Friday, 31 December 2010

Wrist Update

I recently had my seven stitches removed and a new removable cast fitted.
The removable cast is great. Its constructed from a similar material to that of a normal fiberglass cast then but down the middle and held together with velcro. It allows easy removal when i am not doing anything other than sitting around and most importantly it means i can take a shower without having to hold my hand up above my head. However it does now mean i am able to do household tasks such as washing up.
It is another step forward in the recovery... i can now ski with both poles using this cast. When we made the cast i took my ski pole in so i got it specially molded to my pole, so it is actually pretty comfortable to use except there is a little loss of control of the pole. I make up for this easily by using my fingers more. Just means i get sore fingers.
Im looking forward to get back racing next weekend in the new year. Hopefully my wrist shouldn't hold me back at all but if i have a shocker of a race i do have one reasonably legitimate excuse.

Happy New Year to you all.

Andrew

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

x ray during my op

Broken wrist - the full story

excuse the bad spelling and amaturish typing.
i am writing on a norwegian computer with one hand.
4 weeks ago now i took a fall doing some balance exercises in the gym. I thought my hand was just bruised as i went for x rays the day after and discovered it wasnt broken.
2 weeks after the accident my hand was still hurting so i went to the physio who said it was most likely broken and sent me to the docotors. I discovered it was indeed broken. The GP sent me for 8 weeks in plaster.
After that we spoke with a specialist. They asked me to go down to drammen near oslo for a meeting. So a week after going into plaster i went down to stay in oslo with erik from ntg. They gave me an option of 10 weeks in cast or an operation with a 2 week recovery then i can go skiing useing a splint.
So i got the operation yesterday 4 weeks after i broke my hand. Now i just have some pain where they cut into my hand to put in the screw.
Now i have a back slab or half cast on for 8 days. then i have to use a splint for training and the rest of the time i can just leave my hand as normal.
after 4 to 5 weeks i can start training without the splint.

I will try and upload some pictures of the x rays for you to addmire later.

Monday, 6 December 2010

idre updated

Who in their right mind would pass up a chance to spend a week with the British Nordic ski team? Not necessarily famed for having the best skiers in the world (yet) the team is definitely up their among the teams with the best banter or loudest cheering or maybe even in the most swear words learned in another language category… So as you can imagine it was an eventful past week spent with the national team. Despite spending time with British people my Norwegian vocabulary increased by approximately 5 words all of which are completely inappropriate.

The week started in typical British fashion when neither of the coaches could get out of the UK due to the snow…. What snow? There is approximately a dusting of snow here in Norway… But no doubt back home there was/is metres of the stuff . Eventually the coaches arrived both a day later than they had intended… Roy on the Tuesday and Roger on Wednesday. It worked out ok, the team has been together for so long now, I think this is my 8th or 9th year with these people!, we just sorted it out our selves and got on with what had to be done. It is an impressive thing how the group has matured and how our experiences both on and off the track have changed the way we act. If there is a problem now we just move and adapt to fix the problem. All in all we are much more effective and I believe it is one of the reasons we are creating better results.

Training at Sjujsoen in Lillehammer was going well, I planned to do 2 hard sessions but had to move them a day early due to the cold temperatures forecast. My classic skiing went really well but skate felt bad but still I seemed to carry a lot of speed.

Training during the first part of the week went mostly without mishap, although there was one instance of a British Army skier getting in the way of one of our skiers… I am not sure if I approve of the way it was dealt with, but lets just say the skier from the Army was very apologetic… VERY!

The Army skiers from “Remi” had great attire for skiing printed with “DEATH OR GLORY” on the back of all their jackets. Apart from providing us with endless entertainment and piss taking behind their backs it does describe the tactics I tried to employ for the first race this weekend.

On the Thursday we travelled to a frozen Idre, the site of the races for the weekend. Tested skis on Friday and got ready to race for Saturday 10km skating.

The forecast for the race was meant to be cold in the morning rising to minus 12 by the time the race started. It would be great conditions for racing. However the temperature never rose… so the race took place at a shocking -17 degrees C. Wrapped up with tape over my nose and face to protect against wind chill, a buff neck warmer, hat and newly purchased racing mitts I set out for my warm up. The warm up for Saturdays race was completely uneventful, apart from the information we got back from the girls race – race in mitts as their hands froze!

So I headed to the start still all wrapped up for the cold. I Had planned to start really, really fast go out and take the glory or die trying to… But for some reason I couldn’t find that top gear, I just had a very high steady pace with no kick. I received splits telling me I was in first by a handful of seconds all the way round. I caught the guy 30 seconds in front and then the guy 1 min in front. I came across the line to win by 10 seconds in the junior class. I guess my single pace was high enough to win but not to take the Glory. I had wanted to win the overall and beat all the senior racers. It was a realistic goal, and in hindsight I should have achieved it… but I fell short finishing 4th in the overall 5,6 seconds down on the winner. Pleased with the junior win, but still work to be done for the key performance.

The Classic race was just short of a disaster. I chose my skis on the Friday, perfect for hard cold conditions. I tested them in my warm up - I had perfect skis. Then I started and it chucked it down with snow and warmed up about 3 degrees. My equipment was rendered useless, as a struggled fro grip in the kick phase and fought for every cm of glide. I struggled on through the hardest part and conditions eased up a little…. Then I could really attack the last lap of the 3.3km trail. I battled my way into 8th place junior and 8th overall, 25 seconds down on the winner. I started last junior and the seniors started behind me. The seniors had the worst conditions and this was proven by the fact that the best senior was only 9th place overall. The 17/18 year old category had the best conditions with 2 in the top 8… but in the skate race the day before they had been nowhere near the front.

A little disappointed with the classic race, yes bad skis played a part but also I lacked spark and aggression to really attack the podium as I had wanted to. But at least this is just the first race of the season. I still have time to add the finishing touches before the main goals of the season.

The week ended as it had started with another typically British fashion. We took over 3 hours to pack up our skis tidy the apartment and leave Idre . But time was still found to have a jolly good old cup or tea…

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Idre week

Just back in Lillehammer Youth Hostel on my way back to Geilo. I will spend the night here and head back tomorrow. So just a quick update to all of those avid followers that wanted to know i my first race weekend went.
The first race on saturday was a 10km skate race, i lead the juniors start to finnish and won by 10 seconds in the junior class. i was 4th overall and 5.6 seconds off the winner. A little disappointed as i wanted to win the overall.
Today we had a 10k classic race, i chose my skis on friday, perfect skis for hard cold weather. Perfect grip for the conditions too. But the conditions changed exactly 10 seconds into my race. It magically warmed about 4 degrees C and started chucking it down with snow. Resulting with slow skis and bad grip. I pushed hard and scraped a 6th place overall and 6th junior 25 seconds from the win. The best senior was only 9th place overall due to the heavy snow fall that came for the latter starters.
So all in all, a good race weekend with a few positives and a few things to work on.

