Chris Klebl gaining kilometers at the Wairaou Snow Farm on a bluebird, hard-track, high air pressure day.
This year Klebl’s been up to his old innovating, regimented self. â€œIn April I added six centimeters to my pole length and artificially added as much resistance to my double-pole mountain board as I could – I’ve blown out a couple bearings from overheating caused by ratcheting them so tightly.
My training is cadence-focused. I begin the training year with a slower, more strength based cadence, then raise it over the course of the season. This idea comes from my background in rowing and cycling, two cadence-based sports with parallels to double-poling. Now, moving to snow, my cadence – the number of times I apply power per minute — is much higher than on the roads. I didn’t know how this transition would go. It’s been smooth.â€
Perhaps counter-intuitively, the gradient of the terrain does not influence Klebl’s cadence. â€œMy technique is most influenced by V2 skate technique, most specifically (Ole Einer) Bjorndalen. He’s super short, compact and economical. I kind of have three different double-poles; one for the steeps, one for the gradual uphills, another for the flats and gradual downs. All have the same tempo. All have the maximum power applied at pole plant. The follow-through is what changes. My speed of motion determines this.â€
Klebl is also tuned into the specific equipment needs for the championships on the calendar in the near future — the 2009 World Championships in Voukatti, Finland and 2010 Para-Olympics that follow the Vancouver Games. This year, the ten and fifteen kilometer events at World Championships are Klebl’s target events. â€œI’ll also get in a bunch of World Cups in British Columbia (Canada) — at Mount Washington and Callaghan Valley, the Olympic venue. By March this year, my equipment will be totally dialed for Callaghan. It’s going to be really, really tricky conditions. The snow can easily change even once you cross the starting line, let alone testing 45 minutes before your start. At the Olympics I’ll have four entirely different set-ups ready to go at a moment’s notice.â€
A view from the high point of the Hanging Valley loop. Every time our group skis by here someone says, â€˜I wonder how Frodo’s doing down there.’ From here, the trail drops precipitously, then steadily climbs back up atop the rolling hills.
Chris Cook striding it out in an archived picture, taken last year in New Zealand as Chris Grover captures the scene on film.
â€œBetween now and Whistler will have a more intensity focus where we’ll carry over the things we learned on snow,â€ said National Team Coach Justin Wadsworth. â€œWe got the feel of real skiing back. Now translating the real ski feel over to roller skiing is what it’s all about. The way you kick classic skis, that’s a big one. In real skiing, you also use much more V1 in steep terrain. It’s good to revisit those basic things.â€
â€œIn a perfect world, I’d like to be on-snow all the time.â€
â€œThe recovery markers done every morning are the best ever,â€ said National Sprint Coach Chris Grover. â€œThe guys are handling the training. It’s a sizable load too, with all the intensity during a volume period.â€
Stateside, the Continental Cup team finished up their Sun Valley dry-land camp on August Fifth. â€œWe’ve absorbed a lot of training over these last ten days,â€ said Continental Cup Coach Matt Whitcomb. â€œOf equal importance is our partnership with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. We're meeting with local coaches Travis Jones and Rick Kapala to share ideas about the three athletes (Morgan Arritol, Noah Hoffman, and Alexa Turzian) that split their time between USST and SVSEF, and we're constructing a competitive training group every day to help motivate each team. Aside from Leif Zimmermann breaking his collar bone in a mountain bike crash, we're having a very productive camp.â€
Torin Koos is a member of the National A Team for the United States. A World Cup, World Championship and Olympic competitor, Koos brings this experience to the FasterSkier sportscasting arena for the 2008/2009 season.
Equipment: Rossignol Skis, Boots and Bindings, Toko gloves and wax, Marwe, Exel poles, Rudy Project Eyewear, Rossignol Softgoods
Home Ski Club: Leavenworth Winter Sports Club (www.skileavenworth.com)
Headgear Sponsor: USA Pears (www.usapears.com)
Best Western Icicle Inn (www.icicleinn.com)
BioSports NorthWest Physical Therapy (www.biosports.net)