Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas

Christmas is an odd time for cross country skiers. It is a crucial time in which huge advantages for the rest of the season can be gained, or huge losses. Its at the hight of the "flu season", and its also a period of a few weeks with no important races, so you can train harder or better, for the first races back in the new year. So if you can complete a good training period the gains are great, but if you get a flu, and spend a week in bed you loose a lot. Probably more than usual as the others have had a great training period.
Because of this i decided not to go home, and stay here in Geilo to get better training. Both Callum and Andrew from the British team where here with me for christmas for various reasons. Andrew is going to the Tour de ski, and so has to train well for that, Callum has been at uni back home so not had so much snow time. He came out to get some snow time before the first norges cup in the new year.
We had a few good training sessions, over the last week i have had a test race and two hard interval sessions. On christmas eve i also had a long ski session with muzzy, up in the mountains on some new ski trails for me.
The norwegians, i think maybe europeans in generell, all celebrate christmas on the wrong day. Just to be different. My landlord, who lives in the house above my apartment, kindly invited us up for christmas dinner with them in the evening of the 24th. It was a great meal, i got to try all sorts of new food and drinks. We were suitably well fed, but they demanded we ate more. So we did. After a fun evening, on Christmas morning we had a hard interval session together. 6x4 minutes. It was good session, although none of us are in our best form ever, we all had a good training session. The afternoons entertainment involved cooking our christmas dinner (mark 2). We had decided to have ribbs, the traditional norwegian christmas dinner. Having bought 3.75 killos of ribbs i was a little skeptical of how it was going to go. But Callum and Muzzy, the culinary magicians that they are, sorted out an excellent meal. We didnt finish the ribs but we did a pretty good job. Only a 3rd left in the fridge. After an early dinner, i was pretty full and could hardly stand, so spent most of the evening sitting down or lying on the floor. Callum and Muzzy had far too much energy, and whilst i was having a skype conversation with family back home, started playing a "throw the orange" game. In wich they had to throw a tangerine over my head, as close to my head as possible, without hitting me. Eventually muzzy dropped it and it split. The game the continued to throw the raw egg game. In which they would throw a egg, thankfully not over my head. Of course on of them eventually dropped it and it smashed all over the floor. They then played it again with a new egg.
I was far too tired to do anything and so went to bed at 9pm. The last thing i heard before i went to bed was "shall we play the egg game", "yeah ok", "it broke", "this was a retarded idea". Maybe that extra cup of mulled wine they had, had gone straight to their heads. Im not entirely sure what they were thinking.
When i woke up this morning the floor was clean. So no worries. But we have had to buy more eggs. Muzzy has now gone home to Lillehammer, and callum is here for a few more days. Although now the weather had turned pretty bad with warm temperatures and gale force winds. I opted for a rest day today, to recover from some hard training last week, and so i didnt have to venture out into the storm. Muzzy kindly drove us to the shop before heading home, so the fridge is well stocked with other things besides ribbs as well.
Hope you all had a good Christmas.

Monday, 12 December 2011

SNOW! and other unrelated news

So it has snowed here. Finally we have enough snow to ski out from the stadium, on natural snow. The loop around the lake is complete, without stones, and finally winter has arrived.
And now for news that is completely unrelated.
Last week we had a training camp. But on Thursday i came down will a cold, so had 4 days off. Not entirely a bad thing. I had been getting a little bored of getting up early, getting out training. And a little tired. So now with a few days off, i am re motivated and recovered, to get back out training. its still over 3 weeks to the next competition so it shouldnt affect (or effect) me in any way there. Today i had my first session back, an easier hour of skiing round the lake.
Last week we had a ski session round the lake, in the dark. As it is pretty much permanently dark now. OK so its not, but the sun rises at 9.30 and sets at 3pm, so it feels dark. Geir Endre thought putting his head torch on flash mode would be good balance training for us. I quickly noticed it was SOS it was flashing. SO while skiing, in the mountains, it may not have been the cleverest thing to do. I asked if it was SOS, he said yes, but it was cool to have his head torch flashing. He did however turn it off just before the rescue helicopter arrived. OK so no helicopter came, but it makes a good story?
My advent calender sent out by my mother arrived today. As a child, i was never aloud to be normal and have a chocolate advent calender. Instead this is a home made one, with little bags full of surprises. Normally pieces of a jigsaw puzzel. Then on the 24th a clue to where the box was hidden so you could see what you were actually making. This year is the same. But i am intrigued to see where they have hidden the box.... But also this year, on the 6th, i got face wash. Good to see my parents care about my personnel hygiene. Also some dried apple and mango. This was todays, the 12th. Actually this is a pretty good one. They were scoffed in less than 10mins. The other "theme" this year is Christmas tree decorations. But all the old crappy ones i made in primary school, of unidentifiable Christmas objects. Clearly they were deemed as clutter, and not good enough for the tree at home this year. However this is not the major problem. Having been away for many Christmases now, and spent a few in random lodgings around europe i know the Christmas trees have a tendency to randomly appear when Cally and Muzzy are around (will explain shortly). However in Geilo there arent really any Christmas trees to appear from somewhere, being manly Birch trees. Whilst yes i have hung a few of the decorations on the pot plants, there is a limit to how much they can take, and its not the same really.
Yes, Muzzy and Callum are coming for Christmas. Callum, being at uni, hasnt had much snow time, so is coming out to get some snow training before the first Norges Cup in the new year. And muzzy is planning on going to the TDS so needs to train over Christmas before that. So a mini training/eating camp shall occur. It should be fun, i cant wait to see what sort of concoction we cook up for Christmas lunch.
Geilo has a new supper market. Whilst this may sound completely dull to you, this is quite possibly the greatest thing ever.
I burnt my arm on the oven today, before proceeding to pour boiling water on my hand when draining pasta. Apart from the occasional cooking mishap, everything else seems to be fine. I washed the bathroom today and generally tidied up. Its amazing how much mess you can make just by being ill for a few days. Without the energy or the will to do anything other than lie down and watch skiing or biathlon on the TV, the mess had accumulated. But now everything is back to the normal ship shape.

I must have given you enough, completely useless and unrelated news to last a lifetime.
Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

school sport

So yet another article came out today about school sport, and it has caused an up raw on twitter and the like.
When will people see school sport, or PE at least, sucks!
At my school PE classes were 55min. take out 10min for getting changed, take another 10 for the teacher taking the register and dealing with people who havent got any kit, take another 10 for sorting out teams, explaining the drill etc. And suddenly its 25min of ity bity sport (twice a week). Most drills arent carried out correctly, games are won by the team who cheats the most. Teachers had little control over large classes and it pretty much turned into a free for all. Occasionally we would do something like the beep test, i won every time. But i would only go two levels more than the last person who dropped out. Just enough to assert my authority as the best runner/fittest person in the school. The teachers would congratulate me on running well, but actually i hadnt really pushed my self that hard, was no where near my record and didnt deserve congratulations. This in turn leads to good sports men and women believing that they can get away without giving there best. I have seen this in two junior cross country skiers from great britain. By far the fittest at school, by far the strongest, by far the quickest. But nowhere near the standard to compete internationally. They basically got told they were awesome, went abroad to race and got thrashed.
That is my first problem with PE. Dont get me wrong, i enjoyed PE, and the dirtiest football games known to man, or hockey matches where the goal was to simply hack away at your opponents shins but this doesnt produce athletes.
My second problem is the content of school PE. Out here in norway i happened to walk into the gym hall when a primary school class was taking PE. They were doing a core training circuit. Similar to what i do once a week from ski training. The difficulty of the exercises was immense. And the kids could all do them flawlessly. The could hold a good plank position for a minute. They could do 60 sit ups in a minute, and there was nobody sat at the side. Everybody did it. Even the fat kids tried everything! Including push ups.
If you got even a group of kids from a town with 4000 people in it that were as good as these guys then you would be from the sportiest town in the Britain, let alone a whole school.
My third problem with PE is similar to my first. I was not the best rugby player, i wasnt the quickest runner, i could hardly play football, and in hockey i was only a lump swinging a stick. Yet i represented my school in all these sports. Why? The best rugby players took up smoking and drinking from about the age 15, the best footballers refused to play for a school side as it conflicted with their club contracts and by the time i was a senior there were only a few people willing to play sports so i got called into every team for every sport. Eventually the footballers realized they werent going anywhere big, and most have quit now. A few of the rugby players have returned to sport, but lack the skills they had at ages 13 and 14. But generally there are less than 3 people i know of from my year at school that continued and compete in a sport regularly. Why is this? I believe it stems from PE. They get taught to play sport badly and so this gets ingrained in their competitive play. Then they arent good enough to make club sides or regional sides, get dropped and quit. They are also taught PE is training, which for elite sport it is far from. I didnt count PE as training from the age of 12 as i pretty quickly realized it was crap training.
For PE to work in schools, the content of what is taught, the class size and the attitude of students towards PE must change. I do not hold the teachers accountable for what happened at my school, most of the time they were as good as they could possibly be under the conditions and the curriculum. They supported me when i was training seriously and combining school and for that i thank them.
I would be in favour of removing PE from schools, but encouraging out of school or after school sports. When i started secondary school nearly everybody in the year did a sport. More time and effort to enhance the quality of youth sport, the quality of training, and the enjoyment for all involved will bring about new tallent. I believe anyway. I also think that people coming into secondary schools who are talented in a sport will receive better support, training and encouragement in their sport without PE but a bigger focus on out of school sports. This i believe will bring about the athletes of tomorrow.

