November 20, 2006

Gates, cross-blocking, hairpins and flushes...

Today we were straight into the stubbies first thing after our warm up. First we slid the course to inspect it and get an idea of what it was all about. It was more technically complex than the courses we'd done last week. There was a set of vertical gates (a flush) to bridge between two different rhythms in the course, the first set of gates was a wide, turny set of gates, then the vertical gates and then a set of gates that were closer in width and so required less of a turn to get between them. After that there was a hairpin which was used to move the course over to the left a little (we were tightly crowded by other lanes on either side...) after which the course was similar to the line above the hairpin... Full details of all these terms can be found here...

Below the stubbies we had a set of 'proper' gates with full sized poles. We'd skied these last week and I was just about getting into the whole cross-blocking thing (clearing the gates with our lower leg and outside hand striking the pole) though not doing it that cleanly... Today things came together quite well, my hands were generally higher than last week, though still not right, and I'd almost stopped reaching out to punch the pole, I was just letting it come to me... The lower course could be skied straight into from the upper stubbies course, but we never did that, there was a flush going in from the stubbies and, generally, we started below this. We all improved in the big gates and skied them more confidently and with better form.

We did some video analysis of the stubbies run and then we went for lunch whilst Blair reset the course. By the time we came back most of the other racers had left (the soft snow had caused the courses to become a mixture of ruts and ice) and Blair had set a fairly straight forward set of poles (well, he thought he had). We slid the course to inspect and flatten out the ruts from the race courses that had gone before us on this piece of snow and then we skied it to get a feel for it. The plan was, ski it once, then ski it with some feedback, then ski it with video analysis.

We all had trouble with the last four gates the first time through, the distance changed slightly and that threw out the very regular rhythm of the gates above. We did another couple of runs with feedback and I began to improve, then I finally managed to get the rhythm change sorted and became more aggressive with the gates, trusting in the skis more due to being centred the whole time. I had four really good runs down the course, the second being the video run, and then it was time to call it a day.

Video analysis at the Alpaka was done on the big screen with the projector in the bar; scarey stuff seeing all your faults that big.... My run in the big gates looked ok but my hands weren't as forward as they felt and there was less angulation than it felt, but heh, that's the point of video...

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Posted by Len at November 20, 2006 07:36 PM | Categories: R21 - Race training , Season 2 - Ski Days
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