more to come
andrew

Friday, 26 November 2010

BULspinten or not BULsprinten

This year i had decided to open my season, at the Bulsprinten race weekend in Gaalaa. This last week there has been a lot of questions about whether we will actually go, or even if there will be a race. At first because of snow and secondly because of the cold temperatures. The snow problem was solved and they managed to make enough for a 3km track. However with temperatures forecast at well bellow -20 let a loan the racing limit of -18 C. The organizers of the race weekend claim that the stadium is specially located to receive warmer temperatures than what is forecast. However this seems to me to be like venues in Poland, that wanted to hold the world junior ski championships, claiming that they dont need snow cannons because of the micro climate that ensures them with good snow depth. The world juniors where later move because of lack of snow...
So due to the cold forecast NTG Geilo has decided not to go to Gaalaa, a little disappointing as i had proved last week that my skate sprinting is getting good and i looked forward to testing myself in a competition now.
The cold temperatures are still forecast until friday next week and even then it is not letting up much. By then we could be reaching highs in the middle of the day of -12 C.
Fortunately although i wont race this weekend it is only one week to wait. On sunday i am off to join up with the British Nordic Ski Team for a week. All of British skiings stars will be around and i look forward to meeting up with the team again. Thursday next week we will travel to idre, Sweden where we will race saturday, sunday. Definitely looking forward to some laddish behaviour from Rogger Riller ( http://ayoungxcskier.blogspot.com/2010/04/roger-riller.html ) and other going ons that are only found on the British team.

For now though i sit inside mainly all day as it is so damn cold! today i braved the elements for a 2 hour classic ski, and short trip to the shops but biking home was fiercely cold. Tomorrow is yet again meant to be another sub -20 day, so intervals on the spinning bikes are planned! im not sure if thats good or bad! Sweating you guts out and seemingly no results as you stay stationary... Also a gym session awaits tonight, i just hope someone has left the heaters on in there!
I also must congratulate Malcolm Cooper on his winning of "the Golden Boot". It seems there is more snow in the North east of scotland the anywhere else at the moment... Clash/lecht olympic bid soon?

Andrew

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Summer?

Today we experience relatively tropical temperatures here in Geilo, it got as warm as -10! it felt like summer again!
I went out skiing this morning at 8.30, it was really cold! i wore extreme amounts of clothing and my body managed to escape without any real lose of temperature but as for my cheeks and forehead it did not bode so well. I wore my new Airtrim cold air mask. It helped a lot with the mouth and nose but it means you cant wear glasses (or i cant as the mask is in the way of mine) so the upper face took a beating.
After the morning ski i was almost 100% certain that it would be too cold to go hard today... but after going round to Erik and Fredrik's to watch the world cup skiing (posy musgrave 80th and Andrew musgrave 52nd) and seeing the temperature there we decided it would be ok to go for hard training today.
So we took full advantage of the summer weather and went out for the intervals we were supposed to do on thursday at 2pm, the warmest part of the day. Just before we get plunged back into darkness at 4.
The intervals went pretty well, i kept a good pace throughout them but still need a little more work before i will get my best results in the winter.
Pretty good day for both British skiing and myself, i would say!

check out the results from the world cup http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?event_id=28380&cal_suchsector=CC



Friday, 19 November 2010

The Cold!

Negative temperatures have their benefits when trying to ski. For example snow melts at positive temperatures and it tends to rain instead of snow above 0.
But they also have their bad points. Too cold! Yesterday we had intervals scheduled on the plan, but they were canceled, why? it was too cold. So we planned to do them today, it was still too cold. And tomorrow is forecast to be just as cold as today. And by sunday it is too close to our next interval session to do them and have enough recovery time.
How cold is too cold? Well this morning yr.no the trusted norwegian weather forecast site said it was -23.3 here in Geilo. Brrr. I went out training for an easy run today.
Clothing list
-Thermal Top
-Thermal Bottoms
-Windproof Boxers -essential item of clothing for male xc skiers
-over trouser (windproof)
- woolly socks
-Gillet or vest (windproof)
-Jacket (windproof)
- 3 buffs
- Hat
- Glasses - essential to stop eyes freezing!
and the biggest pair of winter gloves you have ever seen!

i still got cold.

The weather forecast for the next week is more of the same. It doesn't look so fun but hopefully we will still get some good training sessions done.
It does bring some worries about next weekends Bulsprinten races when the temperature is meant to be as low as -26 during the day. Also some reports of very little snow there! could be entertaining!

Thats all from the cold


Thursday, 4 November 2010

The 2 - piece race suit

This year has been really good for early snow here in Geilo, we have "4.5km" of tracks at the stadium of good man made snow and we have some other tracks of natural snow which aren't so good but still skiable. In the south of Norway the only other places with snow are Sjusjoen with a 4k track only and beitstolen, the location of the norwegian season opener.
As there are so few places with snow now people are coming here to Geilo to get their time on snow. As many people have been training here i have seen many people out training intervals and doing hard training sessions. Today i saw something that reminded me of one of my pet hates!
People wear race suits when they train hard... some one piece and some two piece. Now for me i dont really mind wearing a 2 piece race suit, thats what we wear on the British team, but i prefer one piece. But when i see people wearing a 2 piece without the top tucked in it drives me insane! Normally is is girls that do this.... the ones who are supposed to be all neat and tidy and take care of their appearance, but no, they like to look silly wearing their race suit top over the top of their bottoms. I had almost grown used to it and gotten over my hatred for it when today i saw a biathlete doing it! and it was a guy! what made it worse was that he was a small guy and clearly XS is still to big for him as the top was more like a night dress and came half way down his thighs... It is almost as if he didn't recognize he looked a little stupid. I am very disappointed that someone can have such little care in their appearance. As im sure any cross country skier will tell you "its not about skiing fast, its about looking good". But actually this ticks both the boxes of skiing fast and looking good... tucked in, neat and tidy = aerodynamic. And it means you dont look like an idiot.
Please skiers, for everybody who has to watch you ski, tuck your race suit top in! or wear a one piece!!!!


Wednesday, 27 October 2010

spring? in october?

Over the past 24 hours it does actually feel like we have experienced the whole of winter and now it is spring here in Geilo. Last night the main road outside my apartment was completely black. This morning it was covered in snow and it was chucking it down with snow and showed now signs of letting up.
I went training in the gym at 8 for 1 hour 30, with the team. When we came out it was raining. It rained a lot all day, but i slept over lunch time and generally tried not too look outside as it was so depressing to see all the rain.
At 3:30pm when i went out for my second session, an easy ski with some sprints it was sunny. The thermometer in the ski stadium read 15 degrees C. No it was NOT actually that warm, i think a combination of the electronic thermometer being in the sun and it also reading a little high. but it was warm. All the snow that had fallen on the trees overnight was now melting and thick drips of water were leaving the trees. It was pleasant to train in just lycra trousers and a short sleeve top. True sognefjell clothing . (sognefjell is a place in norway they have ski trails often until august, last season it had all year round but this year the trails were gone by end of july)
So after being attacked by watery ice falling off trees i finished my session only for it to start raining again.
At the ski stadium they have now opened up a full loop so we dont have to go out and back now. There is a "4.5km" loop. They say 4.5 but i am highly doubtful it is even over 3. But sjusjoen (near lillehammer) has a 3.5km loop of man made snow, so now Geilo ha a "4.5km" loop they are claiming bragging rights to "the best" snow in norway to date.
The rain shouldnt affect the trails at the stadium as they are 40cm deep with man made snow that was made at really cold temperatures. So the temperature in the snow will remain well bellow 0.

