skiing towards 2014

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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

Olympics

Once again, slow with the blogs, sorry…

The Olympics were hectic, it was so much more than I ever expected it to be! Right for the start there was so much excitement! I struggled to sleep at all for the first few days because I was so jeed-up! Lucky there was a few days until my first race to get settled in because I needed it! After a while though the hype slowed a little and it got easier to focus back towards racing fast!1912339_10152099414444270_1122577751_o 1601848_10152071011339270_1735462779_o

I was feeling good leading into the races and everything was going to plan. The snow was super firm and fast which suited me a lot and I was feeling positive towards taking another step after racing well in the World cup prior and World U/23′s before that. Race day came around and came around and despite being pretty nervous I was feeling good in the warm up and ready to go! The snow was less than ideal as it had gone to pure slush the day before unfortunately. I felt I skied pretty well, I paced well, didn’t make any technical mistakes, worked where I wanted to work and gave absolutely everything but in the end I just wasn’t that fast. It was pretty disappointing to do everything possible and have everything go right but still not finish where I would have liked. Some people blamed the skis but I’m not sure that was really the problem for me, I think maybe it just wasn’t my day…1016552_10152065731414270_725767395_n 1939724_10152099414929270_1557277395_n

The next race was the 15km classic and we had a few days to rest for it. I didn’t race this one quite as well. I think I might have been trying to force it a bit too much and try to create a result that might not have been there to be had but anyway. I went out hard and unfortunately I popped at around the 7.5km mark. I did all I could to limit the losses over the last half of the race and it was tough! The conditions were once again sloppy and on that hilly as course I suffered pretty badly, was probably one of the toughest races I’ve done, I was absolutely cooked!935189_10152099414859270_1214993232_n

The last race for me was the classic team sprint. We raced this race on the Sochi course last year and got absolutely pumped so we weren’t expecting a whole lot from this race but were keen to give it a crack as the team events are so enjoyable! I took the first leg and felt fairly comfortable but unfortuately going around the turn into the first hill a Japanese lad fell right in front of me. He was being a bit stupid trying to track change in a bad spot but thats racing for you. My skis went straight underneith him but somehow I pulled out some legit ballerina skills and managed to not fall down but I had lost all my momentum and ended up falling off the back of the bunch. I worked super hard up the climb and got back in contact but unfortunately nearing the top of the second climb I had to once more let the bunch go to avoid popping. Unfortunately that was basically our race done from there as we couldn’t regain contact and continued to loose time. It was a lot better than the previous year which was pretty good and such a fun atmosphere to be involved in, the crowd was going crackers!1962639_10152255714164328_1888097814_n

All up the Olympics was an amazing experience for me but the racing was a little disappointing. It’s a bit hard to be proud of a race when you feel it wasn’t your best. I couldn’t have done anything more to prepare and have a good race on each of the days, the stars just didn’t align me.

One thing is for sure, I am stoked to have had my family there to experience it with and to share the whole experience side by side with some of my best mates has been more than I could have asked for!1907696_978637465749_349459909_n 1617667_10152099414664270_2117376592_o 1909384_10152056990984270_867480722_o

Hopefully an update from the final few World Cups of the season and where we are at now will come soon, don’t hold your breath though!1011217_981277614869_938355025_n

The lead in…

Once again I have left my blog too long! A lot has happened since the Tour De Ski. The main goal has been trying to go top 30 on the World Cup circuit in order to qualify for the sprint finals. Unfortunately I have been unsuccessful but am slowly edging closer! Nova Mesto WC was a disappointing one finishing 59th and 13 secs back but the following week in Poland was a little better, I finished in 37th just 7 seconds back and 1.4 off top 30. This was my best WC result yet but it doesn’t give the most accurate representation because some of the Scandinavian countries had national championships that same weekend so the field was a little weaker.

Following we had 1.5 weeks in Davos at altitude in preparation for Sochi. It was then off to Val De Fiemme, Italy, for U/23 World Champs. This was a whole lot more successful. I finished 16th in Sprint Qual but then unfortunately in the quarter final I had my ski skied on sending me down and breaking a pole, so finals were fairly short lived!

