Diary April-May 2000
Got a real talking-to from
the flatmate's g/f Cassandra, who will not let me hide from the
truth any more: that if I want to achieve anything in skiing or
biathlon then I will have to make it happen, rather than just dreaming
On the whole, I think it would
be worth trying to go further. The standard I have reached on minimal
training and coaching is a British B team level, and if I can cope
with more training then presumably I could do a lot better. I often
think about the kayaking which I used to be so good at, and wonder
how much better I could have been if I had followed up the breakthrough
I made just after stopping training; it would be a shame to do the
same with the skiing and biathlon. So I wrote to Fritz Fischer in
Ruhpolding to ask about joining his training group, and to Graeme
Ferguson about BBU selection.
My father was kind enough
to remark that it is better to regret the things one has done than
the things one has not done.
The British Olympic Association's
Winter sports training camp in Austria (or British Airways Olympic
Futures Camp, to give the sponsor its due). I was coach to the cross-country
team, as no-one else would do it. As my knees were too sore to ski,
I stood by the track waving my video camera, until one day I left
it on the roof of the car... I hope it was insured!
The snow at the biathlon centre
at Hochfilzen (1,000m above sea level) was OK early if it had frozen
overnight. The day the press, TV cameras and Minister for Sport
came, it poured with rain. We got wet waiting for them as we wanted
to look busy when they arrived, and they were an hour late. As soon
as they had gone we packed up.
The track at Dienten (1,300m)
was beautiful on a cold morning, for skate or klistery classic.
We saw a couple of Austrian team suits up there, and envied their
access to snow for such a long season.
But the really great benefit
of this camp was not the skiing. The camp was designed to mimic
an Olympics, in that all the various teams live together and share
meals and facilities; and the support of phsiotherapists, physiologists,
psychologists, dieticians, etc, etc. Inspiration was also heavily
programmed in, and effectively. We attended a lot of workshops and
learned a few new things, and how to apply and use a lot of things
that we had an inkling of but had not ouselves used, particularly
on the mental and motivational side. It will be interesting applying
these and helping other people to apply them.
I will post abstracts of what
we learned here in due course.
Frustrating days of upper-body
training as I want to rest my knees and be confident that they are
really OK before I start to use them again. It has its bonuses:
I am doing plenty of strength training, which I normally neglect
as I do not much like it; also it does not take as long as the traditional
endurance work; and I have joined Shepperton Slalom Canoe Club,
which I have meant to do for years, and look forward to squeezing
into my old boat for some training.
Today I did a great hour's
double-poling on the roller-skis at Eelmoor, which is the London
club's Saturday afternoon training venue. Very dull and flat, but
it does enable you to focus on one thing at a time - such as gut-busting.
Forgot that I need to wear gloves with my classic poles as they
have rubber handles, so I now have a couple of blisters.
Trying to get an answer out
of the British Biathlon Union is very unrewarding . I wrote to Graeme
Ferguson to ask him to expand on the conversation we had in Ruhpolding
(when he asked if I would like to go onto the European Cup circuit,
as a self-funding team member). No reply, so I copied it to all
the appropriate Board members I could think of. Still no news. Goal
setting is very difficult when you don't know what is possible.
the British Olympic Medical Centre to get my knees looked at. Apparently
my ankles are very odd, and I have another appointment to get a video
analysis of my running on a treadmill, orthotics made if necessary,
and another trip to the physio to get some exercises prescribed to
correct my weird leg angles.
Amazing news from the BBU:
selection. Time to focus,
Nice kayak session last night:
in my slalom boat, went for an hour's steady paddle, finishing with
some figure-8s and sprints. I had not realised that Elmbridge Canoe
Club, one of the top sprint/marathon clubs, is just across the river
from the Shepperton slalom club: it was great to see about 30 good
paddlers out training.