Philpot and Cal’s Easiest Low Fat Banana Bread

Buying Pre, Post and During Training snacks can be very expensive if you don’t have a sports food sponsor so our solution has mostly always been banana bread! It probably costs less than $1.50 for a big loaf, and you turn two old bananas that are well past there prime into something amazing! It is loaded full of energy and is made with no butter!

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So I am revealing the secret of our amazing banana bread – Here is it….. Nothing! Absolutely nothing in fact, we have very minimal of a plan in a lot of aspects of our lives and the rules are no different with this creation! We just started it off by thinking our natural skill were enough and therefore measurements and following a recipe were no longer needed! Definitely way too optimistic but somehow it turned out! Early on it was not every time, that’s for sure! There has been the odd occasion where it has completely backfired on us and turns out so rubbery that you could roll it into a ball, take it to the gym and use it as a medicine ball! But gradually we have learnt to know the consistency required and nail it every time!

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So today I had to try and measure out our perfect consistency and it wasn’t so easy to be honest but here it is!

Wet Mixture

  • Mash the 2 old bananas on a plate
  • Add 1 tablespoon of Syrup (maple or golden depending on your taste)
  • Whisk two eggs and add to the wet mix
  • Mix in 2 and 1/4 cups
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Dry Mixture

  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons of castor sugar
Mix the wet in with the dry thoroughly. Note that you may need to add more milk if the mixture appears too dry. The size of the eggs and bananas can mean that this varies slightly
Then just throw in the oven until cooked through (usually 45mins) but really depends on the baking tray being used. I longer one is ideal so it cooks through more readily. Then serve with a generous amount of butter!
Enjoy!

Perfect!

The title says it all, and the photos are enough of an explanation! Today was just one of those where if you could handle a bit of cold air (-18 degrees C), then the conditions were perfect! Solid classic tracks, perfect corduroy and even a bit of sun!

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The training for the day was easy A1 Classic skiing in the morning with 10X20s sprints with 5 of the DSA guys. Good first session followed by a 1.5hour skate in the afternoon which turned really cold towards the end! Trying a lot of different things in both techniques at the moment and with conditions like these it’s easy to really put new movements into action.

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Now it’s time to relax for the night ahead of some tough intervals. To top off the day it was nice surprise to come home and find your name has been put on the door of our apartment!

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Östersund and Falun 2015

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It was almost exactly 6months to the day that I was released from hospital after the ridiculous ski accident that resulted in a pneumothroax. At that particular point, I was still considering whether I should continue in the sport, let alone even try and build back up for that coming European Season. I had made some amazing gains training with Dala Sports Academy, and the improvements were all measurable and very noticeable. The 12 unbearably uncomfortable days restricted to lying on my back in the hospital bed showed their negative effects in an overwhelmingly harsh way. I went from being the strongest, fittest and skiing technically better than ever before to not being able to walk for 1.5km without needing a sit-break. In the gym things were even worse, I went from 71.5kg to just below 66kg and this was certainly noticeable! I think I was probably stronger as a 12 year old.

Gradually, mostly due to my coach Mattias, Teresa, my family and friends my spirits began to lift and I saw that it was just realistically another good challenge to see just how fast I could bounce back. The incredible global support from everyone who contributed towards my fundraiser to pull me out of the unfortunate health insurance debacle not only made the new challenge financially possible, but also gave me a huge surge of motivation. I wanted to give these people a story to follow – change a stupidly unfortunate sob story into something fun, inspirational and high spirited.

I changed my goals accordingly. Originally I had hoped for a top 50% of the field in the Falun 2015 World Championships but with this already being quite a steep task, I adjusted it to just achieving better results than ever before. This was also considered to be a little unrealistic by a few, however especially as the race season grew closer, I began to certainly believe that it wasn’t at all unachievable.

View at Gronklitt

View at Gronklitt

For the pre-World Champs Australian Team Camp in Grönklitt, I knew I was coming into some great form. My body felt sharp, and in intensity sessions my heart rates were high but perceived effort was low and I was able to ski with some very solid speed and power. Mattias’ training plan had worked because at the end of that week (2 weekends ago) for the Östersund World Cup, I achieved a result that I believed was right up there with a career best performance. All pre-World Championship World Cups are the most competitive of World Cups with every athlete coming into their best shape and most teams filling their quotas. I positioned 74th, right on 78% of the field – my best ever performance was in Canmore World Cup 2012 where I placed 47th and 73% of the field but was a far less competitive event with many of the top Europeans not taking part.

