Resolutions for the rest of the Summer:
- Lots of extra static shooting training
- Lots of dry shooting training
- Run up every peak I can see from
Wednesday, 1 August Ruhpolding
All the German world cup women
said 'Guten Morgen' to me when I got to the range today. Have I
just become visible?
As I was having breakfast
this morning the weather forecaster on CNN said 'don't take any
exercise outdoors in Europe today anywhere south of Scandinavia
or Scotland'; and sure enough I completely ran out of steam in this
morning's combination training, and took the afternoon off. Or perhaps
it was the unaccustomed attention. The heat is really excessive
now, but rain forecast for the weekend.
So much better today, after
yesterday's rest. Got sunburnt in the short time I spent shirtless
at the end of the session, stretching and warming down; then a half-hour's
swim in the lake.
In the gymn, in peace at last,
this afternoon, then up to the lake for another swim at 7pm - perfect
warm-down. Cycling back I passed another cyclist, and looked round
a minute later to see him right behind me: a race! So instead of
a gentle warm-down I hammered all the way back to town, and he was
still just behind me when I got home. I hope he had a lot further
|Saturday 4 August
It always takes a little more
motivation to go out and train in the rain. Yesterday I had to use
it but did not need it as by the time I had got my shoes on the
downpour had stopped. Today was the opposite: as I was putting my
shoes on the skies opened, so I put on my waterproof and headed
out to the hill by Peter Moysey's house in Angerberg with him and
Alan Eason: a perfect hill for strength endurance or technique training
as it climbs at a steady gradient for a couple of kilometres. There
comes a point when it doesn't matter whether it rains harder, as
it is not possible to be any wetter, and we soon reached that as
the thunder clattered overhead...
"'But when the herdsman
went to milk the cow in the morning, no milk came out' said a police
spokesman". Such is the kind of horror the local newspaper
reports every week, and it makes me nervous about leaving my bike
breakthrough: for the first time ever, I cleared a 20-shot combi!
It always amazed people when I said I had never done it; and it always
hung over me when I got to the last couple of shots of an almost-clear.
Now, when I get to that last shot, I will no longer be devilled by
the counterproductive thought 'if I hit this, then, for the first
Autumn is here: this morning
there was dew on the roller-ski track. That is a real shock, as
it underlines how little time there is left to do all the training
and improvement that still needs to be done.
Fritz is keen on knee angles,
as I am. He tells me that Ricco suffers from the same tendency as
me, to stop bending the knees when he gets tired. Hmmm.
Horrendous session this afternoon
of jumps, hops, press-ups, crunches, etc, with shooting. I was last
one out (having started last), and during my last loop it darkened
and the rain poured down... It was so gloomy that I had to open
my rearsight to 1.5mm just to see the target (1.1 is normal); I
cleared, raising a cheer from the others huddled under an enormous
umbrella behind the firing point.
A really hard training session
puts a terrific appetite into me, and I can't stop eating now. If
the rain stops I might have to jump on my bike and get an ice cream.
|Friday 10 August
Training races this morning:
a 10.4km Individual, then a 10.4km Pursuit, 20' later. In pouring
rain, just in case it was too easy. I shot 0200 in the first and
skied OK; then bumpering recovery drinks and bananas, a few minutes
easy skiing to clear the poisons from the system, then off again.
Heading off from the second
start it did not take long to realise that this race was not going
to be quite as easy. Nevertheless I managed to hold off Andi Birnbacher
until the second shoot, when he came out of the penalty loop 50m
ahead of me; I determined to catch him, and finally passed him at
the top of the course, and got to the range scarcely able to breathe,
far less shoot, and missed 3. I ended up with 1231 for the second
race, but skied well enough - trying to concentrate on a body position
right over the ski until well through the poling phase, compressing
to a sharp knee bend. It works well when I'm not busy thinking about
something else - such as noticing how the sound of the rain changes
when I pass from the meadow to the pine forest, and from the pines
to the beeches.
