Saturday, 25 January 2014

January


After the Tour de Ski I picked up a cold and was ill for 5 days. I was also at home in Scotland for a bit, so I didn’t train for a while. After my cold was over and I started to feel better, I began with some easy training. After a few days I still had a blocked nose and started to get worried I hadn’t been able to kick off the end of my cold. So I took another rest day to see if that helped, but no… still all blocked up and speaking like and pilot on the intercom on planes. After 6 days of being like this I rang up the doctor at the Scottish institute of sport. He prepared me for the worst, and said I might need to go on antibiotics for a short time. However I wasn’t going to see him for another 5 days so I headed to my GP incase I did need medication I could start with it right away. My GP examined me… turns out I’m allergic to something. They didn’t have time or bother doing tests to find out what, but I have to take some hay fever medication that I normally take in the summer. Since I started taking it, my nose cleared right up and I could train normally.

I raced the Norwegian nationals in “Molde”… the race had been moved to Lillehammer due to lack of snow in Molde but all the start numbers and results and stuff were printed with Molde. The races went ok for me… I had a night mare in the 15k classic. But the sprint went ok finishing in 16th. I was a little disappointed not to make the semi final but I had a good run through before some important races coming up later this month. I did the first leg of the relay for my club team. It was a really fun and hectic race with over 130 teams at the start. I had a bad start position with a bib number of 71 I was far back on the 11th row. I  lost a lot of positions in the first kilometer of the race as I was scared to get out the tracks and not be able to get back in, so waited to get a space in the classic track. At the bottom of the first big hill Fredrik was in front of me. He was doing the first leg for the clubs second team, with start number 89 he had started a few rows behind me.  I skied with in myself for the first 2.5k, trying to position myself in the group so I didn’t break any poles. At 2.5k we got the second big climb on the course and the field opened up. I absolutely tanked it from 2.5k to 7.5k I was right on the limit. The field had spread out and there was space to get past so in the 5k I moved from 70th up to the mid 20’s. The course in Lillehammer is brutal. The 5k loop is mainly comprised of 2 big climbs, the longest of which was taking over 4mins in the slow conditions. The 10k leg of the relay took about 30min, I handed over to Sigurd in 20th position 48 seconds the leader.
Sigurd skied a good leg, handing over to Remi in 32nd position. Remi, who was on the Norwegian recruit team in the 90’s, had returned from retirement to ski the last leg of the relay. At his best he had been top 10 on world cup. He got us up to 28th, a respectable finish.

After the relay I headed to Manchester for the BOA kitting out, before Sochi. Because of the system of kitting out I had to get up really early and train before we left so as not to miss two days training. Kitting out the day after was a fun although rushed experience. We were pushing it to get everything done and back to the airport to get our flight out to Italy for out altitude camp. The only way to describe it is to say it ‘s like walking into John Lewis, someone meets you at the door and walks round the shop with you. You try everything on and the write down the size you want. Once you are finished you wait about in the coffee shop whilst someone else packs your bags and pays for you. Then they come out and give you the bags.
We were in a rush so me and muzzy got a bit competitive trying stuff on… in the end I didn’t even bother and just 44/46 for everything… hopefully it all fits. My race suits didn’t fit me. But luckily a seamstress was on hand to alter them. I must have lost a lot of wait because the race suit looked more like something snoop dog would wear than a skier…. It was far from ski tight. As we had to rush for out flight it wasn’t finished in time. I’ll get it in Russia. Callum had his altered and it worked well so I’m confident mine will fit.
After the kitting out we had to go into a press room and do interviews with the BBC, Sky Sports and various other members of the press. It was a quite fun. I did a long interview with the written press. Which was more like banter than an interview, and I really enjoyed doing it. They did however write an article about me living “hand in mouth” and how Norway was an expensive place to live. Which it is… and yes I do live off the equivalent of Tesco Value products…. But so does almost everybody my age.  It’s not a luxurious life style, but it works. I would say the paper made it sound much worse than it actually is.

After the kitting out we flew out to Munich then drove to Italy for an altitude camp. We are now in Misurina, up in the mountains above Toblach where the final world cup before the Olympics will be held. It is also only a 2 hours drive from Val di Fiemme where the world U23’s are next week.  I’ve had a good few days training here. I haven’t felt amazing training but I never tend to for the first few days at altitude. I’m happy with how things are going and I think I should be able to race well at the U23’s.

We have a big group here. There are 16 of us here in total with the junior athletes, coaches, waxers, physio and physiologist. It’s fun to have such a big group and it really shows the progression of the British skiing. 4 Years ago we were a big group if there was 8 of us. It also means the banter is top notch. Although Muzzy’s obsession with bodily functions becomes a little tiresome at the dinner table, I think I can tolerate it better than most of the girls.
I’m sharing a room with Callum… Alex has been sharing with him since Livigno at Christmas time and I think he is happy to get rid of him… so I have been left with the burden for the foreseeable future. Both Alex and me refer to callum as the “weirdest boy I know”. For me this came after he tied his heart rate monitor round his head like a ninja and for Alex it came after he did a headstand on his bed… in his boxers… with his duvet over him. As I write muzzy has just moved into our room… something to do with his bed being rubbish and our sofa bed is better… so now we are 3.

The hotel here is pretty rubbish in all honesty. The internet is about as good as tying two yogurt cups together with a piece of string. Breakfast is pretty bad, so we have bought our own muesli and every time we go to reception with a problem they don’t seem to be able to sort it. It reminds us more of being in Eastern Europe than being in Italy. Luckily we have big Kev from the Scottish Institute of Sport with us to sort them out.

On Monday the U23’s and Juniors are leaving for Val di Fiemme and the world Championships. I’m looking forward to it. As much for the races as I am for making fun of the older guys who can’t go. There are endless hours of entertainment to be had by reminding Posy she is almost 30, and Muzzy, Alex and Fi they are ancient as they can’t got to U23’s.
It’s great having the juniors along.  They are so discombobulated and unorganized I no longer feel like I have the lowest IQ in the group. It also means it is impossible to be last to a training session or meeting. You can take as a long as you want… there will always be a junior behind you.

Muzzy skied quite well in Lillehammer and won the sprint race… The Norwegian commentary team has got onto the “battle of Britain” and I got interviewed before the race about my chances of beating muzzy. Nothing to do with the race… just if I could beat Andrew… I think they might have read too much into my ranking system or actually believed my ranking system.
After the race in Lillehammer I am struggling to come up with a system that is more in my favor. I’ve been working on it, but can’t seem to come up with anything, so I might have to set my best statisticians on it and see what they can come up with.

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