The start to the final voyage!

So I wasn’t completely honest with my last blog, I  did do one race this weekend (or an attempt of one) I started in the 10km classic which originally was a 15 km race but due to the huge winds and frigid temperatures (-18) it was shortened.

So I started out well with good grip and rockets for skis (big thank you JC and Stevie boi!) and felt good apart from the fact it was freezing cold! Fairly quickly however I started to loose grip as the super cold, abrasive snow, cut away at my wax. With this lack of grip came the scrambling and herringbone to try and get up the hills. With my lack of traction I kept slipping which caused a lot of jarring in my lower back. Normally this is fine but I have had some really annoying back issue ( I suffered a small hemerige in my lower back in AUS) and around the 6km marker my back just gave out and my race was sadly run. It was fairly frustrating because I was feeling good and my time splits up until then had been good. Ah well the joys of racing.

In the end it’s a mixture of my fault and bad luck. I have exercise for my back but haven’t done them recently because my back has been fine, an giving me no trouble. In a lot of ways I’m glad it has happened now and I have 2 weeks before the world champs to fix it and to make sure it’s strong and 100%.

Super chilled air hugging the peaks around Campra, Switzerland.

We have now travelled to Livigno, Italy which will be the base for our altitude training camp before we head to Turkey and the World Champs! The drive there was nothing short of classic Phil and PK navigation and driving. So to start off we decided to go against the little womanly voice of the GPS and headed the opposite way, thinking we had a short cut dialed the GPS didn’t know about.

We hit it perfectly and appeared right where we wanted to and the GPS did its little rerouting thing and on we went, quite pleased with our achievement! In the end following the GPS was our downfall. The little woman inside doesn’t factor in the huge amounts of snow Europe is under and that most of the mountian passes are closed!

So we headed up some crazy little road to a pass that was going to make our journey only 3 hours long. We entered this weird little village just before the pass that had a huge wooden sled the size of a car at the entrance to the town. History shows us that a town that promotes its self in sledding sports is never a good thing. As we started to drive through this town we notice there weren’t any cars. There weren’t any busses, just hundred of people walking around towing or sliding on top of sleds. The dear folk of Sledvill were not to pleased it seemed to see a van on their precious road/sled run. So we drove through the glares, yells and the fist pumping and thought “wow so glad we aren’t going through that town again but there in front was the little boom gate across the road with the pass closed sign on the front. After some abuse was hurled around mainly towards the woman inside the GPS we headed back into Sledvill. As we entered the road/ sled run we notices a sign on the side of the road that clearly said sledders and skiers share the road… No car or van sign….

Sledvill main street. sadly i took this when it was that full of sledders. But you get the idea

When you have German number plates on your car it does help in making sure no knows your Australian! So with our reputation still in one piece and the Germans in tatters we kept driving untill till two men who were outside a pub put there hands up and started to walk onto the road to stop us. With the knowledge that we had probably upset half the town the executive decision was made and we locked the doors and floored passed them.

On the road down from Sledvill. fairly tight.

Now on the road again we were headed to Davos and another pass where we hoped we could get over to the next valley. However before we could even contemplate the next pass a very important stop had to be made! Cafe klutch! Our favorite cafe in Davos we know is always open 7 days a week and seeing as we were road tripping on a Sunday nothing was open and we hadn’t eaten in quite some time. With full bellies and the last of our Swiss franc gotten rid off we hoped into the car hopping to go over the pass just on the outskirts of Davos. Again however no dice as we reached the bottom of the pass the boom gate was down and the sign saying the pass was closed clearly up. So we abused the GPS a little more and re routed another route to go by skipping that pass as well. Now as we punched this all into the GPS a question appeared “do you want to avoid ferries?” At this stage in our journey there isn’t a sea or ocean for hundreds of kilometers nor are there any really big lakes till Zurich. With a hunch in what we thought it could mean we followed it down the road not far until we hit the train. This was the best possible outcome. The train goes under all the mountains and appears on the other side high near Livigno. Now you might be thinking how is a train going to help us when we have a van with skis on the roof? Simple this huge train is designed to take cars vans and busses. It pulls up and you just drive on, pull the handbrake on and hey presto your away.

We have finally arrived in Livigno and to be honest it wasn’t the exact welcome we were hoping for. Our journey that was meant to take 3 took 6.5 and when we arrived it seems the Italians have a house numbering system unknown to the rest of man kind with what seems like choose your favorite number, all good. So after finally locating the apartment we set out making diner and what do you know the power goes off. Then as we were trying to wash up, the hot water runs out.

It’s morning now and to add to it the thermometer is reading -28.5 so training isn’t exactly ideal. Even the car struggles with antifreeze in the engine. This morning it took a lot of nursing to get going.

Anyway the sun is out and I’m going to pretend its warm and go for a run. I’m sure there will be lots of stories to tell soon so stay tuned!

Train hard. Rest easy. Live for the moment.


4 thoughts on “The start to the final voyage!

  1. Hi Paul,
    Sorry to hear things aren’t going as well as they could for you. For what it’s worth …… when I used to run competitively there was an unwritten rule that after a race you allow 1 day for every mile (say 1.5 kms) to recover before racing again. So a 10 km race would mean a week before your next event, 1500 metres – 1 day, a marathon – about a month , and so on. Also, the day after a race, just a long easy run to get rid of the lactic acid residue (16-20kms) and then build up before tapering for the next race. Invariably when I didn’t stick to this plan I would either get injured or sick. I know it’s a fine line between being at your peak or injured and all the travelling doesn’t make it any easier. Anyway – just a few thoughts to ponder over. Everyone is different so you need to listen to your own body.

    Your description of the Sledvill interlude was very entertaining! Neat being able to drive onto the train to avoid the mountain passes. Quite an adventure! I can relate to your dilemma with the house numbering in Livigno …… once whilst in Tokyo I had to find the address of a friend who had invited me to dinner – the house numbering there is based on when the place was built, so number 1 could be at one end of the street and number 2 at the other, or anywhere in between! Sounds like they may have a similar system in Livigno.

    I hope you make a quick recovery and are able to enjoy your next events. Don’t forget to take some time out to appreciate the beautiful scenery. Awesome photo of the mountains around Campra!


    1. Hi Hans,
      Thanks for the tips! its always good to get advice, so feel free to add anything else. as you said always good to ponder! but yeah doing 6 races in 10 days is pretty brutal and not really advisable. Im glad you liked Sledvill was definitely a funny experience thats for sure! ha yeah the number system here is a joke it goes up all the side streets of each main road so fairly weird and quite messy if you miss the tiny lanes!
      Hope Australia is going ok and your not having any trouble with these floods i’ve been hearing about!
      hope all’s well!

  2. Hi Paul
    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences through your blog. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your reports.
    I hope you are feeling healthy again and that all goes well for you at the U23 WC.
    Best wishes

    1. Hi Helen,
      Glad to hear your enjoying them! I really enjoy writing them and using my brain a little instead of just the training! Yeah me too i think it’s all looking very positive for the races so hopefully i’ll have something exciting to post soon!
      Thanks again for all the support and help you and BNSC have shown me!!!

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