Avesta 9km Skate

9km is a short race, but that doesn’t mean it is easier – quite the oppositie actually! On a flat course with minimal rest it was a power man’s course. You just had to work every single segment, including the downs as they were so gradual! It was good for me to really push with everything I had and I was satisfied at just how hard I forced my body work even when fatigued. I have lacked that top gear with slower tougher courses being much more prefereable, but today I felt I kept the urgency which is at least one improvement.

The result wasn’t what I was wanting, placing 6th and 15s off the podium. But the good news is that I know it is completely different on World Cup with far tougher courses and that’s what I have my sights set on. Tomorrow will be a 10km classic on a similar style of course but it’s good to have another opportunity to work on my weaknesses!

Faff, Followed by a 2hr Classic with Speeds

So the Faff part – today the boys were hopeless! I went to pick Jacko, Philpot and Dakota up from close to where they are staying and seems like it must have just been one of those days for all of them. Jacko had forgotten his sunglasses (pretty painful when eye balls freeze over on the downs at -21), but then I look at Philpot’s set up. Classic boots and skate skis… Nice mate! Whilst everyone is having a laugh at Philpot, Dakota then starts searching in his bag to discover he forgot his boots entirely! After a bit of a cursing, laughing and running around town, all was resolved, well almost… Phil still forgot his sunglasses…..

Anyway I can’t complain or laugh too hard because I’m usually the one that is the worst of the lot! I like to think I’m on the improve 🙂

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Once we were finally skiing it was amazing! Yeah, we had to re-wax a couple of times because the cold aggressive snow was ripping all the wax from our skis in less than 10kms but even still,  the perfectly prepared courses here in Falun just make training that much better! Always nice to have Teresa out there also enjoying the conditions with me – not a bad day to get off work 🙂

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Today was just 2hr classic with 10X20s speeds to try and get the body activated and working efficiently at speed ahead of this weekend’s races. Just small, fun, local races with tomorrow’s 9km skate in Avesta and a 10km classic in Hedemora. Good short races to really trial higher pace setting ahead of some pretty serious racing coming up!

Rest Days are Deceiving!

Rest days are deceiving. The name gives the clear impression as to what you would expect the day to involve however does this ever happen? Unfortunately for most of us athletes the answer is a definite NO. There is always so much to get done because for every other day of the week, you have just put things off with the cliché’d line of ‘I’ll just do it on my rest day’! There is therefore a skill involved in rest days which follows the simple rule; why stand when you can sit, why sit when you can lay, why lay when you can sleep. So you can imagine that when something like clothes shopping is on the cards during a rest day, you’ll find me searching for the closest chair!

Today was one of those not so restful days but luckily involved minimal physical activity – a.k.a ‘Dead Miles’. Just lots of email writing and ski waxing.

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But the good news is that all the email writing is starting to pay off! Stay tuned as I hopefully have some positive news regarding new supporters coming up very soon!!

L2 with Sprints

Today was all-round a top session! They have finally pushed all the snow around the 5km murderbacken loop which will be used for the upcoming World Cup events. Time to start working on the ‘Killer Hill’!

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Today was a big group session with DSA which included 5*5min L2 intervals but with 2 sprint segments in each. My heart rates felt great and it was a perfect way to really be pushed into skiing in control at top speed. This afternoon’s session: 1.5hrs easy classic

 

 

3hr Classic with the Boys

The year of the Olympics, I think it was probably a grand total of about 6 weeks that Philpot Bellingham and I didn’t live together. At times it seemed a little excessive to say the least, but after a good 4months or so, it’s good to see this team mate back in town! Back to some quality banter and general Faff!

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Another team mate, Jackson Bursill and US skier, Dakota Blackhorse-Von Jess also arrived last night and today we went on a pretty sweet 3hr classic with DSA member (and Rollerski World Cup legend) Robin Norum. Unfortunately I didn’t really get any good photos apart from this gloomy looking shot. But despite how the picture looks, it was actually one of the best skis I had in a long time!

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6th on DSA e-Cup

Today was back at it in the form of a 18km Skiathlon. Skiathlons are probably my favourite event and are the events where I have achieved personal bests at both World Cup and Olympic level. Today was no different! Finally I felt comfortable with my classic skiing and I went in Classic boots just to really ensure I gave myself every opportunity to stay as in control, and technically strong in the classic leg. With good skis, the things that we have been working on over the last few weeks have finally felt like they are coming together. For Mattias it’s probably been like trying to teach a kangaroo to walk instead of jump, but all credit to him as that is quite impossible! I thought the skate leg would have been compromised a little from the classic boot situation, however with perfectly prepared race track it wasn’t that noticeable. Not until afterwards at least where it felt like my stabilisation muscles had completely cooked out, but that’s all good for increasing balance and ski control anyway.

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So the result was 6th place, feeling as though I was in the mix a little more. This certainly feels like a step in the right direction and with my season finally starting to come into some top level racing I’m satisfied as to how things are going.

Slow as it gets…

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Today I went out for an early session as we travelled to Stockholm this afternoon to visit some of Teresa’s relatives (I’m relieved to be able to mention that Postis made it in fine form). The session this morning was a 2.5hr skate with 10X20s sprints. For the first 1.5hrs I had the whole trail to myself but with such cold temperatures again I felt about as fast as this bloke! The snow gets so sharp and abrasive at these really cold temperatures making the going incredibly slow! For the 2.5hrs, I averaged only 12.5km/hr….

Tomorrow – a much needed rest day before the DSA test race on Monday.

 

A Bit of a Challenging One

Today was certainly a little bit of a challenge. Didn’t kick of well when the joint session with DSA was cancelled because it was too cold and then got a whole lot worse when Teresa was driving to work driving Postis and the car decided to die on her…. So I had to race over there, swap cars and limp the old boy home! It was the intercooler again, but after a very late evening in at Bilfix (thanks to the Steen boys), where this time I pulled it apart completely, removed a 2 huge chuncks of ice and then completely dried out the intercooler, it runs like new once more! I should have down that the first time however didn’t have the tools, or the garage to work in at Ostersund. I’ll right a blog about it tomorrow and give the full details!

But just like any challenging day, it had it great parts too. After spending a good three hours working on the car, Teresa had prepared an amazing meal for me and made our home so amazingly comfortable to come back to. I did also get some good training in too! A light run in the morning while it was too cold and found some really nice trails that had been driven on making running quite nice!

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Then some tough 5X6min classic intervals, however the 1st and last minutes were at max. This is a sessions designed to try and make my body more alert and be able to respond and cope with a fast start. Exactly what I feel I need to be working at the present.

 

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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Back to Training

Today was back to full training with a 4.5 hr day. 2hr of easy skiing in the morning followed by a 1.5hr gym/1hr run combo in the arvo. With no lingering symptoms from the concussion and beautiful tracks to ski on, it feels good to be an athlete! Particularly when here in Sweden we finally get to train in an environment that feels a little more like winter!

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