My results recently have been pretty up and down but unfortunately more often down than up.
The Tour De Ski and the Scandinavian cup in Falun this weekend were no exception to this. The tour started off with a 4 km skate prologue, this wasn’t too bad. I finished 81st out of 93, 55secs or around 9% behind. I was hoping for a little better.
The second stage, the 15 km classic pursuit was a rough one. After time bonuses were given i was stating 1:10 behind the winner. The first 5k was great, I felt like super man and was skiing with, and in front of, quite a few people. After about 10k it was pretty clear I wasn’t actually superman and ended up struggling home in second last just on the cusp of the 15% behind, cut off limit.
It was good to have these lads and the Brit boys around for some company thats for sure!
There was then a rest day followed by a skate sprint in Switzerland. The Brits and I were pretty stoked to leave Germany, the rain and bad snow to get back to cold, sunny Switzerland and its hard packed snow. The sprint course actually had a jump and a couple of rollers thrown into it on the day before the race which was a bit of fun but unfortunately after the majority of the girls and other stereotypical scroggin-eaters winged about it all was smoothed out. This was one of the races I went a little better in, I finished 58th but still not that close (4-5 secs) to the Top 30 result I’ve been hoping for.
I then jumped on a plane to Sweden for a Scandinavian Cup on the World Championships course and a couple of days later I was racing in a 15k skate. This was probably but debatabley the worst race of my season so far, I was almost 6 minutes back and way down the list. I just skied so slowly.
The next day was a classic sprint where I was hoping to regain some of my dignity but that definitely didn’t happen. I started out slowly and tired again, just like the day before but only this time I decided to face plant it on a corner to make my race even better!! I ended up a long way back nowhere near the top 30… So unfortunately the turn around of form I was looking for hasn’t come yet and doesn’t really look like its on the horizon but maybe now with a couple of weeks of training etc I might be able to start to ski a little faster. Or at least learn to stay upright on my skis!
This year I planned to keep the blog regularly updated and was sort of successful for a while but then like every year, got slack! There just hasn’t been much positive stuff happening with my skiing lately. I raced two World Cups, both in Davos, Switzerland, due to lack of snow in La Clausaz and neither were Awesome. They were a big step up from Lillehammer WC and neither were bad results but I was still 3 and 4 seconds respectively outside the top 30. This would have been pretty pleasing in previous years but it feels I’ve gotten stuck at this bar being just a few seconds outside. And while it’s just a few seconds it’s still a substantial step to be on the other side of those few seconds, so it’s been a pretty frustrating and unmotivating few weeks that’s for sure. And what doesn’t help, is I’ve been skiing around the same 5k loop of trucked in snow at Davos the whole time. Brrrr!
This year I put so much more into training and preparation, also making sure I trained “smarter” and not just harder. I tested directly before the season and came out fitter, stronger and faster then ever before so on paper I should be skiing faster. I also still feel like I’m in good form and haven’t gotten too fat just yet (that happens at some point every season) so hopefully there is still some good results to come but its hard not too loose faith sometimes…
I’m now in Oberstdorf at Monty’s place preparing for the Tour De ski and finally we have received a bunch of snow, so happy days!
Couple of pics of Davos…
Did a session in Oberstdorf with Monty’s team and finally some longer tracks and good snow!!
Pic of the 200m ski flying hill in Oberstdorf, you can see how big it is compared to the chair lift on the left hand side…
Here’s to hoping for some fast skiing to get me through the tour!
I’m definitely no skiing fast that’s for sure. First World Cup of the season this weekend and it was far from what I was hoping for. Yesterday was a skate sprint and I was 91st out of 119, 17 seconds back, that’s a long way! And today I was 3:40 back in the 10k skate, just under 16% behind the winner, that’s an even longer way back!
After the first races two weeks ago, while we were still training hard, I thought I had some better results yet to give but now after a couple of easier weeks and feeling fresh I’m definitely questioning that. I just can’t figure out why I’m skiing like an old galah! I feel I’ve put in a lot more of the “train smarter” approach this year, while still training just as hard but something isn’t working for me. I can’t even blame the skis, because they’ve been fast as hell!
Next weekend we will be at the World Cup in Davos and another skate sprint. Going straight from zero altitude into 1500-1600 meters probably won’t positively affect my race result but I’ll have a solid dip anyway!
Unfortunately being outside the 15% cut 0ff means I got the boot from this “mini tour” so I’ll be sitting on the side lines cheering on Cal-boss, who has found some killer form!