It does not tackle the obesity problem. I am just putting this out there. i dont truly believe this, but why not encourage bullying of fat kids? Enough saying "there, there, your just big boned." tell them out right they are a porker and need to lose weight? if the attitude towards fat people changed then we wouldnt have so many. If people learn from a young age that it is not acceptable to be fat, then they arent going to get fat?

im just putting it out there. of course i having nothing against fat people. Thats who they are.

sorry if i have angered anyone out there.
But this is based on my experiences in school.
all for now.

Good start.

So the season has started! Last weekend i competed in Bulsprinten, moved from Gålå to Beitostølen due to no snow. The conditions in Beito were good, it snowed a little bit the whole weekend, so there was a constant top up of snow.
The first race, on saturday, was a skate sprint. I had an ok prologue finishing 4th, but i was 4 seconds down on the winner which was a little bit on the big side for my liking. My time also wasnt that quick in the senior class, taking me out of the top 30. However i was racing as a junior so i had qualified for the junior heats. (top 30 qualify). My quarter final or heat was pretty bad, i had bad positioning and i didnt feel great. I struggled my way into 3rd place to qualify for the semi final as a lucky loser. The semi final was quite possibly my best race of the day. I felt good, had good skis, and skied a tactically good race. I came across the line 2nd, right behind the eventual winner, both of us having completely eased off in the final few 100 metres.
The final was a tough race with people willing to take up the pace setting right from the start, i got positioned well, but out of a high speed corner i suddenly found my self back in sixth and last place. I had to fight my way round the long way into 4th, and by the time it was possible for me to pass more people it was too late and i could only catch one of the guys infront. I ended the day 3rd. Fairly pleased, it shows things are going how they should for this point in the season. Although not to forget the Norwegian Junior National team all raced as seniors and qualified for the heats, so i am aware that i would have been at the back on the final had they been competing as juniors.
On sunday it was the first distance race of the season with a 15k classic individual start. I felt pretty good the whole race. With a fast opening lap, before relaxing into a nice tempo for the middle section of the race. On the last of 3 laps i had plenty of energy and felt good. The hardest hill on the course lies inside the last 2k, i was able to attack it, make up a few seconds and fight my way into 5th place. It is a respectable finish, again showing that everything is working as it should. Of course there are some positives to take from the race, like the strong finish and some things to work on. Again the junior national team races as seniors, but they also went 15k classic, so i can compare the times quite easily. I was the 8th fastest junior, which is still ok, inside the top 10. It shows things can go as planned next month in the first norwegian cup. But it is important to remember that it is still over 2 months until the world junior championships. So there is plenty of time to find good form.
Now i am back in Geilo on a training camp. This is quite possibly the hardest camp of the year. The training is no harder of different that usual. But now it is dark. The sun rises after 9am and sets just after 3pm. Our first training session starts 8am and our second 4pm. So pretty much i only see the sun on the way home after the first session. Its hard to get up when its dark, and tough mentally to get out and train. But i am managing!
The camp ends with a small local race at the weekend called Golsrennet. It should be held 40mins away in a town called Gol, the biggest town in the area. But they dont have any snow so it will be held here at Geilo. Which is pretty handy.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

First races

All over Europe ski resorts are struggling for snow, in what has been a very very slow start to the winter season. This has caused a few changes in the plan for myself, as the opening races in Beitostølen were canceled, and with minimum time on snow i decided to drop the world cup the following weekend.
You may remember from last year, at this time, we were experiencing extreme cold here in Geilo, with the coldest day coming in at -33 degrees Celsius. This also lead to my opening races last season being a write off. There were a few who braved the baltic temperatures and raced, but NTG had decided to give it a miss. This year, the same set of races, Bulsprinten, has been plagued by no snow. And so, rather comically, the races have been moved to Beitostølen, which couldnt run the season opener due to no snow, but now has plenty, with a 5k loop. The temperatures are forecast to be good for ski racing, around -3 to -6 and a little bit of snow about too. So things are looking good to start the racing season on saturday. Saturday is a skate sprint on schedule and sunday a 15k classic time trial. It had been a 20k mass start but yet another change was needed due to lack of snow. I think this is better for me. Mass starts are notoriously hard and a 20k early in season i tough. But with a 15k time trial you can start at your pace, focus on good skiing and have a good race without all the worries of a mass start.
Training has been going ok the last few days, with some good intervals yesterday. Here in Geilo, we have had some snow last friday and saturday. It then turned to rain and everything turned into and ice rink. its been warm the last couple of days, eating away at the ice on the roads and paths but also at the snow on the track. It has held up surprisingly well, but after a biathlon Norges cup at the weekend and some warm days, there are a few patches dirt and ice.
Last night i was out for a jog in the evening, and was completely over dressed. There was a warm wind, and the ice was melting rapidly. In the night i woke up to the noise of rain hitting my bedroom window, but when i woke up this morning there was a pleasant surprise in a white blanket covering everything outside. Since then its pretty much snowed none stop, and the weather forecast is for it to remain cold. So hopefully, we finally have winter at long last. About a month later than last year!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Classic

Last week was a pretty tough week, lots of training, a few hard sessions, and lots of early starts. Yesterday was a rest day and to sleep into to 8 o clock was an absolute joy. Most people my age would regard anything after midday as a lie in. However today i was back at it, with my first training session at starting 8 being a strength session in the gym.
Last week also marke the transition from dry land roller ski training to on snow training. At the stadium here we know have 5k of man made snow prepared for both classic and skate. Its great to be back on snow, i was completely bored, tired and demotivated to train any more on roller skis. Roller skis try to simulate skiing on snow, but they dont quite succeed, especially in the classic technique, where the grip wax is replaces with a wheel that doesnt go backwards.
So the focus of my first week on snow has been to get over the few technique cobwebs. And its safe to say, my love for classic skiing has re kindled. Most people think of classic skiing as tedious, with waxing, cleaning and preparing the skis. Then its slower than skate and generally a little bit more borring. But this was week has provided excellent classic skiing for me. Firstly i had an easy classic session, but as there was only 2k of tracks in the hardest part of the trails, we had to use the diagonal technique a lot in the climbs. It was prefect grip, and the feeling of striding and glide up the hills was awesome. The next classic session was a double pole interval. 6x6 minutes. This was a great session, i had complete control, and felt pretty good. So the work i have done on double polling over the summer seems like it might pay off. The last classic session i had was on saturday. Just an easy ski. It was raining and warm outside, so we had to use the dreaded klister, but once i had it on my skis it was fine with great grip. The conditions were slow, but to get the feeling of the kick and the glide under the ski was immense. To be honest i pretty much just sacked off going for an easy ski and skied level 2 the whole session, just so i could feel what its like to ski diagonal again. Nothing can compare to skiing snow.
So i quite enjoyed the training camp last week. We pretty much had our own private ski track until friday. Then it got a bit busier for the weekend. The camp officially finished on friday, but just about everybody had a 2 hour classic session on saturday, so we all arranged to go out and train together at the same time. That was pretty good, and it certainly helps to ski with others.
On saturday night a few of the guys went out for a well deserved pizza after the hard training week.
Now i look forward to some "easier" weeks, with some more intervals training and less hours, before the first race of the season, Bulspinten (Gålå) in two weekends time. You may remember last year i skipped Bulsprinter because it was extremely cold at -19 or 20. This year they have a complete opposite problem of no snow. So hopefully things will get under way there no problem.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Are the rollerskis finished for the year?

