V2 News November 20, 2011 written by Len Johnson
The Latest V2 Commentary.
November 20, 2011
Comments on the First World Cup Race this season: Saturday. Johan Olsson continues to surprise. Figured maybe his win last weekend was a bit of a fluke, but yesterday he showed that he is a fantastic skater not just a classic skier. Watched the races on Norwegian TV and Thomas Alsgaard was one of commentators. Thomas said Johan's technique was flawless in the 15K. When he talked to Olsson he asked him what had changed. Johan said he was now more relaxed and the 10 week rehab after his neck injury had made him stronger. Just five weeks ago the pain was so severe he almost decided to end his ski career. Petter said he could not believe that Johan beat him by 31 seconds.
Alex Harvey had an outstanding race finishing 5th and Calle Halfvarsson had the best race of his life finishing 4th. I took the total time of the top three finishers from the major ski countries and here are the results. 1 Sweden, 2 Norway, 3 Switzerland, 4 Italy, 5 Russia, 6 Finland, 7 Canada, 8 Germany, 9 France and 10 USA. Germany used to be a real XC power, but not enough new talent seems to be coming along. Don't know what happened to the US team.
The Norwegian women were so dominant in the 10 K that it was obvious the relay on Sunday would be Norway, Norway.
Sundays Relays: Total dominance by Norway. Interesting relay by the women with 26 seconds between #1 and #2. The men's relay was crap with no one making a break. The last leg was almost 2 minutes slower than the 3rd leg. At one point I thought they were going to stop and they almost did letting a team that was 30 seconds back catch up and join the pack. Eight teams within 5.9 seconds is ridiculous.
November 12, 2011
Bruksvallarna. First major X-C race for the new season: Over 170 skiers from Norway, Canada, France,Russia, Poland and Sweden entered todays 15K individual start freestyle in very good weather conditions. Air -1C, snow -3C and sunshine. The big surprise today was 2nd place finisher Johan Olsson. Johan developed a nerve disc problem in his neck and has only been able to do rehab training for the last 10 weeks. No roller skiing, only rehab. The bronze medalist from the Vancouver Olympics is a classic specialist. He said this was his best skate race ever. Because of his injury and lack of regular training he went out slowly. He said he really felt good and after being in 9th place at 3.5 K he moved into 3rd place by 7.5 K and finished 2nd just 6 seconds behind Manificat and 12 seconds ahead of Northug.
The sports writers expected the battle to be between Northug and Hellner. At 11K Northug was 3rd with Hellner in 4th. Hellner broke his pole and ended up 9th. The Canadians did well, with Harvey in 10th, Valjas 18 and Kershaw 28th. Great to see the season start again.
February 21, 2010
Thomas Alsgaard comments on Norwegian Radio: According to Thomas those who win the last race on the World Cup before the World Championships, don't win at the championships. If that's true, Bjoergen, Richardsson, Emil and Kikkan don't have a chance. Frankly I think this is Norwegian propaganda. It should be an interesting World Championships, just hope the weather is reasonably good so it does not just turn into a ski tuning race.
Both the men's and women's relay should be very interesting with Norway and Sweden having potentially very strong teams. My gut feel is that Sweden has a chance at beating Norway again in the men's race. But it's the World Championships and anything can happen. Harvey was simply fantastic in yesterday's Sprint Race upsetting the great Petter and Kikkan is on a roll.
December 1, 2010
Russian XC Magazine: Just received a Russian XC magazine called XCSPORT. Inside the magazine was a note from a gentlemean in Ekaterinburg, Russia. (This is a beautiful and highly industrialized city in the Ural mountains. The population is close to 2 million and the town has over ten technical colleges and many research institutions.) The note referred to several pages of V2 Aero roller skis that were being reviewed in the magazine. Then we turned to the back cover page where we discovered this ad. A beautiful full page ad. We still don't know who placed the ad. Here is a link to the ad.
October 16, 2010
Special Roller skis: We get a lot of requests for roller skis for people who are quite heavy. We have made special reinforced shafts for people who weighed as much as 127 KG ( 280 pounds ). When people are over 105 KG ( 230 pounds ) we usually recommend three wheel retro classic skis. One good skier, he is a Telemark ski instructor, is just very big and heavy. He weighs 260 pounds ( 118 KG. ) and loves to roller ski. He uses the three wheel Aero Retro Classic skis, but the two standard rear Aero 125 mm wheels are inadequate so we mounted 150 mm rear wheels. He is a New Hampshire local guy and he has been skiing on this combination for many years without any problems.
This week Robin received a call from a dealer who wanted to know if we could make a special pair of roller skis for a person who weighed 172 KG. ( 380 pounds ) Apparently this person wanted to loose weight and must have read somewhere that X-C skiing, like roller skiing, burns more calories than just about any other activity. What I would recommend to someone very obese is to do Nordic ski pole walking. Use fairly tall ski poles and find some hilly terrain and walk at a brisk pace. Much safer than roller skiing and you burn a lot of calories. I use a heart monitor and when I climb Pack Monadnock with 150 cm ski poles ( I am 181 cm tall ) my pulse is often much higher than when I am roller skiing. When using shorter poles the effect is not the same. With poles you engage more muscle mass and burn more calories. When in Europe I see people Nordic walking all the time, but in the US it never really caught on.
2006 Olympic Gold & Silver Medalist likes her new XL98RM roller skis: Erik Johnson just received an e mail from Tom Zidek, who is the husband of Anna Carin Olofsson, the Swedish biathlete who captured Gold and Silver in the 2006 Olympics. Tom and his Canadian biathlon team mates recently received two XL98RM roller skis, one for ACO and the other for testing by the Canadian biathlon team. Tom wrote that the Canadian biathletes and ACO really liked the new roller ski. The XL98R with the 2010 composite shaft and the new six spoke aluminum rim wheels is, according to many experts, the lightest and most snow like feeling roller ski on the market. ACO ( Anna Carin Olofsson ), after becoming a mother, is back training for another competitive season. Many female athletes have had outstanding performances after child birth and I have a strong feeling that ACO will do very well this coming season.
