The Weekend of Sprints

Jo In Action

This weekend was in essence a virtual sprint and mixed sprint relay training camp for team GB with many athletes in action in multiple locations.  As Sweden and Norway hosted their national sprint champs the guys at home were getting well acquainted with some more of central Scotland’s finest housing estates.

Some WOC Specific training in Stirling
In Sweden Cat was the team rep and faired well in what was definitely the trickiest courses of the weekend.  If you want to exchange your cross word for a mind teaser of another kind tonight then have a look at the map for the final and then check out the planners analysis:

Cat had a very solid race and was only one mistake away from the podium showing that all that winter training has paid off and she is muscling in with the top players once again.  The next day she was racing with her, new for this year, Swedish club OK Södertörn with fellow Brit, and sprint specialist, Josh Beech.  Cat had this to say of her race into 13th place and its importance in the build up to WOC.

SM Örebro (in the chase on leg 4)
‘The first half of the course was simple enough, with quite equal route choices and lots of opportunity to open up and run, or look ahead. After the arena passage things got much more technical. Shorter legs, a maze of extra fences and sometimes three or four alternatives all involving compromise, meant it was impossible to get the feeling that you’ve definitely got it right. When I finished I felt like I’d got it all wrong – both the route choices and the execution! But the analysis afterwards shows that the routes themselves weren’t all bad. It was those moments of doubt and stalling that were more costly. So what to work on now? Confidence and conviction when the pressure is on!’

A section of the Swedish Sprint Relay Map

While that was going on Norway was also having its national sprint champs in Hamar where myself, Ralph and Jo were all in action.  Although less of a brain teaser than the Swedish race in the individual Ralph had a very strong finish to bring him through the pack into Bronze medal position. Unfortunately I employed the revers tactic and dropped out of the fight with a poorly executed last section ending up in 6th place.  Race of the day goes to Jo who after struggling with a stomach bug managed to get herself to the start line and put in a very good performance all things considered running into 12th place.

Hollie in Action

The next day saw 77 teams line up for the mixed sprint relay, all three of us were running in highly competitive teams ready for the fight.  Ralph repeated the previous day taking the Bronze medal with his Norwegian club Nydalens OK and some revenge with the fastest leg time.  Sadly he had to shake my hand on the top of the rostrum.  Though I have to confess to having brilliant teams mates who gave me enough of a lead to be able to make some horrible route choices and still come to the finish in the lead.  Ralph summed his day up nicely:

Ralph in Action
‘This was a great race to do, both for my Norwegian club Nydalen SK but also for my preparation towards the World Championships. We thought we had a chance for a medal as a team but that we would all have to run well to achieve this, which is the same situation we shall face in Estonia. At the World Cup in Finland I started at the front of a group, and this time I started just at the back, so I got a different racing experience of chasing Gaute Hallan Steiwer and Jon Aukrust Osmoen, two very good Norwegian sprinters. I was pleased with my performance but was also able to identify some small areas for improvement ahead of the World Championships.’

3rd place Nydalens, 2nd NTNUI, 1st Halden

The count down is on 25 days until the Sprint Qualification!


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