As i said in my last post, i was skiing on snow last weekend. But i came back to Geilo for a training camp with NTG this week. Yesterday we had a time trial. It was scheduled to be skate roller skiing, but due to ice on the road it was changed to classic. It was a pretty fun race, mostly flat for the first 3 quarters before a massive up hill in the last part to the finnish. I finished 2nd behind mats whose "kjempe vingene" (good wings) served him well on the flat double pole sections. On a complete aside note, Mats from, Gaupne near sognefjell (the summer ski resort in norway), speaks i dialect that is imposible to understand. As mats also doesnt speak much english, we normally dont communicate in anything other than pigeon english, sign language and cave man speak. But finally, i have slowly started to comprehend the dialect and have discovered what mats has been saying. To be honest its not that much more than i understood via the previous discussed methods. Anyway i have digressed, apologies. After the test race we took an easy run in the afternoon, to our delight when we came back the snow cannons at the stadium had been switched on, although producing mostly water at this point. Since then the cannons havent gone off. Any water that was coming out is now ice. Today the guys at the stadium prepared us a track of about 1.5k. Although there isnt enough snow in the stadium, so we have to take a quick 5min jog out to the start. Its pretty much our own private track, although this afternoon there were a few others out too. Because the track is out from the stadium, it includes all the hardest parts of the track, which isnt great for doing some long distance session. But the way this season is going, nobody cares, we are just thankful to be skiing on snow. Hopefully by tomorrow afternoon, when i next have a ski session, there will be a loop on the go and we will avoid two way traffic on the fast downhills. Its pretty exciting to get skiing on snow. Especially when there are so many who havent, it feels like you are gaining a free advantage, although there is a long time to the most important races of the season. So hopefully, for now, the rolleskis are finished with and can be packed away. Although this season has packed a few surprises so far, i wouldnt be so shocked if we had a few more roller ski sessions yet.
might take a few photos tomorrow and let you see how the track is looking.
all for now.

update
read the article on Langrenn.com (you might have to use google translate). It says 3k, but im skeptical that the track is that long at the moment!
http://www.langrenn.com/naa-er-det-skiloeyper-paa-geilo.4985599-1743.html

also a report here thats worth reading from the british team head coach
http://bnds.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=412:norwegian-woods&catid=12:head-coach-blog&Itemid=76

Monday, 14 November 2011

3 Days on Valdresflya

taking a drinks brake
up on valdresflya

This year the snow had been late in arriving, very late. In the last 2 years skiing at Geilo started on the 22nd and 4th of October, we are now on the 14th of November and still there are not skiing conditions. However hopefully by tomorrow that will all change, as snow has been made on the cross country tracks, just not prepared yet. Because of this lack of snow across the whole of scandinavia, early season races have been cancelled and teams have been in search of training locations. The races scheduled for beitostølen, where i had wanted to participate, were cancelled. However 20k from beitostølen, u
p in the mountains, there is a places (wooden hut) called Valdresflya. Here there was snow. Not great amounts but enough to be pushed about and made into a 6.5k ski track. As the british team had accommodation booked for Beitostølen for the races, we decided to go across and train up on this track in the mountains. originally we thought the conditions wouldnt be that great, but after the first session our thoughts were reversed. The conditions were great. Of course there were icy patches, and occasionally there was a stone or 2 you had to watch out for. But for early in the season on a bad snow year, it was pretty good.
I took 2 sessions on friday, an easy classic and an easy skate. We had with us a guy called Andy from the Scottish institute of sport. He was specifically there to look at videoing and gps data. It was pretty cool to see your self ski on a video that took 300 pictures every second. This was quite useful, as the change from roller skiing to snow skiing is big. There are technique changes, and speed changes and also changes in the sorts of terrain you ski on. So the video helped to try and smooth out some of the technique issues that arise when you first get on snow. Dust off the cobwebs as it were.
On the saturday i took some controlled intervals. It
was pretty fun to go on snow, and i felt i skied pretty well. Although not that fast. We had
gps units on, so we could compare differences between each interval and compare to the others. Along with the cameras filming us to check out our technique. Yester
day i skied for 2 and a half hours. Just easy. the conditions werent as good as the othe
r days. The was a bit of sugar
snow sitting on t
op of ice. It had been quite busy over the weekend, and it wasnt so well prepared. However the classic tracks were ok, and there was good grip on universal klister.
Pleased with few sessions on snow i head back to geilo last night. This week is a training camp with NTG. We have a good few sess
ions lined up, and hopefully after tonight and tomorrow we will be able to ski on snow!
the view from the tracks

Friday, 4 November 2011

No snow



So there is no snow in geilo. But to be honest im almost happy about this at the moment. These two pictures are taken from maybe the only places with "snow" in scandinavia at the moment. I cant imagine it being enjoyable training in either of these two places, and i would rather run and roller ski here than try to ski there.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

More pics from Majorca







some pics from the final classic session that ended in the dark, and from the Sa Colobra hill climb.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Mallorca training camp









Thats right you read it correct. I was in Mallorca or Majorca (however you wish to spell it) for a training camp the past week. (Thursday to Thursday).
So why go to mallorca? Well basically its sunny, warm and dry. In Norway it is cold, wet, windy and icy, but there is no snow yet. So we go to Mallorca to get better training conditions before the winter.
Last week was the highest hours per week i will train all year, coming in and above 25 hours of training. The first day was a 5 and a half hour training day. I learned a lesson, EAT LOTS. In the second session i decided to go in the fast group which only consisted of 3 of us. Coming down the last long downhill back to our hotell on the beach one of the others went on the "smellen". Smellen is a norwegian word which directly translated means "the crash". But in sporting terms in means ran out of energy. The body starts to crash. Mats, who was on the smellen, was exhausted. He was paddling or using skate 1 on the downhills (skate 1 is a climbing technique). My self and Gjøran had to push him down the hill back towards the town. Luckily we bumped into one of the other groups at a junction 5k from the hotell. Øyvind, one of the coaches gave mats an energy gel. it helped mats for 2k then he had to be pushed back to the hotell.
After this, I took it upon myself to eat lots. When i say lots i mean lots. Dinner consisted of:
1st course
3 types of carbs, normally chips, rice and pasta with a cheese sauce. 1 helpin of protein, either chicken or pork,
2nd course
more chips, more pasta, more rice
3rd course
soup (had to buy drinks and seeing as im scottish i wasnt buying anything, so i had to have soup to get over my thirst)
dessert
3 or 4 scoops of vanilla ice cream, 3 or 4 plums, a pear and a banana or an orange.

Breakfast was a similar amount of food, with a cereal course, a cooked breakfast course and a healthy helping of cakes. I would fill my pockets with cakes and take them out training with me. I would try to eat 1 cake per hour of training. For lunch i would eat sandwiches with chocolate spread, some fruit and some cheese. But mostly the long lunch breaks were used for sunbathing and drinking masses.