October 13, 2010
President Jimmy Carter orders Roller Skis: Former US President Jimmy Carter ordered a pair of Nordixc 125RC from one of our dealers. Apparently Mr. Carter has been trying out all kinds of different exercise equipment. Sales of Nordixc has been brisk and we had none in stock. We could build more, but we were waiting for a custom made component which is produced on a laser cutting machine. Called our supplier and told them former President Carter was anxiously waiting for his roller skis. The supplier said: " Give us two hours and you can drive up and pick up enough parts for another ten pair." Shortly after noon I headed for the supplier and the skis were shipped by UPS that afternoon. We hope Mr. Carter carefully studies the Zach Caldwell instructional DVD before he goes roller skiing.
From a Norwegian Olympian: " The new composite ski is very good. ( XL98RM ) I have no more V2 roller ski ferrules. Very much people like them. They find them better than the other brands. Is it possible to order 200 ferrules 10 mm ? " From Canada: " My name is Nansen, I am Richard's son. I received the roller skis ( XL98RM ) and they are by far the best roller skis I have ever used." ( The son of famous explorer and X-C skier Richard Weber. )
October 11, 2010
Video of Aero 150 Tire Changing Station: Bill Danielson had called Erik at Jenex West asking if Erik could mount new tubes and tires on the Aero 150 wheels. When Bill and his daughter Tally came down from Loveland last week to visit Erik, Bill had his camera and was kind enough to video the procedure. The tire station makes changing tubes and tires very easy and it's very fast. Bill wanted a tire changing station for himself, so Erik spent a little more time than usual explaining how to do it. Normally, Erik and I can remove the old tube and tire and mount a new set in less than 5 minutes. Here is a link to the Youtube video.Tire Changing Video
Sten Fjeldheim praises new XL Composite skis: Last week Sten called Erik at Jenex West to order some more XL98R composite skis. Sten has been testing the skate and classic composite skis for about two months. Sten told Erik the XL98R were the most snow like roller skis he had ever used and he said the XL900 composite classic was the most stable ski he had tried. If these comments came from someone without serious credentials it would not be worth mentioning. However, Sten is one of the most respected coaches in United States and we are honored by his praise for the new skis.
Stability of XL900 composite ski: The reason the XL900 composite ski is more stable than the aluminum version is a lower center of gravity. The composite shaft has a modulus, or stiffness, 3.4 X that of aluminum. This means we can make the shaft thinner. Although the aluminum XL900 and the Composite use the same wheel forks the top surface of the composite ski is 18% closer to the axle, or center, of the wheel. Eighteen percent is a big number and that's why Sten felt the ski was very stable.
July 17, 2010
Erik coming back to help, while Robin on vacation: Erik is driving from Colorado today and should be here mid Monday if all goes well. Robin will be going on vacation July 22nd and Erik is here to help out while she is gone. We have been extremely busy and need all the help we can get. Erik will be here until August 4.
Warmest January to end of June in Recorded History: In 1880 scientists for the first time began recording average global temperatures. 2010 is, from January to the end of June, the warmest ever recorded with an average temperature for both land and ocean of 14.2C. The oceans have been unusually warm because of a strong El Nino in the Pacific. Things are starting to change and the rest of 2010 should not be quite as warm. The warming trend continues and even the strongest doubters of global warming are now changing their minds. Unless CO2 is reduced the earth will continue to get warmer.
July 6, 2010
Norway, Russia and Germany buying a lot of V2 Roller Skis: This year we have seen a substantial increase in orders from these countries. As in all other countries the most popular items are the V2 Aero XL with Brakes and Speed Reducers. Actually all models are selling and, according to our Distributor in Norway, the customers who purchased the classic slow 910's are very pleased as are those who purchased the XL98's.
From our Russian Distributor we usually receive two orders per season, one in the Spring and one in late Summer. This year Andrey has already placed 3 orders. Sven Albert, who is the Distributor in Germany, just received his first order for the season last week as we were too back ordered to ship it sooner.
Lyme Disease: As noted on June 21, found out that John Bauer had Lyme disease. Two weeks ago, after a hike in Waterville Valley, my wife discovered an embedded tick behind my knee where it was impossible for me to see it no matter how I contorted myself. Anita removed the tick with tweezers and disinfected the area. As with most tick or insect bites the area around the bite was red, but the redness usually disappears after 48 hours. My tick bite stayed red and after four or five days the red area became larger. A few days later my shoulders ached without doing anything unusual. As the red area around the bite increased in size decided to see a doctor. Turned out I had Lyme disease. I am now on my fifth day on doxycycline, the recommended antibiotic for Lyme disease. This antibiotic is kind of miserable with several side effects. I am supposed to take the medication for another nine days.
Ferry Grill calls: Ferry, who was Gunde Svan's technician and is our Distributor in Austria, phoned with some questions on roller skis. Ferry is leaving for Sweden with his family on July 22 to visit Gunde. He and Gunde are very close friends. Ferry is one of the very few non Swedes I know who speaks Swedish without any accent at all and he always speaks Swedish when he calls. If he had left for Sweden one week later I could have met him there as we are leaving for Sweden on August 4.
June 28, 2010
Where we used to roller ski: Sunday afternoon decided to go for a hike. Instead of taking Rt.101, the main road to the mountains, decided to drive the old side roads we used to roller ski some 25 years ago. We were nuts. No helmets, no Speed Reducers or brakes. What I did not remember was how steep some of these roads were. I took a route we used to ski that started in Wilton Center, then went to Temple, then towards Peterborough and back.
One day Paul Daly, the former coach at St.Lawrence, went roller skiing with us on one of the roads I drove on Sunday. I had managed to snow plow to a stop half way down the hill when Paul came down and seemed to be completely out of control. He was going too fast to snow plow and I told him to stick out his pole so I could grab it and slow him down. Skied next to him and somehow we both managed to stay on our skis and slow down. This was before Hillborough County, NH became a suburb of Boston. Today the traffic on the roads we used to ski is ridiculous and the roads are in terrible shape. One road had so many deep pot holes I would not want to ski it on 150 Aero's and we used to ski there on 70 mm wheels. Erik, our son who runs Jenex West, asked where he could go roller skiing when he comes back next month. Told him all the old places we used to ski when he was in High School are now too dangerous. About the only safe place is the bike path in Hollis, while 25 years ago we could ski almost anywhere. A dramatic population increase in the last 25 years is not necessarily a good thing.
