Autumn to Winter

Postet av Andrew Travers Cosgrove Young den 26. Okt 2017

The last month or so has been pretty busy. After the training camp in Mallorca I had a few days at home in Scotland before an intensive training block in Lillehammer and now I'm in Tignes, France on an Altitude camp. 

It's not often I get to spend time at home so even just getting 4 days there was great. I had some good training sessions both in the gym and on the little rollerski track in Huntly. I took it fairly easy and didnt do too much training to make sure I was fully recovered after the Mallorca camp. When I got back to Norway I quickly got back into a good routine. There was only a few weeks between the Mallorca camp and the altitude camp in Tignes. Typically I don't do that many really hard interval sessions while I'm on altitude camps but I tend to do a good intensity block before I go. This time was no different. I had 7 interval sessions in 14 days with most of them being above threshold. In order to train that hard I had to sacrifice some volume, so I didn't train that much in-between the hard sessions to make sure I was feeling fresh. The extra intensity seemed to work quite well. I had some good test results on the rollerski treadmill at the end of the block. 

The weather turned fairly cold before we left for Tignes. In the mornings the roads were quite icy and I had to delay a few of my rollerski sessions to make sure it wouldn't be too slippy or too cold out training. Rollerskiing in the cold is horrible. The tarmac turns really hard and pole tips don't grip it so well, the wheels also don't get as warm and dont't roll so fast. Most of the time it worked out well by just waiting an hour or so before starting the session. I only got really fed up with it once. For some reason the thick frost had created a layer of frozen mud on the road. As I skied and it warmed up with thick mud melted and sprayed up all over me. Apart from that 1 session Lillehammer provided pretty good Autumn training conditions.

Coming to altitude at this time of year is always fun. We get to ski on the glaciers high in the alps with some of the best skiing conditions around. And down in the valleys it is often warm and we can train in shorts and t - shirt. This year we came to Tignes. I've been here on 2 previous training camps but never when the glacier is open for skiing. So it is a bit new for me but at the same time it's not too unfamiliar. 
Unfortunately we arrived the evening before a big snow storm. The glacier was stormbound and closed for the first 2 days of the camp. On the first day we went out for run instead of skiing. On the second day we tried to head down the valley to go rollerskiing. The snowy road meant the driving conditions where fairly slippy. On the first corner we came to the conditions were evidently more slippy than than first believed as the van went into a 4 wheel slide and we slid into the curb with a bit of a thud. With the wheel buckled and the suspension brokken we had to change the plan. We used the other van to shuttle people down the road in 2 groups and then everybody had to rollerski back to the hotel as there wasn't enough seats in the one van to pick people up. But it worked and we had an ok session. On day 3 the storm cleared and we were going to get up skiing. The ski resort obviously hadn't read the weather forecast and were not at all prepared for opening. The opening time got pushed back from 8.30 until 9 and then eventually 10 and by the time we got up skiing it was 11 o'clock. The skiing conditions were amazing but overall the day was a complete failure. I got hit on the head by some kid swinging his alpine skis onto his shoulder, I spent about 3 hours of the day in a queue, about 500 people pushed past me in said queues, and I eventually got home for "lunch" at 3pm having started the day with breakfast at 7.30! 

Even though the skiing hasn't gone to plan for the first few days, the dry land training has been really good.

The views are quite good too. Mount Blanc in the back ground.

Skating up the Col Du Petit St Bernard

On day 4 of the camp we had a skate interval session up the Col Du Petit St Bernard. It is going to be the final climb of stage 11 of the Tour de France next summer. It is a pretty nice climb with a steady gradient all the way. It was good to get rid of the frustration from the previous days' queueing by doing some intervals. I had a good session and skied fairly well, even though I did end up quite a bit behind the best guys, uphill skating is never going to be my forté. 

On day 5 we decided to give the glacier a try again. The queues were slightly better and Hans had also discovered that it actually only takes 30min to ski/run from the glacier back to the hotel. So most people ran down once they had ended there session instead of taking the funicular. It meant things went a lot smoother and we didn't spend half the day standing around to only ski for a few hours. The snow conditions were pretty good, blue extra was working well for kick wax which was a nice way to start off the winter season. 

We still have 16 days left of training here. Hopefully we get some better luck with the weather and continue to figure how to stand in a French queue. I think we've had our share of bad luck for the 3 weeks, so from now on it should be plain sailing. I'm looking forward to the rest of the camp and logging some high quality training hours in the French alps. 

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