Why aren’t you in Kuusamo?
«Why aren’t you in Kuusamo?» If I had 1 kroner for every time I was asked that last weekend then I’d be rich. After Beito I had a few days at home in Lillehammer before I headed to Skeikampen to train with the rest of Team Synnfjell. The plan for the training camp in Skeikampen was to get some good technique work done on snow and prepare for the Norwegian Cup in Gålå.
The camp was fairly successful. The snow conditions weren’t great but there was nowhere in Norway with great conditions at the time. We managed to do everything we had planned and everyone there got some valuable technique input from Jostein. Everyone was on slightly individual training programs as we were preparing for races but I managed to have 2 good hard sessions with some of the other guys. The only problem with the camp was the 4 people ended up getting ill. I felt pretty tired on the last day of the camp and had to take a rest day. But I avoided coming down with a cold. Unfortunately a few of the others ended being really ill and were forced to miss Gålå.
I had another day at home after Skeikampen before I headed up to Gålå. Apparently this was a shocking move to many. Just about everyone I met thought I was in Kussamo. But no. Personally I’m not really a fan of constant darkness, bitter cold and views of trees for miles and miles. More importantly than that, I’m not in form to race world cup yet. I have not intentions of racing to make up numbers and end up back in the 60’s or 70’s on the results list. And so going to Gålå and using the races there to get into good shape made much more sense.
The conditions at Gålå weren’t exactly great this year. A mild and dry start to the winter seems to be affecting most places in Norway. The loop was only 2.5k with patches of dirt and grit in the snow. At least the organisers had got a loop and there was going to be a race. But I think we have to question where the limit lies? At what point does racing through patches of mud and slaloming stones become too much? I feel like it also gives a huge advantage to skiers who have better equipment or to those who are more willing to sacrifice a good pair of skis. However there was a race and the conditions were the same for everyone and we just had to deal with it.
The first day was a skate sprint. Last year I made the semifinals in Gålå and I was looking to at least replicate that. I had a good prologue, ending up 10th. I started pretty hard and got a split that I was in the lead half way. I made a few mistakes in the end and got a bit tired so I finished up 4,8seconds behind the winner. That’s quite a good prologue for me and one of the best I’ve done at Gålå. The quarter final didn’t go so well. I had a good start but made a lot of mistakes through the middle of the course. I eventually managed to fight my way up to 3rd before the finish straight, but I couldn’t get round into second. The time wasn’t quick enough for a lucky loser spot and I ended the day with an early walk home to the cabin.
The 20k skiathlon the day after wasn’t much better. I managed to cling on to a top 30 and ended up 28th. The pace in the start was really fast and I found it difficult to find a good rhythm. Through the middle of the race I felt pretty good and got some places back. By the end I was pretty tired and the finish line couldn’t come soon enough.
Despite the results not being great there are positives to take from the weekend. I think training has been going well, and the prologue was really positive. The 20k was a good run through and a really good training session. I was being pushed all the way and had to really fight to finish the race, it’s not often you can replicate that in training. Now I have a little under 2 weeks until the world cup in Davos. I travelled to Davos yesterday. Davos is at 1600m, an awkward altitude to race at as it’s not quite altitude but it’s definitely not low. Having a few weeks here should give me enough time to adapt and get into good form before racing. There are other positives of being in Davos; Sun, cheese, sun, snow (although it is currently raining 🙁 ), sun and cheese.
Hopefully I won’t leave it so long before my nest blog post!