Monday, 10 November 2014

Ham and Mustard

I spent last week on a training camp with Team Synnfjell in Beitostølen. There hasn't been that much early snow in Norway but Beitostølen was one of the few places with prepared ski trails. They had a 3k track that slowly grew to 4k by the end of the week. Up in the mountains there was a 5k track, but the weather was so miserable up there that it was pretty much unusable. I'm not going to lie. I've had better weeks skiing. In fact this week probably ranks up there amongst my ultimate worst weeks skiing. They had the snow cannons on all week trying to prepare more snow to make the loop longer and trying to get the stadium ready for the first competition of the year. It was about -1 or 2 the entire week and it was really humid with freezing fog/rain. It must have only just been cold and dry enough to make snow. So imagine it is a cold frosty morning. You go outside and you turn the garden hose on, plug it into the sprinkler and dance about under the sprinkler for 2hours. Repeat that twice daily and you'll start to feel how I felt all last week. On top of that about 5 million people turned up on Friday to ski on the snow. Skiing in a continuous line while having fake rain sprayed over you isn't exactly my idea of fun. Apart from this it was actually pretty good. We had some pretty good high quality sessions and got some good technique work done.
My technique work is going pretty well and I'm getting used to skiing on snow again. Especially in classic. I feel I'm back to where I was at my best (technically) last year and then some. Skating has taken a little bit of extra work and I'm not quite there yet. But a few more weeks and I'm sure it will begin to come together. In previous years I've really struggled with my classic technique and skating has gone pretty well. I'm now probably suffering from having over neglected my skating and focussed on classic a bit too much in the past. However I looked up some videos from when I was at my best last year and compared them to how I was last week, I don't think I'm too far behind that it's going to be impossible to get back there.
We had 3 good hard sessions on snow during the camp. The first was a test race. The conditions were extremely slow. It took 45min for a 15k! I've done 15k's in under 33min before! So it was a pretty hard session, but I think it was useful and worth it to get a good, continuous hard effort in before the season. I ended up second but quite a long way back. Hard to tell if that's good or bad as everyone was on different skis and the conditions were so extreme. But I'd rather be 2nd a bit back that last and hours behind.
The second hard session was a "sprintervall" with Team Oslofjord. We skied 3 loops but split the loop up into sections with roughly a 3min working part and 2min break. There were 2 efforts and 2 breaks on each loop. We raced the efforts as hard as we could sustain. I was really good for the first 4 efforts. But the last 2 I was knackered and skied horrifically slowly. The last hard session was a bit new for me. We did 3x10min threshold (sustainable pace), and the 10min with 30sec on and 30sec off. The last 10min was pretty tough, but good for technique work going at high speed and as hard as we good.
We stayed in some apartments and self catered which was pretty good. Whilst trying to get inventive with my lunch I found we had some mustard and rediscovered ham and mustard sandwiches. After that I pretty much only ate ham and mustard for breakfast, after training lunch and pre training lunch. It seemed to take off as we went through a whole squeezy bottle of mustard.
Other than the usual problems of having 9 boys live together for a week, everything with the team seems to be going quite well. Even Frank managed to train over 10 hours last week, in his bid to take the Tour de Ski title up Alp Germis. Although now he seems to be getting ahead of himself and going for the Tour de Ski and world champs double.
The British Biathlon team were also in Beito for a training camp before their selection races next week. I went round for a cup of coffee with them and had a good catch up. They seem to be doing well, hopefully they'll go fast in the winter.
The camp ended yesterday, but unfortunately I woke up with a bit of a sore throat and had to come home without training yesterday. I slept most of yesterday, and today I seem to be feeling better. Fingers crossed I've escaped without getting proper ill and I can train again tomorrow.

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