Once i had sorted my eating to adapt to the higher than normal training load everything went smoothly. No problems with running out of energy anyway.
We had a few interval sessions down in Mallorca but there is not much to write home about there from my perspective. The shape or form, what ever you want to call it, wasnt great. I wasnt skiing that fast and had to really dig hard to stay with the front groups. But i got good training and there is plenty of time for the shape to come good with a quarter of a year before the world junior championships and norwegian junior nationals.
One of the intervals, a brutal 6x6min skate session, was up the infamous Sa Colobra. An epic mountain pass winding its way up from the sea to over 600m. It was a truly epic session, even if the speed and form wasnt there, they views were. And the road is a true masterpiece in itself, winding and cutting into the hill side, including a full 360 degree turn with a corkscrew effect into the mountain.
Appart from lots of skiing we took some running sessions on the beach and some strength training on the beach to the delight of all the middle aged German women, who watched on with eager eyes. I had always thought the old joke about Germans leaving their beach towels on the deck chairs to be a false and just a joke. But living in a hotel that was predominately germans i found it to actually be true. They would leave there towels on the chairs at about 10am and return every now and then for maxim of 1 hour spells. Then some Germas lady came a tried to steel all of our sun beds when some of the guys had gone for a swim in the sea! The cheek, its about time we invade them!
Anyway, enough ranting about germans, or actually not quite, some german driver nearly knocked me over when i was out roller skiing. So inconsiderate. But yes, we had some alternative training which included getting back on the road bikes, which i hadnt done in a while. We were going to have 3 bike sessions of various lengths, but within the first hour of the first session i had decided to check out the tarmac. Scraping my chin, leg and chest on the ground. I swore a lot, chucked my bottle on the ground, got back on the bike, complained a lot. But generally i got on with it. It ended up being a great ride, with a mountain pass in it too.
I think i have just about covered everything, appart from how litte traveled the group i am training with are. I noticed this from two things. Firstly, on the way out at security, one of the guys was adamant you had to get your camera out for security and was bricking it as he couldn't find his in his bag. I told him he didnt have to, he relaxed a bit. Then he got his bag stopped at the check. he thought it was his camera, but he had 4 litres of water in his bag.
And the second is that people claimed they didnt like the food. I have to say, that a home made meal is nice. But food from a 4 star hotell with a buffet, where they cook the meat on a grill so you can see and have a fresh salads and french bread, is nothing to complain about. But nearly everybody expressed a joy to be back in Norway eating norwegian food. Well i say to them, that they should look forward to the day when they are in some small european village in the alps, where fresh means from the last year, cooked means when you cant tell what vegetable it was, and every night is the same mystery meet stew. Half way through the camp the family dog disappears and the mystery meet has changed to something else. Milk means UHT, and the concept of fruit is lost.
Only then can you appreciate good food.


All for now.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Busy week

Just finished i busy week, or few days. Not in terms of training but in terms of Visitos! First of all i had my dad come out and visit it me. He stocked me up with suplies, and cooked me meal, and washed up. Nice to have a change with some else's cooking. He only stayed here for 2 nights before visiting one of the other guys on the team in Lillehammer for 2 nights, before going to Ramsau in Austria.
The day after my dad left, my friend Erik came to visit me for 2 days. We have the same coach, but seing as Erik lives down in Oslo and our coach lives up here in Geilo they dont see each other very often. So eriks plan was to take a training session with me on sunday before have a technique session and a meeting with Geir Endre today, monday. Things didnt quite go to plan. The weather forecast was for some cold weather, but no snow, maybe some sleet. We woke up on sunday to find the grass covered outside. We took a very long time to get up, hoping it would warm up and the conditions become favorable for roller skiing. As Eriks bed was in the living room/kitchen this consisted of him having breakfast i bed and me having breakfast lieing on the sofa. We would occasionally sit up to see if it had stopped snowing yet. At 10.30 we decided to head to the shops to get food for dinner. We arrived at the shop to find a post it note on the door changing the opening time from 10.30 to 11. By 11 the car park was full of cars sitting there waiting for the shop to open. Clearly there was nothing better to do yesterday. We bought about enough food to feed a small army.
After coming home and having one of the largest lunches ive ever eaten, we decided that we should probably go training now. Having seen some of the other guys out rollerskiing when we were at the shop, we could tell it was pretty miserable here in geilo, so thought we would be smart and drive down to the bottom of the valley, 400m bellow here. Half way down i commented that i thought there was more snow here than in geilo. A further 2k down and the road was white. Erik had winter tires on the car but clearly not everybody did. The trafic was at a standstill and the road conditions would have made it impossible to roller ski. So we headed back to Geilo. We went to the roller ski track. Did 1 minute and 8 seconds before deciding this was miserable. With our rollerskis covered in snow and our legs and feet all ready soaked we headed back and clocked up 3min and 16 seconds. Not exactly great when you are meant to be doing a 3 hour session. So we headed home got some shorts and went swimming. We did actually swim properly for about 1 hour, but with both of us in baggy shorts, and no goggles it wasn't exactly favorable training.
After that we came home, and the time being only about 4 o'clock, but both of us were starving so we ate out dinner that was actually enough food to feed about 100 people but we still ate it. I cooked us some brownies, and erik had bought ice cream so we even had dessert, wich isnt often.
The rest of the evening was spent slagging off yr.no, the norwegian weather forecast website and laughing at the fact we had trained 3min and 16 seconds. We contemplated telling people we were out for 3.16 and hope they made the connection to 3 hours and 16min.
In all seriousness, this is the problem that faces us in the Autumn. Yesterday i think we made the right call, the guys i saw out roller skiing weren't having fun. I feel it is stupid to risk it in snow and ice.
Today was a nicer day, but i trained inside, taking a running test on the treadmill and a strength session in the afternoon. There was still too much ice and Erik had to drop his technique session, and went back to oslo having accomplished next to nothing of what he set out to do.
The weather is meant to be nicer the next week before turning back to snow again in just over a weeks time, but then i am off to Mallorca for a training camp in the sun right before the winter comes.
I hope you have been more fortunate where ever you were this weekend.
All for now.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Update


Lots has been happening recently. So much that i havent updated you all.
Firstly i went on a training camp to Val Senales in Italy with the British National Team. I got ill and it was pretty much a waste of time training wise, but we got soem valuable date in terms of what happens to my body at altitude, and i still trained over 10 hours in 3 days. To read about the camp and see some photos check out BNDS.ORG.UK My dad (head coach) updated there with some reports. And for once they are actually intelligible and quite good reads.
After the Italy camp i headed straight back to Norway for a camp with NTG at Skeikampen just outside of Lillehammer. This has to be one of the funnest training camps i have ever been on. Despite missing out on both the hard sessions, the long hours with the group training, and the constant entertainment the rest of the time, made for an enjoyable 4 days. At lunch and dinner there were digestive biscuits available. To Norwegians this seemed a complex and difficult thing to understand. Not biscuits in generell. Or the fact that you get them at a hotel. That is common in Norway. But Digestive biscuits, what the hell were these? Its fair to say i dug in. Taking stash loads back to our hytta, and eating them out training, in fact pretty much eating them constantly. After a few meal times a few of the others got hooked on them too. And they became christened "verdens beste kjeks". Or in english, "worlds best biscuits".
With the food in Italy being typically italian and outstanding, and in plentiful helpings being a buffet. Along with the amount of digestive biscuits i ate the flowing week... well lets just say its good i train a lot.
As i was ill and missed a bit of training this weeks planned rest week has turned into a high intensity week with 4 sets of intervals, but still quite low hours. Im back running after my shin problems, which is good. Ive been out on runs up to two hours. And i will take a running interval session later in the week.
Not much is happening this week as all the others are home this week so im the only one left in Geilo. Its great to get in some training, and feel "at home". I forgot to mention my apartment was slightly revamped when i was away, a new tile floor and new bed welcomed me when i arrived home. I have to say, it looks smart.
Thats pretty much all for now.
The picture is a picture i took of the guys out running on the first day in Val Senales. There is another story here, but i figure its probably best left for a while.
Over and Out.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Back to Norway, first camp

I have just finished my first training camp back with NTG geilo in Norway. It's safe to say i am completely shattered. I have come to this conclusion as today i had an involuntary 2 hour nap on the sofa. Whilst finding outrageous, and completely useless facts on the internet to do nothing with other than copy and paste on to my sisters "wall" on Facebook, purely to annoy her and make any passing reader think i am in intelligent. I fell asleep, computer on lap and all. 2 hours later, or there abouts, i woke to find the computer on the floor still playing the music i had on previously. Fortunately the computer wasn't damaged.
Anyway, now that we have established i am tired, can go on to tell you what i got up to this week. I flew out to Bergen and took the train to Geilo on monday. Tuesday was an over distance session, from Eidfjord, up over the Hardangavidda and back down to Geilo. For those than dont know, the Hardangavidda is the biggest plateau in Northern Europe, i am guessing in land area not necessarily height of the plateau. Eidfjord, as the name suggests, is on a fjord, at sea level. We skied up to over 1200m (3,937.0079 feet for those working in old money), the back down to Geilo at 800m (work out the feet your self). The total distance was just under 90km. This was an already tough session due to the length mainly. But in a sort of stubborn way i made it a little harder by going level 2 the whole day. So for 5 hours of skiing i had an average heart rate of 160. A little high but, hey it was a fun session.
The rest of the week was pretty dull in comparison. Train, eat, sleep, train, eat, sleep, repeat. Overall a good week.
Its one week to italy and some Glacier skiing now! So looking forward to that and being back with the British team. It has to be said that the most exciting thing is the thought of seeing a strange orange globe in the sky. I have to say the sun has been very good and not turning up this summer. So hopefully we will have crisp conditions on the Glacier and a bit of summer dow in the valley. There is always wishful thinking. Also having all the items i left at home that i actually need here, returned to me may be an exciting venture.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

summer (ish)

As you may have noticed the blog has been a little bit quite recently. Not so much has been happening. The summer has been pretty bad in terms of weather. It feels as if it has been 8 degrees and raining the whole time. Indeed as I write this it is raining and miserable outside. I had a few things planned for the summer, most of them have been unsuccessful...

