As promised, it’s now the 23rd December, or Xmas eve eve as I ‘used’ to call it when I was younger! I found out yesterday that Norway actually have a name for Xmas eve eve and even, get this, a name for Xmas eve eve eve. It’s great they get excited about xmas, but really? Xmas eve eve eve?!
Before I give you the answers there have been a few interesting days lately. I started having some wisdom tooth pain last weekend, that fluctuated between the top and bottom wisdom teeth. Nothing new, occasionally they start growing a little again and stop within a few days. I wasn’t concerned. But after 6 days of slowly increasing pain and decreasing ability to open my jaw to eat, I felt I had to see a dentist. In Norway. I was expecting good service but expensive. He confirmed the tooth was growing at slightly the wrong angle now and was irritating the lower one. So, he took it out. There and then. An hour after making an appointment I was in the clinic, and 30 minutes later, walking out minus a tooth. Certainly beats a performance by the NHS, and didn’t cost much more than it would in the UK! Despite having to take a rest day in the middle of a hard training week, I still managed to take my 2nd highest weekly training hours this year.
There’s no snow in Brandbu. Which is very sad. It’s been about +5°C some days so it’s melted but with the ground still cold, it’s just turned to a mass of slippery ice. So slippery, that when I went MTB’ing with spike tyres, I managed to have several falls when the bike slipped on the ice! With the snow conditions equal disastrous, I’m stuck in the gym and in the basement on a spinning bike until we head back to Sjusjøen.
So! The answers!!
What is Emily’s favourite training? 35% of you chose MTBO, which is correct for the summer months, but for 2013, my favourite training has in fact been maximum intervals! Only 6% chose this option, but I like that it’s not a session I can do every day, and that each time I take the intervals with the same start point, I can always see my improvement. I like to take a break from maps between September and January so MTBO drops down the list. It’s good to give my brain a rest.
What is Hans Jørgen’s favourite training? 41% chose Ski-Orienteering as HJ’s favourite training and they are correct!
What are our least favourite training sessions? This was a multiple choice question, you could choose up to 3 answers, because let’s face it, not all training is fun! Sometimes, it just has to be done to improve. Stretching, running and core stability topped the list with 27%, 18% and 14% respectively. Stretching and core stability are correct, but we must include talk-to-each-other-MTBO/Ski-O! We tried this session in Denmark earlier in the year and found it useful. We did it again the next day, and then in some individual trainings over the coming months. We grew to hate it, usually one of us getting bored and just saying ‘left-right-left’ which then ended in an argument and sulking!! We’ll be avoiding this session for some more months yet!
What is our secret technique to get good results? An interesting question! 30% of you said ‘lots of MTBO/Ski-O races’ which is not our secret technique, but contributes a lot. I actually don’t compete in many MTBO races per year, primarily just the Denmark camp, EOC, Pilsen, WOC and the Swedish Championships (plus a Denmark weekend) which added to 22 races, not that many! 21% of you thought ‘eating lots of kebab pizza’ and ‘lots of map geeking’. Sadly, we only manage to eat kebab pizza when in Mora. 18% said training 1000hrs+ per year. Again, not the right answer!
The correct answer is ‘love factor’. Neither of us had any outstanding results at senior level until we started our relationship. Ski orienteers have a term for a sudden jump in results and performances usually linked to starting a good relationship, which they call the ‘love factor’. HJ and I are in a happy relationship and we both support each other equally in trying to achieve our goals. If one of us is having a down day, the other will practically drag us out the front door to go training. Training consistency is really important, and if I train, HJ trains. If he trains, I train. Neither of us will be seen to be doing less than the other over the course of a year.
How many bikes do we own between us? Emily: Scott Scale 15, Diamant 26, Diamant 29, fatbike, road bike. Hans Jørgen: Diamant 26, Diamant 29, fatbike, road bike. In total – 9! (I thought it was 10, but perhaps I have so many now it’s hard to keep track!)
How many races did Emily focus on in 2013? Some years ago I used to focus on every race I did. Recently I’ve started focussing on races that I want to perform well in. My preparations take a lot of time now, so focussing on every race is not healthy and borders on obsessive! This year I focussed on 4 races, the middle and sprint at both EOC and WOC. Having realised I am now a stronger rider than I thought at the beginning of 2013, I have a tough decision to make as to which disciplines to focus on in 2014. I’m strong mentally in sprint races and always have been, but my best two results this year came from the middle – a distance I always felt was weaker for me (long and fast and often easier navigation), and the long with a surprise 4th at WOC.
How many Ski-O and MTBO races did Hans Jørgen compete in, in 2013? The correct answer is 56. That’s more than one a week which is pretty intense, especially considering he never takes an easier race. Each one is raced at full speed across two demanding sports, so he never really gets a break.
What are Emily’s goals in 2014? Given my results in 2013, the goals for 2014 can’t be too hard to guess?! Firstly, my goal is not to win WOC! It is something I want to achieve but I appreciate I must have a perfect race to take gold, and there are many athletes who are capable beating me too. Therefore, my goal is to take another medal at WOC, and take top 3 overall in the World Cup, something which will require great consistency throughout the season. 16% thought I want to change a puncture in less than 90 seconds! Sadly no, I run tubeless. But I do plan to start XC racing! Only 2% thought my goal was to train 700hrs – I’m not sure if those who voted think I train more than this already and therefore would be aiming higher or whether you think I train considerably less and therefore think 700hrs is out-of-reach! There were a lot of votes earlier for ‘train 1000hrs’, so I guess it’s the former!
Who will be the first to win WOC gold? Something we can’t answer just yet! But thank you to 33.33% for voting for me to win in 2014! As for the 18% of you who voted for me to win Ski-O WOC, can I suggest you see a psychiatrist?! 😉 Funnily, 21% voted for HJ Ski-O 2015, and 12% for HJ MTBO in 2014!
Which country did HJ/Em spend most time in, in 2013? Correct answer Italy! Across Ski-O tour in January, and 3 weeks in October/November. He only spent 1 week in the UK. I on the other hand, spent most time in the UK, with 3 weeks in January, August and November, and one week in April. We also slept in Italy for the most nights continously at 23 nights.
How many countries did HJ visit in 2013? Bit of a jet set lifestyle, but the answer was 15!
How many countries did Em visit in 2013? I don’t lead such a jet set lifestyle, preferring to train rather than race every weekend, but I visited 9 countries.
If there is something else you would like to know about us, then just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org before 31st December!
Merry Xmas, Happy New Year and see you all in 2014 🙂