Something to write about!

Read all about it!

17 July 2014 AT 20:15:54

I often find on speaking with those back home (UK), that life as a coach can seem very similar from one day to the next, for me there are obvious differences - where to set, who did what, who skied well, what we changed, how high or low the group is, how happy or angry someone is. However, more often than not, we got up early, trained hard, did some activities, filled our day & all went to bed tired! Then it's get up and repeat. For anyone thinking coaching is a doddle - that's because you aren't doing it properly, if you want to know about how busy a coach can be, have a chat with TJ after this camp!

The point is that we finally have something different to write about! Wohooooo! Blog updates are pretty scarce with Ambition as in all honesty, it seems a bit crap to make some minor event seem like it is life changing. 

So, yesterday we climbed Stelvio on the bikes (i'll be reasonably short as its late, we are tired & we are ploughing through the camp in a 1-er) and this is what we learnt, the top 10 in no particular order;

  1. It is cool to challenge yourself & you can never tire of the sense of achievement.
  2. The guys doing TDF are either a) super-human naturally or b) super-human un-naturally.
  3. Thank the lord for the 'granny' cog.
  4. Cramp & cleats are not friends.
  5. The way down is way more fun.
  6. Ned Loder = legend.
  7. Every kg counts.
  8. At times, i'll admit a can of Coke can taste good.
  9. Will power is everything.
  10. These are the days the guys will remember long after ski racing is gone.

The most prominent point is number 6. Ned Loder. Who? i hear you ask. If i ask most people to give me a list of the best 98's and 99's from last season, Ned probably wont feature on many lists. He also was not first up the hill yesterday. But he made my ride way more enjoyable that's for sure. Humour & will power all the way on a bike that probably weighs as much as our VW Transporter. As we got to the top i wondered how many guys there are out there who 'really want it', who would have been willing to put themselves through that climb, without prior training, just because they were up for a challenge. 

The answer is not many - and that gives me belief that perhaps Ned has got the right 'minerals' for this sport after all.

Ski Racing is about physical and technical excellence, that is for sure, but it is also about will power, mental strength and the desire to challenge yourself and see what you are capable of. It did not make a lot of sense to smash this ride in the middle of a camp, however, the opportunity was there for the taking and we fancied the challenge.

Good job guys, a very cool experience to share with you (despite us probably recorded some of the slowest Strava times on record).


Summer Camp Season

Here we go again!

03 July 2014 AT 01:59:45

Does it ever stop? Not sure really but one thing is for sure, running a ski team is certainly not a winter only job! It makes me laugh when people ask what i do with my summers.... Chill out and bum about?! Not a chance, we are busy sorting programs and plans for the summer & following year whilst delivering the summer program at the same time.


Which brings us onto the summer camps. At Ambition we run 2 types of summer camp really, the first set being the Ambition Race Team camps where we head to Kitzsteinhorn, Stelvio and Chile, noramlly in that order, throughout May, July & August. The second type of camp is the UK Camp Tour, which we run with the support of Atomic.


The Ambition Race Team is kicking on well and camps in Kitzsteinhorn and through June have gone extremely well for those involved. There has not been an overkill of new faces this summer which has meant less ice-breaking and introduction and more carrying on from last season. The new coaches; Rob & TJ have settled in very well and you may have seen them around the UK scene, covering cars in flyers and watching (or on occassion entering) the races. It is great to have such enthusiastic guys on board who are keen to work with the athletes throughout a full calendar year. In little over a month we will head to Chile where we will ski in El Colorado for 2 weeks before heading to La Parva for a further 3 weeks, with a team of 11 athletes who will depart at different times depending on age & program requirements. Volume, volume, volume! Of course improving your skiing is about quality training but in all honesty, the guys that are willing (and able) to be on the snow for longer will do better. Someone made me laugh recently by saying 'oh person x is only good because they spend so much time on snow.' Uhuh Sherlock... no kidding??!!!!!


With the Stelvio trip coming up in the next few weeks, we are looking forwards to pushing on with some of the younger guys. We are investing in these guys as much as we can, taking all 4 coaches on a camp with just 14 athletes. Being able to work in such small ratio's will be great for all concerned. We are taking our chef from Haus-Tirol (Gabor) to both the Stelvio & Chile Camps as we continue to look for advantages across the board in everything we do.


The Hemel Camp at the end of July is already full. Amazing progress and anyone who says grass routes ski racing is dying out is incorrect! It would be interesting to leave the camp open and see what the interest level would actually get to in a months time. I imagine even higher still. Perhaps this is more from the good work the club at Hemel have done or to do with keeping the kids occupied in the summer but again, whatever the reason, at least there are a large number of kids spending decent time on snow - it all makes a difference.


Our other camps (Suffolk, Brentwood & Manchester2) are filling up well now with a decent number of the Vikings on the Suffolk Camp. Suffolk probably has one of the best slopes in the country now and as a keen dry slope skier myself, it is good to get back on the real stuff and burn out a few edges! Manchester comes towards the end of the summer, with Brentwood later still, directly before the All-England Champs at Norwich, so if you want some last minute sneaky training, feel free to come along. 


So, lets hope its a great summer and that everyone who is off training & racing, whether it be in the UK or overseas, has a great time and takes some steps forwards for the sport. It was sad to see TJ Baldwin retire this spring but at least he is keen to inspire the next generation of skiers to an even higher level. Hopefully by the time they get there, we have managed to progress things in an more productive and inspiring direction.


Enjoy the summer,


Ambition Racing