In February, this year Carol Bildahl started A Swedish Classic by skiing 90 km in Vasaloppet. The plan was to continue with Vätternrundan, Vansbrosimningen and finally Lidingöloppet, but then came covid-19. Her plans to come to Sweden and participate in the races have therefore been paused, but A Swedish Classic is still within reach – at home.
About 15 years ago Carol Bildahl and her husband had a young man, Alex, from Sweden as a lodger for six months. Alex told them about A Swedish Classic and how it was something he had on his bucket list. Carol was inspired and for 2020 when she turns 60, she decided that it was her turn to take on A Swedish Classic.
– My family and friends do think I’m crazy. But I want to let them all know that age is just a number. You can do anything if you put your mind to it.
Carol signed up for Vasaloppet and in February she skied 90km from Sälen to Mora.
– I’m a skate skier so it was a challenge to switch sports but I just told myself, take my time and enjoy myself. The first section I got tangled in a crash on the ice flats, and a large man ran into me, it took a bit for my hips to get back in action.
Carol completed Vasaloppet and the plan was to continue with Vätternrundan, but then came covid-19 and put an end to all plans.
– I was all set for my summer 2020 plans, I was coming over to do the bike race and then I was going to Gotland to work with Alex, who now runs a beautiful restaurant there. Then I was going to do the swim part. But covid-19 has made a mess of those plans.
Even though her plans to travel to Sweden are dashed, the goal is still to complete A Swedish Classic. Vätternrundan and Vansbrosimningen, who have cancelled their events, offer the possibility to cycle and swim at home and thus carry out their races.
– I will do all the events at home, but I really want to do them in Sweden.
Carol who lives in Connecticut, an hour northeast of New York, will swim in Long Island Sound. The plan is to swim early in the morning before boat traffic starts.
– I really wanted to swim the Vansbrosimningen in Swedish water but I live on the coast and I will swim out to a local light house and back. It’s open water and very busy but I will do it in the early hours. I will swim on my own but my family will be with me in a kayak or motor boat.
What enticed you to take on A Swedish Classic?
– I love that it’s four events to train for and I love the Swedish culture and its people. When I returned from Sweden after Vasaloppet I made my family a Princess Cake, that was a challenge also. I think I’m getting close to being a Swede!