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

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

World Cup Selection and a New Sponsor!

Today is a travel day, as we are heading to Estonia. Not a bad day for travel either considering it is +1 degree C and snowing heavily! The good news is that I have been given starting rights to Falun World Cup, where I will compete in both distance events in 2 weekends time. I will then travel to Lahti and compete in the World Cup there and then onto Canada for the first ever Canadian World Cup Tour. I have always wanted to see progression in my skiing and I have therefore been working hard to develop in many areas that have previously been my weaknesses. This has meant taking a back seat with races for a good part of the season, but now the hard work is done and I am ready to turn these improvements into results.

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To go with this good news is the announcement of a new sponsor! Just last week I was officially invited to become a part of Team ‘Out There’. The values and ideals of this company are astounding and makes me excited to be part of the Team. So get Out There,  check ’em out and have a look at the bio they are done for me: Out There

Further details about this support will be posted soon on my upcoming ‘Support’ Page

Fruits of the Season

Today was a tough 4hr 45min training day. It is the last of a training block since Ostersund and my body is definitely telling me that it very close to the limit. But that’s a good thing. You need to be close to pushing close to the limit to see good progression and now is a tapering period leading into the bigger races.

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Today consisted of a 2.5hr classic which actually felt really good in terms of energy. As you can probably tell by the photo, it was another ridiculously warm day. It’s a bit of an ‘end of winter’ feel – a little worrying to say the least as there are some big races coming up! I kind of feel like my season has still only just begun! Before the start of the 1hr run / gym session this afternoon energy was not so good to say the least. I knew it was going to be a rough one! That’s the thing, once you get going, the energy feels like it is back, but this is only temporary because by the end, the crash is monumental.

When Mangoes are on special at the supermarket making them almost cheap as Aussie prices, it can never be a bad day! It matches the current climate here too, so all great timing really!

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Tomorrow we head off to Estonia for the Estonian National’s being held this weekend.

Tropical Tuesday – Daks’ Super Speeds

This is how we arrive to training these days. 5 guys from 3 nations each with skis in the one old yellow Volvo! Mattias’ response as he sees each of us pile out was ‘are you trying to see how many foreigners you can fit in the one car!’ I’m all for it though – car pooling is good for the environment!

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After weeks of ridiculously cold temperatures, we finally got a warm change today. It wasn’t even just a small change either! From -21 Degrees C just a few days ago, to +6 degrees C today! Everything is feeling a little spring like, and for the end of January, that really isn’t a good sign!

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Training today was awesome. Because everyone has gone North for the Swedish National Championships, we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves! Good day therefore to use the entire width of the stadium with 5 guys across doing Dakota’s tough speed session. They were 30 second sprints, but you would keep moving around the short loop and do it over and over for 35mins. Great way to get competitive and try to remain technically strong. This was then followed by 2 X 5mins at threshold.

This afternoon was just an easy classic, however with the temperatures dropping again, it was about as icy as yesterday’s ice hockey session!

Finally, a Win!

Even though the Matsboloppet isn’t the biggest of ski events around, I am still satisfied to be able to say that today I had my first win here in Sweden. It’s a good thing that this guy wasn’t here today, otherwise then I could have been in trouble!!

The Headline translates as 'Sweden's Fastest Aussie' - Full article can be read on: http://www.sydsvenskan.se/malmo/halla-vastra-malmo/han-ar-sveriges-snabbaste-aussie/

The Headline translates as ‘Sweden’s Fastest Aussie’ – Full article can be read on: http://www.sydsvenskan.se/malmo/halla-vastra-malmo/han-ar-sveriges-snabbaste-aussie/

No, but in all seriousness, good luck to Henry and his preparations for the Vasa Loppet. His results have been impressive and therefore the positive exposure is definitely not unjustified however put him against someone like Philpot Bellingham in a sprint and I think I could safely back my team mate in for the win.

Anyway back to today! The 11km classic event was held on a pretty flat 2.2km loop and my initial intention was to use grip wax to try and concentrate on the technical changes that I have made in the striding technique. It just wasn’t worth it in the end, I was there to win and choosing to go with an option that I knew would have surely been slower was just not doing it for me. It was a good decision in the end because I had to fight for the lead the whole race!

After the first lap, I was slightly ahead according to the splits, then after the second lap Måns Sunesson (http://m-sunesson.se) and I were even. This made me really try and find another gear on that 3rd lap, which gained me 10 seconds, however really sent me into what we commonly refer to as ‘the Hurt Box’. I then red-lined and had to fight hard to stay powerful and aggressive but lost 5 second in the 4th lap. The 5th was therefore torture, I left everything I had out there and managed to grab the win by just 1.3 second. Congrats to Måns, and fellow DSA member Gilberto Panisi (http://gilbertopanisi.weebly.com/)from Italy who placed 3rd. Team mate Jackson Bursill also skied a strong race finishing 4th!

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No one was really ready for the photo, but that’s the best I’ve got!

These were the skis of the day – all part of the new pairs I was given this year. The new narrow tip and tail may look strange, but I’ve got to say that I love the way they feel! Thanks again Atomic Nordic.

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Mattias said that I should go for the win as you get this ‘sweet trophy’ at the end of it. Not sure what happened to that end of the deal, but I’m probably even happier to receive these bed sheets as a prize! Exactly 1 week ago in Stockholm, Teresa and I  were wanting to buy ones exactly like these for the apartment, but we weren’t stoked on the prize tag! So despite what it may look like, bed sheets were a sweet reward

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This afternoon was back to the gym for Strength and a short 40min run. Quite a hard schedule to follow after 2 days of tough races but soon I will be tapering for the bigger races that I have been waiting all season for!