Sunday, 8 September 2013


"Did the French not go on speak school when they was young". This is a quote by our Finish coach who really can't comprehend the French language and so Tignes becomes Tig-Nes. To be fair he speaks Finnish, Swedish and English as well as basic words such as Oui in French or spassiba in Russian, so we will let him off.
This week has quite possibly been the funnest week i've had as a british skier. The entertainment starts at 8.50am every morning. We start or leave for training at 9 most mornings. I say 9 a little loosely as we have taken it to mean that you can be as late as you want... as long as you are not last. In addition, to make it more exciting, there is an un-written rule that you can't start getting ready until 10min before. So at 8.50 all hell breaks loose. Bedrooms get turned upsides down looking for those lost shorts or heart rate monitor strap, tactics come into to play with people locking them selves in the bathroom where other people have kit drying. Anything to make sure you are not last. On one occasion Posy took this to the next level. I was the last one in the house, but had an opportunity to over take and not be last. Instead Posy locked me in the house. With the door closed i was left fumbling about in a dark corridor looking for a light switch and then a key. Safe to say i lost that day. Most days one of the boys loose.
The last two days training have been a little harder and all the previous training has caught up with me. I've been having a lie down after lunch. Today I walked into the bedroom to find Alex in there lying on his bed with the curtains drawn and his bedside lamp on, reading his book. I asked him why he didn't open the curtains and read using the day light. I quickly learned that reading not under the light of a bed side lamp doesn't create the same "feel", and it "just doesn't feel right",  I feel a lot more educated after this. Perhaps this where I am going wrong in life. The last time I read a book was a little over a year ago... it must be all the daylight that is stopping me.
We also had a discussion this week as to which countries food is the best. It all started after talking about our next camp in Val Senales and how some of the Norwegian U23 team complained about the food after 2 weeks. "not pasta again". And so the jokes about norwegian food started... potatoes and meat were the butt of the jokes. I tried to argue that actually Salmon and potatoes might make a nice change to pasta and risotto. Thomas was joining in, fighting for his scandinavian roots - meat, potatoes, fish. But we eventually all came to agreement when the question of 3 weeks of Sognefjell food, or 3 weeks of Val Senales food.  Val Senales won hands down, and suddenly I'm all the more excited for our next training camp, even though this one hasn't finished.
Before I move onto boring topics like training I thought I'd leave you a few tips for life
- Always have a fire on... no matter what. If you have a wood fire, have it on. Even if it is so hot the doors and windows are open, have it on. After all the open doors and windows will only help with the through draft and starting the fire.
- Sean Banan. (pronounced "shan") Sean Banan is to music what Johan Muhlegg is to cross country skiing... so awful, yet so entertaining... I'm hooked.
- "En kaffe" is universal in every language... say it anywhere and you will get coffee, you just don't know what type of coffee.
- If you ever see one of those electro abb pulse thingies... buy it... they are awesome and bound to turn you into a faster skier.
- French milk is rubbish... don't even bother. My theory is that all the decent milk gets used for making cheese... plausible?
- If you go shopping with 6 people and without a pen to score things off on a shopping list you can end up with 6 chorizo sausages for a meal which requires one.
(Fi says "we had a pen it just ran out")

We have trained a fair bit, but the quantity isn't really what is getting at us, it is more the combination of a medium hard intensity week and a medium hard volume week. A fair bit of training... fairly hard. I've been enjoying it and I feel as if I have achieved a lot from some sessions and others have felt horrible. Most sessions we see some film or a short clip of us skiing so we can see how our technique was looking. Yesterday we had a hard speed session i was really pleased with and earlier in the week we had a classic 7.5km up hill time trial with 490m of height gain. The boys started 5min behind the girls with the aim of giving us a challenge to catch them and giving them a challenge to stay away. We skied as a 3, my self, Callum and Alex. Me and Callum shared most of the work kick double poling our way up the hill. Alex took a turn at about half way and then i was back on the front. I didn't think the pace was so high but after we took a sharp tun Alex dropped off. Callum came through to do his turn and i was paying the price for my efforts. I held the first attack but with about 100m to the finish i couldn't keep on and Callum beat me by 5 second. We had a good training session and i got a few technique things to work on.
Today was brutal. By far my hardest session so far this year. 5x5min intervals skating up hill. We were being lactate tested and i pulled out an 11.6. For me that is high. Normally 6 or 7 is my max on hard sessions. Alex got a 22.6 and posy got one in the 20's. In Norwegian it would have been called a syrafest, that translates as an acid party. It is perhaps not the best to go around saying you were at an acid party, but you get the idea. There was lactate, it hurt. After the intervals i was wrecked. In the cool down I stumbled/skied my way back to the van. Callum gave us a beasting today as well. It is safe to say he is in good shape. Ragnar best watch out.
We have managed to get a few good strength sessions in, but both the gym in Tignes and Val d'isere are now closed as the summer season is finished and the winter season hasn't started. We have trained body strength out on the football pitches. They always end with Thomas's brutal "army jumps", starting lying on the floor, doing a press up, standing up and then jumping. Even at sea level 12 of these is quite tough. But at 2000m they feel like death himself has grabbed your lungs and ripped them from your chest. Other than that, I've been adapting to altitude well. Ready for one more week.

In something un related. These two quotes come from our justgiving  page. "looking forward to Sochi, on the cards for the best ever British cross country skiing results, well done to all concerned."
"The team are an inspiration to all. Keep up the good work."

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