November 29, 2006

Back to three five...

This morning we warmed up on 3500 again, we took the cable car to the top and then did one run down to the drag and then one all the way down to Rosolin. The visibility wasn't the greatest, we were in the cloud and although distance was fine, snow definition was pretty poor. My runs were OK though and I managed to hold it all together.

Once we got down to the course on Rosolin we found that today we had a much longer course of full size gates. Usually Blair uses all the full size gates that he has and then extends the course with stubbies. Today Blair had joined forces with Robert, a British racer who was training by himself (setting his own courses and then running them). Robert has been around for several weeks and we'd seen and spoken to him a few times. Today we pooled resources and put together a 40 to 50 gate course which we all ran.

The course was a lot of fun and it was hard work, by the time we got to the end we were all in need of a rest before going again. There were three rhythm changes, a flush, hairpin and second flush. Since Blair had enough gates today he also set the rhythm changes with both gates, usually when training you only bother to set the turning gate and not the outside gate. This means that when training you effectively zig zag around alternating coloured poles rather than passing through pairs of poles of alternating colour. The racing line taken is the same, but it's half the number of poles to set at the start of the day and pull at the end. In a real race all poles would be set, i.e including outside gates. This doesn't make a great deal of difference but it can get confusing in vertical gates (like flushes and hairpins) if you're not used to seeing the outside gate; it's tempting to turn around it rather than ignore it...

So, we had a long course with outside gates set on the vertical gates and three rhythm changes. First we inspected on our own, and all got confused by the outside gates. Then we all inspected together and finally we ran the course. We were videoed on the third run and kept looping on the drag lift until we were too tired to race any longer. Then it was time for lunch. On the third run before lunch I was trying one of Blair's suggestions (reach forward and in towards the centre of the coridor with my pole plant to encourage more lateral movement at the gate) and it worked rather better than I was prepared for. The skis went over onto a very acute edge angle, came around very fast and "adjusted" my line by more than I was expecting. The result was that I straddled one gate, lost a ski and then dived head first towards the next gate. The new helmet worked but I managed to smack my right arm against the base of the next gate (the bit that doesn't bend!) and that hurt!! I was glad to see that I could get straight back into the course and the subsequent two runs were pretty reasonably, though I'd backed off of the gates a fraction and started to take a few poles on the thighs again.

After lunch we went up to 3500 where Blair had set a stubbies course on the reasonably flat section near to the drag lift. It was steeper than Rosolin but not as steep as the section where he'd set the course last Friday. We ran this a couple of times and then Blair videoed us form the top. It was an interesting course, quite a wide offset of gates at the top to keep the speed under control and then a hairpin some tighter gates and then a flush followed by a few looser gates. Since we'd set in the afternoon and since 3500 is very busy with GS racers early in the day, the course had a few inappropriately placed GS ruts. We did our best to smooth them out but they caught a few of us a couple of times. I ran the course about 5 or 6 times and got one run (2nd from last) that I was happy with, on the other runs I tended to be going too fast coming out of the hairpin and was then unable to hold my speed on the next two gates, I was slightly off line and felt that I had to scrub speed on the second gate after the rhythm change. The one run that I was pleased with was smooth all the way down.

Video analysis was good. The course from this morning was a confusing mass of poles when viewed from the mid-point up towards the start and it was interesting to see it skied. I did reasonably well on it, but could have done with a little more body movement towards the centre of the corridor. What was nice to see was that I could now recover from a dodgy line or body position within a couple of gates, and without losing too much speed, which wasn't the case last week. Also it was quite obvious that I was able to get speed out of each turn as on one run I scrubbed a lot of speed on one gate and then managed to accelerate towards the finish through several gates that were on a pretty flat section. The run on the steeper pitch also looked reasonably good; I managed to take the moves that I had on Rosolin up onto the steeper pitch without losing control, which I couldn't do at all last Friday.

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Posted by Len at November 29, 2006 04:19 PM | Categories: R21 - Race training , Season 2 - Ski Days
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