Wednesday, 18 August 2010


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


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....