June 23, 2010
Found another Leo Meiersdorff painting: If you have read the June 21, "Found an old friend" you will know that the young artist we knew became a world celebrity. While searching the house last night for Leo's paintings of jazz musicians my wife Anita said: "That small painting of the red house next to the bathroom downstairs is by Leo." This tiny water color of a Victorian house in LA is in a place where I almost never see it. Ran downstairs to take a look. Sure enough, the signature was Leo v. Meiersdorff. Leo told me he never really liked his noble family. According to him his father was a Nazi and Leo was definitely not. We spent many nights, drinking too much, and discussing the second world war and the nazi era. Leo said he came from a very wealthy family and all he had to do was to go back to Germany and he would be a multi millionaire. But, he refused to go back and told me he would make it on his own. He surely did. Our house is kind of crazy with many nooks and crannys where things can be hidden. Will just keep looking, those jazz musicians must be somewhere. Miss you Leo.
June 21, 2010
John Bauer: A few weeks ago John called me to let me know that he had Lyme disease. John had not been feeling normal for quite a long time, but not until now did they discover that his problem was Lyme disease. This stuff can be nasty. Many years ago a young engineer, who worked for me, started getting pains in his knees and just plain felt crappy. He had Lyme disease for over 6 months before they discovered what ailed him. But, today it's very surprising that John was not tested for this disease earlier. Here in NH it's very common and Robin's ( Our Customer service Supervisor ) doctor tested her recently because she had knee pain. Robin did not have Lyme disease, but the doctor said he had 4 cases in less than a year.
John called again last Friday as he had just received the new composite XLC910 roller skis and he had some questions regarding the mounting of the ski bindings. John has the skis for test purposes, another test pair, along with an XL98RM, has been shipped to Andreas Forneman, a former Olympian in Sweden and sometime next week Sten Fjeldheim at NMU should receive his XLC930 and XL98RM. I have also done some skiing on the XLC910, but at my age I do not consider myself a ski tester. I must admit they do feel very smooth.
Found an old friend on the web last night: Many years ago met a great guy at a jazz club in West Hollywood. His name was Leopold Von Meiersdorff. We became good friends and met often. He made the best German potato salad I have ever tasted. He gave the recipe to my wife Anita and last night she made the potato salad. Started thinking about Leo and wondered what happened to him. He gave us many water color paintings of jazz musicians and one with sailboats in Santa Monica. Now I have only one of his paintings, which is hanging in the staircase to the Living room. Have lost contact with many good friends from California including Paul Liederman, a class mate at Dartmouth. I was best man at his wedding, but we have not seen each other for forty years. Anyway, decided to google my friend Leo Meiersdorff and this is what I found. Leo Meiersdorff. I was extremely sorry to see that he had died so young and his bio blew me away. When I knew Leo he was a starving young artist who loved Jazz.When I read Leo's biography I started thinking about all the friends we had in California. Had a great job working for ITT when I received a job offer to work in Boston. It was a three year contract with lots of perks. Almost impossible to turn down. After the three years Anita and I expected to return to California, but that never happened. We left California some 40 years ago. Anita thought New England looked much more like Sweden and we started X-C skiing again, while in California we only did Alpine. That's life.
May 24, 2010
Hiking Pack Monadnock Mountain: Have not been getting enough exercise so decided to hike Pack yesterday with ski poles. It's a short but very steep hike, 2.3 km, 1.4 miles and 275 meters or 900 feet of vertical. Near the summit on the way up I met a guy running down and on the way down I met him running up. He was running at a fairly good pace and I asked him if this was his second run up the mountain. Turned out this was his fourth run up the mountain. He ran a total of 18.4 kilometers with 1100 meters of vertical. It's so bloody steep, 23% grade in one spot, that it's very hard to run down. He was built like a typical runner, weighed probably 135 pounds ( 61 Kg. ) and must have been training for the Mt. Washington road race. On the paved road there were also several bikers training for the Mt.Washington bike race. Good to see so many people out there.
First Production Batch of XL98 six spoke wheels have arrived: The wheels are lighter and more durable than the previous split rim wheels. You can see them here. New wheels
May 20, 2010
In some parts of the World a very cold winter, but don't be fooled: Because parts of North America, Europe and Russia had a very cold winter the news media made it sound as if there was no global warming. With record snow in Washington and southern US the media had a field day. Those who have a problem seeing beyond their nose would reach the conclusion that because it was unusually cold where they were located, there is no global warming. Wrong--- wrong--- wrong. The NOOA weather institution shows that the earths land and sea temperature in March and April was 0.76 C above the average since 1900. Even January - April set record high temperatures, being 0.69 above the average from 1970 to 2000. NASA's satellite measurements showed the same results. But, here is the real problem. Temperatures in Northern Canada and Greenland were 5C above normal. That's 9 degrees Fahrenheit, just incredible. At this rate Greenland will soon be green.
Rumors about Lance Armstrong doping have been around for years: Now Floyd Landis admits that he has been doping most of his career. Landis said Armstrong's coach, Johan Bryneel, introduced him to doping. According to an interview with ESPN Landis said he and Armstrong had many discussions about EPO and blood doping and Armstrong had blood stored in a refrigerator. When Lance was away, Landis said that Armstrong asked him to check the temperature of the refrigerator to make sure the blood was OK. Me thinks something is rotten in bicycle land.