More support from Atomic this World Champs has been hugely helpful!

More support from Atomic this World Champs has been hugely helpful!

Things were therefore looking like they were all coming together. My chest felt completely pain free and breathing was feeling so much more relaxed and complete at higher intensities. I not only thought I would achieve my adjusted goal, but I was also keen to so just how close I could go to making that original first goal of top 50%. Unfortunately I managed to find some more bad luck, so much so that I found myself inside hospital walls far sooner that I ever thought possible. The Gastro-bug got me agin and to explain to what extend here is a little quote from Phil… ‘I thought there was a roaring lion in the bathroom’. After a couple of bags of IV fluids, I was sent home to try and recover as quickly as possible.

A blurry photo to go with how I was feeling in the 15km skate

A blurry photo to go with how I was feeling in the 15km skate Photo Cred: JC Legras

The Skiathlon was out, as was the Team Sprint, both events I had been so excited for as they are probably my favourite events. The only lucky thing about this scenario was that I was able to restore my health and energy to the level where I could start my strongest event – the 15km freestyle. My pulse was high, energy was low and my legs just had nothing more to give. It was probably one of the more painful races I’ve ever done, simply because I had to force my body so much. The result, obviously not what I was hoping for. To be fair though, it wasn’t too disastrous and by placing 72nd (83% of field), I actually achieved the same result as what I did in the 15km freestyle last World Champs.

Falun 2015 15km skate Photo cred: JC legras

Falun 2015 15km skate Photo cred: JC legras

Life is full of ups and downs and all I can hope for is that this rollercoaster starts going back up for the 50km on Sunday.

A New Post for a New Year

Similar to Phil, if you have read his latest post, www.pbellinghamxc.wordpress.com I too had the intention of keeping the blogs regularly however have found myself becoming a little slack again! I have also had a slightly frustrating 3 weeks since my last post, all of which is nothing too motivating to write about. After seeing that my form was in fact much higher than I expected it to be in Lillehammer, Davos on a whole was a complete disaster! With my skating feeling stronger all the time I was very excited to see what I could produce for the 15km skate. My body felt good the morning of the race, however the extremely icy corners managed to catch me out during the warm up. I had my first crash since my chest injury and as luck would have it, a lot of the impact went through the area where I am still experiencing a lot of sensitivity and nerve pain. To be honest, it felt as bad as it did when I got out of hospital. I tried to do another effort but it just wasn’t sensible to push through that kind of pain. I had it checked out and luckily no further damage had been done. So from 2 good opportunities to perform whilst in good shape I unfortunately can’t really say I achieved anything positive. I returned straight to Falun to start a new training period to ensure my form doesn’t drop off.

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View over the Falun World Champs venue

I traveled straight back to Falun and already I have felt glad to be hitting out the hard training again! With such a disrupted preparation for this season, I can tell that my body has already begun to lose a lot of strength. This is largely gauged by just how sore and tired I have been getting from the increased load. So it’s safe to say that this is a much needed few weeks before I race again here in Falun for the Scandinavian Cup on the 9th, 10th and 11th of January. Gradually I have begun to feel strong again in the intensity session and tomorrow I will do a 20km Skiathlon test race with DSA. Should be exciting to see what I can pull out! With heavy rain predicted I’m going to test out the new white base skis – let’s hope they are rockets! Thanks Atomic for the recent support!

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Overall for me, the Christmas / New Year period with Teresa and her lovely family has been a refreshing and enjoyable time for me. Experiencing a Swedish Christmas and watching my first Leksand Ice Hockey match in a sold out arena packed full of amazingly passionate supports are both times I will never forget!

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Davos World Cup

The transformation that has taken place here in Davos over the last week has been quite amazing! We traveled straight from Lillehammer last Monday to find the Swiss Alps missing what they are so renown for. With only a 1.2km loop so far, and the weather not really being cold enough most of the time to make snow, the organisers had a lot of work to do! Despite all this, they managed to pull it all off.

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Unlike many teams, we don’t have a support team travelling with us for this part of the trip. With no car, this can make things difficult, especially when you decide to do a week’s worth of shopping at one go. No, not our smartest move, but the solution of taking that massive trolley to the other side of the city with us on the bus was just pure genious! So innovative in fact that people were amused and shocked at our creativity….

