Bruksvallsloppet

Originally posted on Callum Watson:

The start to the race season has been a little different for me this year. Usually expectations are high, and its a very nervous period directly before the first race as you are eager to see what sort of gains you have made over the summer. This time around, my expectations were low. That’s one thing I have learnt about this injury, it’s better to give yourself time before you expect too much from your body.

The classic was not so successful, primarily due to insufficient grip. My body actually felt alright, but with slipping skis it made skiing powerfully and efficiently not very possible. A frustrating start no doubt, but that’s just racing.

Bruks

Despite my body feeling the fatigue from the day before, the 15km skate was a much more positive result. Finishing up in 63rd and just under 90 points means already I am close to where I…

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A Challenging Start or, My Year in a Beautiful German Village, Part 1

Originally posted on Half an Adventure:

In the past two years, I have arrived in Europe to half a metre of fresh snow, cold temperatures, a group of people I know really well, and we have been on snow training the morning after arrival, preparing for races only a week or two away. My arrival this time has been characterised by a visit to the doctor, lots of antibiotics and ibuprofen, IKEA, no snow in sight and 14 degree daytime temperatures.

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But still ridiculously pretty

I mentioned in my last post that I’d been sick for a while and was finding it pretty frustrating. The last time I trained properly was on the 5th of November, after which I had some sort of virus which prevented me training. A week later I tried training again, only to get a sore throat again, which I didn’t closely examine until a few days later, where I found bacterial tonsillitis. I got…

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AUSXC Season Preview 2014/2015

This weekend Australian Team athletes Phillip Bellingham and Callum Watson will race in the Swedish season opener in Bruksvallarna. On the men’s side alone there are nearly 200 athletes on the start list for the Friday / Saturday / Sunday competitions, many of whom are vying for World Cup starts for their respective nations. With the action about to begin here is a quick preview of the season ahead.

There are three major international championship events this season – the 2015 World Championship, the 2015 World Junior/U23 Championship and the 2015 World Universiade Winter Games. Australia will field sizable teams at each of these events. As per recent years the general competitive goal for all international events is to have athletes breaking into the top 30, though for some athletes qualifying for the event and representing their country will already be a goal achieved.

On the World Cup circuit the Australian Team is taking a targeted approach this season, in general starting athletes at four main events: Lillehammer (NOR), Davos (SUI), Ostersund (SWE) and Lahti (FIN). In addition if athletes achieve additional performance standards they are eligible to start in other races on the circuit including the Tour de Ski. In Lillehammer only Bellingham and Callum Watson will start, pending a performance evaluation for Watson who is returning from a major injury. In Davos Bellingham and Watson will be joined by Esther Bottomley, who will be based in Davos from late November, and Jackson Bursill who will make his World Cup debut in the sprint. Athletes for the other WC events will be selected later in the season.

Five Australian athletes – team athletes Jessica Yeaton, Paul Kovacs, Casey Wright and Kat Paul, plus Mark Pollock who needs one more result to qualify – will begin their season racing in North America on the US SuperTour before coming to Europe for the major events later in the season. Other athletes such as Nick Montgomery, Aimee Watson and Anna Trnka will start their seasons on OPA Cup in central Europe. In general athletes will come together for pre-camps 1-2 weeks before each of the championship events.

The 2015 World Championship in Falun is set to be the highlight of the season, with crowds of up to 100,000 expected similar to Oslo 2013. With six women already selected to the team Australia is set to enter a women’s relay team for the first time since Falun 1993, following on from our first junior women’s relay team in 2013. Falun is also the home base this season for Callum Watson and Phillip Bellingham, who are training there with the Dalarna Sport Academy and coach Mattias Nilsson (who is also part of the support team for the WSC!).

Progress through the season can be followed via the http://www.ausxc.com website and via @ausxc on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Donations to the team can be made via the XC Towards 2018 campaign..

2014/2015 National Team Announcement

The SSA Cross Country Committee is pleased to announce the official National Teams for 2014/2015. A total of 22 athletes have been named to the World Cup, Continental Cup, U23 and Junior Teams, nearly all of whom will head overseas during the summer to represent Australia in international competition.

