It has been a good start of February. The snow has almost completely disappeared in Uppsala and even the park and forest trails are almost completely free from ice – extremely unusual this time of the year. The ski season is not over, however, and I put on my downhill skis for the first time since my injury in the beginning of the year this weekend when following my son to a giant slalom competition further north and west in Sweden in Björnrike. Surprisingly, my knee sustained the effort and, although I still can feel some discomfort for instance when sitting still for too long time, it feels actually better now than before the weekend. My theory is that I must have had some swelling or even a free cartilage body that with the increased use and mobilization of the knee has disappeared. The regress of the pain bodes in particular well as I next week I will be back in Courmayeur for the first time since Tor des Géants last September for skiing with my family on the spring break (or as it is called in Sweden “Sportlov” meaning “Sport leave”). I have actually not been skiing in Courmayeur before and I do look forward to it as I think it will be perfect for a family ski vacation.
With regards to training I have, despite the knee pain, almost returned to my normal training volume for this time of the year with around 80 km per week. I have also added some intervals and speed training. There is certainly a long way until I am race ready, but it feels definitively better than it did last year at around the same time. To lay a good foundation for the season will be important as the UTMB La Petite Trotte à Léon (PTL) 2014 will be a much more difficult challenge than Tor des Géants last year. The course is absolutely amazing and I indeed hope the weather in the end of August will permit us to run the full course. In preparation for the race I have started to think about the strategy by studying the maps and course profile. I have also compiled some pictures of the 32 major mountain passes (Cols) that will be traversed during the race. There are certainly more Cols to be passed, and these are only the biggest. In the following five posts, each covering one stage of PTL 2014, the course profile and major passes will be described. I am already dreaming of some of these crossings and they certainly motivate all pre-season training hours.