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It was then onto the 15km classic. This was also a pretty good race for me finishing 44th about 20 places higher than my rank.

phil_3_vdf2014Big thanks to Keebs and Ronice for donating their time to come and help out!
phil_bk_vdf2014Two days later I backed again in Italy for another skate sprint, this time, a World Cup in Dobbiaco. This was another good race for me I finished 45th but only 5 secs behind and 1.2secs off to 30 so it was super tight! And being the WC right before the Olympics everyone was there so it was good to see my form was still coming up!

Phil_5_Toblach2014 (2)Since then we have arrived into Sochi and things have been quite hectic with lots going on, including training, team reception, opening ceremony and even a bit of uniform modelling! Here is some pics!20140207_190102 20140207_191120 20140207_210135 20140207_213605 20140207_214800 20140207_215643 20140207_220241 75670_10151862209045976_1644538602_n BfsmendIMAAJiqH - Copy 20140206_150225 20140206_160229 20140206_163438 20140206_203702 20140207_171820 20140207_183447 20140207_184210 20140207_184230 20140207_184339I am lucky enough to be qualified for all individual events as well as the team sprint. Unfortunately I will skip the 30km skiathlon today to concentrate on the sprint on the 11thI would have like to do the 30 but the placement in the program wasn’t ideal. I will then race the 15km classic on the 14th and the team sprint with Cal on the 19th. I won’t race the 50k either, I would get so smashed if I did!

Hopefully all goes well on race day, getting nervous!BfxoGVoIQAAi00a - Copy

 

 

 

A blog too long to read…

This blog could be a lengthy one as I’ve left it a while and in the meantime been cooking up some substantial levels of fail. So if you’re not a big fan of the long blogs, maybe this one’s not for you.

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Have done a lot of racing lately starting with Davos World Cup in Switzerland. This race had a fair bit riding on it as it was an Olympic benchmark event and also had the potential to qualify me for the World Cup Tour de Ski. It went fairly well (68th) but not well enough. My main goal for this season is to go Top 30 on World Cup and qualify for finals. I was around 3-4 seconds outside this so there were a lot of people packed in between 30th and 70th! Either way the result was within the top 75% of field and qualified me for the Tour, which was something.

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This next day we left to Val di Fiemme for World Uni games, managed to get a bit lost adding an hour or so to the trip. This was after August had proclaimed “Nah nah nah, I don’t need the GPS, I know where I’m going”.

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First race at Uni games was a 10km Skate, was a solid race for me, 42nd out of 80ish starters. Two days later was the 4 X 10k relay. I had first leg and classiced. It was one of my more enjoyable races as I managed to hold onto the top guys for a fair while and handed over to Cal in around 10th. Third race was another two days later, a 30k classic. Somehow I managed to have an awesome day, feeling great and reeling people in all the way to the finish. Not sure how this happened as distance isn’t usually my strong point but I had a blast out there and it is my best race this season so far. 23rd of around 75 starters.

After 4 races in 7 days we were pretty cooked and went to the AIS European Training Center, in Milan (Italy) for Xmas and a few days off snow. The Ski-X and Skeleton teams were there too and the staff put on an awesome day and a solid feast for us! As per usual I ate way too much, feeling like a bloated whale!

Then the epic Shemozzle of attempting the Tour de Ski began!

On Boxing day Cal, Ewan and I were in the van at 7:30am. I had a ride to Oberhof (Germany) from Davos (5hr drive) with the Russian lads leaving at 1:30 but first we had to drop Cal off at a place called Campra for a race. We made most of the 2hr drive to Campra alright until about 2km from the top where we were battling with epic amounts of snow and a poorly cleared road. It had snowed almost 1.5 metres over Xmas and minimal snow clearing had been done. We were doing fairly well without chains until we got to an off-camber section and the back of the van slid sideways into the snow bank. We thought we should put the chains on. Cal and I got out trying to push the van out with no luck, so we had some digging to do before we could even get to the wheels. In the meantime we had caused a traffic jam with cars banking up either side. A 4WD tried to pass us but only managed to bog itself so deep in snow. The chains we had were a few years old from a previous trip and too big for our wheels so we got about 15 metres before the first one fell off and we were stuck again. After digging and pushing the blokes 4WD out, we put the chain back on and had another crack, we only got so far before we were blocking a van and a snow clearer. The one car width of clear road didn’t allow for passing so the snow clearer tried to clear snow around us but with no chains he was about as successful as we were feeling. Then another snow clearer came from the other direction to save the day.  We made it about a further 300m before the snow was too deep again. At this point we had to ditch Cal on the side of the road with a bloke in a land cruiser to find his own way up. We were starting to cut it fine for my ride waiting in Davos. On the way back down we saw Steve and Aimee Watson briefly and by the looks of it they were failing as badly as us, talking about fallen powerlines, blocking about 4 cars, only one chain on, the other potentially wrapped around the axle. But we had to bid them good day and leave them to deal with their own shemozzle.

