Sunday 3 June
the car to drive to Ruhpolding. So much junk. Last-minute correspondence,
tax forms, etc.
Ensconced in my little apartment
a few miles from Ruhpolding: the perfect hermit's retreat. No excuses
now for doing anything but training.
Drove down here with a carfull
of junk; retrieved another carload that I had left in storage here
after last Summer. Horrifying how much kit it takes to train.
Reunited with my car yesterday,
when Peter Moysey brought it over from Austria looking cleaner than
I have ever seen it. That won't last.
First training session with
the group: my oh my! I fell off the back after the first shoot of
an 8-shoot mass-start combi. Hard work all the way. But the shooting
was fine for my first combination training of the year.
It was a relief when both
Andi Birnbacher and Günther Beck admitted to me afterwards
that it had been a hard session. And they were both on Marwe roller-skis,
which are somewhat faster than the DMS that I was using.
And the weather? Rain, of
Tuesday, 12 June
At last, sunshine! A long
skate this morning followed by a dip in the lake - cold after all
the rain, but supposedly very beneficial immediately post-training.
Fritz got back to the group
for this afternoon's session. Said that the group is a bit too big
now (at most I think it will be 11 athletes) - but I should be OK
as he said to me a few weeks a go that I could train with the group,
and he seems to respect the commitment I have made to training iin
Ruhpolding. My rusty German is barely up to understanding the training
we are doing: will have to keep my head down for a while.
- Monday: rain
- Tuesday: rain
- Wednesday: rain
- Thursday: showers
- Friday: rain
Perhaps it's time to invest
in a rain-jacket.
When the weather is like this,
then there is no point being anywhere but the river, so I took my
old boat out on the canoe slalom course at here at Lofer: the water
was high and fast from the rain, and the waves powerful. I paddled
beyond the slalom course into the Teufelschlucht; but the hard bit
looked horrendously hard, so it will have to wait for another day.
The wettest roller-ski combi
session ever at Hochfilzen, with water in the remotest parts of
my rifle, and my boots so heavy I could hardly lift them.
entertaining session this afternoon on Swiss balls (inflatable ball
about 2' diameter), led by Amanda, the lovely physio at Glenmore
Lodge. All sorts of core strength and balance challenges; then an
hour and a half running along the valley, during a break in the
rain. Now I am sitting in my room watching Mike Dixon standing on
his Swiss ball, and he has got to half an hour so far. Every time
I look I think he is about to fall off and break a leg. Amazing
balance. Don't try this at home, as when you come off, it happens
very fast and you land on your head!
Saturday, 23 June
The last day of training at
Lofer for me: a day off tomorrow, and then
back to the Ruhpolding gang and their brutal regime on Monday. Hopefully
I will be able to keep up, now that I am back into the rhythm of
Took the kayak out on the
river here at Lofer this afternoon: a good session for the abdominal
muscles, back, shoulders, arms. And fun, of course.
It was good to catch up with
the rest of the squad - they all train together in Aviemore, and
they have an element of support up there, with a physio on demand,
visits from Ian the coach, and free food as a sponsorship deal from
the caterers at Glenmore Lodge! But it is hard to get all the little
bits of peripheral training done when there is so much talking to
be done - the dry-shooting, stretching, mental training and so on
- not to mention studying German. Discipline from Monday on.
Wednesday 27 June
Classic roller-ski up to the
Steinbergalm on Monday: over 3 trips, I was nearly 5 minutes quicker
than at this time last year, which shows how much higher a base
I am starting from this year. It would be nice to extrapolate that
to a 20km biathlon in the Winter...
This morning a 10km time trial
on skate roller-skis: hard work in the heat (32°C as I drove
back through the town). Hans-Peter Foidl (Austrian B team) won,
a little faster than Andi Stitzl. We were watching him in Hochfilzen
last week and commenting on the wasted energy in his skiing. And
seeing him today on classic roller-skis without poles showed his
balance to be poor. Sometimes it is difficult to believe the mantra
that technique is all-important.
Discussing my plans with Fritz.
Told him of the 3 glacier camps this Summer. Fritz no longer believes
in glacier training: too much disruption to the training routine,
for too little benefit - you can learn ski technique just as well
here at Ruhpolding, and do much better combi training. Altitude
acclimatisation you can get while doing roller-ski combis at Belmeken
This is also what Wolfgang
Pichler believes and applies to his coaching of the Swedish team,
which is getting gradually more and more successful.
On the other hand, you get
a far better tan on the glacier than you do in Ruhpolding. And the
Norwegians were at Tignes at the same time as us last October, and
they are clearly the fastest skiers around.
Training at the biathlon centre
late this afternoon (did an hour dry-firing at the range, then an
hour and a half on classic roller-skis), the children's groups out
in force: 13-year-olds roller-skiing with immaculate technique;
11-year-olds doing little relay races with their air rifles. Proud
mums watching. And the BBU says that grass-roots development is
not its business: for shame.
Another week over, my biggest
yet this year at 18 hours. The training is gathering momentum, but
next week is test week: Fritz's German juniors and the Ruhpolding
group do a series of standard tests which are interesting for year-on-year
comparison as well as for comparison within his groups.
Today a big (for me) ride
on the road bike: a 75km circular route through the mountains, in
blazing sun with cooler air drifting out of the forests... fantastic!
Then over to Lofer to round
the week off with a little kayaking. The German slalom team was
training, so I had to get in the way by running their gates - a
great feeling, and good to know I can still chuck the boat around.
It would be nice to get back into slalom racing.
And I finally got my annual
run down the Teufelschlucht - solo, twice. Almost came unstuck the
first time, then as I was walking back up I met the entire German
junior slalom squad running hell-for-leather down the bank chasing
some gear they had lost; so I jumped back in and did it again. I
didn't find their stuff.
When something goes wrong
in the white-water, you often find yourself upside down, and the
temptation is to roll up before reorientating and extricating yourself
from the situation; but a rapid extrication is usually easier than
a delayed one because you can use your momentum, so it is, counterintuitively,
better to maintain a sense of orientation while under the water,
and apply the appropriate paddle strokes to get the boat moving
the right way, before rolling. You also have better reach and feel
for where the water is going when upside down. That requires a really
good intuitive feeling which I have not quite found in biathlon.