Hopefully I can turn this wombat-like form of mine upside down some time soon because my future as a skier is not looking real bright at present.
Sorry for the all writing/no photos blog but I didn’t take any, next time…
Had two races in Idre Fjall this weekend. A Skate sprint and a 10k skate. Initially it was meant to be a classic 10k but with insufficient snow to set classic tracks they decided to change it to skate. The following day it snowed a lot but they decided not to change it back. It was a pretty strong field and I had a pretty good day on Saturday in the sprint. I qualified in 8th, 4.12 secs back. I managed to go through until the semi finals. I was in the second semi and watching the first semi come through there was a big gap from second through to third so I thought there would be a good chance both the lucky looser spots could come from my semi if it was tighter, which it was! I finished in 3rd just behind 2nd and thought it would close for me to go through to the final but unfortunately 1st – 4th of the first semi went through, meaning I missed out by 0.8 second behind Victor Gustaffson’s time in the first semi meaning I was left outside the final in 7th.
The Sunday was a bit of a fail in contrast. It was a good course, not so hilly and should have suited me pretty well but I was pretty tired and didn’t ski well. The heats and repeated delays in the program from the day before meant I’d done a lot of skiing. I also had a major spud moment when I caught my tip in some loose snow and went down like a sack of potatoes! This was on a fairly fast section and lost me maybe 10-15 secs, not ideal!
Here’s my semi. (photo credit to Adam Johansson)
Cooked after a solid weekend of racing…
Now we are back in Falun and leaving for Lillehammer, Norway, on Wednesday to commence racing back on the World Cup circuit. It’s a mini tour in Lillehammer with the first race being a skate sprint on Friday then a 10k skate and a 15k classic (pursuit start) the following days.
Hopefully my form continues upward because there’s no room for bad races on World Cup!
This past weekend was the first races of the season for Cal and I and unfortunately I can’t say they went very well. On the friday, the 10k classic, I had an actual shocker! It was just one of those disaster days where nothing really goes right. I didn’t feel great, went out a little hard and my grip was poor. My technique fell apart quickly as I tired and generally I skied like an old chook.
I skipped the 15k skate to rest for the sprint on Sunday. The sprint was better, not great but better. I didn’t ski like such a spud, keeping my technique together, my grip was pretty good and I felt alright I just didn’t really go that fast. The time behind the winner wasn’t too bad but I was a fair way down the result list and didn’t qualify for finals.
All up this weekend was a bit of a devastating one that’s for sure. Often the first weekend of racing is a fair indication of the season to come for me but I hope this is not the case. I trained pretty hard leading into these races and with the focus on the world cups in 2 and 3 weeks time I am hoping for more. I do feel I can ski a lot faster than I did; or at least I hope I can!
Since the races we went back to Falun briefly and have now gone north again for a smaller race in Idre before the world cup in Lillehammer next weekend.
Sorry I didn’t manage to get any photos of myself racing, here’s some other random ones…
Back at the grind in the gym:
The view from home:
Skiing in Idre:
The Mo I’m growing for Movember:
Have got the best bed here in Idre, oh damn!:
Here’s to hoping I can find some form and start racing a little faster!
Skate sprints for 3 weeks in a row! You little ripper!!
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!
Some photos aren’t the best quality, sorry…
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!
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!
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!
Getting some revenge on the coach!
A couple of shots from the final sessions on snow in Bruks during our training camp…
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…
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!
It definitely gets pretty dark in the afternoons here, a head light was a good purchase!
Doing some intervals today and feeling like the form is pretty good!
Definitely got some top blokes here at the academy to train with!
Here’s Cal before training “yeah mate, I’m ready, I’m coming right now”.
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!
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!
Cal running some bush mechanics while I offer assistance (hold the light).
Cal’s “found the problem”.
I’ve also done some pretty brutal sessions on the treadmill. I’m pretty quickly learning to hate that thing!
Cal modeling some Autumn fashions.
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!
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.
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…
Although sometimes some sacrifices have to be made to work the big jobs…. (Red Bull NordiX 2013)
Big thanks to Salomon for keeping up with the demand for boots though, all set for the coming season here!!
Hope the weather in Aus is good right now, plenty of rain here in Sweden!!
After a pretty solid race season in Australia I have finally made it back to Sweden.
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)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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…
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
Big thanks to Keebs and Ronice for donating their time to come and help out!
Two 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!
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! I 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!
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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…
Photo credits to Ewan, PK and Finn
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!
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!
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!
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!!
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!