With solid tracks I was excited to see what sort of result I could produce on Saturday’s 15km classic. After last weekend I have the confidence that I have reasonable shape so went out reasonably hard catching up to and skiing with a lapping Italian athlete. By the top of the climb, I felt the same tightness and ‘stitch’ type pain forming under my ribs as I felt in Lillehammer’s classic race. After the long down It had subsided but quickly returned after another 3-4mins of work. Just like last time, I struggled to control my breathing as the tightness and pain increased. I tried to push through it but as the muscles began to cramp I found myself completely oxygen deprived.

Photo Cred: Marcel Hilger

Photo Cred: Marcel Hilger

It’s strange that it only occurs during maximal intensity in classic. It has to do with possibly a more tense movement, and higher core activation all creating a lot of strain on an area which is obviously not completely recovered. I will try and commence physio treatment this week to help the recovery process, it’s just lucky I can continue with skate racing with no concerns.

View from the top of the Sprint Course

View from the top of the Sprint Course

Sunday’s Sprint was another reasonable result given my poor sprint preparations this season. I placed 88th but the main purpose at this point is to better prepare myself for World Championships. The Team Sprint has always been a bit of a special event for me and Phil, and I intend to not only obtain a start in the event, but also ski to a level that will not let down a solid performance from my team mate.

The great news is that due to a lack of snow, next weekend’s French World Cup that I never intended on competing in has been moved to here in Davos! The events have also been changed to a 15km skate (PERFECT!) and another skate sprint. So Davos 2.0 gives me another shot to try and see how my shape is coming along.

Lillehammer World Cup Mini-Tour

The first World Cup of the season is always a little heavy on the nerves. For me this year it was even worse and with an amazingly tough field here in Lillehammer for the first World Cup mini-tour of the season it only made things worse! Yesterday there were 120 starters – the largest World Cup field I have ever been a part of. For me, with the implications of this years preparations, I have done next to no sprint training what-so-ever. Both Sprint and distance courses here are arguably the toughest on World Cup, the vertical climb is torturous! To place 108th in Friday’s skate sprint in my mind was an ok result, and realistically on par with what I achieved in Sprints last year. After feeling good last weekend I was hoping to put down solid results in the two distance stages to come!

Lillehammer Stadium

Lillehammer Stadium

Fortunately, a tough skate distance course is what I prefer so it got me a little excited to see what I could produce and how close to last year’s form I would be. Amazingly its even better. In terms of percentage and Points, it’s my best 10km result in World Cup and right up there as one of my top 3 distance results. With that I am completely shocked, but happy that the recovery plan has worked so well! In terms of position I climbed the ranks a little placing 99th which gives a little perspective on just how fierce the competition was.

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For Sunday’s 15km classic, I had high aims of climbing further up the field – using the climbs to my advantage! Unfortunately it was disastrous. With snowfalls stopping just before the race, the chosen wax didn’t work. I struggled and continued slipping, each time resulting in severe jarring to my upper abdominal and chest causing the shooting nerve pains I have spoken about. The expenditure from day before along with this was too much and after one lap I began cramping in my diaphragm which hasn’t happened for almost one month. Continuing was out of the question.

Luck doesn’t always go your way, but I am satisfied knowing that I am right back up there with some of the best form I have had in a long time. Phil and I just traveled to Davos Switzerland to prepare for the next World Cup events this weekend. Looking forward to seeing a bit more of the sun here in the Swiss Alps!

Idre Fjäll and A Return to World Cup

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The training leading into the races at Idre remained perfect! Good weather, snow and company! Here are a few of the local reindeer we came across.

2014-11-27 10.28.47Training remained fairly hard throughout the week with the idea that it would place me in better shape for later in the season. The races here were more of a test for the body and to get the feeling of skiing with urgency but maintaining efficiency. The results at this point are not too important. With colder conditions, the snow was exactly what I love to ski on. This colder weather unfortunately however brings out the Philpot’s home-made ‘bulletproofs’ (a.k.a. Windbriefs). To his Mum Ann, this is wonderful craftsmanship as always! The ‘double jock setup’ howeve is just not so visually appealing!

