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World University Winter Games Part 2

February 3, 2015

Since my last post, both disastrous and reasonable results have unfolded. For the 10km Classic, the 5km loop that was used was not exceptionally hilly so I made the risky decision to go out on the skate skis and Double pole. From tests that we did the day before, there was lots of time to be made up on the fast long downhills and slight inclines going with the faster skate skis. The risk is that going without any grip wax means that there is no way of relaxing if you find that you have gone too hot too early. Not that I even went that fast at the start, it was too hot for what I was capable of and found myself in a hopeless situation. I flooded my system with lactic acid and struggled with my breathing again with being unable to control the rhythm and feeling oxygen deprived. I regathered myself somewhat and was able to finish however the time lost was far too substantial to even go close to a satisfying result. With the winner also opting to Double Pole, it was the right idea, I just hadn’t quite realised that the Double Strength I had over the European Summer has not completely returned.


That torturous 10km was pretty tolling on the body and left me feeling like a broken man, both mentally and physically. You can probably gather just how important those few days of rest before Sunday’s 30km skate were to me. I can’t even say that by Saturday I felt quite 100%. Through the course of the week I have been doing a lot of time with our Physio Claire Coltman, working on releasing and expanding my ribs. It had become evident that I was primarily stomach breathing and hardly expanding my upper right side – mostly due to a natural response to restrict movement in the area that was damaged. With the scar tissue and nerve damage, it’s quite a painful process to increase movement in that area but basically allows me to re-learn to fully expand my chest. The results have been great so far with active lung volume increasing noticeably. The difficulty is that by gaining more movement and using this whilst exercising leaves the area feeling quite strained. For some reason, Saturday was the worst day for this feeling just described, not giving me a lot of confidence for the following day’s competition.


Quite amazingly, the feeling on Sunday morning was much better and the starting pace of the 30km was very relaxed, giving me the opportunity to move up the field a little and really gain a good rhythm early on. As the pace lifted with the front guys starting to work, I once again lost the breathing rhythm and had to back things off slightly to have any chance of getting through the race. I slipped back a little, but regained a controlled pace quite quickly and was able to make the most of good energy levels. I skied in the 3rd chase pack for quite a period then worked hard for a solid 10km to catch back onto the 2nd pack.


Unfortunately by that stage, as soon as I gained contact the pace surged for the last part of the race. By that point I had already been sending myself close to red-line for quite some time and was feeling it! The pack pretty much broke up with the increased pace and I slipped back a few places but was happy to be able to maintain a strong finish speed to place 24th, just less than 6.5% behind the winner’s time. A result that I can be proud of thankfully and was all made possible through the help of Claire, the awesome wax techs; Randy and Rado, Mantra wax and the amazing ongoing support from my University; UNSW

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Directly afterwards we started our journey back to Sweden and was very happy to see just how much snow had fallen since we left for Slovakia. So today it was back to training with DSA and I’m not joking when I say that this was definitely right in the top 5 best sessions that I have ever had. Perfect tracks, good company and great energy! Perfect way to prepare for the World Championships here in just a couple of weeks time!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 3, 2015 5:21 pm

    Reblogged this on Australian XC Skiing.

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