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Tignes and Gautefall

Andrew Young / 06-10-2016 10:57:47

We finished off the altitude camp in Tignes a few weeks ago. Afterward I spent about a week training in Lillehammer before heading on a Team Telemark camp at Gautefall. The last few weeks have been busy. Training has been going well and hopefully I’m starting to get somewhere near the sort of shape I need to be in to race. 

The weather started to change on us for the last few days of the Tignes camp. It was quite an abrupt change from training in shorts and 20 degrees to 0 degrees and having every item of clothing I had with me on. Sure enough we had our first encounter of Winter for this season, with the last few training sessions being quite cold and snowy. And the last run turning into a snowball fight. Hopefully this is a sign of a cold and snowy winter throughout Europe!

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James described our last running session as «a lot of air». The path was pretty steep and there were a few sections with some big drop offs bellow us. The photo doesn’t do the steepness much justice. And thankfully the cloud hid the worst of the cliffs from view.

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Running into the cloud and the snow. For some reason James decided to wear shorts on what was quite possible the coldest session of the year. He did ask if we could keep moving at a drinks break. And he did say he had cold feet.

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Cold and cloudy. I was keeping my distance from the others to avoid being hit by snowballs.

Before the snow came we did manage to get in a few good quality hard sessions. We had a time trial up the Col Du Petit St Bernard. It turned out to be quite hard, harder than I had expected, both physically and mentally. I had completely underestimated how long the final section was. So the finish, which I thought was just round the corner, seemed to never come. I did eventually make it to the end, but it is probably the most exhausted I’ve ever been.

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James cooling down after the test race. No complaints about the scenery.

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Annika after the test race. She raced classic whilst the boys skated.

After Tignes I headed to Lillehammer for about a week. I didn’t really train that intensive in Tignes. I did a lot of easy volume but not many interval sessions. So now that I’m back down low I’ve upped the intensity and done a lot of interval sessions. The flip side of that means that I’m not doing very many hours. More time is spent on recovering and preparing for the hard sessions. Normally after altitude I experience a dip in performance after a few days of being low. Normally I’d be really lethargic and feel horrible. But this time I didn’t really have any noticeable dip. I had 3 intensity sessions the week after and all of them went fairly well.

The theme of high intensity was continued when I headed to Gautefall for Team Telemarks «sprint camp». The camp was fairly brutal with 3 hard sessions. A 6x5min classic rollerski interval, a running with poles 20x1min and skate sprint test race. In-between all the hard sessions there was quite a lot of technique and speed work. I think everybody left the camp feeling like they had been hit by a bus. The hardest session was by far the 20x1min. It wasn’t really that hard physically. But it was really uncomfortable. It’s not a normal session for me and it just felt brutal. After about 5 I felt like death and then I realised I was only a quarter of the way through.

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On the last one of the 20x1min. I managed to break a pole tip about half way. I spent the last half using someones skate poles that I found in the team van. They definitely don’t comply with the 83% rule.

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The aftermath of 20x1min

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My heart rate trace from the 20x1min

The camp also marked a noticeable change from Summer to Autumn. The last few mornings were quite frosty. I was glad I’d packed my warm training tights and winter training jacket. Since then my shorts have been packed away and most sessions have been frosty encounters. Yesterday I had a rollerski interval session. I started down in Lillehammer but as I made may way up to the rollerski track and then on towards Nordsetter I was met by more and more icy and frosty patches.  The rollerski season is almost over and it looks like we are about to enter the most frustrating time of year for a skier. Too cold and icy to rollerski, not enough snow to ski. Luckily it is only a week and half before I head back to altitude with the British team.

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