The plan was to meet Emelie Forsberg at a cafe in Tazacorte for a pre-Transvulcania interview and to catch up with her as she prepares for the 2013 running season. Upon arriving, Emelie had already showed up with two sidekicks in tow- new kid on the Salomon-block, Cameron Clayton- fresh from his 2nd place at Lake Sonoma and chomping at the bit for this weeks race- and Killian Jornet- just arrived on La Palma and looking relaxed before another tilt at the Transvulcania crown. What ensued was not an interview per-se but more like a laid-back chat in the sun about the race and the year ahead..
Emelie & Cameron cruising during the recent Salomon Advanced week in Moab © Droz-Photo.com
Runtramp: So Emelie, what do you think of La Palma so far?
Emelie Forsberg: I think it’s a super, super beautiful island. I’ve been to Tenerife and Gran Canaria but this so nice with the ridge that rises up directly from the sea. It’s perfect. I said to Kilian when he arrived yesterday that I really get inspired around a lot of mountains but here it’s very beautiful with just this one big ridge, the green trees and the black lava sand- I really enjoy that.
RT: So where have you run so far? You ran the first section from Fuencaliente right?
EF: I ran up here to 2000 meters and back- I didn’t go all the way because I only wanted to run 2000 meters vertical! and, yeah, I ran from Fuencaliente down to the start and then up again and continued a bit on the uphill.
RT: It’s a pretty tough start too?
EF: Yeah, it’s going to be a really tough start! I am not looking forward to that because I know that I want to start fast too but I am going to feel so tired because its just sand and uphill. When we reach Fuencaliente I think it will be better- then the heart is going and you’re in the race.
RT: And talking about racing, it must be disappointing that Anna won’t be running? That was lining up to be an epic battle.
EF: I think we could have run a good time together. I don’t know whether it would have been a good battle though because no one is in really good running shape- although I don’t know about Nuria, I think she has been running more than me this winter- so maybe she has started to reach her peak but I don’t think I have.
RT: So you ran and won Trans Gran Canaria- the shorter distance- a few months ago, that’s not a bad start to the running seasons is it?
EF: [Much laughter from Emelie] Yeah but that was my first run of the year and I was cruising!
RT:..and since that race have you not run so much?
EF: No not at all! I counted my days running since then- I had 5 days in the US, 6 days in New Zealand, 6 days in Chamonix. So I can count my days of running in 2013.
RT:..and Cameron (Clayton) you only arrived yesterday. Have you been out yet on the course?
Cameron Clayton: I’ve been up to the top of that cliff! [points upwards from the beach, up the zig-zag path which will be the last downhill section of the Transvulcania course] I ran about an hour and a half today so I made it a little bit around the island on the road. It’s really pretty, I don’t know too much else yet but the race looks like it will be fun.
RT: So Lake Sonoma 50 was your last race Cameron, you were 2nd there to Sage (Canaday)..
CC: Yeah, Sage got me!
RT: He’s gotten everybody this year..
CC: Yeah 2013 he’s been on it.
RT: What about Transvulcania, how are you feeling about the race?
CC: Oh I’m excited by it.
RT: When I talked to Tim (Olson) yesterday he reckoned that you and Sage are going to blast out of the blocks and disappear in a cloud of black sand?
CC: I mean, anyone that wants to come with us are welcome! [laughter]. We are both going to go for Dakota’s record for sure. Basically every race we enter- Sage and I also go for whatever record there is and try and break it. We both have a pretty strong belief in ourselves that we can get most of the records we go for.
EF: Haha, I think it’s awesome to hear! I can’t think like that!
RT: Dakota’s is a solid record Cameron..
CC: Yeah it is a solid record, Dakota did really well. Sage is obviously really fit- he got Dakota’s record at Lake Sonoma and Sage is also an amazing climber- he is phenomenal at climbing uphill so I think this really suits him, as the first 50k is all uphill. He’s not the greatest technical descender, he knows that, and he’s been working on that. So I think he may have a few problems on the descent- if I get him, that where I will get him. I don’t know- it’s exciting!
EF: ..and how do you feel about the descent Cameron?
CC: I love descending. I was running with this guy yesterday [points to Kilian Jornet, who is sitting, reading a book beside us] who I think does a little bit better on quick switchbacks than I do.
RT: You don’t take switchbacks though do you Kilian!? You’ve got a bit of a reputation..
Kilian Jornet: [laughter] No!
CC: Speedgoat is responsible for that one! [laughter]
RT: You must be looking forward to racing with these too Kilian?
KJ: I am going to wait and see. Yeah I want to do well but it’s like every race- now I am relaxing but when I am at the start I want to win.
RT: You raced here last year, so you now the course a little better too?
KJ: Yes, but I think it will be almost the same. Last year was hotter and this year will be a little colder. The race is really fast and not technical..
[At this point Kilian was approached for some autographs from a group of fans and a photo session ensued, I used the time to get to know Cameron a little better..]
RT: Cameron, I have to admit, when I saw the photo’s from the Salomon Advanced week in Moab, that was the first time I had seen you. My initial impression was ‘Who’s the Swedish Guy!?’
EF: Oh no not another Swede- the Swede’s are taking over!..you look super-Swedish though..
CC: I’m from Colorado! I’m a home-grown American. Born in Reno but I grew up in Colorado. My mom’s grandparents were both Swedish..but I’m part Swedish, Danish & English
EF: Just say you’re Swedish, it sounds better!
RT: OK, back to the race- Emelie, what about the downhill here? It’s gonna suit you isn’t it?
EF: I think the parts where it is not technical, I am going to try to push and then on the technical parts I am just going to run like I normally do. I don’t think I can push it, at least not here at the last part (down to the beach at Tazacorte) because it’s all the switchbacks- so I am just going to go ok-fast, like we did today.
