Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Autumn Continues

First thing first... Go and support the British Nordic Ski Team here. If you support us you can get rewards. Supporting us with only 25 pounds gets you a Buff, the multi functional headwear. That's about the standard price of a Buff, so not only do you get a Buff but you get to support us as well. Now I know what you are thinking... "but I already have a Buff, I don't need another one". Wrong. One Buff is not enough.

After you have done that, tweet the link, or tell your friends to go and support us. Surely they need a Buff too, or maybe even a masterclass?

Thought I'd bore you a bit with what I've been up to. I'm going to altitude with the British team on friday for a 3 week altitude camp in Italy. So before I go I've been stacking up on intensity sessions. I'm sitting on 7 in 14 days and tomorrow will mark 8 in 15 days. So pretty much every second day is and interval session. At altitude I won't do that much hard. Probably only one hard session the first week, maybe one the second week and 2 in the final week. So I'm doing a lot before I go and when I get back.
The hard sessions have been going quite well. On Saturday I did a classic "distance" session with Team Hadeland. We did Nordseterveien from Håkons Hall to the start of the toll road at Nordseter. A distance of about 13k and a climb of about 600m. A distance session is pretty much a race, but not a race. A little bit under race tempo... but pretty much a race.
The guys had done it a few years ago as a race. They said that the record from that day was 45:50 and the road record belonged to Sundby in 42:50. My self and Jonas Frorud skied together the whole way and beat the other by over a minute and skied into 46:55. In was minus 1C. Temperature is an important thing to remember when rollerski records come into things. Afterwards a "heated" (excuse the pun) discussion started as to what was the best temperature for rollerskiing. The final agreement was between 15 and 20 centigrade. Why? Much above 20 and the tarmac melts and becomes some and sticky, and much bellow it becomes too hard. The discussion continued into what is the best time of year to set a rollerski record? The conclusion: early September. As a skiers form should be on the way up as they get closer to the winter, but in late September or October it is too cold, and in the summer they aren't in good enough shape.
Really all you can draw from it is not to compare your times on roller skis.
I've had a mix of different hard sessions, some on my own, some with others, some running, some rollerskiing, some short, some long. It's been fun to train hard in lots of different styles, and I think most of the sessions have been good and beneficial.

In the past few days I have turned into a sports star it feels like. It is amazing what an up and coming Olympics can do to the British press. I've been interviewed twice in as many days now. Until this summer the last time I was interviewed was before the Vancouver games, so it has been a bit of shock to start getting emails and phone calls asking for interviews. It's just a shame they cram in 4 years worth of media into half a year.

The weather here is taking a turn for the worse. In my wisdom of old age I've decided winter is miserable and I hate it. During one of the interviews I was asked to talk about skiing back in Scotland, I casually dropped in "oh when I was 14 of 15"... that is only 6 or 7 years ago now... I feel old. Any Winter... cold, dark, cold, expensive electric bills, cold, Norwegian (dull) house lighting, cold, dark, no sun, clearing the drive of snow, ice... It's just bloody miserable. Why on earth I chose to live this far North I have no idea. The only possible consolation prize is that there is snow so you can ski... sadly I have to admit that skiing in the summer isn't quite the real deal.
I think I might change sports to something like beach volleyball, or a sport like tennis or cricket... they don't even play in the rain... sounds ideal.
Anyway. Winter. I've changed my car wheels over to winter tyres today. I was rather nervous... not for changing the wheels... but using the jack. My coach once told me the story of his first car. He eventually decided to get a new car when he went to jack up the car to change over to summer wheels. As he screwed the jack up he went straight through floor as the car disintegrated from rust. Luckily my car survived... even though it's black with a hint of orange rust colour, it is still strong enough to change wheels over.
I don't think I will need my winter tyres before I go on the camp, although it is forecast to be getting colder. It is more forward planning so that when I get back in mid November I'm good to go.

Today I down loaded an app on my phone that i thought would work as speedometer for training with. Giving me average and max speeds as well as distance covered and altitude gain. I had it in my drinks belt for the session... it did't work as it switched itself off when i locked my phone. But I didn't know that during the session. I did a loop that was mostly uphill for the first 1:20 and then about 20min downhill back home. I wanted to see what max speed I could get, so I tanked the down hill. The speed limit is 60kmph on the hill and I'm pretty sure i must have been near that as cars would over take me and what seemed pretty slow speeds and then they would slow down again once they got in front. Clearly overtaking on the principle of having to overtake because they are a roller skier. Anyway I got the bottom, hands frozen, ears turned to icicles... got out my phone. The disappointment to see it had only recorded the first min of the session before the phone locked itself was unbelievable.
Normally when it is cold I use the top part of the decent to get a Buff (see buffs are useful... get to the crowdfunder site ;) ) up. But I had sacrificed this luxury to get a new rollerski speed record. And the damn app didn't work.
The other problem with rollerskiing in the autumn is i have a basic principle that it is not allowed to rollerski with gloves on. I look down on those who do as inferior beings... it is the line between man and boy, the line between strength and weakness, the line between winning and losing. OK so you probably can win with gloves on but I still look down on you. If you have to keep your perfectly lotioned hands, and pedicured nails wrapped up in gloves protecting you from the rough and tough of a ski pole, I am not impressed. Skiers hands SHOULD be blistered. Skiers hands SHOULD have calluses so thick that they make your palms look out of shape. My general theory is that if I'm not peeling dead skin off my hands I haven't been double poling enough, and if I am then i haven't done enough because i should have calluses by now and not blisters. Rollerskiing is a summer sport. Who wears gloves in the summer? Only those that can't tolerate a few rough spots on their hands.
Anyway I've spent so long for years now mobbing those who wear gloves i just feel it would be far to hypocritical for me to wear gloves whilst rollerskiing... even if it's minus 5, windy, snowing and i'm going downhill... no I can't have gloves on.
Now we are getting some cold days i have to admit I do wish i could have gloves on... but as matter of principle I will continue into the final month of the off season gloveless.

The next autumn problem: training in trousers. Ok everybody knows race suit tights go under your ski boots when you zip them up. But training tights are that awkward thickness that i'm not sure about, over under? I've drown the line at if the tights have zips they go over, no zips they go under... But i have a pair of British team Salamon running tights that have a zip. Over the top they look a bit silly and under the boot the buldge and make it look like i have cankles. It is a tough life being a skier. So many fashion problems.

If you have read all that and not visited the crowdfunder page in the link at the top... then go back to the top and click the link, and support us.

At the physio this morning I spotted this. It's a picture of Andrew Musgrave on the rollerski treadmill, bottom left.  Such an international supper star, pictures of him everywhere. Think it was taken in 2008? He looks about 12.

Trousers over or under? 

Despite it not showing very well this picture was taken at -1 and it was snowing! No gloves!

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