All the news for now

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Friday, 22 October 2010

envious?

Skiing yesterday. looks nice eh?
but today it was like being on top of cairngorm, i could see about 5m, had fresh snow being blown in my face (and i forgot my glasses), and there were no trails.
but yesterday was nice ;)

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Kragerø


View from our hotel room in the morning ;)

Every autumn the Norwegian junior national team hold a training camp were each of the ski gymnas send their best athletes. This year each gymnas sent 3 athletes and there were some more selected from last seasons results. In total 32 athletes. I was lucky enough to go as one of the NTG geilo athletes.
We were treated to possibly the best ever accommodation i have stayed in as an athlete. www.kragerospa.no It was a brilliant hotel with amazing spa facilities which we could use and our rooms with a nice view out over the sea. Anyway we weren't there for a good time we were there for training. The training was really good. It didnt differ much at all from what we have trained here in Geilo and not that much from how we train in the British team. Which is good to know we train just like the best train. There were 3 hard sessions planned for the camp, elghufs intervals, classic sprint race and an 11.5km skate test race. I did ok on the hard sessions, on the elghufs i couldnt keep with the front pace but i settled in nicely to the chase group. I had a rough day on the classic sprint intervals where i struggled in the head to head situation but still finished 7th in the prologue (the prologue is individual). In the test race i had an ok race and ended up being almost the "best of the rest". The race was won by 20 seconds then from 2nd place to 3rd a further 30seconds. So i finished 50 seconds down on the winner.
The hard sessions were good, but there were also many easy sessions. We used a nice road along the coast, that reminded me of some roads along the west coast in scotland, for our long rollerski sessions. And there was a forrest the other side of the resort area were we could go running. It was a perfect training environment.
The apartment i stayed in had 5 people in it.... 3 from here NTG Geilo and 2 guys from NTG Lillehammer. Over the coarse of 5 days i realized that each of the guys had there own "specially" ability. Markus - the uncanny ability to make any neat and tidy room a complete bomb site after being in it for 5 mins.
Ola Gunner - the only person i know who can spend over £5 on pik & mix claiming he "spent a lot of calories today"
Fredrik - can memorize the tune to any song and magically hum it randomly at any moment.
Petter - the limpet! In the test race he started in front of me, i caught him after a few km's but he just stuck behind me like a limpet and attached me at the end.

All together a fun few days with a great training atmosphere and a great experience.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Ice, rain, snow?

The weather here in Geilo is true autumn weather. We had a period of really cold overnights, as low as -7, leaving a nice thin lair of ice on the roads - perfect for roller skiing.

How to roller ski on ice. Pt 1 roller ski tuition
Remember watching bambi? well you feel like that. But with small gentle pushes and mainly relying on your poles to keep you up right it can be done. Skating that is. Classic is much more straightforward. Just dont kick because it wont help (no change from normal there then), dont go round sharp corners although you can do it you just feel like a rally driver when you start sliding. Again a good idea to use poles as balance aids in that situation.
Basically what im trying to say is dont do it.

After the cold period we have now received beautiful british autumn weather - constant rain.

How to roller ski in the rain. Pt 2 roller ski tuition
Roller skiing in the wet is remarkable like roller skiing in the dry with no obvious, clear dangers such as roller skiing in the ice. Apart from when you finish the session it looks like you have just got out of a swimming pool, it can be fun to do.
You have 2 options with roller skiing in the wet. 1) wear as little clothing as possible. - clothing only gets wet and keeps you cold. Skin repeals the water.
2) wear as much clothing as possible - waterproof jacket fends of the water and you stay dry and warm underneath. - you sweat so much it looks like you may as well just have not worn anything.
It is a good idea to invest in either mud flaps, heated floor or boot drier if you wish to make roller skiing in the wet one of your hobbies. Mud flaps can be made from a juice bottle costing 2.50NOK, heated floors can be found in most norwegian apartments and boot driers are for the few who have had the awful wet boot / day after syndrome.
Never Ever ask someone if you can borrow their boot drier. You will (as politely as is possible) be told where to (...) off to, and be told buy your own. And if you are scottish, no doubt some joke about being tight fisted will be thrown your way.
DO NOT do as some people have done and just remover a boot drier (no matter how dry the boots seem - they are NOT) from someones boots and put it in your own. That will have bad outcomes. Please note it is not from my own experience i have figured this out but from observing others.
In-between this rain and ice there has actually been some snow. A tiny a bit down here in Geilo, but at about 200 or 300m higher there is now a nice white covering. They actually had the snow cannons on at the alpine center here in Geilo but i have got now idea why. They turned them on when it was raining the ground was wet and when the forecast was for it to get to +7 later that day. So they produced a grand total of nothing, but never the less they were on!

Thats all for now, i will update you if i have anymore advice on how to roller ski in unfavorable weather conditions.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Oslo


Last week there was no school here at NTG and so no team training. So when i was invited to spend the week in Oslo with Erik i was relieved i didn't have to spend a week here in Geilo on my own with very little to do. Oslo was great fun although we didn't do too much training and definitely made the most of our rest periods. We trained strength a couple of times, and i met some of the other athletes from Erik's club Rustad IL.
Erik took me on a guided tour of Oslo on thursday afternoon, and told me a very funny story involving a politician driving down a stair case outside the Palace in Oslo. The stairs in the picture above are those she drove down. Women drivers eh?
We also went to Oslo opera house - not to see an opera but to go on the roof. Yes you can walk right onto the roof and get a view out over the harbor in Oslo.
On saturday we traveled to Gjørvik to do a roller ski race. A classic sprint.
This was the worst race of my life, enough said.
On sunday we caught the train back up here to Geilo where snow is now lying on the tops of the mountains. The weather forecast looks really good but cold. -7 overnight and + 5 durning the day. It can play havoc with training as it is hard to roller ski on the ice. It is forecast for some snow again in a few days but who knows how long it will stay for.

Thats all for now
Andrew

Friday, 17 September 2010

samling uke 37 / Camp, week 37


We have just finished the second training camp of the school year here in Geilo. I missed the first due to having a cold so it was my first real experience of a norwegian style training camp. Definitely a good experience although tiring.

Monday
monday was by far the funniest day of the camp. The morning started with the 3km uphill run test. I ran ok considering i haven't done much run training in the latter half of the summer. I finished 4th and posted a time just quick enough to make the top 5 all time list from xc skiers at ntg. Afterwards people said to me they thought i ran really well for being such a big guy. I really dont understand this attitude. Just because i am big it doesn't mean i cant win an uphill race. You just have to work a hell of a lot harder than everybody else.
After the run test the 3rd years had to cook lunch for everybody else. Lunch consisted of salad, bread and some mexican flavoured stew from a packet. Of coarse having 9 18 year old males in a kitchen together provided endless entertainment. Especially as one of the guys had a ned £1000 camera he was trying out, so after about 1000 photos of various people posing in similar "cat walk" poses finally the cooking a tidying up ended.
In the afternoon we headed out for a classic roller ski with some speed work.
On camps we always eat out evening meals at a Hotel called Bardola. Last camp the food was quite impressive although people got some kind of tummy bug from the food. This camp i was a little disappointed with the food. It wasn't as good as last time, and featured the "still alive" chicken leg.
After the evening meal most of us headed over to Holje's apartment. He had taken photos of the run test and also his camera was used for the modelling shots form lunch. He uploaded them onto his computed so we watched a slideshow of them all and laughed at each others crazy faces that we pulled during the run test. After the photos Holje introduced us to singstar. A computer game in which you have to sing into a microphone a long to a song. The computer some how judges you on how well you sing. The computer was blatantly broken as i am clearly not the worst singer.

