Falun 10km Classic World Cup

Today was my first World Cup in 1 year and I have to admit it was a tough re-introduction. This weekend is unsupported and this is never an easy task to deal with. It’s a juggling act of wax tech vs. athlete. For the day before the race, consider carting all the equipment from the truck, setting up the wax cabin, prepping and zeroing skis to test and then testing those skis all in order to find the fastest 2 pairs. Then the day of the athlete starts where we complete the pre-race session – about 1hr 15mins of skiing in total with some threshold and race pace intervals. When other athletes go back to the hotel to rest up for the following day, we return to the life of a wax tech to race prep the skis. Finally after organising entries, team captains meeting and other duties are complete; the day is done.

Race day is no better, particularly on a classic day with fresh snow falling. The skis need to have the final coats of glide wax applied along with being grip waxed and tested to ensure they are working in the conditions. Then once the best pair out of the two is found, we gladly had Mattias there to fix the top coat and make last grip adjustments. Then after >2.5hrs on the feet already, its back to the life of the athlete with a warm up and finally onto the race. After the race when everyone is feeling completely wrecked, we get to go back to life of the wax tech by prepping the skate skis and testing them for the following day. It’s a tiring schedule that no-one else has to deal with but we just work with it the best we can. It’s not a complaint as it was our own decision to come here unsupported – it’s just a way to raise awareness of what is actually involved in just getting ourselves to the start line. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing our Wax Tech (and all round good bloke) Randy next weekend in Lahti.mms_img-3903384181

The race today for me was very tough indeed. The tracks were completely skied out and I need to be honest and say I am simply terrible at classic skiing in un-even, broken up tracks. I always have been bad at it and even though today was slightly better than usual, I still wouldn’t class it as technically solid skiing. It’s frustrating because my body felt good, but I was just unable to turn that into fast skiing. The result wasn’t disastrous and in terms of percentage back, it was probably one of my better classic World Cups that I have skied recently with about 13.6% back in 90th. Considering not being healthy all week, I am satisfied enough, but I am a lot more excited about tomorrow’s 15km skate. I am confident with my skating at the moment and really excited to see what I can do!

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South Nordic Shipment!

Don’t you just love it when you get more than you expect? Well picking up a shipment from South Nordic today gave me exactly that! 6kg and just over 1600EUR worth of the best quality casual and sports clothing ever produced!

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Yeah ‘talk it up’ is what you are probably thinking right about now, but go and test some of this gear and then trying telling me you disagree!This company takes no short cuts. They are all class, and have the approach of only using the best performing and highest quality materials in their products. There is more technology that has gone into making this race suit than there is in the car I drive! Just take a look at this info sheet:

Race suit

Performance, practicality, comfort and style are all boxes that are ticked! The underlayers and warm up kit is no different either with the same technology going into those products. In terms of the way it feels to ski in, the only way I can explain it is that it feels like nothing! Ski clothes that are a boxy fit, don’t breath, don’t keep you warm, rough in the wrong places, and are without any true shape feel like something and it’s not pleasant. Skiing in SN gear just feels like it keeps you warm without making you sweat, supports in all the right places and fits as though it was specifically designed for me!

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The casual gear shows some of the only Nordic focused clothing that doesn’t shout ‘unfashionable’. It’s Nordic and damn proud of it, but keeps a calm, subtle and tidy look which is just perfect for someone’s who’s life is Cross Country Skiing, but likes to stay with the current trends of every day fashion.

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I absolutely love the gear and if you would like to know more about any of the items of clothing for sale on the website, just let me know and I’ll give you a full run down of what it’s actually like! Checkout the website and online store at www.southnordic.com

 

Intervals and an explosion

Today’s training was a tough interval session in the morning with Japanese Skier and DSA member Akira Lenting. Unfortunately it has been ridiculously warm again for the past 2 days here in Falun and the once perfect race trails are beginning to suffer. Race organisers are doing everything to preserve the courses and this means no heavy machine grooming in these warm temperatures. What this means is that the classic tracks are melted out and hard as an ice skating rink! Skiing in general is not the easiest, but keeping up with one mighty strong Japanese lad in 5min intervals is bloody tough!