Get a sun tan and tan lines - mildly successful, although pretty good for scotland

Get a job - unsuccessful, although i have done a bit for my mum and dad

Learn to drive - again, mostly unsuccessful on this front, i passed my theory but on the practical side of things it isn't going so well.

Get good at skiing - might have to wait a while before we find out.

Anyway, training had been going pretty well through june and july. I picked up an injury in my shin again at the end of july which is effecting my running pretty badly. Everything else seems to be running smoothly though.
Last week i was at the british teams summer training camp in Badaguish near Aviemore. It was a pretty tough week, with 3 hard sessions and lots and lots of hours training.
Having been to Badaguish a few years ago and stayed in a tin hut with 10 people per bed room it was a pleasant camp to stay in the luxury forrest cabins with twin bedrooms. We had some of the athletes parents catering for us in another building with a big dining hall. That was pretty good and the food was its usual high standard, and included Haggis one night.
The camp was pretty bussy with the senior team, junior team, EYO group and development group all there. With a huge range of athletes from 11 year olds to Olympians. I train with the senior team, but on most days we had the junior team along with us. We had an American girl, who claims she is British, along with us at the camp. For all the others this provided endless entertainment, as somehow my mother had told my sister that i was "keen" on her. This was then taken completely out of context and passed to my sisters boyfriend who, also a member of the senior team, happened to be sharing a room with me. So putting up with a whole week of the awkward comments, at just under hearing volume must have been hilarious for all the other guys but for me it was a little embarrassing. Fortunately British, or north east scotland, vocabulary isn't quite the same as American.
Posy came along to the camp for 2 days, and on the morning of her second day we had an easy session in a game of football. Whilst in goals, se went to save and shot and bent her finger backwards, which led to her jumping up and shouting "ive broken my finger! This is quite exciting, ive never broken anything before." Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending how you look at it, it wasn't broken just dislocated.
As i had mentioned before we had all the groups from british cross country skiing with us on this camp. In the first few days the younger guys got addicted to "THE RINGS". A set of swinging monkey bars, consisting of 8 rings, across a pond. This provided endless entertainment... but also led to the young guns getting pretty tired as they didn't quite understand the meaning of resting. Of course i had a shot on them. And you will be pleased to know that i am awful at it and fell in the pond every single time. Luckily however i didn't fall in fully clothed like Fi. The guys promis to still be laughing about this in years to come.
Upon arriving we were warned that the steam from the showers can set of the fire alarms in the cabins. This wasn't a problem until the last day. When dora set the fire alarm off, came out of the shower. Found out it was ok so went back in the shower and set it off again...
This lead to BOB from Badaguish coming down, disappointingly not to tell alex to go and get the cup, but to fix the fire alarms. He came down in his litte groundsman type atv. Almost like a golf kart. Simon span him some bull about working and living on a farm and driving this type of thing all the time. This lead to him getting a shot. Fortunately nothing was damaged.
We left the training camp yesterday, alex had still left the cup in the woods. We were all a bit tired and i have to say i enjoyed a rest day yesterday.
Its time for an easy week now, before getting back into hard training again.

Monday, 6 June 2011

The art of eating

Why eating is important

I recently discovered why we eat. During Ming the merciless midsummer challenge i didnt eat. It was an epic fail, that certainly lead to an epic meal time afterwards.
The morning of the event i woke up at the usual time and ate breakfast around 8 am. From then i didnt eat until the start of the event at 11. During the half marathon run in the hills, i didnt eat. I didnt run hard the whole way either. I split the run up into and 30 min warm up section then 25 min really hard in the climb before going level 2 all the way from the high point back home.
Although i didnt eat i had drank some juice. At the transition to the cycle it didnt even occur to me to eat. Someone even offered me some food but i declined and said i was fine. Now 12.50pm, i hadnt eaten from almost 5 hours. The cycle was disastrous. I quickly became hungry and discovered i wasnt carrying any food. Only a bottle of juice that quickly became empty before the half way mark. The las hour of the 30 mile ride i cycled in my easiest gear swerving all over the road. Only dreaming what food could possibly taste like. I eventually made it back tot he finish using the patented 5 pedals and free wheel technique. Yes a 30 mile bike ride did take me way over 2 hours with an average speed of less than 15mph, make all the fun you wish. But i tell you, i have had the pure luxury of starvation.
Upon arriving back, i promptly sat and scoffed my face with cake for the next hour. I scoffed so much so fast that i felt sick. With a little more energy, i cycle home, and fell asleep for 2 hours.
So i hadnt eaten from 8 until after 3pm, a whole 7 hours. And in that time i hadnt drank that much either. I have never felt so empty in my life. I have definitely learnt my lesson about eating though!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

First roller ski, last ski, first running intervals

This week has been eventful.
On tuesday i took my first roller ski session of the year. It was relatively uneventful, appart from the messing around before hand trying to make sure my tips were on right, my skis still worked and i could remember how to do this. After 2 falls in quick succession, both within 500m of my house and both uphill, i was rather nervous about starting the actual session. The way out was fine, a nice relaxed pace uphill all the way to Ustaoset. The way down i was a little nervous with the high speed and bumpy road surface scared by the snow plough all winter. I got down safely and appeared to have all my falling out of the way, thankfully.
today was an early start and a drive up onto the mountains to take my last ski trip of the season. A nice easy skate session on the crust. Half an hour in we found an up turned boat beside a lake. The lak being still frozen with a few puddles on top of the ice. We took the boat, dragged it up a hill and the sledged down in it. (before returning the boat). This proved to be harder work getting it up and the fun from the down run. So we quickly gave that up before continuing on our trip. We were out for about 2 hours and its fair to say i have topped up my tan.
After a long break in the middle of the day, with a shopping trip, some packing and some napping, i had an interval session this evening. There is only one way to describe returning to running intervals, hell. We were doing 4 x 4 min on the flat. with a 2 min break. As we got ready, and chucked off our warm up stuff and bottle belts i noticed the Gjøran was wearing his black G sport running tights. These brought back painful memories as all last Autumn, dressed in this attire, he destroyed us all up every mountain possible. A couple of times i tried to hold on, only daring to look at his heels and hoping that the interval would end as soon as possible, or that round the next bend there would be a flat section.
Today however was a different story with the intervals being on the flat ground, and Gjøran claiming he wasnt in good running form yet. Despite this claim, he set off like Usain Bolt, I managed to run along side for the first interval. Felling pretty pleased i enjoyed the recovery before the 2nd. Into a strong head wind i stayed behind in 2nd place the whole way. On the 3rd with the wind behind us and slightly downhill, i ran along side again. Having to move my legs as fast as possible just to keep pace. The 3rd intervals was insanely fast. Covering a huge distance, after that i knew the 4th was going to be tough. I stayed behind again, teetering on the edge of being dropped the whole way. I finished the session feeling really good and pleased with my efforts. I cycled home, showered, cooked and ate dinner. Now i wish i had gone a little more controlled. My legs are throbbing and aching. I guess its just there way of saying "welcome to the summer".