Tuesday
Criteria to be a ski coach number 1: Must have a warped sense of time, distance and time taken to cover distance. (every single person who has ever coached me (all 10 of them) has always had a bad perception of distance, speed and time)

Tuesday was a true over distance day. In the end i did 1 training session 5 hours and 10 mins in length. The first 2 hours and 40min were spent running, on a route that Geir said should take no longer than 2 hours. After 1 hours we passed a sign saying we still had 18km to go. Eventually we got to the van, changed our shirts ate a little and set out on a ski. To be fair Geirs' perception of time was about right for the ski section, saying it would be no longer than 3 hours and i did in 2 hours 30. The skate roller skiing was really hard on the legs especially after such a long run. the last 50mins or so were basically all up hill and i just constantly felt tired and like a wanted to get home fast. Eventually the never ending hill ended and i arrived at the school at which i was greeted with (i think well deserved) cinnamon roll. I quickly demolished that, lay down on the ground for ten mins then staggered the 100m home and lay on floor until dinner time.
Another 100m (uphill) to Bardola was pure agony. But i brought my bike so the way home wasn't too bad.

Wednesday
Nothing eventful happened

Note to self - Norwegian "Stative" (word used to describe something in an obstacle coarse)
English equivalent is not State- ive. After long discussion google translate came into its element, Stative = Tripod. E.g do you wish to take a run over the different tripods on saturday?

Thursday
Interval session 1 x 50min classic roller ski. No 2 phase allowed, minimal kicking. fy faan. (dont translate that if you dont know what it means).

The mass start approach to the interval session and the fact that we are all teenage males lead to a rather too fast first half of the interval for my self. We started the intervals at the far end of the valley that geilo is in. We then skied up the valley and onto the hardangavida plateau. The first half up the hill as i said i think i went just a little too hard, when we reached the flat section on the top i really struggled into the headwind. I was skiing with Fredrik at that point but somehow he seemed not to even notice the wind and glide off past me as if he was going down a steep downhill. I dropped back to the next person, erik, and skied behind him for what felt like 2 min but it actual fact was almost 20. He turned round after checking his watch and said 8 mins to go. I was shocked, fredrik had dropped me at 25 mins to go. I must have got caught in a dream or something. The tar changed from nice smooth fast tar to true scottish country road tar and made you wish you had suspension on roller skis. I battled on for the last 8mins and started to catch fredrik. In the end i finished equal distance in front of erik as i was behind fredrik. Quite pleased with the session. We are doing it again in a few weeks so we had to build a cairn beside the road so we can judge if we got further than this time.

Friday
today we did another long run, 2 hour 30min in length to finish of the camp.
A good camp and definitely a good combination of fun and hard work.

This afternoon myself and 2 other guys headed for a swim to relax and recover after the camp the sauna wasn't on though but still it was nice to do something different for a change.

I look forward to a few easy days before heading to Olso next week to stay with Erik for a few days as school is off from Tuesday until the following monday.

Thats all for now.

Photo is Erik leading the run test with me in red in the background.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

5 day with Jacko, 8 days hard Training.

Winter sports in Britain are small very small. Biathlon is even smaller, Cross country skiing smaller again. In fact if added xc skiing and Biathlon together they would probably still be one of the smallest winter sports in Britain. So when i received an email from british biathlete and fellow Vancouver Olympian Lee Jackson (Jacko) i was more than happy to help him out. He need accommodation here in Geilo for 5 nights and seeing as my apartment has a spare room (with no windows) i let him have the spare room. In return he promised to cook for me. He turned out to be quite a well accomplished cook although he still claims he hates cooking, he did seem to get quite into it and excited about what he was making. I think Jacko is quite well famed in british skiing and biathlon circles for his slightly off the wall attitude, training ideas and general thoughts on life. So seemed only natural that the evenings were spent discussing how to change the structure of British skiing, biathlon and any other sports we could think off. also how to make to world a better place. Detailed analyses of Marcel Laponders' new blog http://train-smarter.blogspot.com/ also took place.
On monday evening i got a call from Erik, (one of the guys at NTG) he had set up a slack line and a trampet in their garden. They invited us down. I think it was fair to say i was awful and have no balance or co-ordination what so ever. I am told, although i did not witness this, that Fredrik, one of the other guys from NTG, backflipped off the slack line onto the trampet. Impressive. I have to say that i know nothing about training or training principles other than i do what im told every day and it seems to work. .
Jacko left this morning, heading for the Norwegian summer Biathlon champs somewhere in southern norway, 6 hours from here. Of coarse i wish him the best of luck for his races and for a productive autumn into the winter.

As many of you will know, i misses the first camp here in Geilo as i had a bad cold. :( So to make up for missing some hard training i had 8 days from last wednesday until today of really intense hard training. Some of it went really well and some not so well. Generally though i am happy with the hard spell of training, there was a lot of intervals and a lot of hard work in the gym too. Today i had the best session right at the end. Its funny though because the session that i had the best feeling in, Geir came up to me afterwards and said "not such a good day?". The session i am least happy with he said to me "that was impressive". I guess thats why he's the coach. Now i look forward to a nice rest before the camp next monday where another hard period starts.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

4 seasons - 1 month

I have been here in Norway for almost a month now. I can definitely say i have had a taste of all the seasons in this relatively short time that i have been here.
Last sunday i went out for a 2 and a half hour roller ski session. It was raining pretty hard when i left the apartment but after 45min further up the hill it was no longer rain but a complete Blizzard with about 10m of visibility. After an hour i decided it was probably a good idea to turn around. On the way down the hill at higher speeds, i froze completely. I got back to the apartment and took about 10min to get the key out of my pocket and open the door. I then proceeded to set the record for the worlds longest hot shower to warm back up to normal.
At nights the temperature is now dropping bellow freezing, a sign that winter is truly on its way. It is a dramatic difference from my first few days here with true British summer shorts and t-shirt weather. Or "ice cream" weather.
The Autumn Brings with it an awkward situation for a cross country skier. It can be difficult to train on roller skis because of ice on the roads or grit on the roads. Not enough snow to ski on but too much to roller ski. Wet but not snowing. And of coarse this is a time of year were training cant just be skipped because there aren't perfect conditions. So fingers crossed for a dramatic, sudden change from dry cool weather to really cold snowy weather. There is always wishful thinking ;)
Other things that may be of interest to you - we recently discovered a ping pong table in the apartment block i am staying in (complete with bats or rackets???? and ball). So if the weather does turn sour we can always have a 3 hour training session of ping pong.
Also i completed the uphill roller ski test here with all the people who were sick a missed the test on the camp last week. So, after a late decision to change the session from 8.30 to 8am, i squeezed in a 15min warm up before starting off up the hill. It was a nice day for training actually, with a "fresh" temperature and no wind. I got to the top in 20.45 to set the fastest time of the "sick" people and second fastest overall to a first year. Not entirely happy about being beaten by someone 2 years my junior, but thats just the way things go.
This Blog seems to have grown in popularity, yet another person told me today that they had read my blog. With my last 2 blog posts i have gained a new "follower" each time. Whilst good that i am spreading the luv of cross country skiing through my experiences and adventures i am slightly worried that i will have to make it a little bit more P.C and actually do things like check for spelling. These are all things i deem completely pointless and a waste of time and effort. Besides the red wavy lines under words make it more interesting for me when i am typing :)
Now i have to go and learn some Norwegian so i actually know what i am supposed to be doing most of the time....