Due to the lovely Swedish weather offering more light rain to cool us off in this tropical climate, I didn’t risk the phone getting drowned so no photos were taken. But that’s probably a good thing, because honestly it’s beginning to look a little sad out there. The other unpleasant thing about warm weather and icy conditions is that klister is the only option for classic skiing. I have always hated klister, but after today’s latest explosion, I hate it that little bit more…

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Interval Training with DSA

Today was a tough interval session on the World Cup race loop with Dala Sports Academy. These sessions are always painful and this one was no different! Heart rates were surprisingly low, but the power and speed was right up there so I’m hoping that’s a good sign!

The layout: 5mins at threshold, 2 X 30,30’s (30 seconds race pace, 30 seconds easy), 5mins at threshold. Gradually I’m feeling even more control in my skiing at speed and with all these sessions on the race loop, I’m gonna know exactly how hard I can push and where seconds can be gained!

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Photo Cred: Mattias Nilsson

Enchiladas

Mexican Cuisine has always been a bit of a favourite of mine, however when traveling, it is often hard to find! Here is Enchiladas cooked my way – just slightly different to what you may have previously experienced, but I’m going to be arrogant here and claim that it’s an absolute winner! Despite what you may be thinking, it’s quite healthy too!

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Here’s what you need:

  • 500g Chicken Breat
  • 2 red Capsicums (diced)
  • 2 brown onions (finely diced)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 1 large eggplant (chopped into larger squares)
  • 2 large handfuls of button mushrooms (quartered)
  • Taco seasoning
  • Thai red curry seasoning
  • Hot Chilli sauce
  • 400g of salsa
  • 3 tablespoons of light sour cream
  • Cheese (for topping)
  • 12 medium size Tortilla wraps

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Method:

  • Fry the brown onions and garlic in a pan until golden brown, then set aside
  • Fry the chicken breast until almost fully cooked through
  • Add the onions/garlic, along with the capsicum and taco seasoning. Add 1/2 a cup of water (more if too dry) and cook for 7 minutes)
  • Add the mushrooms along with the eggplant, Thai red curry seasoning and Hot Chilli Sauce – amounts depend on how much of a spicy kick you are after! Cook for a further 10mins
  • Carefully wrap each of the 12 enchiladas. Best approach I have found is to set the filling in a line, folding in the short sides, then wrap and roll from the larger edges. Place all compactly in a baking tray
  • Mix the Salsa and Light sour cream in a bowl, then evenly pour over the enchiladas
  • Top with grated cheese and back at 180 degrees C for 25 minutes.

ENJOY!

L2 Classic on ‘Murderbacken’ World Cup Race course

Today I am mostly going to let the photos do the talking. The waxing was actually difficult to get right in the morning (as you can see from the first shot), but after that was dealt with there were no other complaints. This morning’s session was a 3*5km loops at 5km on the loop that will be used for the World Cup while this afternoon was an easy 1.5hr skate. All photo credit: Teresa Riman

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Back to Training and a New Sponsor!!

So after a wet weekend in Estonia, it was quite nice to get back to Falun where it snowed quite a lot overnight! The session this morning was an easy going L1 Skate with a few shorter speeds. Not the fastest of snow (fresh wet snow never is) but quite an enjoyable none-the-less!

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This afternoon, another gym and run combo session, but what is really nice about the structure of this season is that I have managed to maintain all of my strength so far! Usually this drops off significantly, however I think the new approach has worked a treat!

