(translated by Aubrey Smith from langrenn.com: “Alsgaard bedre enn på seks år” 11-1-09 by nrk.no, “Therese utnytter dagene på hjemmebane” 11-1-09 by teamturbo.no, “Jeg er trygg på det jeg har gjort” 11-2-09 by Ivar Haugen. All photos from langrenn.com taken by Ivar Haugen)
After a severe bike accident in June that broke bones in both her back and face, Astrid Jacobsen set about on a long road to recovery. She recently returned to training by joining her teammates at an on-snow camp in Val Senales.
She came to the camp a week after the rest of the team, but explained that the purpose of the short camp, for her, was not to use the camp as an altitude camp but to get back into ski training mentally and socially, “do a little skiing, see some sun and snow, and be with the rest of the squad.”
Her recovery has been much faster than predicted, but the time off has not been totally in vain; studying to be a doctor, Jacobsen admitted that the break from training has been good for her studies.
Therese Johaug, who recently came back from the same altitude camp in Val Senales with the women’s national team, talks about her new focus in training. She has changed coaches this season, from Fredrik Aukland to Egil Kristiansen and simultaneously started to enter some periods of hard training, so-called “Bjørgen-training”. She has also added more sprint and speed training, but not, she explains, to become a sprint specialist. She would like to improve her
speed to both perform better at sprints (qualifying more often for heats) and make her more competitive at the sprint finishes of distance races like pursuits and mass starts.
In relation to the other girls on her team, Johaug feels strong on her feet but a little slower on her skis than usual. She is not worried, though, as she is in the middle of a hard training period. Johaug points to the fact that she is usually very strong at the beginning of the season. This winter she hopes not to peak until February.
Thomas Alsgaard enjoyed a warm welcome as he joined the Norwegian men’s team at their camp in Val Senales. Now 38 years old, his new focus is on getting in top shape and in his mind the fastest way to do that is to train with the the national team. Alsgaard has not specified what his objectives are for this comeback, other than a goal to win the Vasaloppet.
For their part, the men on the national team enjoy having Alsgaard at the camp. The younger members, such as Petter Northug, value his experience. The older members, such as Odd-Bjørn Hjelmset, enjoy having their old colleague back again.
For his part, Alsgaard said that in the past couple years he missed being in top shape. But while he does not feel as strong as he was in his prime, he feels fitter now than he has in the past six years.