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Syra

I am just back from what i can only describe as a true epic.
Yesterday morning the whole of Ntg 2nd and 3rd years left Geilo on bikes to cover 9 norwegian miles (90km). I knew the route we were taking "climbed" but we started here at 800m and rose to 1500m by the top of the ride. The first hour or so was on the road, we were riding pretty fast, and i got used to being tucked in at the back getting covered in spray from the wet roads. Things were going pretty well then i dropped my bottle. I went back for it and then had to work hard to get back to the group but I managed without too much expense. Back in the group and about 2 mins later my back pack game open and out came my spare bottle and my food. so back i went to pick them all up. This time the pace at the front was way too fast and i had no chance to get back on. I rode with some other guys that had dropped off for a while. We came to a car park beside the road and a signpost for "Finse". I had heard people saying that after Finse there is only a few km left of the climb. So we asked some tourists if they had seen a big group of cyclists come by. They told us they had, so we took the dirt track for 28km to Finse. This is where the climb got a little bit more than i had expected. I dropped the guys i was with and climb just kept climbing, i started to catch people who had dropped off for mechanicals and punctures or who had stopped for food. I past some of the girls who get a head start, then eventually i caught Tomas, we started to work well together and had a break for food after which we both felt a lot better. Tomas couldn't get clipped back into his pedal after stopping for food, he lost a screw on his cleat, but we sorted it in time and he was able to carry on. We got to Finse (a railway station and youth hostel) and carried on up the last part of the climb. Up the final steep section we discovered Erik who had already lost one of his cleats and was helping another guy with a puncture. He joined us and left the other guy in the cold as he was too cold from standing still. We set off over the top and onto the decent from roughly 1500m down to seas level. about a 2 hour decent. By this time i was extremely bored of cycling so took the approach of point the bike down the hill, keep my fingers off the breaks, lean back and close my eyes. I was descending at a fair pace, passing the tourists on bikes that really shouldn't be taken out of Amsterdam, every now and again i would have to wait for Tomas and Erik but no more that 30 seconds of so. We passed so other xc skiers, they rode with us for a few km before we dropped them, then we passed some biathletes having lunch before a section that literally weaved its way down a cliff, it was about 5 mins of continuous switch backs and continuous real wheel locked out riding. Eventually we got to the bottom and our fingers were numb and forearms aching from holding the brakes. We stopped to give a tube to an Alpine skier who had punctured. The 2 biathletes eating lunch caught us and we rode together. The next 5 km or so we rode as a good peleton, taking turns on the front. We turned a blind corner and Tomas came to take his turn at the front, round the corner was a tunnel. You could see the exit but nothing in the middle. Tomas slammed on his breaks. Suddenly there was swearing in about 4 or 5 different languages as Tomas ploughed into some tourists and rear-ended someone of their bike before managing to stay up right and exit the tunnel. Luckily for me in 2nd a nice clear path had been created. Afterwards Tomas explained it was dark and he couldn't see, so they couldn't see him, so really it didn't happen.
We carried on down the track before it turned into a nice open road were we could descend really fast. Coming into Flam my legs really started to hurt and my arms and my back - mostly due to being on a bike that was more like a bmx for me than a mountain bike. Erik explained that he also had bad Syra but that there wasn't long left. We made it to Flam where an American tourist approached me and asked if there was much climbing from Flam to the train station "on top of the mountain"? (Flam is at sea level). I explained that there was and it was really steep but i wish i had said "look around. Do you think you can go anywhere without going uphill?"
We met the bus, got change into dry stuff. Some people took a quick dip in the Fjord but i promptly declined. I would wait for my nice warm shower in the mountain lodge we stayed in last night.
Today we were supposed to walk/run back from our mountain lodge to a small town just outside Geilo. However bad weather was forecast on the tops of the mountains so we just went from sea level back to the lodge the mountains we had stayed in the night before. I had to walk due to my hip injury but still i could go quite fast because the track was so steep. The fastest guys ran it in 1:58 and i did 2:47 just walking. Then we bundled up into busses and came home. pretty eventful 2 days.


Syra = Acid

Friday, 13 August 2010

Norway

It has been a while since my last post, so to fill in the gap i will give a short brief out line of what i have been up to. I went to the first week of the British team training camp In Nethy Bridge, i left early on Friday to head out here to Norway, to NTG Geilo. I started training here on Saturday and have been getting settled in.

Yesterday was my first interval session i had to do on my own here, On tuesday i had been introduced to the "interval hill". A climb similar in length to that of the Cairngorm Hill Climb roller ski race. And for those of you who know the road, the steepest section of the lift road is about the constant gradient of this climb. So its pretty tough. On tuesday i had an awful day and stopped the intervals after the 1st rep. The road was pretty bumpy and it was tricky to ski with 2 deep grooves where car tyres normally roll.
Yesterday couldn't be any more different to tuesday. A, i was in much better shape. And B they were in the middle of resurfacing the road. At the bottom of the climb i spoke to the road worker who said i could go up, just to be careful of the cars coming down as it was 1 way traffic. After about 1min into my first interval i was finding it pretty tough going, i realised that the reason for this was the fact the tarmac i was skiing on was newly laid and so acting like deep wet slushy snow, not only that but my wheels were actually digging in and leaving tracks in the tar. And my pole tips left massive holes in the tar.
After the road works I carried on up the climb to be greeted by the road worker stopping the traffic at the top chanting and encouraging me on in Norwegian. So eventually i reached the top and skied cautiously along the plateau section at the top so as not to disappear down the other side and crash off some cliff or something. I did my last interval back and fourth on the flat section at the top. The hill i came up is far to steep and long to ski down so i had taped my trainers to my bottle belt, switched my shoes over and walked down. The workmen on the way down joked with me about how the thought i was going to ski down as well. i got back to section were i could put my skis on and skied home.
Pretty eventful session....

Friday, 9 July 2010

July Camp.

So the July camp has been and gone. It ran pretty smoothly as the athlete to coach/staff ratio was small. At one point we had 5 coaches! 3 of our normal coaches - Peter G, Roger Riller and Don Young. Then from the institute of sport which provide our strength and conditioning and lactate testing, Boomer and the brains of the operation Catriona.
The camp's main focus was intense work outs and ski technique. So lots of roller ski sessions, and lots of football. Football became the adopted warm up by the athletes and cool down and any spare time game. It all climaxed at the ultimate EYO group against The World Group. Which we (the world group) won. I can't remember the exact score but im sure we gave them a thrashing. Even though we had numerous should have been red cards surprisingly the match referee claimed he saw nothing (roger riller's eyes are going a bit) and even when i was blatantly booted in the shin by the goal keeper in the oppositions penalty area nothing was awarded to my disgust (the ref may have also been that goalkeeper). Having said that the standard of football was 2nd to none, and some even speculated that it could take down the so called world cup hopeful's of such major footballing nations such as England, France and even Italy.