The day ended well with one of the companies that I have been corresponding with confirming a sponsorship deal! The hard work I have been putting in is starting to pay off and I now have an official clothes sponsor! Details will be posted shortly, so stay tuned 😉 #SouthNordic

 

13th in Estonian National 15km Classic

Yesterday was one tough day! The course was certainly a double pole course, however it’s amazing the difference in attitudes between Swedes and Estonians! The TD (Technical Delegate) came up to us before the start as we were powdering up our skate skis and said it would be impossible to Double Pole and certainly be slower. He then gave us the clear message that if there was any mistakes made in the form of not keeping the skis parallel when the tracks were set we would be disqualified. His words – we have 5 cameras and you WILL be caught…. Anyway, we took his information on board, quickly dismissed it and the three of us Aussie boys were the only ones to choose to double pole the course.

It was the right decision, but we just didn’t have the wax support to make it pay off. You chose to DP because the grip wax that you need to diagonal stride with slows the skis dramatically compared with a clean Classic ski, or a skate ski. This is therefore a huge advantage when the skis are good – the time you lose on the steep climbs grinding away in a double pole is quickly made up on the flats and downs. The only issue is, due to limited wax support, we didn’t have competitive skis.

The skis showed good speed on the first lap, and both Phil and I were right up there with the leader’s after 2 laps. After that though, the skis slowed dramatically to the point where people on Classic skis began to go past us on the down hills. This therefore meant we had no advantage what so ever…. Phil and I held very similar lap times and finished just 7 seconds apart! Phil in 9th and me in 13th (quite a tight field). So the strength and at least we showed it was possible.

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Not bad results, but a little disappointing as they could have been so much better. At least it was a torturous but good workout and really feel good about my double pole strength at this point in the season

As recovery, local hero Peter Kummel invited us for dinner and a sauna. I’m still so amazed at the kindness of the Estonian people! What a friendly culture they have going here. Today Jacko and I will fly back to Falun and prepare for the big races coming up while Phil jets off for a sprint race in Czech.

9th in Estonian National Champs Sprint!

Today I was reminded of just how fun Sprint racing is! It made me really wish that I processed a few more fast twitch fibers so that I could actually one day be a good sprinter! There’s just a lot more glory in doing well in a sprint!

Today was my first sprint race of the season and I could certainly feel that in the prologue. I was nervous and just unsure of how my body would cope with the long 1800m course! I started well and stayed relaxed and efficient for the first half, but by the end it was as though I just forgot how to ski! I still had good energy, but I just haven’t done the training to stay technically strong with legs full of lactic acid. The prologue was good, but not my best. I placed 15th, a little over 12 seconds which was not my best but not too far off and certainly enough for me to qualify and go through to finals.

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The finals were much, much better. Probably even the best finals racing I have ever done! I had great energy for the duration of each heat and for once, I felt aggressive and found it fun fighting for positions. I got myself in a good position in the quarter final and made it through! This was unexpected, considering I would have to beat at least one person that was faster than me in the prologue.

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I then raced the semi-final and despite being ranked far worse than the others in the heat, I managed to really fight for positions spending most of the race in 3rd. By the end, my lack of finishing speed let me down a little but I was absolutely stoked to finish 9th overall! With next to no sprint training this year as a result of trying to progress in many areas of my distance skiing, I am quite amazed! I might actually try and see if we can incorporate a little more sprint training in my program for next year.

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The real hero of the day was Phil who absolutely crushed every heat and placed 3rd overall! Bloody stoked for him snagging his first podium of the season and showing some damn fast skiers how it’s done! This was all done on completely different boots and skis to what he is use to (as a result of his bag probably still being sent somewhere through Asia). Respect!

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If you read my latest life blog, you will understand why today I was feeling a little on the tired. After a long travel I tested skis and was Stoked to discover that the new transparent base skis are amazing in this rain effected snow! This fills a huge gap that was in my fleet of skis and should be perfect for tomorrow’s Estonian National’s Skate Sprint.

The training was relatively easy, just a 6min threshold, followed by 2 x 3mins of threshold going into sprint pace. Hopefully I can freshen up a little for tomorrow