While the majority of the members of the World Cup squad are based in either Vermont or Alaska during the summer, 28-year-old Kevin Bolger has continued his line with seasons spent over the 60th northern parallel. FasterSkier caught up with Bolger just when he returned to the USA after a few months of training in Sweden.
Just before his return, Bolger had competed in the Alliansloppet roller ski race, which took place as part of Alliance Race Action Week takes place August 20-29. The events during the week included roller skiing, mountain biking and running. The competition took place in the city of Trollhättan, southwest of Stockholm, and drew participants sixteen countries. It is advertised as the world’s largest roller ski race and serves as an official ranking event for the popular ones Vasaloppet.
Faster: Can you give us a brief description of what your summer has looked like, in terms of training?
Kevin Bolger: In terms of training, I spent the first two months of the training year at altitude in the Sun Valley, then I spent the last two months training in Falun, Sweden at sea level, working with speed and high-intensity training. I jumped in a few camps and a few roller ski races, and now I’m back in the US where I plan to spend the last block of fall preparations at height again in Park City and Sun Valley.
FS: You have been in Sweden for a couple of months now and you have spent other summers training in Norway, so you have previous experience of summers in Scandinavia. Any similarities or differences this year?
KB: I did not really notice any major differences in terms of training. I thought that things were very similar, but of course it depends on who you train with and how each individual trains. But overall, I thought it was the same thing.
FS: Big roller ski festivals do not really exist in the USA What is it like to compete in an event like the Alliance Race? Are there any other roller ski races you have been able to compete in?
KB: I could compete in two big roller ski races while I was in Scandinavia. Blink, which is in Norway, and Alliansloppet, in Sweden. Both experiences were great. I really think it’s a show race – of course you show up ready to test your form and see how the training goes, but at the end of the day it’s a really good training race. And more importantly, mentally, put on a bib and go through the competition movements again. I think that’s the biggest gain.
But it’s fun. The energy is good, people are happy to compete again and how the events are held – it feels very professional, just like a World Cup. Although there were some limitations due to COVID, it was really fun. I heard that both races usually draw tens of thousands of spectators.
FS: A highlight from training in Sweden this summer?
KB: The highlight was being able to hunt Maja [Dahlqvist] all summer long. (Bolger and Dahlqvist are dating.) Overall, the whole time I spent over there was fantastic, I can not say that it was one thing specifically that was a highlight. I could join the Swedish national team for a camp, which was very nice of them to open up for me, and it was really cool to do. Getting on snow in Torsby by the tunnel was also really good. I could go on and on – it was a fantastic summer over there!