Well the writing as I blogged last is on the wall for this year an d the season is going to be short and mild probably with a lot of wet snow and icing. Steel edges beckon.A set of vikafjells from Aasnes appeal at 990 kr on offer, less than half price but realistically it is a bad investment and I really want steel lights from Fischer next year.
What goals for this year then,./<>??? Well it is all coloured by last years big year for me when I actaully discovered how bad I was at some basic things yet also but behind me masses of experience in control and technique and a wadding huge amount of confidence and determination to improve and get into training skis rather than my hlaf training, half tour Fischer Power Wax planks.
I managed to get around a heck of a lot of bone hard courses last year, especially drivsnesheia (Naespobovarden) when it had a big thaw back and froze of course in the next round of arctic air. I did a regular 4 to 5 hours a week as soon as conditions were okay in mid january right through to easter when i took the clister off and packed it all away, super satisfied and a bit thinner and a lot fitter.
This year things are going to be short and sweet then with more tours further a field . Located two new 600m high areas with driven tracks within a couple of hours. Hopefully we can gett some cheap way of doing the winter holiday or have a new decent job to start just after that.
1) longer tours straight away> I need to be building up to four hour motion in tours such that I get my real effect on my body which needs sustained base training.
2( shorter warm up high intensity blasts. When conditions are right and I have even just an hour to drive up the local ski track, ski and get home> peaking my intervals with real blood in the back of the throat in the new one minute three times 'switch' to increase VO2 max
3) step turning> the pros make it look hard because they are doing it way on the edge of what can be done on very narrow and light , straight skis. Some amateur videos reveal a more powerful, condifent approach which is actually a skating technique and the USA youtube exerts usually refer to both styles when presenting the essential technique. I can skate and I can do simple step turns but I need to be able to do the powerful kind on the flat to get past other skiers and of course on the downhills where plowing is either slow or for my weight a little ineffective.
4) Weight transfer in the kick> this still needs some work. I was kicking too early , unloading the leg pretty much on or even before the kick. This partly explains why I got lapped by most norwegians my age! I was getting a good work out anyway but messing up bigtime in terms of efficiency. I will maybe need to go back a step and do shorter strides and less pronounced kicks. I will need now to youtube for half an hour !!
5) be more determined to stay upright and to get through those turns. I still have a tendency to get heavy in the leg and freeze up in terms of weight transfer down hill. I need to loosen up and practice >
a) heeling into corners in the tracks. Braking before. Half plow in the corner
b) more confidence in plow in harder conditions
c) step turning as above
d) stopping worrying. it is usually a soft landing and I can afford new skipoles
e) warm up technique mentally/ take a four hour tour to include some backwards and forwards on tracks which are ideal for repeating the above, not just AB or a given set of kilometers.
The last point in five ee, is just like @bingo@ because that is where I need to be at!!! I need to stop thundering on before I have mapped into my mind a couple of basics on easy stretches and corners
I should think that this year I will get my 40km tour done somewhere with Iain my mate - it may be that this is just seven times round our local run.
One aside for those of you planning on visiting Norway to XC ski is that the southern end south of Telemark is typified by real roller coaster runs and mountain summit tours (several of our local runs include a small mountain top/hill summitt with tracks graciously driven over them !! ) because there are not the high plateaus and valley space is all used up by arable farmers or is below a the 'good snow line'. This is great fun for kids but it is challenging for a learner or for someone more serious who is looking at putting serious miles in their legs on a Norwegian stint. I recommend heading inland to Vinje in Telemark, the Geilo and Hemsedal area or given good conditions there are some excellent runs in Nordmarka and the other woods around Oslo, with a choice of taking the train for a classic 40-55km tour back to the outskirts of the city 10 mins then on the tram to your hotel or friends house down town!
For fitness training purposes you really want long undulating runs where you can diagonal kick on the downhills and are on the one had fish boning little and tucking and gliding little of the time, but these are a bit difficult to come by in the South to say it mildly. Most of the prepared runs and nearly all the floodlight courses in the whole of southland are little roller coaster runs with some being purely herring bone and glide which as I say is fun for kids but pretty rubbish for training other than cardio intervals and just as it is, up and down technique. Our local club run tracks up a little forrest road which is perfect and even has parking laybys near its start. It is undulating but has a couple of long drag, kicking up hills with only minor herring bone on the second hill, which you can avoid in a decent session by turning at the top of said summit to repeat the 3km or so each way until a final descent is made which is a blast actaully, short and scary enough for me at the bend.
Next year will be a time for tours to the high chaparal with its rolling silkefoere as they call it- silky snow conditions. This year will be using time effectively and not getting round a course for the sake of getting round and all sweaty, but as a training for the mind and neural connections as much as for the body. As always it will be training for the soul though.