April 30, 2010
New XL98R Roller skis: Click on the link here to see the new skis. NEW XL98R&XLC900
March 23, 2010
Scary, but nothing to do with skiing: There is an old saying, "As General Motors goes, so goes the Nation." This is probably as true today as in the past. The National Debt of United States in the year 2000 was just over 5 trillion dollars. In the year 2000, GM's total equity was a positive 30.175 billion. By the end of 2008 the United States Debt had almost doubled and stood at 9.6 trillion dollars and General Motors equity was a negative 86 billion. GM was bankrupt, just like the US.
Brief history of our National Debt. In 1835 President Andrew Jackson balanced the budget and the National Debt was paid in full. This has never happened since. In the roaring 20's the United States had ten years of budget surpluses, but still had a National Debt. In the 1970's and 80's we had 20 years of budget deficits. In the late 90's we had four years of budget surpluses which temporarily slowed the growth of the National Debt. In the last nine years we have almost doubled the National Debt.
March 22, 2010
The World Cup is over and time to start training for the next season: Although Marit Bjoergen had an incredible season, Justyna Kowalczyk was totally dominant. # 1 Overall, # 1 in Distance and #1 in Sprint with a total of 2064 points. Marit had 1320 points finishing second Overall, 2nd in Sprint and 2nd in Distance. Andrew Newell finished a very good 4th in Sprint and 19th overall and Kikan Randall a very respectable 18th in Sprint. It's just too bad that Kris Freeman was not able to finish the season like he started.
Unbelievably busy: We have never had so many roller ski orders this early in the season. Our suppliers were caught flat footed and have had to work overtime to try and catch up. Personally I have worked every weekend, except one, since Christmas. Dealers across North America are all indicating an unusual interest in X-C.
March 15, 2010
Just two World Cup Races left this season: Holmenkollen and Drammen, Norway had so many spectators at the ski races last week it looked like a NASCAR crowd. ( Except these spectators were not demented.) If Andrew Newell does well in Stockholm this week he could end up in third or second place on the World Sprint Cup. Right now Andrew is just 2 points behind Petter Northug and just 17 points behind Alexey Petukhov of Russia. Emil Joensson has already won the World Sprint Cup as he is over 140 points ahead. Not only is Andrew presently 4th in the Sprint, he is 16th in the overall World Cup. Let's have a few cheers for Andrew!!!
With a very good 50K and Sprint race last week, Marcus Hellner moved from 4th to 3rd place in the overall World Cup. The last World Cup in Falun is murderous with three days of racing. It's a mini Tour de Ski. A lot of points to be gained so the present standings in the World Cup could change. Northhug is already the overall winner and Justyna Kowalczyk is so far ahead of everyone she has already won the overall, the sprint and the distance World Cup. What a skier and, I believe, the first from Poland to medal in the Winter Olympics.
March 14, 2010
Three of four Gold on STAR Wax: Yesterday was the pursuit at the Swedish National Junior Championships. The new HF red with spray on XFW was the best glide wax combination all day. In the morning the air temperature was -6C with 73% humidity and this wax combination continued to dominate even as the air temperature got warmer. For kick a thin layer of K1 + a 50 / 50 combination of K3 and K2 was the winning formula. The three skiers who took Gold were Carl Quicklund in Boys 18, Stina Nilsson in Girls 18 and Lisa Larsen in Girls 19/20. Larsen is a very gifted skier who has already competed in World Cup races. Many think she will be another Kalla and Haag.
March 13, 2010
Gunde Svan with STAR wax Team: Gunde came over to Andreas Forneman and told him that the V2-Jenex web site said that Andreas had waxed his daughters skis the day before. The Swedish Junior Championships are being held in Hudiksvall and the STAR Team has been dominant. The Fischer serviceman was calling Andreas college, former World champion Thomas Eriksson, asking him: "What the hell are you guy's skiing on??" This was after the STAR Team finished 1, 2 and 3 in the girls 20 age group.
Here is the weather and the wax for the classic race: +6C and cloudy with a mix of fine and coarse snow. Glide wax was STAR nanoceramic yellow, with FW powder + Dice yellow. The skis were rilled with the V2- 2mm Linear riller. Kick wax was K1 base superthin and ironed in. K4 and K3 were mixed 50 / 50. Andreas said they had "kickass skis" much better glide and better kick than those who used other brands. Gold Silver and Bronze ain't bad.
March 10, 2010
STAR Dominates: This week the Junior National Championships were held in Sweden. Those who used STAR won 7 of 12 medals. Gunde Svan's daughter, Julia Svan, used STAR and had very fast skis. We hear it from all over,STAR is kicking butt.
March 3, 2010
New STAR Nano Ceramic Fluoro Technology amazing at the Olympics: The Norwegian and Swedish skiers, the two most successful teams, came to the STAR waxing trailer to personally thank Davide Mossele of STAR for the phenomenal new wax technology. Those who used these STAR nano ceramic fluoro waxes took numerous medals in X-C, Biathlon and Nordic Combined.
Prior to the Olympics many World Cup victories were won on the new STAR wax technology this season. These nano ceramic waxes, in both high and low fluoro for warm, mid and cold will be commercially available this coming fall. STAR now has a complete Alpine and Nordic line with the most advanced glide and kick technology. With the world's best waxing iron, with dual microprocessors, and with CRONO TEST, the best speed - glide measuring system on the market, STAR has become the name in ski tuning technology.
March 1, 2010
Canada did not Medal in X-C, but they did very well: Just looking at medals won does not tell the real story. Some countries sent only a few skiers, not enough for a relay team so decided to do an analysis of the X-C results using the following "seconds behind" formula. Measured the time behind the winner in seconds for the top two skiers from each nation. If the nation only had one person in the race I multiplied the time behind by two, since if that nation had two skiers the other skier certainly would not be better than the one they sent to the Olympics. Doing this I erred in the positive. To date have only completed the analysis on the men's distance races including the relay. ( Here is an example from the first race. Switzerland: Dario wins = 0 seconds behind. The next Swiss racer was Toni Livers, 67 seconds back so Switzerland has accumulated 67 seconds in the first race. Italy's two top skiers were 24.6 and 59.9 seconds back so Italy has 84.5 seconds in the first race. In the first race Norway had poor skis and the two top skiers were 204.2 seconds back. Since Kris Freeman had a blood sugar problem in the Pursuit I did not use his time. Instead I used the better time of Southam x 2. ) This analysis will show you how well Canada did.