On the camp Peter G got into full flow in the talking for Britain competition and was challenged by non other that the mighty Mr Musgrave (junior). Peter tried to tell us all to eat healthily and only eat "real" foods such as organic products. Muzzy challenged him on the chemical compositions of food and took everything far to literarily - i was lost at the first mention of chemical after that words of "blah" were exchanged between the two. Peter G lead by example however by eating crunchy nut corn flakes (reportedly). After this i can determined one thing: Muzzy is finally mature. As maturity is clearly when you understand and can communicate with Peter G. Congratulations must go to them both as they receive the entertainer of the weekend award.

The coaches however claim the real maturity is reached when you can understand the radio 4 cricket commentary.

As Don Young actually has a job unlike most of the athletes, he had to work on the monday. No disappointment however as Brendan G stepped in to do some shuttling duties and have a catch up with the athletes. Many of whom competed and trained with Brendan when he was still a member of the team/squad. Don Young had entrusted Brendan to drive his car for the day, it only ended up in the ditch once or twice but not noticeable damage was done.

The camp finished on the monday i took tuesday as a well deserved rest, and started training again wednesday. Training this month is, eh, hard. no wait that sounds to easy, very hard? still doesn't do it justice. But i will just 'man up' and get on with it. Coach sent me my plan with the key sessions highlighted and marked in bold "intervals" i thought 'ok thats not to bad only intervals every day for the next 4 weeks.' an hour later i had a new email " sorry youngie thats the young guys plan, here is yours:" the bold, hi lighted sessions seemed to double. my heart sank, my deep love fore intervals seems to be decreasing. maybe we are just seeing to much of each other?










Disclaimer: In noway do the names above relate to the persons involved, they are all fictional names. Also the training disclosed is neither factual nor correct.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

SUMMER! and a sporting round up

Its about 20 degrees celcius outside for the 2nd day in row. People are out gardening topless and the old folk complain about the heat. i think it is fair to say the scottish summer has started.
One of the good things about the summer here is that the evenings are long so when you forget to do the run you had for training today until 9pm there is still plenty of light to go running in the forests. People have been known to go running even later than that but i'm not mentioning any names or anything, yagi. I am told it is "prime" but i'm far too much in love with my bed to try it. Midsummers day lent itself to a long evening bike ride, it also lends itself to getting people out on the bike you havent seen in weeks. so the biggest group in about 2 years headed out on monday night with a grand total of 7 riders.
The football world cup is also on and providing good entertainment and a distraction from anything worth while, that i am supposed to be doing. There is always huge debate in scotland as the wether we should support england, see them as neutral or support there opposition. Personally i am neutral, however if they were to win it would shut them up about 1966 for while. ;) There is supposedly a bar in Aberdeen which has sweep stakes on the football, not on who will win but how many minuets it takes for the commentators to mention 1966 in an England game.
So who do i support, being Scottish? Well not Germany, they are the BRAT - WORST. Not brazil - they are by far the best, they dont need my support. Not portugal - diving and play acting. Not Argentina - Maradona - DRUGIE, CHEAT! Not Spain - see portugal, Not netherlands - i hate orange. Not USA - im half canadian - see above scottish/english debate.
So it boils down to African nations. I dont care which one just and African nation, that is who i want to win, why? imagine what it would do for sport in Africa and imagine the party across the whole continent... It would just be epic, not to mention they have slightly underdog teams beefed up with one or two amazing players and the football is very aesthetically pleasing.
Le Tour De France starts in July, personally a cant wait, cycling in Britain is an inspiration for other sports in Britain. My view - Wiggans - 3rd, Cavendish for the green. Team sky to have good performances, but its their first year so it wont be overly amazing.

Wimbledon is also on, i couldn't really care less. Apart from the mens final - If Andy Murray makes it.

Media - with all this going on there is a lot of sport in media. I bet if Andy Murray wins, he will be british - if he goes out in the 2nd round Scottish. It was the same for David Coultard, David Millar in cycling. I hate it but there is not much we can do about it.

Also VAT is rising to 20% here in Britain In January, so if you are from foreign parts please come here before January buy everything you need for the next 20 years boost our Economy and out Vat might not need to rise so much? Also then it will remain a place were it is cheap for you to come shopping. Thanks in advance of your late summer shopping trip to Britain.

i have now changed it so anybody can comment on my blogs without signing in, i think. so feel free to comment.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Training, roller ski racing and bit and bobs.


So it is now mid June, and summer training is well under way. (although the summer weather isn't). This month my training has taken another step up and is a little bit tougher after a relatively easy month in May. Training is going well, with a few interval sessions creeping in it is starting to be a lot more enjoyable.
Last weekend we made a camp out of the British roller ski champs, over in the Cairngorm region. The camps' main focus was development and to get some of the younger skiers used to being away from home for training. One of the major tasks was shopping for and cooking our evening meal... writing the shopping list i explained that "we are having spaghetti Bolognese, we have the bolognese so what else to we need?"
the reply "bread" was a little bit shocking but when backed up with the argument "if i was italian i would have bread with that meal." i can kind of see where they were coming from.
Apart from that i think the camp ran pretty well with some good training sessions and the roller ski hill climb race on the sunday. I raced pretty bad, for no obvious reason, i just couldn't go as fast as i would have liked.

Living pretty far north hear in scotland i am enjoying the long evenings of the summer, i find them a great time to train. Next Monday, as you may know, is the longest day. So the plan is for a mid summer evening bike ride, should be fun. (if its nice weather).

i think thats all for now

Andrew


Sunday, 23 May 2010

The May Camp

3 weeks into training and now i can truly say training has begun.
In the British team it is traditional that we have a camp in May with high hours of training at easy intensity. And this year didn't disappoint. We trained 10 hours in 2 days.
So the first day started lightly with an hour roller ski, real easy. Then on for the hour and a half bike ride from the Training centre to the beach. Then a run along the beach for 1.5 hours then a back to the bikes and ride home again. Sounds easy... but at 25 degrees C for us scots that feels like a sauna and makes it almost impossible to move. Most of the guys ran topless and have now go interesting burn marks on their back from their heart rate monitors and also nice burn marks from their bike tops. It is kind of our own fault though as none of us put on any sun tan lotion. The evening we had a meal cooked for us by one of the athletes parents... it was greta meal and good to have the whole team together... we did a bit of planning for next season and some goal setting as a group. Unfortunately this preoccupied us and we couldn't watch the champions league final to some peoples disgust.
The 2nd day was slightly easier and we had all learned from our tanning disasters from yesterday. The morning was a gym session but outside because of the heat again. A bit of an unusual session but fun non the less. The afternoon was taken up with the Gordon Way run, it took us almost 3 hours to do with poles and had some great views.
It was great to do some long distance work with a group it definitely helps with the boredom of long workouts and keeps you motivated . Now though i have to say my legs and my feet are really feeling all the running from the weekend, time to put my feet up in front of the TV i think...

