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.