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Skarverennet

So the season is over! Yesterday marked the end of the season with the final race, skarverennet, a 38km race from Finse to Ustaoset.
As Finse is in the middle of nowhere in the mountains in Norway we have to take a train up to the start. I took the train up to the start at 9:50 and arrived with about an hour to the start. After getting my clothes ready, and queueing for the loo it was about time to start the race. This year the race was starting in a hunting start format. With the girls starting 12min before us, and the winner being the first one across the line 38km later.
I had a bad start position as it was just a free for all for start places. When the gun went off i took several kms to settle into a good group. In my group i was skiing with Vetle Christiansan one of the Junior National team members for biathlon, Odd - Bjørn Hjelmeset, although at the end of is career and a classic specialist he is still respectable at skating. The other person of note in the group was Tord Asle Gjerdallen, but we eventually dropped him.
After the initial uphill for 4km or so we came onto a long flat section. After this another long uphill followed. On this uphill the group got whittled down to just me and odd bjørn, with a few people arriving then disappearing again such as the Swiss star Crudin Perl.
It was around here i noticed that lots of the girls we were catching were in the classic track to the side and double poling on skate skis. I had no idea why and just assumed they had become too tired to ski properly. I quickly discovered why they were double poling. The skate tracks were getting trashed but the classic track stayed firm and icy. So i hopped in the classic spur and double poled. It seems bizar, but i double poled for about 10km leading Odd Bjørn, one of the worlds best double polers. We came to about 12k to go where i received a drink from Geir Endre. He was standing next to Roar Hjelmeset, the Norwegian junior national team coach and brother to the guy i was skiing with. He must have said something or given his brother something good in his drink because he quickly dropped me after this. He went on to beat me by just over 3 mins, all taken out in the last 10k.
The last 10k was agony. By now the sun was high, my camel back was empty and i was feeling tired. The heat in the last few kms was immense, it felt like i was trying to ski in a sauna. With 7km to go there came a long up hill drag, i past one of the Junior National team girls and asked them how much uphill was left. They informed me it was the last and i rejoiced in this information. However they were wrong. I kept pushing hard over the next 2kms, to turn a corner and see a hill. It was like hitting a brick wall. Some people i had passed earlier in the race caught me. Feeling pretty pissed about it i was happy to finally be on the last downhill to the finish line. As i came off the downhill into the finish straight Vetle appeared from nowhere, came along side me and said "hello my friend" before proceeding to sprint off and beat me by a mear second. He was the fastest person from NTG and fastest from our Norwegian club, Geilo il.
I was pretty annoyed he beat me, but i later found out he started in the seeded group that starts infront of everybody else. (by about 20m). Clearly that is where he got the extra second from :P
I think Skarverennet will have been my last ski session of the year. Perhaps i will take a trip this week before i go home next weekend.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Spring Time

I haven't written a post in a while. Not so much has been happening. Or at least nothing that has inspired me to write a blog.
However i thought i best keep my loyal followers up to date with my spring time adventures.
A combination of an abnormally cold and dry winter and a very warm and sunny spring has lead to snow leaving fast. Now there is pretty much no skiing bellow 1000m. It doesnt pose too much of a problem as there is still good snow if you can be bothered to go and get too it.
I have had some really good long ski sessions. And as a result i have caught the sun. If i was to bee seen kneeling one may mistake me for an umpa-lumpa. With a tidy headband line across my forehead and vague glasses marks around my eyes, i must say the look is clearly fashionable. I am not the only one, around town there are many people sporting this trendy new look.
The town has been busy, because of Easter. It also means that everything has been closed or on reduced opening hours. In my time in Norway i have met 1 religious person. And having asked a local, apparently only 30 to 40 people attend church in Geilo and 4000 person town.
So why on earth do the norwegians take a complete week off for easter and shut everything down? The norwegians take any excuse for a holiday! It feels like every city in Norway must be empty and the population has migrated to the mountains for a week. It is a pretty epic lifestyle. I feel it could quite possibly be one of the reasons you dont see fat Norwegians. Once a year they go and have fun in the mountains, the rest of the year they have to keep fit so they can keep up with their friends for this anual occasion.
It should be encouraged in Britain, although having a second home on the cairngorm plateau is not something i would wish for. Maybe kite surfing or liquid mountaineering, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oe3St1GgoHQ , can become part of our national easter celebrations instead of skiing and outdoor pursuits in norway.

The other thing about spring is the lengthened days and the shortened nights. Whilst making it very pleasant to be outside and providing lighting and a clothes driving mechanism it does pose one problem. Sleeping! However i have fixed my self a handy solution using my headband over my eyes. It only causes a little panic every time i wake up and cant see anything...

Anyway i think that is all the news i have for now.



Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Luck, or lack of

Last weekend i went up to Tromsø for the Norges cup finals and the national champs sprint.
A bit of an epic on the way there, with gale force winds and an abandoned attempt at landing before getting to land the 2nd time around. Although once safely in Tromsø the travel was simple with only a 5 min journey to the hotel from the airport and about 20min to the stadium from the hotell.
The sprint competition was taking place on saturday. The track was long, but generally not too difficult, with some really high speed sections and also a long gradual climb. Pretty much a perfect sprint track for me. Sprint racing in xc skiing is completed with a qualification time trial with the top 30 advancing to 5 heats of 6. The top 2 from each heat plus 2 lucky losers advance into the semifinals. 2 heats of 6. In world cup it is then the top 2 and 2 lucky losers that make it to the final but in norwegian cup it is the top 3 from each semifinal.
I qualified in 8th. I was pretty happy with that as i had caught the person infront of me for 15 seconds and had to go round them in the deep snow. The times had been so close that less that a second would have jumped me up 3 places. So i was confident i had the ability to make the final.
In my quarterfinal, or my heat, i had some bad luck. I had a bad started and slotted into 5th place. I wanted to be near the fron for a narrow section coming up so moved out to go round to the front. I got to about second place when someone from the train of people to my right suddenly jumped out and skied over my ski as i pushed off it. I quickly hit the ground and lost the pack. I never got back on and finished 6th in my heat and out of the competition.
Pretty annoyed a focused on getting ready for the finals, a 20k pursuit, the next day.
Again i had some bad luck with the weather. Heavy snow during the first few km of the classic section of the race caused my skis to ball up and drag. This was excellent for the first 3 k of which it was mainly up hill. But as we came back into the stadium i simply could not keep up on the double pole sections and down hill sections. I fought to keep up as long as i could but eventually i was dropped and i skied on my own for the rest of the race. Occasionally i got passed as i was exhausted from the earlier effort to try and keep with the pack.
A fun weekend but not exactly the results i was looking for.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Wind

I haven't updated you on the norwegian championships yet, but i will now briefly. At the Junior norwegian championships, for my age there were two individual events. A 20km skate and a 10km classic. I placed 15th in both. At the begging of the season i would have been hoping for this to be at the bottom end of my performances, but when considering all that has happened this year i am fairy pleased with the results. The skate race was good, but lacked the real competitive edge i have been looking for. It was also my first 20k individual race, so was a little shock to the system. Feeling fairly confident about the classic race, being a more favorable distance for me, i was excited to race it the next day. I started hard, but somehow still managed to loose a lot of time in the first few km's. During the second half i managed to limit the damage and come in 2nd later to move to 15th as later starters crossed the line.
The 3rd and final day was the relay day. I was placed on the 4th leg of the Buskerud 2nd team. The relay consisted of 2 classic legs of 5km followed by 2 skate legs of 5km. I was handed to in 11th, started hard but faded in the last 1 or 2k and ended up 13th.

After the nationals i have been back in Geilo preparing for the sprint nationals and Norwegian cup finals this weekend. I am looking forward to the skate sprint and the 20k pursuit the following day. I am hoping to move on and better my performances in the nationals, ending the norwegian cup season on a high note. I had intended to effectively end my season after these races, but the way things have panned out this year i am now able to do more races at the end of the season. So i have decided to attend the end of season races in Bruksvallarna, sweden.

