Hugh Pritchard, Biathlete

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Hugh Pritchard

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December 2002
31 December, Nordseter

Spent Christmas morning on the internet trying to find accommodation and a flight to Norway, and ended up on Boxing Day in a hotel in Nordseter. Hundreds of miles of tracks, and cold. The tracks cut for classic, so no skating really, unless I double-pole over to Sjusjøen.

Yesterday went out for a long morning's classic ski along the Birkebeiner race trail - across a lonely, desolate plateau... What I didn't realise was that it was -25°C, and after 3 1/2 hours I got quite cold hands and very cold feet. My big toes puffed up like eggs and felt very peculiar.

15 December, London

Roller-ski race yesterday: 15km skate on the flat loop at Eelmoor. Quite a big turnout, and as only two of us had racing roller-skis we decided to run on training wheels, which are very much slower and require a more realistic ski technique.

We set out at what felt like a brisk pace (I haven't done much exercise lately due to some injuries), until halfway when I decided to go faster. Having averaged about 4'45" a lap, I did one in 4'10"; another slow one, allowing the others to catch up, and then hard again for 4'5"; easy again, and a final lap in 3'55" - or so it turned out: having miscounted I thought I had one more to do.

It's tempting to think you are going fast enough when in fact there is plenty more that you can do. That is the hardest and most important lesson to learn about racing, and one that everyone learns to a different degree. Frode Andrésen understands it better than anyone; Mike Dixon had it about once a year for a while.


November 2002
23 November, London

Just back from roller-skiing in Richmond Park: fitted in quite nicely between the showers. A lot of leaves and twigs on the paths now, and I tripped on a stick once, but no blood lost.

Cycling to work to avoid travelling on the loathsome London Tube: have had two bikes stolen since starting my job two months ago. So I found myself doing too much running, and ended up with a sore hip and knee. Or does that mean not enough running? So on to beasting the upper body in the gymn, neglecting the legs until they are better, when I will abuse them again, and so the cycle continues.

The news from Finland, where the Brit team is training now, is that Ian Woods has resigned as team coach, because of disagreement with the Board over how to realise a future for British biathlon. This is a great shame, as Ian has the full trust of the team.