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Ewan and I had about two hrs easy driving before we got to a snowed in tunnel blocking our way. We were told it would be a 2hr wait. With no phone reception to let the Russians know we wouldn’t make it Ewan said he would drive me the rest of the way so we sat out the 2hrs. Then the next report was it was going to be a 4hr wait so Ewan drove me to the nearest train station, handed me some wax and said “on your way son”. I then bought a 225 dollar train ticket and decide to board the wrong train, god damn, I only realised this because the first stop was the end of that trains line. So I got on the next rain back to where I’d come from to try sort out the ticket. It was about 5:30pm and I was only around 2hrs drive from where I had started that morning at 7:30, at this point I was about ready to sit down and cry myself a river. I was only ever going to make it to Frankfurt that night and was due in around 1am. After multiple trains my second last one was a little late and so I missed my last connection to Frankfurt. I looked up more trains but it all seemed too hard so at about midnight and without any dinner I walked out of the station and into the first hotel I saw for the night feeling pretty knocked about.

5-6hrs of sleep later I was on another train reattempting (for the millionth time, it felt) to get to Oberhof. This attempt was more successful and after 29hrs and almost 400 dollars worth of train tickets, I made it. I was feeling absolutely roasted and the Tour hadn’t even begun.

As it turned out I hadn’t missed anything anyway as the 1.5km race track which resembled a chocolate milkshake, was closed to athletes and so we were told to go ski in the indoor ski tube/tunnel where they had been storing some of the snow while it had been raining cats and dogs for the past week. The following day, prologue race day, I woke up feeling so rough from all the travel almost as if I had a fever. If it were any other race I probably wouldn’t have started but I had to race today to race on the next few days. I had basically started the Tour as it gave me another opportunity, on day 3, at a skate sprint and hopefully achieving my goal of top 30. So at 4pm, in the rain, fog and almost darkness I started the 4.5km skate prologue ranked 105 out of the 110 starters. I actually felt I was skiing it alright until the last 300m when Simi Hamilton from the US went past me crashing that thought. Despite feeling alright I ended up 99th, for some reason I just went really slowly! In the dark and pouring rain I had a nice, half hour, walk back to the hotel which gave me a lot of time to contemplate my future in the sport, which at that point didn’t seem real fruitful. The walk basically turned into a bit of a depression session.

Stage 2 was changed from a 15k classic to a skate sprint due to snow conditions. Yep Goooood! I was pretty happy with that! I raced again still feeling not great but at least this time I actually went round the course with a bit more pace. I finished 70th, a step up from the day before but nowhere near where I wanted to be. Initially I had thought that the Tour could have had a slightly weaker sprint field due to 6 of the seven stages being distance stages but that was seaming to not be the case.

That arvo I took a ride to Davos with the Russian boys, the next day being a day off. I had hoped to go down and ski the course with them as well but they decided they didn’t want to so again I couldn’t ski the course until race day. I still didn’t feel great on race day but I tried to convince myself that it was going to be one of those days where you ski awesome even when you feel rubbish. Didn’t happen. It wasn’t disastrous, I just didn’t have the spark. 70th again, 4.4secs outside top 30. Pretty frustrating! Maybe now is the time to give away the thought of going top 30 this year. It seems so close yet so far at the same time.

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August wanted me to consider racing on in stage 4, a 15k classic mass start but I was feeling cooked and decided to save myself the embarrassment.

I need to thank the Brits, especially Thomas and Benkt so much for waxing etc for me, they saved my bacon relentlessly and gave me great skis! To Rito, from the Russian team, for driving me around and sorting out my accommodation in Davos. Also to Salomon and Swix for some new kit!

