Skiing Towards The 2018 Olympic Games

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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!

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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.

Ski

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

Group shot

Horse riding

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