Tuesday, 3 July
Summer test week in Ruhpolding.
The junior team and the Ruhpolding athletes doing standard shooting
and physical tests. The women (all but the preselected national
team members) are also doing their separate tests here.
This morning the classic roller-ski
up to the Steinbergalm. I was over 1'40" quicker than last
year, using the same roller-skis, which is gratifying, especially
given that my training started late this year, as it did last year,
so that the improvement is entirely due to last year's training.
Of course there are also the
shooting tests. Yesterday we shot on paper targets, 30 shots standing
and 30 prone, for points. I was among the best prone, and the worst
standing. That seems to be a phase I am going through which will
not last - a fortnight ago in Hochfilzen Ian had to ask me which
was my standing and which my prone target; now it is painfully obvious.
| 4 July
Road-bike test: from the biathlon
centre up to the Winklmoosalm. A headwind along the flattish first
half, so only some 40" faster than last year.
Shooting tests: three straight
'biathlonserie': my prone shooting going well, fast and accurate,
but the standing still wobbly and therefore both slow and inaccurate.
Yesterday the roller-ski time
trial: 4 laps of the entire loop at the biathlon centre. At Fritz's
behest I raced on my Marwe rollers, which are somewhat faster than
the DMS that the others used. But I felt strong and was able to
keep working hard all the way, my four lap split times all being
within a second or two of each other.
Fritz is now talking about
switching his group off DMS because they slip and require too much
maintenance to keep them running straight - whenever we do a time
trial on his skis he has to give out a few spanners for us to straighten
the wheels. He seems keen on the Marwes (the 610 model, with narrow,
big diameter wheels).
Last night I watched the full
moon rise over the Rauschberg: from my kitchen window it came up
right behind the cable car station on the summit; today we had our
running test race up the Rauschberg, an unrelenting climb of some
1,000m, in sweltering heat. I managed to scrape under 50', 3'30"
faster than last year, and faster than any of the German juniors,
which was pleasing. We took the cable-car down.
Results of the Sommerleistungskontrolle
tests: click here.
This afternoon I needed a
different kind of excitement so I drove over to Lofer to take my
kayak down the Teufelschlucht, before meeting Fritz at the biathlon
centre to test all sorts of different roller-skis.
|Sunday, 8 July
So, test week over, and I
rounded it out with a triathlon in Austria: only a relay entry,
and I did the swim: my first swim race for 23 years, and my longest
by a factor of 30. Hard work, but good fun, and interesting to see
a sport I have never seen before. Good to see Peter Moysey winning
the race, even better to see what looked like a 13-yr-old girl finishing
a mere 5' behind him. I asked my team-mate
"Did you see the little girl who won the women's race?"
"Yes, she's my daughter, but she's older than she looks: she's
Today I took the kayak to
Landeck, for old time's sake, where it first got wet 7 years ago.
Went to the start point for a hard section of the Inn, talked to
a couple of Germans and ran it with them in shocking high water:
really powerful waves and currents. Fantastic. Sometimes I think
I should by a small, modern kayak, but running rivers like that
makes me want a bigger one. I bumped into an old friend later who
had 3 boats on his roof for different rivers: that's the only answer.
Glacier training with the
British team. Just the World Cup squad this year; and a battery
of physiologists and a psychologist experimenting on us. The idea
is that this experiment will give us useful individual data on altitude
acclimatisation (most studies give an average result, which is not
adequate for predicting a particular individual's response).
And some annoying things,
like getting up early to do blood and urine tests, heart rate and
blood pressure, and psychological mood profiles. How 'active' am
I on a scale of 0-10 at 6.15 in the morning? 0. And as for the urine:
a reading above 600 indicates unacceptable dehydration. Fred and
I both scored over 1,000 3 days running, until we got so told off
that we have spent today bumpering water bottles and complaining.
I can hardly bend in the middle, my belly is so turgid.
Beautiful weather: warm and
sunny during the day, freezing overnight on the glacier, so the
snow is very hard when we first get up there about 7.30, softening
by 9.30 and ridiculous by 10.30.
Yesterday afternoon we did
a great session on classic roller-skis, from Val d'Isere up the
road towards the Col de l'Iseran: a climb approaching 900m, with
sensational views back down the valley. One might expect to notice
the increase in altitude's effect on our breathing, but we don't.
Shocking conditions on the
glacier today: the lift closed to start with, but when we eventually
got up there the hail was blowing so hard it stung through my waterproof
jacket. Our patch of the glacier is in the lee of the mountain,
so we were able to ski out of the worst of the weather, although
the snow was soft.
This afternoon pouring rain,
thunder and lightning. Just like Ruhpolding.
Last day here. Skied for 2
hours this morning in beautiful conditions - although it was sunny
the air temperature was cool enough to keep the snow frozen. Finished
off with a slug of wine from the Spanish army team, then went up
and down the Alpine slopes with Mike's children for an hour. A good
The benefits from a glacier
camp are difficult to quantify relative to the costs. Skiing on
snow and altitude acclimatisation are the benefits. The disadvantages
are a major dislocation to the training schedule, poor quality of
the shooting training and inability to do any good high-intensity
work. There are also morale factors: although it is good to ski
on snow, the budget accommodation we stay in is depressing for various
reasons; and it is easy to allow the weather and frequent poor conditions
on the glacier to affect you.
Time-trial on roller-skis
this morning: everyone now has a pair of Marwe 610, although we
don't all have the same speed wheels. Over 10km I got to within
5% of Ricco Groß and Michi Greis, who is now also training with
the German world cup team. They were both using number 7 wheels,
slightly slower than the 6s that the rest of us use, but it was
still a gratifying result.
So in the afternoon a light-hearted
session: Fritz suggested that I go kayaking with Andi Birnbacher
and Hansi Stöckl on the Tiroler Ache, so we did a delightful little
river trip - the other two completely unschooled and uninhibited
paddlers, spurning buoyancy aids although neither could roll...
One of the more irritating
training sessions this morning: 10 laps of the roller-ski track,
on classic skis, under a blazing sun. Almost 2½ hours of counting
loops and dreaming of my ice-cold drinks bottles secreted in a shady
spot by the track.
So this afternoon, when I
got to the gymn and found it full of children, I felt justified
in cycling on up to the lakes for a few token press-ups and a long,
brisk swim. I somehow hurt my knee cycling on Saturday, and it seems
OK today, which is good news.
Email from Glenn Grant: do
lots of running and lots of weights. We don't do much of either
on Fritz's programme. So many ideas, so little time...
Monday, 30 July
new idea from Fritz: before and after each training session, fire
15 rounds standing at the prone targets; for each miss, run a penalty
loop. This means a lot of running for most of us, especially in the
after shoot - a good warm-down.