Following Jukola and surviving the boat ride home, I found myself again packing my gear for another international trip. This time the Czech Republic. Toby and I had been scheming for a while now, that we should go to Czech and for a training camp. One objective of the camp was to prepare somewhat for the World University Champs which we are both competing in later this year. It quickly turned into a ‘best of Czech’ camp and we went after the most extreme terrain that Czech has to offer. WUOC will be held on more typical continental terrain, terrain I feel is not so special and the most important thing for it will be to be in top physical shape. We tried quite hard to convince some other kiwis to join but other commitments meant that we were facing a bromantic weekend for two. Fortunately Toby convinced some Germans to join us (Marcus for two nights, Moritz for another). They were both really top guys, aiming for JWOC so I wish them all the best!
…and then, just a few days out Albin Ridifelt decided to join us! With Toby taking the lead on organisational matters, we all managed to meet without too much difficulty in Prague’s central station on Thursday. While waiting for our car to become available, we headed off into Prague to ‘sight see’. I am really starting to enjoy these training camps which have a few hours of concentrated sight seeing. You see the best parts of an awesome city, whilst not wasting too much of your dignity becoming a ‘tourist’. I have been to Prague once (or twice?) before on previous European escapades and I really like the city. Its a truly beautiful place with a vast history that I can’t even begin to comprehend. We were even fortunate enough to get a tour guides explanation of the famous astronomical clock!
After a long period of walking, a classic Czech meal and some great coffee we hired our car and travelled north to the small town of Duba. We dropped our gear off at our accommodation, a pretty sweet 300 year old villa and travelled just down the road to our first training. The map was insane, mildly steep spur gulley with valleys banked with truly impressive cliffs of sandstone. The terrain was extremely demanding; if Uppsala had a polar opposite in terms of verticality, it was here. Map
Following the training we had probably one of the best dinners I have ever had. We found this tiny restaurant, in which there was maybe one other group eating, in the town we were staying next to. Whether I was so hungry, the food was so cheap or it was actually really good food I can’t be certain, but damn it was good.
The following morning we discovered Kaufland, the holy grail of cheap food. Stocked up for the day, we did two tough trainings, one in similar terrain to the above, the other more similar to the JWOC middle terrain from last year. I really enjoyed the latter, a great long pass in quite variable terrain. Runnability was again minimised through the steepness and rockiness, but when I did get a chance to pick up the speed, it felt really good. Map
Saturday morning we ran an easy training on the JWOC middle map, Zavora and I could really feel the lack of coffee in my system which affected my training. I had tried to quit drinking coffee before I came to Sweden, but since it is basically part of their culture my coffee drinking has actually gotten worse! Albin and I fixed our caffeine needs and we were ready for the qualification for the Czech middle champs. My legs were pretty destroyed and I felt even in the warm up, that I had no energy. Despite this I actually had a good race in the beginning, 30 seconds off the lead in the middle of the course. Unfortunately tiredness set in, and my brain started to fade later in the course and I fell outside the top 8, 2 seconds off qualifying. This meant that I ran the B final the following morning in just outrageously extreme terrain. I am gutted that I could not approach a race like this with my usual focus. I had extremely poor pre-race preparations sprinting to the start to try get an earlier start time, due to travel arrangements. I haven’t uploaded the maps to my Doma yet but you can see the A final on Adam Chromy’s map archive here. Look and wheep at some of the coolest terrain I have ever run in! Results
With the conclusion of the race Toby and I promptly departed for Prague, marking the conclusion of the Czech Training Camp. Overall it was a hugely satisfying weekend with high quality trainings. It was nice to train in some non-Swedish terrain for a change, and to test my technique in other aspects.
Next up is the World Champs in Italy, which I leave for next Thursday. Like most things have been this year, WOC for me is all about experience and getting that valuable first feel for it. I am running the sprint, relay and hopefully the long (ONZ decision pending). For now it will just be watching some good football, working and sharpening up for WOC.