Never before have a larger proportion of ladies cycled Offroad Finnmark
2022 will be a landmark year in terms of the proportion of female participants in Offroad Finnmark. 21.5 per cent of those registered are women. It is unique in a national context.
– Women seek challenges where it’s not just about pure physical capacity, but where it’s about being tough, says OF profile Nina Gässler.
– The feeling of mastery when completing the race is enormous, says another female profile, Siril Pettersen Hammari.
With a share of over 20 per cent women on the starting line, Offroad Finnmark stands out as a cycle race that is ideally suited for women. It is not usual to have such a high proportion of women in other comparable competitions.
A total of 77 women are pre-registered for Offroad Finnmark 2022 in the classes youth, 150 km, 300 km and 700 km. A total of 366 participants are registered in all these classes.
– We are naturally happy that our ride hits the ladies. Last year we said that we would like to have the proportion of women even higher, considering that women have traditionally not been very well represented in extreme cycling races in the past, and it is gratifying to register that the proportion is increasing, says general manager Kjetil Johansen.
The proportion of women is significantly lower in other comparable cycling competitions. In Ultrabirken, for example, only half is calculated as a percentage.
Offroad Finnmark profile Nina Gässler believes there are several possible reasons for the positive proportion of women in the race:
– In general, there have been more women cycling in tough terrain. Women seek challenges where it is not just a matter of pure physical capacity, but where it is necessary to be tough. I also believe that the marketing of Offroad Finnmark has helped: Show that many women are involved.
– We have also come a long way in society, I think. It is no longer taboo for women to show muscles, get dirty and do things that are not exactly “ladylike”. A development that I personally like very much. Suddenly we’re not weird anymore, but we’re girls who do what they like: seek out adventures and challenges, says Nina. She has just been on a 36-day cycling trip, during which she covered 32 days of cycling, 3820 kilometers and 42,277 meters of altitude! Nina is over OF 2022, but says she knows herself so well that she does not rule out being back later.
Ahead of Offroad Finnmark 2019, Aftenposten wrote about the high proportion of women in Offroad Finnmark . Here, both Offroad Finnmark profile Linda Treseng and Jorid Hovden, professor of sports sociology at NTNU in Trondheim, were interviewed about the proportion of women in cycling races.
– Lower your shoulders and focus more on the experience than on the competition. Sounded the advice from Treseng.
– There is a lot of research that shows that women like competitions less than men. Women attach more importance to the social than to compete with each other. The experience and developing belonging and social relationships have traditionally been important for women, Professor Jorid Hovden told Aftenposten.
– If we take Offroad Finnmark, then it is quite tough, so it is probably the case that those who manage to finish will take it as a great victory, said Hovden.
The general manager of Offroad Finnmark is happy about the good proportion of women, and hopes it will increase further in the coming years.
– We started with one woman on the starting line in the first year. I have no doubt that those who have worked with Offroad Finnmark over the years since 2008 have done a lot right, says Kjetil Johansen.
He will also highlight some female cyclists who he believes have gone ahead. Participants such as Linda Treseng, Turid Karlstrøm, Nina Gässler and Sirill Pettersen Hammari have inspired other women to do what they didn’t think was possible.
– And that is precisely what Offroad Finnmark is about for many people. It’s about winning over yourself and doing things you didn’t think you had the capacity for, says Johansen. He believes that the list of women who have inspired is long, but highlights here only a small selection.
– So great that this with the high proportion of women is highlighted, says Siril Pettersen Hammari. Altajenta has completed the race six times. Siril says she is taking a short break from the race this year, but will be back next year.
– I think it has to do with the focus on the experience itself, here it is the trip by bike and finishing it that is the goal. And the feeling of mastery! The feeling of mastery when completing the race is enormous!
– And Offroad Finnmark has also been good at focusing on the “woman in the street”. There is applause and cheering and an atmosphere is created for both the first and last woman on the trail. The whole atmosphere surrounding the ride, the audience and the volunteers who create a fantastic setting around it all, it’s something special.
– And then there is a lot of “pleasant” training for such a ride, nice walks, nature experiences, and something you can do with family and friends, says Siril.