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....