The last two days here in Geilo have been the first signs of spring. Yesterday it was really warm, 5 or 6 degrees above 0, almost the whole day. This in itself probably wouldn't cause much problems, but that coupled with the gale or near gale force winds has lead to significant snow melt. The roads are a disaster, well the main road is fine, but the smaller roads that are normally ice or snow have become really soft, slushy, icy puddles. It makes cycling quite difficult with the continual sinking in. The winds, coming from the west and myself living on the west side of Geilo, have caused me great trouble. Getting home is nearly impossible. To cycle a normal 15min journey took me over 30min due to the strong head wind combined with the slush and ice yesterday.
The wind caused me yet one more problem. As the wind continued into the night, I did not really think it would cause a problem and left my window open in my bedroom as i always do. At 2am the wind thrust my window fully open. Which consisting of two normal window frames both double glazed, is quite impressive. As the window swung back into its position one sheet of glass in the complex window design shattered. My window above my bed. Covered in glass i slowly managed to get out of bed and sort the mess out. Fortunately only one pane of class broke out of the multiple that seem to make up the window so i was able to close the window and it kept the wind out for the rest of the night.
Having lost a half hours sleep because of this, i was slightly irritated when the wind kept forcing a tree or something infront of a security light outside my bedroom window keeping me up for a further hour.
My mother tells me that as a baby, if i went outside and it was windy i would i cry. If they went walking and i was being carried, and it was windy, i would cry. If i was being pushed in the pram and it was windy, i would cry. Well even now at 19, the wind still has the ability to make me thoroughly pissed off.
I hope its not as windy with you as it is with me.

all for now

Sunday, 6 March 2011

World champs oslo

So the world champs were not exactly great for me, but neither were they a major goal for me on this seasons calendar.
They started with the 10k qualification race, i didn't finnish the race as only the top 10 qualified for the 15k, i was sitting in 13th with awful skis and struggling to ski at any pace what so ever. at every up hill i struggled, and it being basically all up hill i was struggling a lot.
This would go on the to be the underlying theme of the championships... skis. Nearly every classic day somebody told me they had bad skis... It was clear in the results sheet too.
In the skate sprint i raced ok to 61st place but being honest it is a fair way from where i want to be competing. Again i was hampered by bad skis... mostly from my ski selection rather than wrong wax.
I didnt race the 30k pursuit and was happy i didnt looking at the amount of people who were lapped out i would have had to really fight to stay in the race. So i had an 8 day gap from the sprint to the relay. Then in the relay i didnt race as we were lapped out after 3 legs and i was taking the 4th leg. So i did a lot of training, ate a lot of free food and complained about the awful transportation and the bordom. Having left my norwegian book back in geilo, in fact all my books in geilo, i resorted to adding new music to my music collection, playing cards against other equally bored athletes and watching films. Oh an eating... free waffles at the race site really was a clever trick by the norwegians to fatten up the opposition.
So now i am back in Geilo after a disappointing championships if i am honest... Not just that i didnt ski amazing but it just didnt turn out to be all it was cracked up to be.
I went out for an easy ski today in the glorious sunshine which has given me a nice glasses tan... despite feeling that training had been disturbed somewhat in Oslo with track opening times, travelling to the track on transport that could take an hour or just 15mins. And travelling back. It made taking 2 sessions a day imposible, so i stuck to 1 and some easy jogging and a little gym work. Anyway i digress, despite all this, i felt amazing out skiing today so hopefully i have managed to work something good out of this and i look forward to competing and the Norwegian Junior championships (JNM) next weekend in Selbu near Trondheim.

I will give you an update from JNM next weekend. until then....

Monday, 21 February 2011

Drammen, 19 today

Today is my 19th Birthday. I am taking a rest day after competing in Drammen World cup sprint yesterday. But there wont be any dramming ( a wi dram) today as my first race at the world champs in oslo is on wednesday.
The weather at drammen was spectacular with nice cold weather and great clear blue skies! I was a little worried about my skis as in Beitostolen the week before i hadn't had great skis. As i dont race that often in -16 it hadn't really been a problem up until now. But bengt worked some magic on the skis and they worked excellently. Bengt even had to inform ski-go on how to use their own products. Which is always a great laugh.
After a good warm up i headed to the start pen, wished muzzy luck and all the Norwegians i knew that were walking around. I was finishing the last preparations for my race when muzzy came to the finish in 28th. Excited that muzzy was in a finals qualifying position i headed to my start. I skied aggressively from the start before relaxing into a nice speed and worked on closing the gap to the Australian infront of me. I came up the long drag into the finish straight where they announced the top 30 without muzzy's name. He had come 31st. I immediately dreaded going back to the wax cabin and being bombarded with his misery of not qualifying and not scoring world cup points. Fortunately i had planned to do intervals after the sprint prologue so as to practice for the heats in the future and also to give a harder training to prepare for this week here in oslo. By the time i came back from intervals he had calmed down. We packed up the wax cabin and moved to our new hotel in oslo. Today i headed to the gym for a short recovery cycle. Looking forward to a pretty relaxed birthday and the world championships starting on wednesday with the 10km qualification race.

Andrew

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

NRK wrongly claiming youngest wc start

So i have one claim to fame. I am the youngest ever male (on record on the fis website) to start a world cup. Now NRK the norwegian equivalent of the BBC are claiming that Norwegian Sondre Fossli will be the youngest ever to start world cup after he starts in the World cup in Drammen this weekend. http://www.nrk.no/nyheter/distrikt/ostafjells/buskerud/1.7508153
There is a link to the article and undre the photo it claims he will be the youngest to start.

So in an attempt to keep my record i am writing this post:
i fist started in the world cup in Davos in december 2008. i am born in 1992. 2008 - 1992= 16.
Sondre will first start in Drammen in February 2011. He is born in 1993. 2011 - 1993= 18. although some fis talking revealed sondre will only be 17 at the time as his birthday isnt until late in the year.

So NRK please stop taking my record and giving to other people. Thank you.

Please note i do not wish to take anything away from sondre. He is clearly an amazing skier. One only has to look at his world junior results where he claimed the silver medal in the sprint.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Finally, Norges Cup Points

Firstly, happy valentines day to all.

This weekend i raced in the second weekend of Norges Cup races for Juniors. The races were held in Beitostolen the site of the first world cup every second season. The plan was for a 10km classic on saturday and 30km skate on sunday.
I travelled over on thursday with the wax trailer. I was going a day earlier than the rest of the team as i had been invited to go and stay the night with Erik and his family at a cabin they were renting. We had a lot to do at the stadium such as waxing and getting skis ready for testing the next day so we got to the cabin pretty late. The cabin was the biggest i have ever seen! Apparently it cost 4 million norwegian kroner to build, it can sleep 14 in 5 bedrooms, has 3 bathrooms and sauna. And everything inside seemed to be designer. It has never taken me so long just to work out how the sink works or the lights work. Not to mention the cooked or extractor fan wich seemed to have so many functions and fancy buttons it was impossible to get the one you wanted.
After a night in the mansion in the mountains, we headed out for some ski testing and a little training on the race course before coming back and taking showers. Thankfully the showers were a little easier to work.
In the afternoon i moved up to where the rest of the ntg guys where staying. A big thankyou must go to the Braaten family for letting me stay with them and the endless cheering they seemed to provide during the race.
In the new cabin i was sharing a room with norwegian junior biathlete Vetle christiansen. He had decided we had to have the window open in our bedroom. I woke up at 3.30am and didnt get back to sleep properly because it was so cold. Despite this i deemed it worse to A) get out and shut the window or B) take down the duvet from the bunk above me (not being used). Vetle admitted in the morning that he also had found it too cold and couldnt sleep. I slept the next night in my thermals and with 3 duvet's gathered from all the spare beds in the cabin.
So onto the racing. The 10k classic was surprisingly and ok race for me. I finished 24th finally gathering me Norges Cup points although only a precious 7 of them. During the race i was pretty adamant that the splits i were getting must be wrong. I was dying a death after 5k but still my splits kept me in the same position, so i cant have been as tired as the others! Happy with the race i was looking forward to sundays 30k skate.
The 30k was shortened to 15k and the start time delayed because of the cold weather. Happy that it was 15k i felt i was on for a good race. Having a late start time was a little weird. I was almost one of the last starters. By my second lap of 5km they were already packing up and had basically announced the winner of the race. I had to problems in the race leading to a worse result. Firstly the temperature dropped considerably. As i was starting late, the sun dropped bellow the mountains and the temperature dropped. This led to slower snow and thus having to work harder to cover the ground. The next problem was that i wasn't skiing that well and was picking up lactate acid really easily. However i managed to ski an even paced race into 37th place.
Eriks family and some on the younger skiers from NTG were out on the tracks cheering. They really helped me along and i must thank them for that but when ever i got out of earshot i was also extremely thankful. It meant i could finally take a rest.
Good saturday, not such a good sunday.
NTG Geilo is now claiming itself as the best skigymnas in norway after the weekend. http://ntg.no/no/velg_skole/geilo/idretter/langrenn/nyheter/page3446.html
Or at least for the boys. Thanks to the waxing team and coaches from NTG for helping me to my first norges cup points.