Yeah… So it’s been a while since my last post, and a fair bit has happened since. This season I was living, working and training out of Howmans Gap. This was a pretty good set up for me as The Boss was good enough to roster me onto shifts where I could train around, the only problem with this operation was that is was such a bad ski season! Even mid season we were coming off the hill to roller ski in the rain, it sucked! Although I didn’t have a whole lot of goals for this season, most of my goals are based around this upcoming European season, there were a few good things that came out of this season. I managed to win my first Australian Championship in the skate sprint at Falls Creek, I continued to lower my FIS point average and somehow I pulled off a good race on Hoppet weekend which is a rarity for me! Here’s a few snaps to give you a bit of an insight to the season…
Back to training and trying to get as many rays as we can before heading back into another long winter!
Well I’ve been a bit slack with the old Blog updates lately despite a fair bit going on…
U/23 World Champs were the first major event. The races there in Liberec were ok although nothing super special in terms of results. The classic sprint was a little disappointing as I was a bit further back than I would have liked but the 15km skate, I was happy with. I managed to work fairly hard throughout the whole race, splitting fairly close to Alex for most it. I then had to fly to Russia and missed the Skiathlon which I wasn’t too worried about as 30kms doesn’t really suit me…
The Sochi World Cup races in Russia were the first of the AUS teams Olympic selection races so naturally enough this was pretty important and the levels of nerves were pretty high!
My preparation wasn’t really helped by a bought of food poisoning four days out either but that passed reasonably quickly. Going into the sprint on the Friday I wasn’t feeling good after the food poisoning but with a bit more rest I must have come goodish… The course was the toughest sprint course I have ever raced on so pacing it was so important! I thought I had gone out a little on the easy side but at the top of the first hill was shown it wasn’t the case and by the end of the 1.8km course was fully spent! I ended up 63rd out of 84 and in the top 75% of the field. I was stoked with this result and it should help considerably towards Olympic qualification which is sweet too!
The next day was a rest day where Cal smashed out a good race in the 30km pursuit then the following day it was Vandy and I up again for the team sprint. I would have to say this was probably the toughest race I’ve ever done! The pace was on right from the start and the tough track along with minimal kick didn’t make it any easier. I was really just in the hurt box right from the start and I think Vandy was in a similar situation. We ended up 31st just ahead of the Chinese team.
We then flew into Switzerland and onto Davos. Yesterday we raced in a Swiss cup race (15km skate), conditions were slow and racing was tough. I was fatigued from some hard training leading in but managed to hold together an ok race but still finished in the lower half of the field.
Next weekend is the World Cup here in Davos which is a classic sprint and a 15km Skate. These races are then followed up quickly three days later by the first race of the Val de Fiemme World Champs in Italy. Hopefully I hit some sweet form and race super fast there…
Since the Canmore World Cup there has been a fair few going’s on taking place. I stayed on in Canmore for another 10 or so days training over the Xmas period which was extremely uneventful but good to have some time to do a few well needed loads of washing!
Flying into Europe I met up with Georgia and Vandy with high spirits although our high spirits soon turned into a little bit of a depression session as we found there was no snow pretty much anywhere in Europe and it then continued to be overcast and raining for the next two weeks straight.
To stop ourselves going insane Georgia and I found ourselves doing quite a bit of OP-Shopping, finding ourselves ferreting around in some rundown Czech bunkers trying to find some luscious get ups, sometimes unsuccessful…
The ol’ polly pipe Didgeridoo often came on some long draining car trips so I could fill everyone’s air space with some lovely music and blissful notes!
Also one day I thought it would be a great idea to try and follow Tutty and Munty and an epic 40+km ski from Oberveisenthal to Klingenthal with no map and no real idea of where I was going. Somehow I didn’t see this as a problem at the time but after a while it soon became apparent that I was well and truly lost! After about 3 and a half hours of skiing aimlessly through the complex train system within Czech I put together a number of hitch hikes to get myself the remaining 50ish km’s back to the accommodation. Figure that.
After a week or so we had a set of OPA continental cup races where I managed to ski quite poorly the majority of the time, which was not ideal. In the classic sprint I didn’t ski super well and somehow managed to cross my skis up like a standard punter, hitting the deck hard for the second race in a row and as you can imagine my race wasn’t the greatest there.. The next day, the 20km skiathlon, was a pretty uneventful race. Was just one of those days where I skied quite poorly for no real reason despite giving it everything. Was a pretty tough day with torrential rain but all in all I should have skied a lot faster but anyway… The next day was the best day for me and after feeling rubbish from the 20km the day before I found a bit of something in the tank and was able to pull out a fairly solid result going under 120 distance points.
