Austrian Cup, Seefeld

Straight after the Bruksvallarna races, we traveled to Davos, SUI where we have been training for 2 weeks. Having been at around sea level for the last 2months, heading back to 1600m is a real kick to the chest – hence the importance of getting here early and acclimatizing back to this level which is  where all of the races in this next period will be held. In typical Davos fashion however, we have had sunshine every day. This is the view we see every day from our penthouse apartment (or attic… either way).

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Some very mixed feelings came out of this weekends racing. Having started the race season in Bruksvallarna and then having a weekend off racing made me feel quite edgy! I’d gotten a taste of racing again and simply want more! It’s like eating one pringle and saving the rest for another week – Near on Impossible! So it was definitely a good feeling to get out there to test where exactly my form is.

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Unfortunately Saturday’s 10km classic was a horrible experience. With extremely limited ski testing on the race track available, I went with a wax setup that I was certainly not comfortable with. I felt completely inefficient, leading to a frustratingly terrible result.

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I know that I have good shape, but it was certainly a tough task convincing myself that things would be different the next day for the 10km skate. With the Saturday’s result and the lack of success I have had in most other 10km races recently I really had a tough mental task of getting my head back into gear. Thankfully, things were much different and the result showed. I was able to push right to my limit and felt I maintained some form of efficiency which is usually a real challenge for me once I head close to read line!. I skied 5.9% off the winners time (68 FIS Points) in 35th place. This gives me much more confidence leading into this weekend World Cup here in Davos. A 30km skate on this course here is probably a good definition of brutal, however with the longer distances feeling better for me recently I feel quite excited about it!

The view heading back into Davos. Fluela Pass.

The view heading back into Davos. Fluela Pass.

Bulk Faff Boys, Bulk Faff!

You will hear our coaches saying this to us more than regularly, and to be fair, we are often guilty of such accusation… So you are all probably assuming that there has been a lot of this going on, hence the lack of updates. So here I will firstly apologize – Sorry for the lack commitment I have shown to the blog over the last few months (well, year really), but then quickly bounce back in defence!! The Australian Winter consisted of some of the busiest months of my life. With an increased training load, part time university, and working as a Kitchen Hand up at Falls Creek to try and raise funds for this Olympic Season, I rarely had time to even scratch myself! I’m not saying it has been a horrible lifestyle (as the picture below shows) however time has been quite restricted!

Falls lake

So here’s the plan, it’s not that I don’t rate myself as a competent writer, however I am going to go for a new approach. Less talk and more Photos. So now that I’ve said that I’m going to go ahead and ironically write probably my longest post ever! So yes, it looks like this new approach isn’t going to take effect just yet, however that’s what happens when you have to cover 9 months all at once! The next posts will be shorter!

My time in Australia this year was short, however I feel that large gains were been made over that period. With a tough training schedule, never have I felt so repeatedly hated by my body! Dropped Meat pie, Squashed Worm, Flat Tyre, Beached whale, ‘Like I have been slapped by a salmon’ are just a few ways that me and Phil found ourselves comparing ourselves to. But if you do things properly, your body will respond and gains will be made. I managed to claim another two Australian Championship Titles, my fourth overall Australian winner of the AUS/NZ Continental Cup  and a personal best 5th overall and 1st Aussie in the 42km Kangaroo Hoppet.

10km Classic Nationals at Falls Creek

10km Classic Nationals at Falls Creek

After Winter, we had a testing camp at the AIS which gave me some results that have certainly helped my level of confidence going into this Olympic Season. I further improved my V02 max by 1.3ml/kg/min by recording 89.6ml/kg/min which set a new AIS record – a record previously held by Cadel Evans. It’s so satisfying obtaining actual figures which can somewhat represent the gains that you have made over the year. Lets just hope these aerobic gains correlate to skiing faster!

AIS V02 Testing

AIS V02 Testing

Directly after this testing camp I traveled to Umeå in Sweden to train with the Umeå University Team. I had plenty of words of warning heading to Sweden for their Autumn – rain, cold, dark and fog is what I was basically expecting. As you can see however this was not the case! After spending a winter of being rained on so relentlessly, this was amazing in comparison! And yep, I did go to the beach in Sweden – Have you ticked that box??

Hitting up the beach in Umeå, SWE!!

Hitting up the beach in Umeå, SWE!!

Training with such a large team who have many athletes that have raced World Cup for Sweden was such a positive experience. To be able to have interval sessions where everyone is so competitive and forcing you to find an extra inch or even just trying to hang on as best you can has certainly been so beneficial. This along with being fortunate enough to live with some of the best company imaginable has made the last couple of months such an amazing time that I will never forget. Being introduced to countless delicious Swedish meals, how to make ‘Kanelbulle’, Swamp Running (which is amazingly difficult despite how it sounds), trying (but mostly sounding ridiuclous) to speak the language and of course Fika!! I could not find a more enjoyable, or beneficial way to prepare for this coming season. Who knows, maybe I might find myself back there at some point….

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After Umeå, I traveled to Falun, SWE where I met up with team mate Phil Bellingham. We had organised to train with Dala Sports Academy – a team of another group of amazing athletes. Just as before we were being pushed to new levels and had great support from the coach and people who so generously accommodated us!  The weather by this time was beginning to turn slightly, however being rained on less than 3 times for our time there tells me we did pretty good.

Philpot's final rollerski celebration pose

Philpot’s final rollerski celebration pose

Last weekend we traveled to Bruksvallarna, SWE for the opening races of the season. We stayed with the British Team who kindly offered race support which made things so much easier, so huge thanks to British Nordic. It was a great feeling getting back on the skis again, however with temperatures getting down to -20C it was certainly a real wake up call – Winter is here! The first race, a 10km classic was quite disappointing for me. We had trained hard the week leading into those races and I was certainly not feeling as fresh (or Pigg as the Swedes would say) as I was hoping. Sunday’s 15km skate felt dramatically better and the result showed. I placed 44th with 71FIS points. I feel I have more to give with a more tapered preparation, so I am really looking forward to the more important races  coming up!

Bruksvallarna, SWE

Bruksvallarna, SWE

So yes, it was long but now that its all back up and running I’ll try that new plan I was speaking of. Hope you enjoy the coming updates as I work towards my Olympic Goals.