skiing towards 2014

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Latest

One last Session (death by treadmill)

Today Cal and I completed one last hard interval session (roller skiing on the treadmill) before the first races of the season this weekend. The treadmill sessions are always killer and when you see one down on the training plan in the coming weeks you have to start mentally preparing early because they’ll get ya every time… every time! Mattias (our coach) literally writes these down in the plan as “Death by Treadmill”!

This particular session today was 6 X 4 mins. The 4 min blocks being broken into 1 min Threshold, 1 min all out then 2 mins threshold. Tough! But in reality it ended up being more like 1 min hard, 1 min sprint, 1 min struggling to stay upright and the last minute struggling not to get pushed off the back of the treadmill while Mattias continually winds up the incline and speed dials! I swear the more we were hurting the more pleasure you could see come across his face! Before the last interval which I was wondering if I would actually make it through Mattias said to me “Now, in this one, you just have to remember the proverb; Lets stop whining like a little b!#ch and make some gains!”.

He’s a hard man. You would never think tell him to slow the treadmill down in case of loosing all respect and dignity for the weeks (years) to come so you suffer on through or get thrown off the back, simple as that!

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Some photos aren’t the best quality, sorry…

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In other news, our car is now completely stuffed! The leaking water pump ended up fully breaking off while I was driving it to a mates garage to work on it, thus the timing belt flew off and the engine is cooked! Not ideal that’s for damn sure. We had some big jobs planned for that junk box!

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We’ve now currently got a loan of this little 2 door power house, courtesy of Cal’s generous girlfriend Teresa! So we will be able to get to the races this weekend although could be a bit of a battle getting the skis, bags and bench in but we’ll make it happen!

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Here’s something even more non skiing related (sorry)… Found this tree eaten almost through by a beaver down by a lake one day, thought it was pretty full on!

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Getting some revenge on the coach!

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A couple of shots from the final sessions on snow in Bruks during our training camp…

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So tomorrow we are packing up shop and then heading north early the next day to Bruksvallarna for the first Swedish Cup of the season. 10k classic, 15k skate and Classic sprint. I will miss the skate on the Saturday to rest/prep for the sprint.

Hopefully the form is good. We’ll see…

On snow again!

After a few more miserable days of training in the pouring rain in Falun it finally got below zero so they could make snow up north in Bruksvallarna.

We are now back on snow skiing on a man made loop which started off at only about 1.5km long but has stretched to around 4.5km and continues to grow by the day with the snow making. The snow conditions aren’t the greatest but it is getting better by the day and so good to be out of the rain and off the roller skis. We are here for about a week with the first race of the season, a Swedish Cup race, less than two weeks away.

Have had enough of roller skiing that’s for sure!

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It definitely gets pretty dark in the afternoons here, a head light was a good purchase!

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Doing some intervals today and feeling like the form is pretty good!

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Definitely got some top blokes here at the academy to train with!

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Here’s Cal before training “yeah mate, I’m ready, I’m coming right now”.

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Hopefully we get some natural snow soon but either way I’m loving being back on snow and it’s even better to have some dry weather! Feels like my form isn’t too bad either so looking forward to getting into some racing!

General Faff

Nothing much to really report on other than our poor old Opel Astra (piece of junk) car has basically called it a day and packed it in!

And just a few photos of life here in Sweden….

Another big group for the Monday intervals!

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Cal running some bush mechanics while I offer assistance (hold the light).

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Cal’s “found the problem”.

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I’ve also done some pretty brutal sessions on the treadmill. I’m pretty quickly learning to hate that thing!

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Cal modeling some Autumn fashions.

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At the moment we are looking at now being on snow in a weeks time for an on-snow camp and looking forward to it!

Back to the Grind

Getting back into the swing of things here in Sweden. Training is going well and lots of pretty intense sessions with the group at DSA. Just finished a big interval set this morning with a group of 25 athletes including some of the top Swedish World Cup skiers. Pretty motivating guys to be around but as you can imagine I’m not the strongest there so feeling like a beaten up old biscuit tin now! Basically just training, eating, sleeping and occasionally studying these past couple of weeks and feeling pretty good about it.

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Cal skiing with Calle Halfvarsson20141031_104541 (2)Me feeling pretty cooked after a solid session

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Helping Victor fix his English grammar 5 minutes before he needs to submit his assignment.20141030_200553 (2)Always cooking up a good feast to fill the hole!

20141030_122825 (2)Unfortunately our on-snow camp has been delayed a few days as it hasn’t been cold enough to make snow but now it’s dropped below zero we are looking at being on snow again by Thursday!!

