Lets kick off 2015 where we left 2014 - moving up the rankings
After the tremendous success of the British Nordic Ski Team in 2014, we cant wait to get started in 2015 and kick off the Tour de Ski on the 3rd January. Find out what life is like on the road as seen from the viewpoint of Andrew Young's mum, Eileen, as she joined the squad over the festive break.
Both Andrew Young and Andrew Musgrave are competing in this year's Tour de Ski.
We're once again participating in the Tour de Ski with Andrew Young going in the first 3 stages and Andrew Musgrave the whole event. The Tour culminates in the hill climb at Val di Fiemme and the first race is on Saturday 3rd January in Oberstdorf, Germany.
Although things seemed well planned and sorted, the best laid plans of mice and men started to unravel on the 30th December. On arrival at Oberstdorf, the team realised they would need an extra car to transport everyone as they discovered that the accommodation for the first 2 race venues was at least a 30 minute drive away.
When the hire company, unlike with previous hires, insisted that the credit card holder be present at pick up at Munich Airport, which would have involved a 6 hour round trip for the Head Coach, a string of international phone calls managed to resolve the situation with the Scandinavian members of the support team booking the vehicle themselves.
As they were all meeting at Munich Airport Bengt, British Nordic's Swedish waxer, who would be travelling back with Andrew and Roy Young, Head Coach, after the first 3 Tour stages to go to the Scandinavian cup races in Sweden, could return the car. However, early on the 31st Bengt had to send his apologies as he is too ill to travel and would be unable to come to the Tour to wax.
Lots of further international emails and phone calls later before Pathway Coach Alex Standen, who was meant to be coming out after the first 3 stages, managed to book flights to arrive on 1st January and meet up with the 2 Norwegians, Kaare (coaching support) and Aasmund (waxer) so they could all come in the same car.
Roy still needs to fit in a 40km round journey to get on the hire car insurance so that he could drive himself and Andrew back to Munich airport. However, once all that was resolved Roy, Andrew and I were able to go out for a New Year's Eve dinner in Livigno. Andrew had gone to Livigno after the Davos races to carry on training at altitude and Roy and I joined him on the 26th for a belated Christmas and to enjoy some skiing on the trails. Because we have not been at altitude for the last few weeks, we found it a lot more challenging than Andrew.
On January 1st we set off in glorious sunshine from Livigno in the fully laden team minibus and followed a beautiful route over the Fern pass to Oberstdorf. Fortunately the sat nav realised the route it had first chosen was closed, before we were committed to a long detour. Meanwhile Muzzy was flying in from Norway and got to Oberstdorf by train just before us. So Roy dropped Andrew and me off at the hotel with enough baggage to create room for Muzzy's luggage, and went to collect him from the train station.
Once everyone was settled into the hotel, Roy was keen to find the stadium in daylight and to start unloading the van into the wax cabin. We knew the stadium was about 20km away but not exactly where, and neither did the sat nav. It took us by the shortest route, which involved a narrow windy road through quaint Bavarian villages rather than the main road. The road was narrower than normal due to the 50 cm of snow that had fallen yesterday, and having already lost one wing mirror so far this season, Roy (not the wing mirror culprit this time) was cautious of any oncoming traffic! Eventually a friendly bus driver pointed us in the right direction and we finally reached our destination.
Once there we found the wax cabin, unloaded the van and started to set up the cabin. Some of the team kit is with a member of the Aussie team who lives on the route between the hotel and the stadium but our attempt to contact someone who knew his address or phone number drew a blank. We found the main road route back which is certainly straighter but was full of traffic due to everyone coming down off the mountains from the various ski resorts that feed onto the road. On the return to the hotel Roy managed to contact Nick the Aussie only to find we had just driven past his house, so planned to go back after dinner to collect the rest of the team kit.
Phil Bellingham is the only Australian doing the Tour this year, and had also just arrived at the hotel. Alex, Kaare and Aasmund were expected in another hour or so and the Team will be joined by Kelly a physio from the Scottish Institute for Sport.
Let's see if British Nordic can demonstrate our Tour de Force on this Tour de Ski.
Happy New Year everyone.