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