So I guess this is the part two of “Chasing the Unicorn”. The reason for the sudden change in writing style is due to the lack of actual race reports. It seems for this European winter I am to sit out every second race weekend (not ideal!). However with this being said it has give me a great chance to sit back and look at myself, as an athlete and try to piece together some of the things I do right, and some of the things I drastically need to change. Obviously the first I need to change is staying healthy, so I can write about how I went in my weekend of races and not that I spent it in bed recovering from illness.
The Second most important thing for me is the “Weight Equation” if you look closely into any of the Red Group (top 30 ranked skiers) you’ll notice a few things they have in common. The first is that they all are extremely cut, ripped, shredded, huge or just plain old fit. You couldn’t find an inch of fat on any of them, even the tall men (195cm+) are lean mean xc machines.
The second thing that they all do is that they play to their strengths and know exactly what best suits them. The tall and chunky athletes (in the upper body) use their height and extra double pole strength to their advantage in a sprint for instance where they can out power their shorter opponents. Where as the shorter athletes use their shorter limb levers to turn over quicker creating a phenomenally quick tempo. Whatever body type they are they have become amazingly good at playing to that strength.
For me the “Weight Equation” is hard to find and something for certain I’m still looking for (another Unicorn). At the last AIS camp I had the fifth (don’t quote me on that) lowest skin folds to my knowledge. Out of 12 odd male athletes this sounds pretty good but mine were 52 millimeters from 7 skin fold sights, which makes an average of 7.4 millimeters. The lowest was 36 millimeters or 5.14 millimeters. A good distance athlete is always in the thirties, where as sprinter are often a little higher up on the scale (but realistically not that much).
What am I then? A sprinter or a distance skier? Well if you’d asked me a year a go without thinking I would of said sprinter. My height has always been a massive benefit for me. However in the past few months building up to this European season and while I’ve been over here I have done a lot to improve my distance skiing and without question now it’s far better than my sprinting ability. Genetically I’m a distance skier and when I was younger I just didn’t recognize or accept it. I am trying to embrace the distance way of life now, however the required 30 odd skin folds is a rather painful thought.
This for me this is a fairly major hurdle to navigate. If any of you have ever had dinner with my parents, one thing is certain. There’s always seconds! Now overseas there’s another problem for me other than mental restraint. Uni student tightness, I’ve had to shrug off the notion that I need to get my monies worth at every meal. To let others get seconds (and thirds) while you sit and silently cry on the inside. Realistically you should be feeling no sympathy for me here, I’m complaining about having only one serve of some delicious German cuisine rather than two. But keeping up vigilance is something that I seem to struggle with over here.
As for playing to my strengths I feel this will simply come together when I tackle the weight issue and become a much leaner version of my current self. As this happens I’ll (hopefully) have the same amount of power but with less mass and same goes for my heart and lungs. The same strength and volume but less area it needs to be pumped too.
Anyway, never let an athlete get sick, they then think they’re a philosopher of sport and that’s just scary.
Train hard. Rest easy. Live for the moment.