Toblach, Livigno and a Not So White Christmas.
I’m not really sure where to begin. The past 10 days have been quite an adventure. Lots of blog worthy stuff has been happening, far too much to write about it all, but I’ll do my best to try and get you up to speed.
I’m starting to realise that Toblach actually did happen. And I’m also starting to realise why it happened. I’m a great believer in «you create your own luck», or that nothing happens without a reason. You don’t get an action without a cause. That’s got me to thinking as to why did I have such a good race in Toblach? Just how did I manage to go from being an outsider for a semifinal spot to taking a podium place? I’ve had a look back through my training from this Summer and Autumn. Every now and again I look back through my old training looking for mistakes and things I could do better. But when I look back through this year there is very little that I’d like to change. I haven’t had any injuries, no illness, I’ve trained almost every minute that I’d planned. That someone has such an untroubled run up to the season is almost unheard of. Then I looked a bit closer at what I did in the weeks and days running up to Davos and Toblach. Again I couldn’t really find anything that I did wrong. I felt good pretty much every day and completed all my training sessions as I’d planned. On top of that the team did a fantastic job with the skis on the race day. I had great skis in the quarter final and the semifinal. As I came from the second semifinal, and we only have a 1 man wax team, there was no time to re-wax my skis for the final. I still had good skis in the final, but they weren’t as good as the previous rounds. Then there was the course. The sprint in Toblach is pretty much tailor made for me. Lots of high speed flats and short, sharp, steep climbs. This combination plays to my strengths and I was able to utilise that during the race. When all of this comes together, the untroubled lead up, the fast skis, the perfect course, then there aren’t really any excuses, you have to ski fast.
After Toblach I headed to Livigno. I spent Christmas here with my teammate Callum Smith. We are staying in small hotel only a short walk from the ski tracks. The only complaint I’ve had about the accommodation is that our bedroom was pretty small and that we are sharing a double bed. Thankfully we have our own duvets and I managed to convince Callum that he had to sleep with at least some clothes on. The best thing about the hotel is the food. Lunch and dinner have been pretty superb every day. It’s probably a good a thing I don’t plan on doing the Tour de Ski hillclimb though. The owner of the hotel has also been a great help. He’s sorted us out with a place to wax in his garage and he let us use the hotels washing machine.
I wasn’t 100% after Toblach. I din’t get ill, but I wasn’t quite well enough to train. I felt tired and worn out, so I ended up having 3 days off training. That has set me back a bit and I have actually missed quite a bit of training. I didn’t train for 3 days and then I had 2 days of easier training to get back into it. And now we are getting quite close to the Tour de Ski, so I’m conscious of the fact that I’m maybe not where I should be. Hopefully I’ll of recovered enough and been able to train well enough to post some ok results in the tour.
The training I have done has been pretty good. Europe is experiencing a long dry spell. There is absolutely no snow. Nothing. Not even a small white fleck. The tops of the mountains have got some snow but even then you can see that it is thin. Here in Livigno they have prepared a 7k loop with man made snow. This is quite remarkable really and they deserve creds for getting such a long loop up and going. The snow is mostly in really good condition and great for training, however it is getting old and dirty in a few places. Livigno also has a good sports centre. National sports teams get to use the gym there at a discounted rate as long as we sign their «wall of fame». I signed the wall when I was here back in October, but Callum had his grand wall signing yesterday.
We’ve got a few more days of training here before we head to Lenzerheide for the start of the Tour de Ski. It’s an exciting tour this year with 2 sprints early on. It’s also going to be interesting with the long distance race on stage 2. The second sprint has been moved to stage 4 instead of stage 5, due to the snow situation. So my plan now is to go until the second sprint. But obviously it’s quite demanding for me just to get there with the 2 longer stages and the strict cut of times. From now until then though it’s the Italian life of cheese, olive oil, pizza, pasta and sun.