Now i look forward to w good weeks training before racing my first sprint race in while at the world cup in Drammen next weekend. After that it is off to Oslo for the world champs. Unfortunately this will mean i miss the Junior NM camp with ntg. (supposedly the best camp of the year) But today i found out the guys aren't aloud their computer with on the camp.... so im happy i dont have to spend a week away from my computer!


Andrew

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Back in Geilo

To the untrained reader this blog post may seem a little like writing purely for the sake of writing. Well they might be partially right.
During my journey home from Otepaa, Estonia, i called a friend to see if they could pick me up from the train station and drive me and bags back to my apartment. I knew Erik would say yes with no problems, purely on the grounds that recently he has been complaining constantly about the lack of things to do in Geilo. I knew he would be clearly looking for any excuse to leave his house, if even only for 20min maximum. As he comes from Oslo i can understand his frustration at living in a small town with a different environment. But for me moving to a town of similar size to my town back home (both roughly 4500 people) i hadn't really noticed the lack of things to do until people started complaining.
Contrasting and comparing the two towns (Geilo and Huntly that is) i see Geilo as a step up. Set only on the grounds that it has a bowling alley. Sorry huntly but until you get a bowling alley you have no chance. The other thing to note is that Norwegians definitely enjoy their own space. Whilst houses are lined up neatly, with their allotted garden space around them, back home, here they seen to follow a completely random pattern and are spread out over several kilometers. This does cause a little nuisance as it means it is hard to be located near the bowling alley (which we have already established is the key social place in Geilo).

Here is a table of my findings...
Tourist attractions:
Geilo: skiiing
Huntly: skiing (ish), castle
Social activities
Geilo: Bowling alley
Huntly: Club B
Vistas
Geilo: Skaver mountain
Huntly: The Clashmac (340 Moh)
Water features
Geilo: Usterdallen fjord (lake)
Huntly: the river deveron, the river Boggie
Factories:
Geilo: Factory of hard wear such as tools, and kitchen implements
Huntly: Factory of shortbread and a factory of ice cream


Conclusion
Huntly provides the more rounded location, with a little bit of everything. A small ski center, a small night club, a small castle, a small hill, 2 small rivers. Perfect place to live if you are looking for a well rounded lifestyle with a little bit of everything.
Geilo doesn't do anything i half measures. Big mountains, big ski centers, huge trail network. Big forests, big lake.

You may be beginning to question my motives for writing this. Well it is really short and simple... You will probably have to be of a certain generation to understand this, please do not get confused and just ignore this if you dont understand.
"YOU HAVE WATCHED 72 MINUTES OF VIDEO TODAY
PLEASE WAIT 30 MINUTES OR CLICK HERE TO ENJOY UNLIMITED USE..."



Sunday, 30 January 2011

otepaa

I came to Otepaa, the home of Estonian cross country skiing, 12 days ago. With some high ambitions and goals in mind I was set for some good competitions. Firstly I had to world cup sprint qualifier on Sunday, a week ago from now. It was to be my final warm up competition for the World Junior Championships (WJC). Held on the same trail as the WJC sprint it would be the perfect warm up race.

The race actually went surprisingly well compared to how I had been skiing in Liatoppen earlier in the month. I skied to my rank of 74th. Probably a few seconds down on what I needed to qualify in the WJC sprint qualifier. But it served as a starting point and showed I was roughly back where I was sprint at this level last year.

Excited for the WJC and eager to get ready fro them on my rest day after the sprint I headed down to the stadium to prepare some skis for testing the next day and ski the 3,3km round once to know it properly for the 10km race in 2 days time in the WJC. Feeling good I finished and came back to the hotel. Over dinner I noticed I a little bit of a sore throat. By the evening I was full on shaking and had a bad fever. I was put into my own room and didn’t come out for the next 48 hours. In fact I hardly got out of bed, only to go to the toilet, for the next 48 hours. I also couldn’t eat as the thought of eating just made things worse. I chocked down a mouthful of pancake on the first night a discovered it was a bad idea to eat.

After 2 days i came out of hibernation and managed to walk around a bit on the 3rd day. On the 4th day I managed to make it down to the stadium for a short period of time and on the 5th day I managed to train 30min. And today on the 6th day after getting ill I managed to complete the 20km pursuit at the WJC. The result was horrific, but at least now we have cleared up that the result is nowhere near my best performance and is curtsy of being ill.

The annoying thing is that the first 10k of the pursuit I felt really good and comfortable but the last 10k killed me. I feel if it had been the sprint or the 10k race today as the last race at WJC I could actually have completed it to a reasonable standard. But that’s not the way things happen.

The good news is having completed it I can now take a positive start to the next 2 weeks before my next race. I have had some racing under my belt now and this itty bitty season feel like it has to start turning my way. Having had nothing but disasters since the begging of December is a little annoying but now I feel it is coming back and I can push through to have a reasonable second half to the season.

Andrew

Sunday, 16 January 2011

1 week later, 3 days to go

A lot can happen in a week. The story of the past week here in Geilo has been snow. Snow. and more snow. There was one day the past week were it hasn't snowed. I think the total depth of snow is now actually approaching a meter. (approximately 39.37 inches)
Apart from huge amounts of snow, i have also managed to improve my skiing ability ever so slightly. It is amazing what can be achieved in a week.
Yesterday was a local 22km classic race. I was taking part for a hard training session, and to get used to be back racing after almost a month out in december.
The weather conditions were far less than perfect, -9 degrees c and rain greeted us. The water hit us and immediately froze covering us all in a white snow man type look.
The mass start took place at 1pm, i started really hard thinking the pace would go off really fast. After 1k i had a clear lead and maybe by 2k had opened my lead up to almost 10 seconds. When we got to the top of the first climb i had identified a section where i could relax and get back into a good rhythm, before attacking the second round of the hilly route. Someone (the eventual winner) closed the gap over to me and was determined to get in front and slow the pace down. So a pack of 5 where together by the time we were at the top of the hill for the 2nd time. Now it was out onto the big lap of 13km round the lake. Much easier terrain awaited us but the pace didnt ease up. Nothing too eventful happened other than a broken pole which meant Geir Endre (my coach from NTG) had to stop and trade with an on looker, leaving him 25 seconds adrift of the group.
Thinking the group had definitely dropped to 4 people i was shocked when Geir Endre returned at the back of the group. In the last 3k i was rapidly fading when the eventual winner pushed on, i couldn't really respond as i was struggling to stay at the back of the group and with 3 people between me and the leader the gap was too big to try and close. As we came into the last km the pace suddenly dropped. People seemed to have given up the chance of catching the guy in front. Without much thinking i jumped out the track into the next one over and started giving it bore to try and catch the guy. Geir Endre was the only one able to stay with me. I got pretty close to the leader, but died at the last hurdle, a short steep climb up from under a bridge. Geir attacked here and took 7 seconds out of me on the last 200m.
A little disappointed he beat me, but 3rd place is ok. The form is definitely coming and with 3 days left before my European expedition of the season starts i am confident that my form will come back in time for World Cup and Junior World championship racing from next weekend onwards.


Sunday, 9 January 2011

Liatoppen race weekend.

Liatoppen in aal norway marked my first race back for over a month. The results that followed were extremely bellow par, so bellow par i am not going to even go into details about them in anyway. I can come up with a number of excuses for the bad results... all of them completely inaccurate and wrong. The reality is i just skied bad. Everybody seems to think as well that the wrist support i am wearing will effect me badly, whilst yes it doesn't allow complete motion in my wrist it does not drop my performance by 25% of the field. If people aren't concerned that my wrist was bad they are then concerned that m health was bad as i got ill over christmas. I was ill for 3 days and returned to normal training almost immediately, on top of this the number of people that have been ill of the christmas period is huge... so it was not really a disadvantageous period. So now we have established there is no real excuse, please stop finding one for me.
I wasnt the only one to ski badly with many other people i know complaining that their races had been well bellow what they had expected or where they had been normally.
I had come up with many witty and self piss taking lines to describe how i skied over the weekend. I find a little comedy cures anything (including a bad race), however all of them escape me at this precis moment. Unfortunately this leaves the blog update with a rather negative and "down" tone. It wasnt my intention to make this the case, i promise you.
Perhaps if i had participated in the Clash Ski O this weekend i could have achieved some better results and at least there i would have been the tallest competitor, as winner rick newman is now smaller than me by "quite a bit". Please note that i chose to say he is smaller not that i am taller as i really dont think it is that i have grown!

All for now.