Merten, Wednesday, April 25. 2007
Sorry for updating late, as I am typing this I am away on a business trip in the Netherlands and unable to post any blog entries due to no internet access. But anyway, a short report about the last weekend, and my first marathon on the season. Situated in Wilhelmshaven, this race (plus a 10k team time trial the evening before) is the inaugural event of Germany's national series, the German Blade Challenge. So something to watch on the Saturday, then the marathon on Sunday, a good event to get "in the mood" again.
I really like the ttt (I'm abbreviating to save your bandwith ) as a race format, as it challenges many qualities of a skater - the ability to perform to the personal maximum, while keeping in mind the overall team goal. I have raced one ttt last year at the German ttt championships and it was definitely one of my most interesting races, although my role as the third fastest (-> slowest after another guy dropped out ) team member was very clearly defined as "keep up in our draft and tell us if we get too fast". This race was really fun to watch, and a small circuit gives you a lot of skating to see. I took some pictures, and some of them turned out nice, check out the gallery or click below...
Team Powerslide (my new work wallpaper) / Sebby and the Experts Team were there as well...
On Sunday I was once again among the people lacing up their boots. 4 laps on a 10k loop plus finish extension, on a beautiful and well selected course with few obstacles, mostly countryside, but cutting through the city. We had stayed overnight in Wilhelmshaven instead of driving back to Bremen as planned, and joined the Experts race team and some other skaters in a youth hostel type place, as it had gotten late the evening before. So I was able to get a very relaxed and easy race preparation, which was some of the advise I took from this year's Sardinia Camp. Five minutes after the girls, we hit the road at 10 am.
I am quite happy with my race outcome of 1:21 something, given that the winners "only" skated a 1:08, so I was definitely closer to their time than when I skated my PB in Wedel last year. Some more lessons learnt: a) I still need to shove for a better start position, as all the teams start off first it is crucial to be directly behind them. I was blocked so missed some groups straight away. and b) getting going, and accelerating, when the group I was in split after taking in some faster skaters who had fallen back from faster pacelines, started to speeding up again. On the good side once again, judging by the pictures I didn't look like a complete gumbie and for the first time (I think) I felt "there" thoughout the race, so focussed on the race and still questioned my tactics.
Me during the marathon, after the "ice-skate", and have a look at our car after a 24 hour trip
After the race, we spent some more time chatting to people, then went past Bremen for a nice "ice-skate" (skating along Bremen's nicest training route, to visit a farm selling homemade icecream) before returning home. Awesome weekend.
Merten, Sunday, April 15. 2007
Just a quick update before the working week starts again. I do quite fancy to read other skater's blogs as well, and Peter Doucets SpeedSkateWorld is among the best of them. I have no idea how Peter finds to time to assemble all this content, but if you like pictures and videos, it is definitely worth a bookmark.
In a recent post, Peter linked a video of a French Skater doing the Alpe d'Huez downhill - yes, on skates! Just have a look...
Hamburg news: Our day at the skate track was very nice, with lovely sunshine and a bit of training as well. We'll be back there tomorrow.
Continue reading "Downhill Extreme"
Merten, Saturday, April 14. 2007
Sometimes it's the little things that matter. Like enjoying a London Pride (brought that one from my last London trip, including the proper glass) on the balcony at dusk. Perfect.
Summer is currently on the first visit to Hamburg. And we didn't skate single meter today. Same yesterday. Instead, we enjoyed the great weather, with some shopping in the center of Hamburg yesterday, and today, a nice summer day home in Lüneburg.
But skating is going to be back tomorrow. We'll do some sunbathing while helping out at a public skate on the club track. Hopefully I can get a few good training laps in as well, to get ready for my first marathon of the season. I've signed up for Wilhelmshaven marathon next weekend, and I'm looking forward to test my current progress.
Merten, Tuesday, April 10. 2007
I've been going over my Sardinia video review again. As I said before, for the first time I've been happy with it, although it still leaves room for improvement.
Sebby's feedback tells me that I need to sit lower. Erm, yep, my skating position is still not that good. I am usually too upright and instead of having a round back, I look more like the Hunchback of Notre Dame My knee angles could be better as well most of the time. What I've found is that I usually relax a lot when skating, also because I train with slower people. So I stand a lot, and do not have to go low in order to reach the needed speed.
Other points are push-related. My right foot still travels a bit before I can apply power to the stroke, and the left one needs more carving. But according to Sebby, this is "minor critique".