For now its PK, Ewan and I in Davos for a training block in preparation for next racing period which includes U/23 World Champs and World Cups in Czech, Poland and Italy.

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If you got this far through the blog I do apologise for the length, but I did warn you! I’m personally not a big fan of long self indulged blogs (my typing sucks, this took a loooong time to write) but a lot has been going down. I’ll try and keep the next one under control…

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Photo credits to Ewan, PK and Finn

Seefeld (AUT), races

This last weekend We left Davos (SUI) for a few days racing in Seefeld (AUT). A skate sprint, 10km classic and a 10km skate. I opted just to race the sprint and 10km classic with the intention of being fresher for the World Cup this coming weekend. Both races were solid for me although I was hoping for a little more in the Sprint. I wasn’t fresh and ended up 10secs back over the long 4min course. Our focus is now on this weekend being one of Australia’s Olympic Benchmark events. Time to be going fast!

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Skate Seefeld

Classic Seefeld

The 1st Month

The first month has gone pretty quickly and as always plenty of training, feasting  and faffing has been done! I arrived on the 18th of October to Falun, Sweden. Cal and I were staying with Maria Grafnings who came out to Aus last year and we had arranged to train with the Uni ski team here in Falun. Training in Falun was awesome, the weather was great and the lads in Falun were good to work in with. They were a fair step above us but that was good to work us hard a bit!

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After a few solid weeks or training in Falun we headed north and further into the cold and darkness for some races in Bruksvallarna. There was minimal snow to begin with and unfortunately after some rain we were reduced to just the 5km race loop on man made snow. The Races went pretty darn well, probably some of my better results to date so this has put me in good spirits for the upcoming season!me

We are now in Davos with Finn and back to the standard training operation. We have a week and a half before heading off to Seefeld for an Austrian Cup and then back here for our first World Cup of the season, get keen!!

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The Hectic Upcoming 13/14 Racing Schedule

This season is going to be the biggest season yet! It’s an Olympic year and naturally enough my main goal is to Qualify for and race fast at Sochi 2014 but there is a lot more on the calender to get me excited including, World Uni Games, U/23 World Champs, Olympic selection races, The 2013/14 World Cup Circuit and Red Bull NordiX!

Check it out…

- Hopefully leave Aus on the 15th October, flying into Sweden

- 4 weeks training in Sweden

- 22-24th of Nov,Race Swedish Cup, Bruksvallarna

- Fly to Switzerland, 2 weeks Training

- 14-15th Dec, Olympic selection World Cup, Davos

- 16-21st Dec, World University Games, Val de Fiemme, Italy

- Xmas with AUS ski-X team at AIS European training centre, Italy

- Back to Davos, 2 weeks training

- 11-12th Jan, Nova Mesto World Cup, Czech Republic

- 18-19th Jan, Szklarska Poreba World Cup, Poland

- 1 Week Training camp, Pre Olympic Team, Venue TBA

- 28-29th Jan, U/23 World Champs, Val di Fiemme, Italy

- 1-2nd Feb, Pre Olympic World Cup, Dobbiaco, Italy

- 4th Feb, Hopefully selected for Sochi 2014 (Fly to Sochi)

- 7th-23rd Feb, Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics (hopefully selected)

- 24th Feb, Fly to Scandinavia   (My Birthday, Yewww!!)

- 1-2nd Mar, Lahti World Cup, Finland

- 5th Mar, Drammen World Cup, Norway

- 8th Mar, Oslo World Cup, Norway

- 18th (ish) Mar, Red Bull NordiX, Stockholm, Sweden

- 20-23rd Mar, Swedish Nationals, Hudiksvall, Sweden

- 24th Mar, Find a luscious beach somewhere for a couple of weeks, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Bali, Thailand, Hawaii etc Somewhere good, I’ll need a tan!

- After a few weeks Faffing then maybe I’ll come home…

As you can see its a solid season of racing and I’m stoked to have so much to look forward to! Training has been going well since the end of the Aus ski season. We had a hard weeks training camp at Falls last week and now off to the AIS in Canberra for some testing then its down to the last few weeks of training, preparation and getting my life sorted before I fly out!

#Gettingkeen!

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