It’s Norwegian constitution day today. This time last year I was in Oslo training with ski legend Aksel Lund Svindal.
It was the first time I’d ever visited Norway. I was so very impressed by Norway, Oslo, the Norwegian people, Aksel himself. The country is gorgeous. I only saw Oslo and the surrounding hills. A beautiful part of the world, but nothing compared to other parts of Norway I believe.
The folk were great. Norwegians are very pleasing on the eye. Tall, strong, blonde & beautiful, is the average up there. Of course, looks aren’t everything. It’s what’s inside that counts. Norwegians are so easy going. Norway is the closest neighbour to the part of Scotland that I come from. So I’ve always known Norwegians. Norwegians offshore never failed to entertain me with their “why so serious?” attitude. You could always see them looking at us Scot’s thinking “What on Earth are these lot getting so excited about? The oil’s been in the ground for millions of years. It’ll be there Tomorrow. Relax.”.
Seeing the Norwegians, in Norway is a thing of beauty. They really are so cool. Aksel and I were cycling through the city of Oslo. At some points we were racing, at others just casually chatting. Sometimes we’d be faced with pedestrians or cars.
In Austria, if you dare walk on a bike path, or heaven forbid, cross the road without using a zebra crossing, you’re fair game. I don’t think anyone in the history of the world has ever been punched in the face by an Austrian, but they’ll run you over without a thought if you don’t follow the highway code.
In Norway it’s so different. The people are so respectful of each other. Their attitude was much more considerate. Pedestrians instantly recognised that the bike path wasn’t wide enough to have a conversation and ride at the same time. Cars would just stop to let us cross the road. The drivers clearly recognised that the cyclist was the more fragile road user. They would go out of their way to make sure the cyclist could cross safely.
Norwegians are the most respectful, cultivated, civilised people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. The best looking too.
Jedi mind tricks
I have a great example. I lost my passport! I was at the airport, in the boarding queue. I opened my rucksack to get my passport out. It wasn’t there. I panicked for a second or two. I don’t do panic though, so I quickly stopped that. I came up with a solution. It wasn’t very likely to work but it was the only option I had. I was going to have to use Jedi Mind tricks to get on the plane. I I’d do it with so much confidence that she wouldn’t question me. I had nothing to lose. The chances of me getting on the plane were somewhere between slim and none. Why not pretend to be Obi Wan Kenobi?
I was standing in line, mentally preparing my best Alec Guiness accent. “You don’t need to see this identification”. I’ve seen Star Wars 753 times, I know how to do it. Complete confidence. Then, 3 people before it was my turn, the security lady lost all interest in looking at passports. I just walked onto the plane. Easy peasy. That wouldn’t happen in Scotland or Austria.
Aksel Lund Svindal
Aksel himself was a mega chilled out guy. At least until I tried to overtake him. He couldn’t let that happen. It was so funny. Aksel Lund Svindal is totally relaxed, so easy to talk to, a really cool guy. We were just cycling and talking and stuff but as soon as he thought my front wheel was in front of mine, he changed. It was like Jekyll and Hyde. Bang! Straight into competitor mode. He couldn’t let you been in front. Then he’d be instantly chilled out again. It was so funny. I’ve only ever seen such a sympathetic-parasympathetic switch in one other athlete. That’s a real signal for athletic greatness.
The X-Games also took place in Oslo, that Week. We were invited to the X-games Red Bull athletes party. I was really excited about meeting the Red Bull sponsored Austrian snowboarder Anna Gasser, who had just won Olympic Gold in the Big Air event in Pyeongchang. Unfortunately we got the the times completely wrong and basically missed the party. Anna had already left by the time I got there. I was disappointed. The next day I saw that Anna had posted photos on Instagram from later on Constitution day, from the rooftop party at the hotel I was staying. Close, but no cigar.
I didn’t meet Anna but I saw the King. The real King. Of Norway. He seemed nice.
Aksel Lund Svindal
Then I went swimming in the Oslo Fjord with Aksel. That was pretty cool. Diving off the pier, off of places I really shouldn’t have been. That was fun. UFC fighter Emil Valhalla Meek was also there. Emil is nice.
Aksel and I got on really well. I wouldn’t claim we got really deep but we went far beyond shallow. We definitely got into things that I would never share. I was very surprised that he skied this past season. What he achieved in his last season as a skier is simply not humanly possible. It’s not. If you knew what I know, you’d know it’s not.
Aksel Lund Svindal bowed out in style. Aksel’s last race was the downhill at the world championships in Åre Sweden. Holy Shit what a race! It was crazy. I’ve never seen anything like it. Aksel won a silver medal just 0.02 seconds behind fellow Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud, miles ahead of everyone else.
His body wasn’t capable of that achievement. Not at all. It was such an amazing example of mind over matter. Mind over matter, that’s how I earn my living. I’ve done things that aren’t humanly possible. Wim Hof is a friend of mine. Wim has done lots of things that aren’t humanly possible. What Aksel did though! That was the World Championships. That was the downhill World Championships.
There is no other discipline in the whole of sport that is more physically demanding than downhill skiing. His body was not up for it. It wasn’t. I saw his knee in May, it wasn’t pretty. I watched the race and I knew about his knee. I swear I almost died. There is one corner where his knee gives. That’s where he lost the 0.02 seconds. Scary!
Lange rede, kurzer sinn. Norway is beautiful. Norwegians are great. Aksel Lund Svindal is an absolute gem of a human being and totally deserves to be called a living legend. Norwegian men are incredibly handsome and the women are stunning.
Go to Norway!
My friend Titus does the best tours. Click this link. https://supnorway.com/
Until next time, keep breathing.
From the heart
P.S. Take your own packed lunch with you.