 

 

 

Burning through gear…

Just lately I’ve had a string of bad luck with breaking gear. Today I pushed straight through a pair of 5 month old (basically band new) roller skis warming up for a sprint. I like to think it’s due to too much power but they were probably going to break anyway… In the past six months I’ve broken 3 pairs of rollerskis, a roller ski gafle, 5 pole shafts, 2 skis and gone through 4 pairs of roller ski tips! It is getting hard to keep up with the demand that’s for sure!

Her’s some of the better work…

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Although sometimes some sacrifices have to be made to work the big jobs…. (Red Bull NordiX 2013)

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Big thanks to Salomon for keeping up with the demand for boots though, all set for the coming season here!!

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Hope the weather in Aus is good right now, plenty of rain here in Sweden!!

 

Plans for the season

After a pretty solid race season in Australia I have finally made it back to Sweden.

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I’ve been here for 2 weeks now. Back training with Dala Sports Academy and head coach Mattias Nilson. All is going pretty well so far with a lot of hard interval sessions and a few less hours. I also did a VO2 test, lost a tiny bit of weight and everything seems to be moving in the right direction.

Cal will arrive today which will be good and we plan on heading North to Bruksvallarna with DSA for an on snow training camp in just over a weeks time then another in Idre with Mora ski club all before the first race on the 21st of this month.

Here is a bit of a rough layout for the up coming race season:

Swedish Cup in Bruksvallarna, 21/22/23 Nov

Fis race in Idre Fjal, Sweden 29/30 Nov

World Cup in Lillehammer, Norway 5/6/7 Dec

World Cup in Davos, Switzerland 13/14 Dec

Tour De Ski World Cup, Germany/Switzerland 3rd Jan  –>

Continental cup in Falun, Sweden 9/10/11 Jan

World University Games in Slovakia 24th Jan –> 1st Feb

World Cup in Ostersund, Sweden 14/15 Feb

World Championships, Falun, Sweden 19th Feb –> 1st Mar

World Cup, Lahti, Finland 7/8 Mar

World Cup, Drammen 11 Mar

…Then I’ll be heading home sometime after this. This season I’m planning on being back home in Aus a lot earlier than last year to try and knock some of my Uni out of the way, fun times!!

Here’s some snaps from the Aus winter… (courtesy of the lads at Bring into Being)

Start

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Me and Vali

Buller podium

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The last of the World Cups and end of the Season

After the Olympics we spent a few days in Munich with our physio Andi before heading onto Finland for the World Cup in Lahti. In this period it was a solid reality check coming out of Sochi and a bit of a depression session too, it seemed that life had come to a screeching stop!

In Lahti we were hoping we could gather together some form to hopefully not make a fool of ourselves but it was proving tough! Having some nights out in Sochi and four days off snow in Munich didn’t help our situation hugely. It was a sprint and a 15km both skate. I was pretty keen for this, hoping I could have another good sprint result but it didn’t quite go to plan. I felt I skied the course pretty well and work as hard as I could on a short fast track but as expected my form was on the downward spiral. It wasn’t a bad result, I was around 70th out of 95 but just not quite where I’d hoped. ARM_2465 (2)ARM_2481 (2)

The distance the following day was probably even a little worse, although I wasn’t ever really expecting great things. …Well in actual fact it was a terrible race, I tried to work but just had nothing!ARM_2845 (2)ARM_2919 (2) ARM_2849 (2)ARM_2866 (2)ARM_2989 (2)

It’s a pretty bad feeling when you know you form is disappearing, there isn’t much you can do because it takes so long to build and peak to form that you basically have to ride the downward spiral or finish up racing for the year. But with only two races within the next five days I was keen to finish off and enjoy the end of season.ARM_3003 (2)

A few days later it was the World Cup city sprint in Drammen (classic). This is always a tough race because it is a decision between going on grip wax or double poling on skate skis its usually a 50/50 decision. The last 2 years I chose to stride but this year I thought I would man up and double pole! The conditions are never great as its a race down the main street on trucked in snow but the thousands of people who come out to watch make up for it! My race, once again wasn’t super great as I finished in the last few but it was a good step to make, I think, to double pole and I knew this was something I would one day have to do.ARM_2997 (2)

At this point I was thinking that I wouldn’t start the 50km classic in Holmenkollen but Callum and our wax tech convinced me to have a go and it’s always been a race that I have wanted to do as it is the toughest race on the World Cup circuit and the crowd there is crazy! Unfortunately I didn’t get to finish off the season in style, I was feeling super rough and couldn’t hold on for very long at the start. I kept going for a while thinking I could ski myself in but it wasn’t going to happen. I was loosing time quickly and pulled out. I actually pride myself as being someone who never pulls out of races but this was not pretty so unfortunately that was how it went.

It really wasn’t the way I was hoping to finish my season off as it has definitely been my best season yet but unfortunately when your form is going that way there is nothing much you can do to stop it!

Now we are looking for some relaxation time and maybe a beach!1922225_10153990285540179_22308772_n

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