2014-11-28 09.05.33Despite feeling tired earlier in the week, I began to feel better towards the weekend and by Saturday’s Sprint my body was feeling great! It was decided that it would be beneficial for me to do the prologue with the consideration that if I was to start in Lillehammer’s World Cup Mini-tour next weekend, I’d need to have the confidence I could put down a reasonable result. With a complete lack of Sprint training since the start of the Aussie winter, I was obviously slightly concerned about how I would perform. To my surprise, even with a crucial mistake on the bottom corner I sprinted better than I did all last season and made finals for the first time here in Scandinavia. 28th and 9.5s off the winners time with around 110 Points. This was certainly a rewarding surprise and no doubt is completely attributed to technique gains. I stuck to the plan and didn’t start the finals – the goal was achieved and the additional physical stress was not deemed worth it.

Sunday’s 10km skate was just as pleasant of a surprise. Last year I struggled with the fast 10km pace in general so a flat fast course meant it certainly wasn’t my cup of tea! With the focus of urgency and skiing powerfully and efficiently I had some good non-result based goals to work on. I went out hard and somehow my body felt good enough to hold it up for the most part of the race. I placed 18th overall, 1min38s off the winner Anton Lindblad who was a full 30s up on second place! With points blowing out a little, my position showed that it was still one of my better results outside of World Cup. Not sure how my body is feeling so good already but I’m prepared to go with it!

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With another ~90 Point race under my belt and my form feeling better and better Mattias and I made the decision to make a return to World Cup Circuit next weekend in Lillehammer! If you had of asked me 3months ago, I would have said Mattias was crazy and that I wouldn’t be anywhere near returning this early. Sometimes I guess luck is just on your side. Phil also had a great weekend placing 7th overall in the Sprint! Watch out for this guy this season…. www.pbellinghamxc.wordpress.com

Winter has arrived

Finally winter has arrived here in Idre Fjäll!

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Going back to Falun and jumping back on the rollerskis was torturous. Every year I have always looked forward to the last rollerski session and packing them away for the winter, however this time we had to bring them back out again. Icy roads caused this to be a little risky too! But as you can see, it’s beautiful here in Idre and the past few days have been absolute pearlers making training on all those cold rainy days worth it!

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This weekend is a freestyle sprint and a 10km freestyle. Tapering is still not really happening just yet as an increased training load should continue to help me build for better form later in the season. Regardless I am keen to see what sort of results I can produce!

Training with some of the DSA boys!

Training with some of the DSA boys!

Phil and I are living with two of the guys we have been training with in Falun, Adam Steen and Robin Norum. Both legends and good blokes! Check out their blogs at www.adamsteen.se and www.robinnorum.se

Bruksvallsloppet

The start to the race season has been a little different for me this year. Usually expectations are high, and its a very nervous period directly before the first race as you are eager to see what sort of gains you have made over the summer. This time around, my expectations were low. That’s one thing I have learnt about this injury, it’s better to give yourself time before you expect too much from your body.

The classic was not so successful, primarily due to insufficient grip. My body actually felt alright, but with slipping skis it made skiing powerfully and efficiently not very possible. A frustrating start no doubt, but that’s just racing.

Bruks

Despite my body feeling the fatigue from the day before, the 15km skate was a much more positive result. Finishing up in 63rd and just under 90 points means already I am close to where I was this time around last year! Considering the training never really tapered off for this race because I am still maintaining a higher load, I am very positive now about how my shape is coming together!

Now it is time to head to Idre for some more training and next weekend’s races. So our shoebox on wheels is all packed up, ready for another job it wish it didn’t have to be part of!

Back to Bruks!

Today 2 records were broken. Firstly Peugeot’s smallest 2 door hatch had its interior capacity exceeded by the largest margin. Another record was also set by the passenger sitting next to me for his remarkably talented ability to pull off this year’s Philthiest Mo!

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His looks alone would get us pulled over, luckily however there are no police in northern Sweden and we made it safely back up to Bruksvallarna. Huge thanks again to my lovely girlfriend Teresa for the use of the car!

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Tomorrow marks the start of the European Racing season for us here in Sweden. It all starts off with the opening FIS races here in Bruksvallarna which consists of a 10km classic tomorrow, 15km skate on Saturday and a classic sprint on Sunday.

All my goals and focuses for this weekend all revolve around achieving process goals. It’s not a good idea to place any high expectations at this point – that can come later! For now it’s just part of the re-building process! It’s been quite some time since my last proper race so it’s going to be exciting to pull that bib on again!