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....