Skiing around in the monsoon
to warm-down, I was surprised to spot Scott Baines on the track:
he and Andrew Hallett have come out for a week's training. Bad timing,
as the roller-ski track is closed next week for grazing (I am off
home to England for a holiday).
Ran up the Zinnkopf (one of
the peaks by Ruhpolding) with Andy and Scott in the evening, the
rain just holding off long enough for us to enjoy the great view
from the top, and the mad helter-skelter run down. Then a vast traditional
Bavarian meal at the Stammtisch in the Gasthof Miesenbach, old friends
of British biathletes.
|Friday 17 August,
a week's holiday. Went for a run in London yesterday and spent the
rest of the day coughing. Much healthier to take the old racing kayak
out on the sea down here and enjoy the sunshine and maritime air.
|Monday 20 August,
Holiday over. Went to the
running track for the Monday morning session: deserted, and no reply
from Fritz's mobile. Cycled home, got gun and roller-ski gear and
drove to the biathlon centre. Deserted. So I did some maximal intervals
ski-ganging, which is something we never do with Fritz but I believe
in, and most unpleasant. Makes me wish I had a 'fast-forward' button
to jump to the end of each interval and skip the pain.
This afternoon to the biathlon
centre to do a couple of hours classic roller-skiing; after 15'
there were cows on the track, so I got the rifle out to do a dry-firing
session. After 5' it started to rain, and I don't rate dry-firing
as important enough to be worth stripping my rifle for (to dry it
out and keep it from rusting). So I drove home, did some balance
training and went out running to bag a couple of peaks. No idea
what peak I bagged as there were trees on top so I couldn't see
anything, but I ended up on a road miles from home and jogged back
through the deluge, glad to get some satisfaction from an otherwise
exciting day today: after training at Hochfilzen with the Austrian
junior girls (It's a long story), picked up the car I have bought,
drove to the scrapyard and ditched the old one. It is a shame to drive
a car that is utterly ordinary, compared with the old one which scandalised
the Germans, who never see a car in such an ancient, rusty state.
But a lot safer, both from getting stopped by the police and from
not getting where I want to go.
|Sunday 26 August,
go from bad to worse. On Friday I broke one of my Marwe roller-skis;
on Saturday I dropped my rifle very gently and the stock (Larsen,
bought in March) snapped clean in two. So I packed my old stock to
take to the glacier camp; when I got to Gatwick this afternoon, my
rifle and skis had flown to Timbuktu, so I had better take a good
stack of books to read in France.
|29 August, Tignes
The glacier looking very different
from last time we were here: great patches of bare glacial ice and
puddles on the surface. But despite that, a track in surprisingly
reasonable condition. Beautiful weather so far - so we have to get
up early and fight for a place on the first train up.
The physiologists are with
us again, but their machines not working yet, which makes their
trip here a bit pointless.
Got my gear back at the airport
without any trouble. We then had a great hassle checking in: for
some reason we never give warning when we make our bookings that
we will have vast amounts of baggage, including skis, rifles and
ammunition. The check-in staff are therefore always taken by surprise,
and have no idea what to do about guns and ammunition, and take
ages. We then have to jump through whatever ridiculous hoops the
particular airport requires to get the guns onto the plane, which
again takes ages. The important thing is to try to get them to dispatch
some of our bags in reasonably good time, so that then however long
they take over everything else some of our stuff is on the plane,
so it won't go without us.
In Geneva they give us no
trouble at all over the rifles - they just don't want to know.
Today despite the work the
piste-bashers had done there were a couple of little rivers across
the ski-track on the glacier. And this afternoon we have pouring
rain for our shooting training.
My ski technique seems to
be improving, which is most of the purpose of coming here (the other
point being altitude acclimatisation, as the Olympics are at quite
a high altitude). Morale in the team is standing up so far, although
it tends to take a dive when the weather deteriorates or illness
strikes, as the budget accommodation we stay in is not particularly