By Michael Förster
The Season X of Visma Ski Classics Series is just nine weeks ahead. This is the time for xc-ski.de A|N Skimarathon Team to meet again at the final camp at the beginning of fall. This year it‘s going to be a homecoming in the heart of the Bavarian Forest - the home region of our team’s frontman Thomas Freimuth.
The six men and four ladies live far apart across Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Common training sessions during the dry season are quite rare. But this doesn‘t mean that there’s no team spirit during the summer months. Actually, the opposite is true. Every athlete is focusing on his or her own preferences - which have to be adjusted to the local conditions of his or her hometown. Time is another crucial matter because all of us have to reconcile real life professions and sport. Let’s have a closer look at the topic of virtual team experiences.
To be on one’s own is no contradiction to receiving support from the rest of the team. Of course, there’s nobody who chases us out of bed early in the morning at weekends. There’s no touchline coaching during interval trainings. And there’s no chance of drafting in a paceline. There are other benefits to mention.
Individuality of everyone‘s training routine leads to creative heterogeneity, structured and remote-coordinated by the Mastermind Thomas. In addition, social media very often works complementary to the coach. If you see – on FB, IG or Strava - how intensively your teammate is exercising for long hours, there’s a good chance that you’re going to follow his example. If you see a strategy that is working fine for your friend, probably you’re going to adapt to it.
And in terms of inspiring power, there’s nothing comparable to the peaks in everyone’s training. Activities that are far beyond one’s regular work, and sometimes they are even hard to imagine.
This year is no exception. Everybody wants to be in perfect shape when arriving at the camp. So, we can look back on a long list of remarkable highlights.
Michael Richter couldn’t wait for the winter to visit Scandinavia, so he spent two weeks in Bohuslän/Sweden for rock climbing on vertical walls in dizzy heights.
Melina Meyer also spent most of her summer time in the mountains. Her playgrounds are the Alps. Melina says, "The higher and the more challenging, the better. Difficult, pathless stretches with ropes and ladders thrill me. " Occasionally, Karin Weltert joined her, but she did crazy things on her own, too. Double-poling 90K from Bolzano to Trient just a few days after climbing 46 turns on roller-skis up to Passo Stelvio.
And there was Sascha Moehr’s incredible ultra-swim. He participated in the event "Crossing of the Strait of Bonifacio" between Corsica and Sardinia. Due to challenging conditions with wind, currents and waves the foreseen 15K became around 20K. Sascha reached dry land after 6 hours in the open water. His sport watch registered 2x11000 strokes – more than he needed between Sälen and Mora last winter.
Consolidating all these great achievements for this article inspired me once more, so I went out for a 100K double-poling session on Seefeld’s roller-ski track. After completing the 50 loops with its 50 climbs up to the biathlon stadium, I felt I was prepared for the camp. Awesome days lie ahead!