KJ: [shake’s his head] Fast!
EF: [Laughs] Not so fast! I will try.
RT:..With Frosty not racing too, you are pretty much favourite or joint favourite now, would you agree?
EF: No, Nuria is probably. I think everyone thinks Nuria and I will be battling…
RT: I suppose you haven’t beaten Nuria over the 50 mile distance either?
EF: No, not in the longer distance, only on shorter distances..I’m a speedster, I’m a sprinter! [Laughter] But if it’s like this temperature (24° celcius) and not warmer that it’ll be ok for Nuria and me. I think Nuria is the same as me- she prefers the cold. I think we are about the same, we like the downhills, we like cool weather- maybe she is a better climber but I have been doing a lot of uphill this winter so I hope I am a bit better.
RT: The Skimo (Ski Mountaineering), your new passion, must have helped too, really seems like you have fallen in love with it?
EF: Yeah I think it’s helped. I love skiing and I love the light gear- yeah I think I have fallen in love with Skimo!
RT: So Cameron, has Transvulcania always been on your calendar for this year?
CC: Yeah, I just signed for Salomon in January. It was one of the races that Greg (Vollet, Salomon Team Manager) mentioned at the beginning- he was like ‘Here is a race schedule that is tentative, we can work with it’ but Transvulcania was on there and it sounded amazing..
RT: What other races have you got lined up too?
CC: The next one I know for sure is Western States, so as long as that still happens…there are some forest fires going on around that area…but I think that it will happen still..So I will do that 100 miler and we plan out the rest of the year right after that, when I see how I am feeling. That will be the first 100 miler I will ever do. Tim (Olson) is out here, he’s the course record holder, so we will be going for it- we’ll both be going for a win.
RT: Sounds great, I gotta ask Emelie- any thoughts on a 100 miler yet!? When I interviewed you in december a 100 miler was not on your radar at all, any change there?
EF: [Lots of laughter all round] The thing is I got a bit excited because it is so long a distance but I am excited about being able to do a lot of things- from a vertical kilometre up to a 100 miler and when I heard about ‘Diagonale de Fous’, after Kilian did it last year, I was like ‘That sounds interesting!’ So I’m thinking maybe or maybe not- I have time, it’s nice to know I could do it- but I haven’t planned any 100 miler yet.
RT: So you are of the same mindset as Frosty- possibly start with one of the toughest 100 milers that exists!?
EF: Yeah but the thing is I don’t think that is more difficult for me than to run Western States. I like the technical, the up and down, so I think it would be harder for me to run Western States and have to push all the time..
CC: Plus at Western States it’s like 110° for a lot of it- or 42° celcius for all you Europeans. It sounds a lot more impressive when you say 110°..!
EF: Yeah, I am not really afraid of doing ‘Diagonale de Fous’ but it depends on what I want to do in November and December- I don’t know if I am going to be destroyed after a 100 miler or if it’s too early..I’m not sure.
RT: Where are you planning on racing after here?
EF: I am going to do Zegama- after here I go home to Sweden for a trail running camp, then a VO2 max test..then I go to Zegama.[laughs] so lots of running! After that I have some races in Sweden on the Salomon Trail Tour – I am just going to do the 10km races to get some speed. Then I have Mont Blanc marathon, Kilians Classic, maybe Ice Trail (Ultra SkyMarathon in Val d’Isere), European Skyrunning Championship and maybe Speedgoat.
Cool, so back to the States? You have a really good record over there too, 2 races, 2 wins.
EF: Yeah I don’t want to break it! So I need to feel fresh when when I go to America [laughs], I want it to continue!
CC: You should do Hardrock huh? That would be fun to do one year.
RT: If you run Western States that you can apply for Hardrock, right Cameron?
CC: I wouldn’t do Hardrock this year, I am a little cautious in my racing. I wouldn’t do, like, three 100 milers in a year at this point- I think I would get too tired, either burnt-out or some kind of injury. I would like to be a little careful in my first couple of years.
EF: Cameron, don’t you think that you would lose your speed, ’cause you have said that have a speedy background, do you not think you would lose that if you ran 100 milers?
CC: I think you keep what you train, because even if you do a 100 miler than another 100 miler that’s two or three efforts in a year. If the rest of your training all year long is fast then maybe you’re not quite as ready for a 100 miler but you will keep your speed- if 350 days of the year you are doing speed. I think you will keep it a little bit more.
RT: Cool, So, Kilian, what have you got on your calendar for 2013?
KJ: Yeah, so Transvulcania, Zegama, then I want to try for the Mont Blanc record- Chamonix-Mont Blanc-Chamonix, ski and then by foot. Then I will do Mont Blanc marathon, Mont Blanc Vertical Kilometer. Then I have a 35km race in Catalonia, Ice Trail in Val d’Isere, European Skyrunning Championships- Vertical K, Skyrace and Ultra. Then Ultracks (Matterhorn winter/summer skimo/trail race combo) and I also want to try the record for the Matterhorn- that is my biggest goal for this summer. Then I will do Limone, the season’s last Skyrace in Italy and then ‘Diagonale de Fous’.
RT: Wow, that’s sounds like a busy summer Kilian. So, Emelie, you have been spending quite a bit of time in Chamonix too during the winter and also now in spring. Are you planning keep Tromsö in Norway as your base or have you though about moving to the Alps?
EF: Yeah, right now I like to have Tromsö as a base. I like being in Chamonix because the mountains are so nice but I like Scandinavia, it is really nice to have as my home.
[At this point Frosty and Tim Olson appeared and the chat drifted to who would take a dip in the sea or not..I would like to thank Emelie, Cameron and Kilian for taking time out to chat with me]
Thanks for reading the interview, if want to share, click and copy the link below//Robbie, RunTramp.