Sunday, 9 August 2015

Gamlestølen Camp

I’ve just finished off a week of training with Team Synnfjell on a training camp up at Gamlestølen. The team has a sponsor agreement with Gamlestølen, they have been one of the teams main sponsors for quite a few years and we tend to have at least one camp a year up there, if not two. The cabins are located at the end of the paved road and provide a good starting point for heading out on long runs into the mountains.

Last year we felt we were a bit crowded in the cabins so this year we had 3 cabins instead of 2 and this meant everyone had their own bedroom and there was lots more space for kit and the general amount of stuff that comes along with athletes. Whilst it may sound a bit over the top, everybody getting their own room, it was ideal. It made recovery much easier. Finishing a morning session and having a good nap and getting up when you want without worrying about being disturbed or disturbing someone else was pretty ideal. It also meant you didn’t have an inconsiderate roommate putting their boots on to dry or something like that in the room. We made breakfast and lunch our selves in the cabins and ate dinner up at the Gamlestølen fjellstue.

This camp had quite an international feel to it. A Swiss guy called Arnaud joined us for the week. He has studied in Colorado and met Rune Malo there. Rune had been training with Arnaud in Switzerland and invited him to join us on the camp last week. It was also the first camp for Kentaro, the Japanese member of Team Synnfjell. I’ve been training with Norwegians for so long now that there lots of things I’ve just accepted and grown used to. But this past week was like a flash back to my first training camps with Norwegians. For a starter every team meeting was in English. Bizarrely, I think I was the one who struggled the most with this, sort of ending up in half English half Norwegian dialect that nobody could understand. Then there was also the teaching of highly inappropriate Norwegian phrases. Norwegians don’t seem to be able to contain themselves, when a willing foreign person wants to learn Norwegian they are more than welcoming to teach them completely the wrong meaning of certain words. Kentaro also taught us “good job” in Japanese (I’m not going to attempt to write it), however every time we said it he laughed, so who knows what we were actually saying.
I could also see both Kentaro and Arnaud looking on at us eating in sheer amazement. It was like that for me the first time I came to Norway as well. Seeing people eat chocolate spread and brown cheese together just doesn’t seem right. It must have been a bit of a shock for Kentaro to go from eating rice and sushi to bread and brown cheese. Arnaud complained endlessly about the chees and how it wasn’t Swiss, but he was more upset about the method used for cutting the cheese.

Despite there being cultural differences the group mixed fairly well together providing an international mixing pot of experience. It was a really fun atmosphere to train in and we managed to push each other of the key hard sessions and learn from each other on the easier technique sessions.

The first day of the camp we had a sprint session at the rollerski track in Lillehammer before we drove up to Gamlestølen. We did things slightly differently to a normal sprint session, but it worked out quite well and I think I got a lot out of the session. Progression is the key. As a new thing this year the team has a captains band. Each evening we have a team meeting. If there has been a hard session that day we discuss the session and who was best, why they were best or why they impressed the rest of the group. It normally goes down to a vote. The winner of the vote gets to wear the captain band for the next hard session. No one has retained the band yet, which is perhaps a bad omen. After the sprint session I was voted captain and got to wear the band for the next hard session, a 4x15min classic level 3 session. Mikael won the band on the level 3 intervals, but couldn’t defend it on the final hard session of the camp a 6x6min elghuf session. Eivind won then band there. He has been sick all summer and it was his first level 4 session back but he was right up there with the rest of the group. Obviously this was quite impressive and so he won the vote quite easily.

We didn’t only train hard sessions. We had a few long running sessions up over 3 hours. We ran out towards Spåtind, the highest point in the Synnfjell area, one day we took in another mountain top on the way to Spåtind the other day we ran though a bog and the woods down the valley to add on some extra distance. We also had a few good rollerski sessions. But all rollerskiing from Gamlestølen is downhill uphill. The first 40min of every session is pretty much only downhill, after that we had to climb all the way back up to the cabins. We still found some good loops and places to do good technique work, but I’ve mostly worked on my skate 1 this past week. One day we drove down to the bottom of the hill and doublepolled up for a specific strength session, it was 50min of constant climbing to get back to the top. At the top we did some speed work before a cool down.

The camp finished on Friday and I’ve been back in Lillehammer since then. I’ve been getting around training in lots of different places this summer and I’m not quite done just yet. Tomorrow I’m heading to Torsby in Sweeden for 5 days to get some on snow time in the ski tunnel. After Torsby I’ll get a quick few days at home before heading to Trondheim for Toppidretsveka, a 3 day rollerski competition.

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