Here is the list in descending order from the best to the worst. Sweden = 113.7 seconds, Germany = 228.7 seconds, Canada 324.5 seconds, Russian Federation 394.9 seconds, Norway 397.6 seconds, Switzerland 458.2 seconds, Italy 517.5 seconds, France 537.3 seconds, Czech Republic 630.6 seconds, Finland 1201 seconds and United States 1924.6 seconds.
February 28, 2010
Men's 50K: With Petter's sprint ability if he is still in the pack with one K left the other skiers are in trouble. It was an exciting race, but still prefer an individual start race. The Scandinavian bloggers were 100% in favor of an individual start race. However, my friend Ferry Grill in Austria tells me that most people in Central Europe don't understand the individual start format. This is surprising since they love biathlon and there are so many individual start races in biathlon. Devin Kershaw did a fantastic job finishing 5th, George Grey had a very good 18th place finish and James Southam made top 30 beating some very good skiers like Jaak Mae and Jiri Magal. In today's race there were skiers from seven countries in the top ten with Germany having two and Sweden three skiers in the top ten. It's really too bad that our top US skier, Kris Freeman, who last year and earlier this season was among the world's best had problems controlling his blood sugar.
February 26, 2010
Kowalczyk Accuses Marit of Doping: Kowalczyk wonders why the Norwegians are puffing asthma medicine all the time, especially Marit. Marit is now taking a stronger asthma medicine which improves her lung function. Marit said if I did not have asthma I would not need to take this medication. The medicine she is now using is on WADA's list for doping, but because of Marit's asthma the FIS has approved her use of the breathing enhancer. Kowalczyk claims Marit's asthma is being faked so she can use the medicine to improve her performance. ( In the past I have seen a lot of asthma medication puffing on some teams. At one World Championship I saw almost every skier on one National Team using the inhalers. I don't believe for a minute that all these skiers had asthma.)
The reason I stopped racing was because I suddenly developed asthma. Had just finished Valaoppet's 90 kilometer classic for the third time and had a good race. ( At age 43 and with less than 300 hours of training I finished in thetop 20%. ) Two weeks later I was wheezing doing minimal exercise. Asthma medication helped, but I was unable to ski at my previous level and having skiers ahead of me, who used to be way back, was no fun so I quit. Slowly my asthma got better and after many years on medication I no longer needed it. Marit's asthma must be very mild because even with medication I was a shadow of my former self. However, there was a large difference with and without the medication. Does this imply that someone without asthma has improved lung function taking the medication? Must be, or why would so many skiers be using inhalers. This needs to be examined more thoroughly.
February 25, 2010
Getting Results: Read some commentary in Faster Skier today that was somewhat disturbing and some comments sounded quite juvenile. Having founded and run a company with over 2,000 employees, a company that was #1 in it's field in the world, I can tell you that you do not become the best by complimenting mediocrity. When the company is not performing to expected standards, you try to find out why and then change the system. ( Often that meant replacing employees with those more qualified. ) You don't just continue on the same path that produced poor results. The same is true in sports. American Cross Country Journals now seem to bend over backwards to compliment mediocre cross country performance. How many times have I read: "A good performance by XXX." When I read further I find out that solid or good is something in the top 50%, not even close to top 20%.
The reason I am writing this is because during today's 4X5 relay I had two computers on getting commentary from different countries. If you are a skier in a European country and you don't perform to their expectations, the Newspapers are merciless, while in the US we often make excuses for poor performance. Here are just two negative comments, out of about ten, in Newspapers during today's relay. "Did the Team pick her off the street?", "They actually spent money sending her to Canada, she should take the boat back." On the other hand, the comments were equally complimentary when a skier performed to their expectations. I don't agree with these harsh negative comments I read in the papers today, I am just trying to show how different expectations are. For many years, I and many other skiers, expected our National Team skiers to be right near the top and we were very disappointed when that did not happen. Now the media appears afraid to call a skiers performance poor. Many years ago a Newspaper had this headline: "Disappointing performance by XXX." That skier finished top 15 in the World Cup. Recently the same Newspaper had this headline: "Solid performance by YYY." The skier referred to as solid was not in the top 35. I don't know what is required to get US X-C skiing out of mediocrity but I do know, from my business and X-C racing experience, that you must set very demanding standards and if those standards are not met you need to find out why so the program can be modified. Only a very small percentage of ski racers can become elite skiers. If our parents did not have the right genetic background for X-C skiing, we could have the most scientific training program possible and still not match the rest of the world. So one of the most important tasks is to find those young skiers that really like cross country and are genetically suited for the sport.
A Fantastic 4 X 10 Relay by Sweden: Before the race yesterday Petter Northug said to a reporter: "Sweden just can't handle the pressure in a major event." This was undoubtedly a psych job because Norway was really getting worried. Sweden had good results in the 15K and excellent results in the Pursuit, with Anders Soedergren improving in every race. During the race I monitored the Swedish bloggers watching on live TV. In the beginning over half a dozen of the bloggers were commentating about every 15 to 30 seconds. I was getting live information all the time. Everybody was worried about Soedergren's leg. No need to worry as Anders skied very well and when Marcus Hellner went out for the last leg he was in first place with Norway some 35 seconds back. Petter skied like the wind and was rapidly closing in on Hellner. The bloggers were going nuts. Sometimes I had as many as ten bloggers on my screen reporting every few seconds. The commentary was hysterical .
Hellner said he was never worried. He was skiing with his head and with just one lap left he increased his speed winning by a solid 15.9 seconds. Northug did a phenomenal job moving Norway from 6th place to a Silver medal. Petter sure is fast.
Good Skis: Anders Soedergren congratulated the ski tuning team and said that in all the races to date we have had exceptional skis. ( This was very evident in the Pursuit race. On every down hill the Swedish skiers were gaining on those in front. We are privy to a lot of information of why their skis have been so fast. ) With Anders skiing so well yesterday I think he is ready for a very good 50K. All he needs is good skis.
