Tor-Erling brings 18 participants to Finnmark!
Tor-Erling Johansen (63) moved from Finnmark as an 11-year-old, but has not forgotten where he comes from. During this year’s Offroad Finnmark, he has a squad of 18 cyclists from Fjell og Sykkelservice.
Old love never rusts! That definitely applies to the alto player Tor-Erling Johansen. The heart beats hard for the home place of the fit 63-year-old who has started in all races since 2009.
Tor-Erling moved from Alta and Finnmark as an 11-year-old, and now lives in Skodje (just outside Ålesund), where he has settled with his family. Here he runs the sports and bicycle shop Fjell og Sykkelservice. It is also the name of the team that year after year puts up a strong line-up in Offroad Finnmark.
– The goal is 20 participants from our team. I thought we’d make it this year, but we’ll try again next year!
That’s what the cheerful Finnmark westerner who has not forgotten his dialect says. It takes a responsive speaker to establish that the man moved from Alta in 1969!
Johansen took part in Offroad Finnmark for the first time already in 2009, when the race became official for the first time. As is well known, 2008 was an internal test ride where participants from outside the Alta environment were not opened up.
– I discovered the ride on the internet and immediately thought that this was something I wanted to try. I brought Ronald Båtnes with me as a mate and signed us up for OF700. It was a completely magical experience!
Johansen singles out the checkpoints at Finnmarksvidda as some of the things that sit best after so many years.
– Ronald is still talking about the checkpoints in Suossjavri and Øvre Mollisjok. The nature experiences were magical and we met so many nice people.
He highlights 2013 as a high point. Then he brought his wife on the OF700.
– My original Danish partner resigned, and then I persuaded his wife to join. I was strongly advised not to do that by anyone. “You are divorced before the first checkpoint,” I heard, laughs Tor-Erling.
But it went well with Team Fjell and Cycle Service Johansen/Johansen. They completed the 700 in 3 days, 10 hours and 7 minutes!
– It was really crazy that we managed it, when my partner retired in May. But we took it easy and had a fantastically nice trip on the plain. The weather was nice and it was a nice feeling of mastery for both of us. A memory to take with you for life.
And it is precisely the feeling of mastery that triggers Johansen. He believes it is a victory to reach the finish line at all distances. And especially 700, which he has finished 9 times. In 2016 he fell ill and in 2017 the team was stopped by the deadline.
– I’m betting on finishing 10th. once this summer. It would have been fun. You get bitten by this bug, so it is not out of the question that there will be more 700 starts for me in the future, says the man who will turn 64 this autumn.
Team Ski and Cycling Service have joint training sessions and joint meetings. The team consists of friends, family and customers. He has four children and the goal is to get a 700 finisher jersey for everyone. This summer he is cycling either solo or with his daughter and a friend of hers.
– Now I’ve done this so many times that the next thing goes on autopilot. It’s important to stay reasonably healthy and reasonably injury-free, so it should probably work this year as well, he laughs.