We then arrived in Liberec a few days out from the World Cup to a pretty grip scene. A strip of snow 800m long snaking its way through a paddock of mud and grass was set to be the race course. Luckily there was a little snow the next day to freshen things up a bit.
The classic sprint for me was fairly good. The course was long and tough and although it wasn’t a blinder of a race I was quite happy with the way I skied and the end result. My grip was good and skis were fast so I couldn’t have asked for much more.
The team sprint (skate), which is probably my favourite event, also went well. I skied the first leg then tagged to Vandy. We were in contact with the bunch for 3 or 4 of the 6 legs but gradually dropped off the pace as the race went on. There were some massive crashes in my second leg which I was lucky to avoid. We also managed to come in ahead of a few teams which were ranked substantially higher than we were so that was a plus.
Now PK, Finn and I have stayed on in Liberec and are currently doing our final few preps for the upcoming U/23 World Champs. Currently I’m looking at doing the classic sprint and the 15km skate but will most likely miss the 30km skiathlon in order to be fresh heading into Russia and the first of the Olympic selection races.
In the meantime PK and I have been making the most of the free Theme park and Water park action in the underground section of our hotel. Ohh Yeah!!
So the Canmore World Cup didn’t quite go to plan quite like I had hoped….
I was feeling good coming into this race having adjusted more to the altitude and the course from when I had raced here two weeks prior. On the day I was feeling pretty fresh and ready to go as well. Come the time trial, everything was going well for a while, I felt I was skiing solidly up the major climbs to the top of the course but when it came to coming back down, this was where I cooked up some fail.
The course is pretty much all up and then all back down. So coming off the flat at the top of the course and into the fast downhill I was putting in my last couple of big single time pushes before I was about to get into but because I struggle with the basics sometimes I managed to bring my pole smack down into my ski! This sent me spinning around and diving my but into the snow. I came to a complete stop and struggled to regain speed over the rest of the downhill and into the finish straight. Pretty devastating…
After the adrenaline wore off I soon came to the realization of how hard the snow was as I could barely sit down for the next couple of days, ouch
Although the rest of the team has gone now, I am still in Canmore for another week of training with all my mates (no one) and fly out to Europe on boxing day to meet up with Georgia and Vandy and soon after the Junior team.
Also a big shout out to PK for making his World Cup debut! Cal for his best ever World Cup result! And Esbott for a Mad 46th!
Thanks to Finn, August, Matt and the Canadian wax techs for support and making the past 3 weeks a success!
This last weekend would have had to be my most successful and fun racing I’ve had!
Quebec was a really cool and super old city and the race course was situated in the grounds around the Parliament building. The track was real winding with a bridge and small jump adding a bit extra for the crowd.
The first day was the team sprint with Cal-boss Watson. We were super keen to have a good one in this after we went alright in the team sprint in Milan World Cup last year. This time I was off first and Cal second. We held on pretty well and were in and amongst the action for the whole race which was sweet! Two bunches formed and naturally enough we were in the back one but still jostleing for spots. Ending up 11th in our Semi and 22nd/25 overall and only seconds off being a few spots higher on the list.
The second day, the individual sprint went even better for me. It was a little worrying as we came into the stadium and saw how deep the snow was and how much pain the top guys were in. We had also had a running warm up and minimal skiing time. In my first lap it felt like I was struggling to really open and along with the conditions I was feeling a little slow but was able to hold a pretty similar pace the whole way through without fatiguing too badly. In the end I was around 10 secs back off the winner in 50th place out of 73 starters and only 4 secs back off top 30 and qualifying for finals so I was pretty stoked considering the last World Cup I raced last season I came dead last by more than a couple of seconds.
We are now back in Canmore for the World Cup here and hopefully I can manage a similar result, fingers crossed…
So today I had my first race of the season here in Canmore, Canada. I had 4 days on snow after flying straight in from Australia and ave been battling a bit with the jetlag and altitude but it all went fairly well.
On the hilly 1.3km course I was abit over 7 seconds behind the winners time. I got my best FIS points ever to date and was stoked to get another result under the IOC, A selection criteria to help towards Olympic qualification.
In the heat I didnt have so much luck, I was still in contact with the tight bunch at the finish but didnt have the gas in the legs to finish strongly.
hopefully have a good race tomorrow in the 15km classic although the hilly course doesnt really suit the light weight frame I have 😉