A Crisis in the Finnish Camp: Finland usually has a very strong women's relay and have won the last two World Championships. To date Finland has done poorly in the Olympics and now the finger pointing has started. Riitta-Liisa Roponen is mad at Aino-Kaisa Saarinen because she refused to enter the team sprint. Roponen said she felt they had a very good chance at a medal, but Saarinen wanted to save herself for the 30K. When Saarinen did not enter, Roponen wanted Virpi Kuitunen, but she also refused and instead Sarasoja became Roponen's partner finishing a disappointing eight. In today's relay Finland has the same strong team that has won the last two World Championships, so they will most likely get a medal.
The Swedish Team missing Anna Haag: Double Silver medalist Anna Haag has had a sore throat and fever and will not enter today's race. After the sprint relay she was moved to the Swedish Olympic Committee compound in Whistler, away from the rest of the team. Ingesson, their coach, said he would not let anyone compete if they were not feeling well. For Sweden to get a medal, they need a fresh Kalla and Haag. Kalla has a cold, but no fever. My guess is that a top six finish would be considered good.
February 24, 2010
Relay Races today and tomorrow: When I made my relay predictions on February 11, I did not count on two of the best female skiers being sick. Anna Haag, who has already captured two Silver medals, is sick and will not be competing in the relay. Kalla, who has a Gold and a Silver medal, is also not feeling well and might not race. With the loss of Kalla and Haag, Sweden has no chance of a medal.
February 23, 2010
Gold for Northugg: Norway wins the men's Team Sprint, Germany captures the women's. Petter was expected to capture a lot of Gold, and he still can with the upcoming relay and 50K, but he is not as solid as he was in the World Championships last year. Teodor Peterson was pretty hard on himself for falling, braking his pole and ending up 20 seconds behind the pack. He said: "Hellner was so good, leading the qualifier and I could not stand on my feet". 21 year old Teodor has little experience at this level so he should just take it as another lesson for the future. Kalla and Haag, who are normally not on the sprint team, did a great job to finish second for Sweden. Canadian men did not get a medal, but finished a very respectable 4th. Think Canada has a very good chance of getting a medal in the men's relay. Four very solid skiers for Canada. According to Zach, the blood sugar problem that Kris encountered in the 30K can require several weeks for recovery. If that's the case, we might not see Kris in the relay or the 50K. Too bad as Kris has been our best X-C distance skier in over 20 years. In November and December Kris skied with the best on the World Cup, twice finishing in the top ten. Without Kris, US chances at doing anything in the relay, or the 50K, are very slim.
Waxing at the Olympics: We know what wax a lot of the medal winners were using at the Olympics, but we are presently not allowed to publish this information.
February 21, 2010
Men 30 K Pursuit: This has got to be one of the most exciting pursuit races in the history of X-C skiing. At the ski exchange to freestyle Johan Olsson got out very quickly and soon had a 12 second lead on the pursuing pack. Both Marcus Hellner and Anders Soedergren were near the front of the chase group and decided to move up in front and slow down chase pack. According to Johan Olsson there was no previous plan, it just evolved. Johan said he knew that eventually he would be caught as skiing in a group saves a lot of energy compared to skiing alone. He said that he was not skiing as hard as he could, trying to save some energy for the finish and when Marcus, who had a perfectly executed race, passed Johan he thought it was Legkov and he said he was just jubilant when he saw it was Marcus. Tobias Angerer just edged Johan before the finish giving Johan a Bronze.
Johan had not originally planned to enter the Pursuit. It was just last Monday that he decided to give it a try and officially entered the race. What a good decision. The real hero for Sweden in this race was Anders Soedergren who did everything he could to slow the chase pack. The King of Sweden was at the Olympic park and personally congratulated Anders for his performance. After a seven week virus, where he could hardly train at all, Anders is coming back fast. He has only been able to train normally for three weeks and finishes 10th, just 35 seconds out of first place. Seeing what happened yesterday I think Anders can now medal in the 50K.He has another week to get in better shape. The 50k is his favorite distance and he has won the Holmenkollen 50K World Cup race twice.
Canada did a fantastic job in the race with Babikov in 5th, George Grey 8th , Harvey 9th and Kershaw 16. A very solid performance. With these results they are definitely medal contenders in the relay.
Analysis of the 30K Pursuit: Based on my simplified scoring system, which is not to different from the FIS point system, Canada, Germany and Sweden get an A, Russia B+ and Italy, Switzerland and Norway a B.
Kris Freeman with blood sugar crash: My wife just called me and said she heard on NH local TV Channel 9, that Freeman had a blood sugar problem at the midpoint of the race yesterday. It's really too bad that the only skier United States has that can compete with the world's best has to constantly monitor and worry about his blood sugar. Have known Kris a long time and I just wish him the very best in future races.
Skiers picked to win at least one Medal: On February 11, I made a list of 14 skiers that I thought had a very good chance to medal at the Olympics. To date 9 of the fourteen have a medal and there are a number of races left.
February 20, 2010
What a great 15 K pursuit: This race was truly exciting. Kowalczyk, Bjoergen, Steira and Saarinen led the classic race doing everything they could to put Kalla as far back as possible in the classic segment. Kalla is a superb skater, her weakness is classic. Charlotte's team mate, Anna Haag, is more balanced being both a good classic skier and a good skater and during the classic phase she was able to hang on to the front group, while Kalla was over 40 seconds back in 11th place. The skate course is more rolly and without long tough climbs, where Kalla is superb, most ski experts felt that if Kalla was more than 20 to 25 seconds back after the classic portion she would not get a medal.
In the change to skate, Saarinen came out very fast and took the lead, but shortly thereafter Bjoergen, Kowalczyk, Steira and Haag pulled away from Saarinen. In the last hill Bjoergen put on the afterburners and pulled away from the other three. Haag said she could not stay with Kowalczyk and Steira and they pulled away from her. Anna said she wanted to be fresh after the downhill in to the stadium. Anna had fast skis and was closing on the Pole and Norwegian in the downhill coming into the stadium. After the race she said she wanted revenge for her 4th place finish in the 15F and she skated beautifully in the stadium to finish second. An extraordinary race by Bjoergen who was almost 9 seconds ahead of Haag. Ski racing does not get much better.