Saturday, 1 May 2010

2010/2011 season has begun

Today was the first day back in training after 3 weeks of nothing other than the occasional bike ride and long lies in bed.
It feels good to be back, but also very sore. My legs really aren't enjoying training again, even though the day was mostly easy with only the tough gym tests as a hard workout.
Tomorrow is the infamous British Nordic Development Squad AGM. it starts at 9.45 and has been known to last as long as 5 hours. 5 hours siting in a warm room saying nothing and actually sorting nothing out is great fun. Or not. I guess it is just one of these things that has to be done but i would much rather be out training or doing something interesting. Alex has strategically switched his work shifts so he is working and everyone still at school suddenly has to do intense revision. As i neither work nor go to school i have to go.
Back to training - this period of the season is going to be mainly easy stuff and not that many hours either so its pretty nice, there is a lot of gym work though!!!!!
Next week i have planned to go across to Cairngorm and try get some start of season skiing on snow with what is left on the top of the ski resort there. We also have planned to do some biking sessions and some hill runs/walks. so looking forward to going over there to really start the season off.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Seasons Impressions






So the seasons over. It's a little bit sad to be honest. Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, Finland, 9 countries, 29 races.
So what was my best race? I think this is the one time FIS points have actually worked. My best race of the season was by far the 10km skate in Hochfielzen, also where i scored my lowest FIS points. Other races worth mentioning are the 10km classic in Vadso, in Norway and the classic sprint at the olympics. You might look at the olympic result and go why is that any good? well it was the perfect race until i fell. But thats life.



Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Finland and tour de barents

I have delayed writing this blog so as to calm my self down and not write anything too aggressive over the top towards what happened in the last week.

The Finland easter races
Biggest waste of time ever. I skied like i was a newborn baby and hadn't yet learned how to walk. The first classic race we got the wax wrong but i persevered to finnish the race appallingly far down the field. The 2nd classic race i chose the wrong skis so quit the race. The 1st skate race was awful, our skis were good but i was bad. I got absolutely trounced by people i shouldn't have and was miles of the pace in the juniors. The 4th and final race was my best race but still it was bad really bad. This time i held iivo niskanen off for 1 minute so i was within 1 min of the junior winner but still i was way too far down the field.

The Tour De Barents
Stage one was amazing, best race of the season. Having raced 4 days and traveled 800km to get to Vadso in Norway i was sceptical that i would even be able to ski remotely fast. I skied the 1st lap controlled but still managed to catch Daniel Stock for 30 seconds. On the 2nd lap i though i was well down on 1st place as Finn Hagen Krogh seemed to be catching me for 30 seconds and in the open and looping coarse i could see him gaining. Suddenly after an out and back section there was nobody behind me. i realised i was miles in front so gave it bore to the finnish to win by 18 seconds, and 10th in the senior mens. I would have been a lot closer to the senior win but Sami Jauhjarve won by over a minute.
Stage two was awful. I lost a minute on Finn hagen Krogh and Daniel Stock in 15km skate on a very very easy coarse.
Stage 3, the classic sprint. I won the prologue by 0.8 seconds from Finn Krogh and 9 seconds from Daniel Stock. I cruised through the semi finals and the had a hard run in the final. Finn and me broke away from the rest of the group early on, i tried to brake on the climb but Finn kept pace with me a took the lead down into the stadium. Finn messed up the last turn into the finish, somehow it worked in his favour. He ended up a lane outside the racing line and i ended up along side him. I am not strong in double pole! so i knew i could only last 50m or so to try and break him right at the very end but i had ended up going head to head with him at 150m! way too soon. i kept up for 50m then got dropped and settled for 2nd place.
Stage 4, the hill climb. 2nd worst race of the season. finished 3rd and 3rd overall... no more needs to be said.

some funny quotes for the TDB
"so posy, you are Andrew Musgraves sister?" "yes" "your brother beat finn the other weel"
"oh yes i heard my brother had a good race with you finn?"
Muzzy beat finn in the norwegian champs 10km freestyle, He had to settle for second and was not very happy about it.

When we are talking about our climbing abilities for the final hill climb
Posy to finn
"i heard from my brother you're not very good at climbing?"

Daniel Stock and Finn turned up late for dinner one night
Daniel, "sorry we are late, we were playing clothes poker. I won, I was first naked."

Norwegian on the bus
"the bus driver doesnt speak any english" "can you drive us to the cabin?" "PLEEEEEEAAAAASSSSSEEEEEE" "looks like we have to walk"

I must mention the Tour De Barents organisation and how awful it was. Vadso was well organised (its in Norway so no surprise there). In inari there where no busses to the track from the hotels, it was ok as it was only 500m so it was manageable. but annoying.
In Roveniemi it was a disaster. There was no bus to the team captains meeting!!!!!!! from our hotel to the posh hotel where all the stars had been put up. so we walked got last and just turned up in time. The Norwegian juniors staying at our hotel in their rage about this the contacted someone at home in norway to get busses organised to team captains meetings.
On the first race day i went out and waited in the rain from my bus at 9.30. it never came. seems they just forgot our hotel of the route. i got a lift with a wax guy in his camper van at 10.15, i turned up for ski testing 45 min late thanks to the organisers. No hotel to airport transfers where done so we had to get an expensive taxi.
Dont get me wrong i dont mind staying in a different hotel to all the big names and one that isnt as posh, but they should at least provide the transport that they are getting an we aren't! We had no car or means of transport so we were effectively stuck.
Not to mention i had payed 750€ to be there that no other competitor that i spoke to had payed anything!! (that wasn't British)
Personally i think it was the worst organised ski race i have been to and strongly advise not to do it. The way i was treated was the worst i have ever been treated at a ski competition and it removes all enjoyment from the racing and skiing aspect that you are there to have.

My thoughts on the tour format
I like it. but rules need to be put in place now by FIS. Tours should not exceed 8 to 10 stages maybe even only 4 or 5 for juniors. It is such a hard format and it takes a lot of toll on the body and mind. By limiting the number of stages then it can not get to the stage cycling has got to. were your body takes so much beating that you have to train immense amounts and the only way to do that is take drugs. I dont think anyone wants skiing to turn out like cycling has! so i think the tour format to go forward needs to be done carefully.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Roger Riller

Roger Riller loves rillers, he bought himself a new riller of the internet before coming out here to Finland. He got himself a toko riller with two different structures, today he bought a new red creek riller at a ski shop and managed to get €20 off the original price, he then went back to the ski shop later and asked if he could borrow their personal riller, they agreed, god know why they are not going to get it back. So now we have in total 7 different structures to use on our skis, but no test skis.... oh well im sure we can make an educated guess...
some Roger Riller facts
-Roger Riller has put all his rillers and different structures on the highest surface of the room, so he can bow down and pray to them before he goes to sleep.
-Roger Riller keeps a riller in his breast pocket, close to is heart and so it protects him if he wonders onto a biathlon range... again.
-Roger Riller passes off athletes who shave their legs as a mere fad, however it is a well known fact that he rills his own legs before longer runs.
-Roger Riller is a great fan of Bjorndallen, before he starts waxing he walks on hot coals to prepare his mind. He is known to use a coarse structure riller on his feet to increase surface area and intensify the effect.
-Roger Riller is known to shun Birnie Ecclestone at any opportunity after the later throughout Roger's proposal to disallow tyre changes but only allow structures to be pressed into slick tyres and structures to be changed.
-Roger Riller's baggage allowance has reduced after he decided that you only need one pair of well structured skis, no waxes or wax boxes and only rillers as structure is clearly more important than wax and arguable the ski itself. It is still considered a myth that he once said that structure is more important than the athlete.
-Some people claim the skier in the best shape will win the race, some people say the best skier with the best skis will win the race. Roger Riller says "an elephant can win the race if he is on well structured skis".
- Some claim Roger Riller is forged from molten rillers and has liquid cera running through his vains.
-Roger Riller challenged Chuck Noris to a race, Chuck laughed, Roger rilled his feet, Chuck cried.
-Roger Riller refuse to use cars or planes as a mode of transport as he feels they are a waste of metal that could have been sued to make rillers.
-After Peter Northug won the 50km at the olympics in Vancouver, Roger Riller congratulated him on his well rilled skis.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Rest Day