I'll see how I deal with the individual points - but we get a lot of technique training on the track, so I'll focus my own training on getting more speedflow.
Merten, Thursday, April 5. 2007
Well, you may have noticed that we should be back by now. Yup we are... from an awesome, once again extraordinary week of skating in a beautiful scenery. Finally I have finished a little report of the week, here we go...
Travel through the remote airport Hahn went smoothly, given that waking up at 4:45 isn't really my speciality. But after an uneventful flight it was time to say hello again to Sebby and the rest of the camp participants. The first skate took place in the afternoon, on a road called "Autobahn". The name describes the place pretty well, although it is just a normal country road. But as it is almost completely straight and has a gentle gradient in it, the speeds you can get are pretty cool. And the little uphill also shows your mistakes better
Capo Caccia - hotel views
First group assignment was done by marathon times, which put me in the second fastest group of about seven. I switched back one group from Monday on as I wanted to have a holiday and be really able to see something of the routes we took, and also to have the time to think about my technique while skating instead of just keeping up. As it turned out the third group was much nicer and more relaxed, so I stuck with them for the week. Racing will have its time, but not in Sardinia. Apart from earlier trips, the legendary mirror bus was not used during the first review, just Sebby's similarly legendary pole-mounted camera. In the evening, we enjoyed an introductory talk on technique, then off for a well deserved sleep.
Monday morning - first technique session on the go-cart track. That is a nice outdoor facility near Alghero, which works very well for skating. We did the usual basic drills - one-leg and push related stuff. However, we also got our first rain, culminating in a real downpour when we were just leaving for lunch. So much for skating that day. In the afternoon, the team organised an alternative program, so we "enjoyed" our teamer Ricky's House Of Pain imitation session, plus some light running afterwards. We also got Sebby's video critique from Sunday. And for the first time I was quite happy with it, as it was rather positive, except my usual too high body position.
Wine Tasting - Stretching - The mountains of Palmadula
Next day - more rain Nevertheless we went for the cart track again, and did drills albeit occasional hail and rain - nothing can stop skaters... Hmmm.... really? In the afternoon I enjoyed the so far craziest skate of my life. It seems we really had challenged the skate gods too often. A relaxed skate to Porto Conte turned into a hail storm within two minutes after leaving the hotel. Fortunately the hail stopped after a bit, so we enjoyed a (really wet) fun skate, including "uphill sailing" and salt water spray being blewn over the Capo Caccia. Michi and Mareike stayed in and did the second Ricky session in two days - whew... The evening saw one of the crazy parties which are common in the Sardinia camp - a "Wine Tasting" turned into an orgy, I'll better not upload some of the pictures here
Wednesday - rest day!!! Well, half rest day. Because of good weather, the program was changed once again and we found ourselves on the buses to Palmadula, in the Sardinian mountains. I had some uneasy memories of this skate, having been quite scared on some of the downhills before. But this time - what a blast. Nice downhills, mixed with a little sunshine and some nice pacelining. Thanks to a fellow Sardinian to allow us to skitch one of the nastier uphills. Perfect skating.
More Palmadula - me displaying the purple camp jersey - Sassari Track
For Thursday and Friday the camp was split in two halves, to allow better usage of the individual facilities: Cart track, Sassari skating track (very nice, banked with perfectly smooth surface) and the legendary mirror bus. Our return to Palmadula on Thursday afternoon was a great idea, as it allowed everybody to enjoy the skate even more because of more route knowledge. Even more of a fun skate. I also got some very good feedback from the mirror video review, and for the first time I was actually satisfied with this.
Sebby "on" his mirror bus - Countryside skating
Ooops - the end of the camp already drew closer. Just one more highlight remaining... On the last day, all groups took off on a 50-70km tour to the very northest village of Sardinia, Stintino. Our group did the full trip from the hotel, others were shuttled for the first KMs. The fastest groups even skated detours to ensure everybody reached a picknick spot in time. After the picknick, it was one great, fast skate to the finish, followed by participants photos, and the bus trip back. The evening finished with a video preview of what footage Sebby took over the week, great stuff, but as usual we'll have to wait for Santa to bring the DVD. Some more drinks and then off to bed, to get back up at 5am for a flight and drive home.
Stintino - The full camp - The LondonSkaters Team
So, just an awesome week once again! Click any photo to enter the gallery of my pictures. More can be found at Sebastian's photo page, check them out!
(Page 1 of 1, totaling 5 entries)