Friday, June 13, 2014

Lessons in Swedish

When planning my European trip this year there were a couple of main options open to me for the leg of the trip following 3 Days of Trenches. Option One involved heading up to Kongsberg and the Word Cup races. or Option Two: Head to Sweden for some WOC2016 training with a group of kiwis.
In the end there wasn't much of a choice to make however; The former option would involve expensive entries/accreditation and accommodation, along with organisation. But just as importantly would push up the number of races I'd be doing prior to WOC, leaving less time for stable training, and increasing the chances of injury.
So the latter option it was then; to Bovallstrand for some WOC2106 training, a spot of crab fishing, and a small Wellington O-gang reunion with Magnus and Lisa, Junior Lara Molloy (who's doing an exchange in Sweden at the moment, and who I'll embarrass by linking her blog), and ladies' man Mattias.

We went to a wildlife park full of awesome animals.
And this is the only photo I took.
Given that the usual Kiwi WOC campaign involves coming over to Europe 2 weeks before races start, and trying to fit jetlag recovery, terrain familiarisation, and taper all at once, it felt like a complete luxury to be on the WOC2016 training maps 2 years in advance! But definitely worthwhile, I took a lot out of the week, as well as some tired legs, and a few lessons:

Lesson 1: Being strong in NZ and Aussie terrain does not equal being strong in this terrain!

Boy did I learn that one fast! So much blueberry and undergrowth under foot and marshes to sludge through. The hills might not be big, but they are tough to keep running up...and down...which brings me to:

Lesson 2: Faceplanting is allowed.

Subclause: If you time it to be into the blueberries, not onto the open rock. Yep. The same soft ground and undergrowth that makes it hard to run, also makes it soft to land when you (or rather I) inevitably faceplant. Belly flops also work, however, blueberry bushes do scratch.

Lesson 3: Cliffs. All the cliffs.

Whilst Italy is known for it's cliffs, I quickly learnt that Sweden has just as many. They may not be as impressive, and there's usually always a way up or down, but they do have a habit of jumping right in front of me in the middle what seems like every leg! I can only assume that with more practice I'll get more clued on to their ninja ways and avoiding them.

Lesson 4: Micro-routechoice.

The terrain is flipping tough, but it can be made easier if you can pick out the easier lines to run through the undergrowth and topography. Unfortunately, when I tried to do this, I'd often end up losing contact with the map, or off direction. Guess I'll just have to come back and train more here! ;)

Lesson 5: Training with controls is easier than without.

After being spoilt with tapes and flags at our training's in Italy, it was an extra level of training to have no tapes out in the terrain! I'll blame that for my slow km rates...

An invaluable week, however it will take a lot more experience in this sort of terrain to be truly competitive come 2016. Something to work towards! On the serious side, maps from most of the trainings can be found on my DOMA. On the lighter side, it was a hugely fun and relaxing week of training and touristing - massive thanks to Mags and Lisa for letting us join them for some of their summer break. We also had good fun messing around taking a new title photo for this blog - hopefully to be seen soon, once I've been airbrushed ;)

And lastly, a shout out to Magnus's parents for letting us use their summer house, hugely appreciated! And no, I didn't break the washing machine this time! ;) 

Stage 3 of the tour done, on to Halden and Jukola next!

Local attractions: Old rock carvings boasting about the size
of their fishing catch.

Noah's Ark: The snow leopards are amazing. But we still don't
have any evidence they actually have a lynx. Sneaky fella!

Crab Fishing. Followed by crab racing.
(much more successful than 4 years ago!)

Recovery sessions in the sea.

WOC2016 training done! Bring on the races ;)

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