World Cup Team
– Phillip Bellingham, 23 (VIC, Birkebeiner NSC)
– Esther Bottomley, 31 (VIC, Birkebeiner NSC)
– Aimee Watson, 27 (NSW, Cooma Ski Club)
– Callum Watson, 25 (NSW, Cooma Ski Club)
– Jessica Yeaton, 23 (WA, APU Ski Club)

Continental Cup Team
– Paul Kovacs, 24 (VIC, Birkebeiner NSC)
– Anna Trnka, 20 (VIC, Birkebeiner NSC)
– Casey Wright, 19 (VIC, Birkebeiner NSC)

U23 Team
– Jackson Bursill, 21 (NSW, NSWXC)
– Nick Montgomery, 21 (VIC, Birkebeiner NSC)
– Anna Trnka, 20 (VIC, Birkebeiner NSC)
– Casey Wright, 19 (VIC, Birkebeiner NSC)

Junior Team
– Stella Ajani, 17 (VIC, Team Ivanhoe)
– Matthew Bull, 16 (NSW, NSWXC)
– Liam Burton, 16 (NSW, Cooma Ski Club)
– Finlay Clarke, 16, (VIC, Birkebeiner NSC)
– Xanthea Dewez, 19 (VIC, Wangaratta Ski Club)
– Gabrielle Hawkins, 16 (NSW, NSWXC)
– Damon Morton, 18 (NSW, Boonoona Ski Club)
– Darcie Morton, 14 (NSW, NSWXC)
– Katerina Paul, 18 (VIC, Birkebeiner NSC)
– Hamish Roberts, 18 (ACT, NSWXC)
– Hugh Pollard, 17 (VIC, Birkebeiner NSC)
– Abe Wright, 18 (VIC, Victorian XC Squad)

Joining the four Sochi 2014 Winter Olympians (Phillip Bellingham, Callum Watson, Esther Bottomley and Aimee Watson) on the World Cup Team is Jessica Yeaton*, who recently changed nation from the USA. Bellingham, Bottomley and Callum Watson will race on the World Cup in December, while Aimee Watson and Yeaton will likely join the World Cup circuit in February. The biggest event of the season will be the 2015 World Championship in Falun, Sweden.

The Junior Team has had a major boost, with eight new athletes making their team debut. “In the last two years our junior and U23 athletes have really stepped it up so it’s great to see that there’s good depth following behind”, said National Team Head Coach Finn Marsland. “At least four athletes from our 2013 World Junior Championship Team will be competing in Falun 2015 so we are getting good flow through to the senior ranks.”

Progress through the season can be followed on the AUSXC website and also via team/athlete Twitter updates and athlete blogs on the right-hand side of the page. Donations to the team can be made via the XC Towards 2018 campaign.

*Note – Yeaton was provisionally invited to join the Continental Cup Team in September, however the selection panel had overlooked her results from the USA earlier in the year.

One last Session (death by treadmill)

Originally posted on Phillip Bellingham XC:

Today Cal and I completed one last hard interval session (roller skiing on the treadmill) before the first races of the season this weekend. The treadmill sessions are always killer and when you see one down on the training plan in the coming weeks you have to start mentally preparing early because they’ll get ya every time… every time! Mattias (our coach) literally writes these down in the plan as “Death by Treadmill”!

This particular session today was 6 X 4 mins. The 4 min blocks being broken into 1 min Threshold, 1 min all out then 2 mins threshold. Tough! But in reality it ended up being more like 1 min hard, 1 min sprint, 1 min struggling to stay upright and the last minute struggling not to get pushed off the back of the treadmill while Mattias continually winds up the incline and speed dials! I swear the…

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On snow again!

Originally posted on Phillip Bellingham XC:

After a few more miserable days of training in the pouring rain in Falun it finally got below zero so they could make snow up north in Bruksvallarna.

We are now back on snow skiing on a man made loop which started off at only about 1.5km long but has stretched to around 4.5km and continues to grow by the day with the snow making. The snow conditions aren’t the greatest but it is getting better by the day and so good to be out of the rain and off the roller skis. We are here for about a week with the first race of the season, a Swedish Cup race, less than two weeks away.

Have had enough of roller skiing that’s for sure!

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It definitely gets pretty dark in the afternoons here, a head light was a good purchase!

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Doing some intervals today and feeling like the form…

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On Snow!

Originally posted on Callum Watson:

Training has continued at a good rate over the last week or so, however its becoming very obvious my body is playing a bit of catch up. The amount of times I have come back after sessions feeling completely spent, feeling as hungry as a barking dog is beyond countless. This ‘Fika’ buffet that we found sorted that issue one afternoon – lucky its only a once a week operation!

All you can eat...

All you can eat…

The test race I spoke of in my last post was an absolute disaster. A 15km classic rollerski time trial where I lacked any form of power almost entirely and completely lacked the ability to raise my heart. It was a real disappointment as the interval sessions leading into this session had been only getting better, but this was a real sinker! It’s just important for me to realise that it is unrealistic to expect my…

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