Last week the Australian XC Ski Team had their first on-snow camp of the year at Falls Creek, in north eastern Victoria. Most of the team members were present and the week is focussed on technique development, speed training and generally logging plenty of hours on skis.
As a 2005 team member, I joined the crew late on Tuesday evening and was presented with the choice of doing intervals or just easy skiing the very next morning. Needless to say, I chose "easy skiing" as this was my first day on skis and I didn't particularly want to punish myself with poor ski form.
Conditions at the camp were very good, with plenty of snow cover, but often windy and even rainy conditions. Heavy snow falls at the end of the week now means we have nearly 60cm of snow as a base.
One of the standout sessions was a 2hr block of speed work, involving the entire team. We worked on starts, head to head racing, and high speed cornering, including some entertaining 180° turns with 3 or 4 racers pitted against one another. The picture below is of Ben Derrick and Tim Retchford sprinting to a fast turn with the some of the National team looking on (including myself!)
At the end of the week, there was a full schedule of races, with a 10km freestyle race on Saturday and a 3 x 5km interclub relay on the Sunday. This author unfortunately had to sit these events out after injuring a thumb during double pole intervals, but watching the racing from the sideline sure made the flame inside burn stronger for some fast racing action!
Ben Derrick was the standout racer of the weekend, winning easily on Saturday, then pulling back a massive deficit on the Sunday as the anchorman in his relay team. For full results, check out www.hoppet.com.au/xc and follow the links to the results section.
For myself, the last 3 days have been spent free skating without poles and while I desperately want to be racing, it sure is good training for the legs and perhaps has highlighted the fact that I should do more no-poles skating within my normal training to build strength and power in the legs.
Now on a slightly different note, it has occurred to me that as qualified physiotherapist, some of the readers may like some information on injury management and preventionl, especially in relation to xc skiing. If this is the case, please don't hesitate to write a request to XC Ottawa and I'll post some thoughts on the topic.
Stay tuned for more racing (on snow) action over the following weeks!
Photo Credit: David De Gama - www.hoppet.com.au/xc
Read the first article in this series: Skiing Down Under #1 - Report from Australia!.