– It was a difficult choice. But I’ve decided it’s now or never about getting to the restroom,” Slend tells NRK.
The 34-year-old from Oppdal is part of Aker Dæhlie’s squad. Her job is to win the long-distance races in the ski classics. But on the way to the season she had her own double dream: the three-mile toilet walk in Planica on Saturday, March 4 and the 90-kilometre Vasaloppet the next day.
The road to the World Cup runs through the World Cup, and Slend managed to get into the World Cup team early in the season. During the Tour de Ski, she was sixth and the best Norwegian at the start of the 15 km classic in Val di Fiemme.
It was enough for Slind to make himself relevant to the WC team at three miles, but not enough for his place on the team to be secure.
Sjur national team coach Ole Svarstad confirmed that Slind had clearly communicated that in order to secure a WC spot, she had to come to Les Rousses to walk in the 20km joint start on Sunday. According to the plan, Slind was supposed to go to Marcialonga, one of the four Grand Slam races in the ski classics.
– All smoke
After some deliberation, I agreed to go to the World Cup.
– Yellow jersey and all smoke when I get here, she admits when NRK meets her on a Thursday afternoon.
– How much kroner can you lose by dropping Marcialonga?
– It’s about a million and a half. So I sacrifice a lot for toilet access, she says.
Not that Slind can win a million and a half at Marcialonga alone. But with her withdrawal, she actually loses the chance to win the overall yellow jersey in the Ski Classics.
She also loses the chance of winning the most lucrative races, i.e. winning all four Grand Slam races, Marcialonga, Jizerska, Vasaloppet and Birkebeinerrennet.
– Money is not everything
Slend asserts that she had to get the maximum payoff to make it happen anyway. But she won both Vasaloppet and Birkebeineren last year, and won the last two Ski Classics before Marcialonga.
– It’s going to take a lot of the four of them to work there, but if there was ever a season he could have gone, it would be this one. But money isn’t everything, isn’t that what they say, smiles Astrid Auer Slend, who has won just over 160,000 kroner in prize money at the World Cup so far this winter.
Slend says she hasn’t received any clear information about what she should do in the race on Sunday.
– If you win, that’s for sure. That’s what you have to go for, you say.
– But it’s more about how fast other Norwegians go, how many other people are willing to walk the three-mile WC, and how much better I can do it in a three-mile run than in a 20km run with a herringbone, says Slend, revealing that The track in Les Rousses includes a long, winding Chinese that she didn’t quite like.
– I just have to go all out and hope it works out, she says.
Not traveling as a backup
Then, she’ll have a clear answer as to whether or not she’s on the three-mile team. Being on top of the restroom isn’t exciting in and of itself. Slind does not travel to WC as a backup.
– No, then I run long distances, she says.
National team coach Svarstad won’t say when a possible green light could be given, but he does stress that it might be appropriate to give the green light to single-distance runners before leaving for Planica.
– Yes, it could be, he tells NRK.
Norway has four places in each distance in the water cycle. Based on the season so far, it appears that Terrell Odnes Wing and Ann Kjersti-Kalva have been signed to the three-mile team. Heidi Wing, Astrid Auer Slend and Ingfeld Flogstad Ostberg may be fighting for the last two places — unless new names hit Les Rousses this weekend.
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