Pursuit Performance Analysis: Have my own grading system for the World Cup and Olympic races. Top ten = Excellent. 11 to 20 = Very Good. 21 to 30 = Good. 31 to 35 = Borderline Acceptable. 35 and greater = Not Acceptable. Here are the results for 16 Nations, some of which entered only one or two skiers. ( More Nations are represented in X-C than any other sport at the Olympics. ) Canada 10, 41, 47. China 37. Czech Republic 23 and 51. Finland 5, 15, 21 and 30. France 19, 32, 45 and 49. Germany 11, 22, 24, 36. Italy 7, 9, 16 and 18. Japan 20. Kazakhstan 25, 33 and 48. Norway 1, 4 and 6. Poland 3, 34 and 35. Russia 12, 26 and 40. Slovenia 17. Sweden2, 8, 42 and 53. Ukraine 14, 31 and 46. United States 38, 43, 56, and 58. Of the above nations all had at least one skier in the top 30 except for China and the United States. Japan entered only one skier, Masako Ishida, who is a very good skier and finished 20th. Every nation noted above, including China, had at least one skier ahead of the best US skier. This is pathetic. What has happened to the US X-C ski program? We have a lot of skiers, but with few exceptions we are getting nowhere internationally.
February 19, 2010
Talk about Tough: After seeing Petra Majdic fall in the warm up it was obvious she was in a great deal of pain, but who would have guessed she had four broken ribs, entered the Final and got Bronze. Yesterday Petra said her career might be over. She said she was very happy to get the bronze medal, but the medical examination shows she is in pretty bad shape. She said: "After the fall I was sure everything was over. I had trouble breathing, I hurt all over, but something inside me said I should still enter the race." She not only entered, she medaled. That's unbelievable will power.
The Vancouver web site said she did not have broken ribs, but in her interview with Norwegian reporters, she said she had four broken ribs and would not be able to enter any more races in the Olympics. She was very upset by the fact the course was so unsafe. I am sure the ambulance chasing lawyers will be trying to contact her to sue the Olympic organizers for an improperly prepared course.
February 17, 2010
"Alaska nordic skiers satisfied with middle of the pack finishes": This was the sports headline in the Anchorage Daily News. We are a nation with a large population and some 100,000,000 + living in the snow belt. How can any American nordic skier be satisfied finishing 2' 21" back in a 15K race. That's over 1 kilometer behind the winner. A skier from Australia beat the top US skier and skiers from Great Britain and Spain beat the rest of the US contingent. With so many nordic skiers in United States we should be right up there with the top ski powers. There was a time when the US was a nordic ski power. With skiers like Bill Koch, Tim Caldwell, Jim Galanes Dan Simeneau we had skiers that were top 20 and top 10 in many World Cup races. These guys knew how to train and were not satisfied with middle of the pack results. We should get much tougher. US skiers should enter a lot more World Cup races and if they consistently finish out of the top 30 they should not represent United States. Kris Freeman at least said he was truly pissed after his performance in the Olympic 15F race. He is the only skier on the US team with solid FIS point results. I am sure Kris will do a lot better in the next race.
Biathlon, Technical Delegates acting like Amateurs: In yesterdays pursuit races skiers left the starting gate both too early and too late. How can this happen in the Olympics? This could have a tremendous impact on the skiers ability to concentrate and focus. Pichler, the famous German coach, was ready to protest.
Norway says Ski Tuning to blame in the 15F: Norway blames the poor results on bad skis. The Scandinavian article I read said the wax technicians put another layer of wax on the skis after the skiers had picked their skis. Most had about six pair to choose from. Petter chose from 6 pair and picked a pair that he said felt good. Why would you do anything to the skis after they had been picked? According to the article the chief technician admits he screwed up.
February 16, 2010
I should have been a gambler yesterday: On February 11, I made a list of skiers on this home page I thought would capture an individual medal. Of the six medals won yesterday I was lucky enough to get 5 out six. For the women I had picked Kalla, Smigun and Bjoergen and for the men had picked Dario and Bauer. Read a number of North American and foreign sport pages and nobody mentioned Smigun as a strong favorite. Picked her because she is such a strong finisher and she knows how to peak at the right time. Very glad she got Silver, because she is such a nice and considerate person. Hellner should have medaled and I had picked him because he is so good in the 15F. I became very nervous when he was 8 seconds up less than half way into the race. By 8.7 K his lactate level had him reeling. One kilometer before the finish he was 1 second up on Bauer, but he was so beat he almost fell coming in to the finish and missed Bronze by 1.5 seconds. He said he was afraid not to try so hard in the beginning, but now realized it was a mistake. The young skier said it was just another lesson. Johan Olsson was very upset over the poor signage in the stadium. Both he and the US skier right behind him took the wrong track into the finish. He said: " I did not think this was an orienteering course." As a result he skied over 150 meters more which according to my calculations added 20+ seconds to his time which would have given him a 6th place finish instead of 11. ( And, he was in 6th place just before the Stadium. )
Fiasco for Norway and United States in the 15F: Haven't looked at the stat's, but I don't ever remember an Olympics where the first Norwegian finished 28th. This has got to be a first. When Ben Sim from Australia, which is not exactly a Nordic power, beats the top US skier something is very, very wrong. Let's hope that in the upcoming races things turn around for the US. Can anyone explain what happened to the Canadian women?
February 15, 2010
What a Biathlon weather day: Watching the biathlon yesterday I felt sorry for anyone with a starting position later than 15. Before the snow started the track was pretty fast, but when the heavy snow came some skiers were double poling on the downhills. The statistics tell the story. Of the top ten finishers in yesterdays race all had start numbers 14 or lower, except for the eight place finisher, Bjorn Ferry, with start number 26. Will be very interesting to see how many of yesterdays top ten will be in the top ten after tomorrow's pursuit. Just one of those days where the top ranked biathletes who started later did not have a chance.
