new season is coming soon with the Olympics in February, what are your goals for the season?
MH: I feel I have to improve technically, I feel that I have stagnated a little the past two seasons. If some pieces fall into place, I know that I can be there at the top again. And obviously there is a lot of focus on the Olympics. A medal there would mean very much.
Q: You have had some changes in the coaching staff from last season, with Rudi Soulard as the new head of tech. How does the new team feel?
MH: It feels very good. I have had Rudi as my coach earlier in my career. The year I won the European Cup and secured my spot in the World Cup, he was my coach. So we know each other well and I know he has really good thoughts about technics. It will be interesting to start working with him again.