I strategically planned my rest day to be on the day the clocks went forward so i didnt have to get up early and go training. Our stay here in Ostersund is almost over, we leave on tuesday morning so we have today as a rest day then tomorrow we have the last interval session of the season!! It's a nice thought knowing that after tomorrow there are no more level 4 intervals for over a month!
As im not training today and there isnt all that much to do i find myself in great danger of being organised, i have decided that today i can wax my skis and get them all packed up apart from a skate pair for tomorrow, pack all the clothes im not going to wear tomorrow and make sure all my clothes are clean as i dont know when i will next find a washing machine.
Training here has been going pretty well, we did some level 3 intervals with he gymnasium on Wednesday which where fun apart from the last one which we did up the "alpine slope" as they call it (it is not actually used as an alpine slope, it is a downhill mountain bike park with jumps and the like on a fairly steep downhill, the xc trails go down the side of it). The actual climb is only about 3 or 4 mins but it involves a lot of herringbone and as it is mainly a trail used for coming down and people like to snow plough it, it was mainly ice. So after waddling up and looking like complete beginners we completed the interval on a fairly flat loop.
On thursday most of the guys from the gymnasium left to go to Skelleftea, for the swedish cup finals. so there was only us 3 brits and 3 of the guys who CBA'ed with going up north at training on thursday. It was nice being in a small group and we got a lot out of the session and learned a lot. On Friday it was the same small group of us. It was also the shortest (at 1 hour 55 mins) and easiest and funniest session of our time here. Jurke (not really sure how to spell his name), one of the coaches was just being a hero basically. We where doing kick double pole and 2 phase technique training and as we where here he had decided to do the whole session in English.
Yesterday was a grey, wet day. it reminded me somewhat of a typical day in aberdeenshire. I had decided to do a test race yesterday as i hadn't raced distance since the 15th of feb and i hadnt raced classic distance since early January! In fact this season i have only done 3 classic races, and one was mass start. Grip wax was a pain yesterday as well, i tried swix klister kr60 being the warmest klister i have. It didnt work. So i went back to the wax cabin to put on more and hope that it would work. Then i remembered, Posy's aqua klister. It had burst coming out here so she put it in the bin wrapped in fiberline and cardboard. I got it out the ban managed to just get all the paper and stuff of it, get the lid off just enough for some klister to come out. Then i sort of but rather large clumps all over my ski, side wall, glide zone, binding, top sheet... you name it, and there was Klister on it.
It did work though. I finished my warm up and started my race round the 10km loop, except i couldnt use the whole 10km loop as there was some crazy kids event (blatantly copying skate skier cross! dont we have copy write on that?) in the stadium and the tracks close to the stadium. So i did the 10km loop plus an other loop i dont know how long it is to make up for the distance not done on the 10km loop. i think it must have been around 10km as it took 27min 56 seconds to complete, and the snow that had been piested was really fast. (shame it wasnt all piested)
The rain yesterday morning turned to snow in the afternoon and the proceeded to chuck it down for about 2 hours straight giving the place a new white coating.
I think that brings you up to speed with everything thats been going on...
we leave for finland on tuesday and race friday 10km classic, saturday 10km classic, sunday 10km skate, monday 10km skate. The the tour de barents starting on the 7th April with 10km classic, 8th 15km skate (mass start), 10th classic sprint, 11th 13.2km hill climb hunting start.

thats all for now
andrew.

Big thanks to all those who helped us out in Ostersund,
Bengt the wax guy for organising coaching for us.
Rolf for taking us double poling and to go and see the sled dogs, and being friendly
Ola for coaching and being a good lad
Jurke for coaching and bantering around
Camp Sodergren for being legends
The Gymnasium guys for making us feel welcome, taking us to the gym and being general good loons.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Ostersund

This is my first blog, hopefully many to follow.
I am currently in Ostersund, Sweden. A pretty awesome town and basically Sweden's winter sports centre with dog sledding, xc skiing, biathlon, snowmobiling and alpine skiing all accessible within or around the town.
Im here with my sister and Posy getting in a two week training block before we head up to the frozen north of Finland for the spring races and the first ever Tour De Barents. We have been training with the gymnasium here in Ostersund which is pretty cool. They are are true crazy Swedes though. Last week i went on a 2 hours skate session on Snowmobile tracks! So it turned into a double pole session basically! and we got lost! Following a brief argument between coaches and athletes in Swedish (i speak no Swedish) it was explained to me in a very calm way that "we haven't a clue where we are". "I think maybe that way is home but the others think this way, so we will go this way and see what happens." Fortunately we did get home safely. And today we went crust skiing. My first experience of crust skiing and i can say it was eventful. After the first 10 mins i thought i was getting the hang of it and going pretty fast then we had to go into the woods to head out to some fields. as soon as we got in the woods the snow was a little bit softer and being 90kg it couldnt really support my weight. so i spent the first 40mins at threshold trying just to keep up and not get lost fighting through the snow with my poles sinking in and wondering if the crust would support my weight. eventually we got to the fields on which a rifle firing range was placed. so Ola (the coach) saw there was no red flag up to we could ski on the rifle range, perfect. Or not, 3 shots fired off and we all dived for the bushes. The a man appeared from the firing point and shouted at us in Swedish. Ola shouted some stuff back in Swedish and then explained that we had to leave but i had already gathered that from the shots being fired. We headed back down to the normal ski trails and skied back to the stadium, pretty fun session.
got intervals with the gymnasium guys tomorrow, dont really know what they are... Ola seems to be keen on the surprise element of intervals... last friday we found out about 10mins before we started what the intervals where. We do know that they are classic but thats about it.
Oh and i forgot to mention the awesome accommodation. we booked to stay in Ostersund Camping for a pretty neat rate, however on my first day here Ola said that it was no use and that he would get us into camp sodergren right beside the tracks. i explained that we had looked there but it was too expensive. "no problem" he says. we are now staying at camp sodergren for the same price as Ostersund Camping. I basically roll out of bed and onto the ski tracks, we have a pretty fast internet connection, a large apartment between 3 that we would normally share between 5 and have i mentioned its right next to the ski tracks!

i think thats all from Ostersund.
i will give another update when i get to Finland (if i have internet) and maybe i final update just before we leave here.
andrew