February 14, 2010
So what happened to the favorites at yesterdays Biathlon? Slow, Slow, Slow skis. The World Cup leader Helena Jonsson and Anna Carin Olofsson ( known as ACO) were way back. ACO is consistently the fastest skier in Biathlon and Helena the best shooter, shooting clean again yesterday. Why were the skis so slow? Don't know, it could have been structure or wax. Hours before the race the organizers dumped a load of special salt to bind the snow. It had been raining and the temperature was + and the snow was very loose. The head of the Biathlon Team wanted a meeting with the waxing technicians to find out what went wrong.
February 13, 2010
STAR at the OLYMPICS: The STAR waxing team is now in BC. There is a link on the Index page to the STAR waxing Team.
Talk about idiots: When I came into work this Saturday I found an advertisement on our home page from our network domain name provider. The notice stated that our domain name had expired. Since we pay for 5 years at a time I called them and asked why we had not been notified that another payment was due. Their answer was that their e mail notification was returned. Since the e mail was returned I asked them why they did not send a notification to our physical address, which has been the same for the last 16 years. They did not know why we had not been notified. Next I asked them how long we would be shut down. They did not know because they were only our domain nameprovider.
Canadian Newspaper: Yesterday a Canadian reporter wrote that the only medal that counted at the Olympics was Hockey. No doubt it's Canada's National Sport, but for a hockey crazy nation they have not done very well at the Olympics. In 2002, when Canada took Gold it had been exactly 50 years since their previous Gold in Oslo 1952. In 1994 Sweden beat Canada, in 1998 the Czech Republic won and in 2006 Sweden beat Finland in the final. With the Olympics in Canada the pressure on the Canadian Team is going to be so intense, that as favorites, they might loose.
February 12, 2010
Comments from an MIT Professor: Many years ago our electronics company funded a research project at MIT. ( My business partner, as well as many employees, were also MIT graduates so it was natural for us to do the project at MIT. ) One day we got around to statistics and the professor said that being successful in a business or a sport is simply a matter of how many competitors are in the game or how many obstacles you have to overcome. If you want to become number one in the world and there are 1,000,000 competitors your chances are quite small, but if there are only 100 serious competitors your chance of winning have increased by a factor of 10,000.
Thought about this as I looked at the different Olympic winter sports and reached the conclusion that there are probably more x-c ski racers world wide than for any other sport at the Olympics, with the possible exception of the many hockey players in Russia, Canada, USA, Finland, Sweden, etc. I know that a number of years back Russia had over 1,000,000 X-C competition licenses. Tried to find winter sport participation figures on google, but got nowhere. Many top x-c ski nations no longer have a Nordic combined team and don't even list Nordic Combined under their National Ski Disciplines. Also, there are very few competing as ski jumpers. How many in the world compete in luge or bobslead? Even figure skating has a small international competitive participation.
Norway and Russia pick their Team for the opening Day: Not any real surprises in the picks for Norway. Women's 10 F = Marit Bjoergen, Kristin Steira, Marthe Kristoffersen, and Vibeke Skofterud. For the men's 15F = Petter Northug, Martin Johnsrud Sundby, Ronny Hafsas and Tord Asle Gjerdalen. ( Ronny Hafsas can be a very fast skater ) The Russian Team is a surprise as it includes Sergej Shiriaev, a skier who was caught doping in 2007. ( Why do they have to include dopers? ) For the 15F = Alexander Legov, Maxim Vylegzhanin, Sergej and the very young talented Peter Sedov. For the 10F Russia has Irina Khazova, Evgenia Medvedeva, Natalja Korosteleva and Olga Savjalova. The Russians can always surprise by either peaking at the right time or by doping. ( Why are so many former eastern block athletes caught doping? ) According to WADA they are going to be testing like mad at Whistler.
HF Nano Ceramic Fluoro Powders simply outstanding: As the reports filter in the new STAR Nano Ceramic Powders are getting an A+++ not only in Europe, but also in North America. ( See STAR RACE RESULTS ) We just got a report from Erik Mundahl in Alaska and he said the STAR HF was far superior to the other brands he tested. For SKI TUNING information click on the link on our Index page.
February 11, 2010
OLYMPIC XC: In an Olympic year it's hard to look at earlier season results as everyone is trying to peak for the Olympics. In Davos in December Di Centa was almost 1 minute back in the 15F and six weeks later in Canmore he won the 15F. Here is a list of skiers that I think will get at least one individual medal. Petter Northug, Lukas Bauer, Dario Cologna, Emil Joensson, Marcus Hellner, Matti Heikkinen, John Kristian Dahl, Marit Bjoergen, Justyna Kowalczyk, Charlotte Kalla, Petra Madjic, Anna Kaisa Saarinen, Kristina Smigun and if her injury heels Hanna Falk. And, you can never rule out Di Centa and the other Italians. In the distance relay I think Norway and Sweden will medal in both the men and women's race, while in the Sprint anything could happen as it's such a crap shoot. Based on last years results I felt that Canada had a real good chance to medal in the relay, but looking at the results this year it's a different picture. Kris Freeman 's best chance is probably the 50 classic, especially if snow conditions are difficult for waxing and structuring. With Zach's extensive experience at the Olympic site, in both structure and wax, Kris could have a real advantage.
One person I did not mention above as a potential medal winner is Anders Soedergren. At the World Championships last year he was second in the 50. The reason I did not mention him is because he has been sick with a virus for seven weeks. He has only been able to train hard the last two weeks. In the 15F in Canmore he was 72 seconds behind Di Centa. He said that he is not in the shape he would have liked, but he hopes to do better in the races towards the end of the Olympics. He has been training very hard the last two weeks and was a bit tired at Canmore. He said it has been years since he finished over a minute behind the winner in a World Cup race. He has experience and a fabulous engine. He has won Holmenkollen twice and has both Olympic and World Championship medals. He also said that after hard training, once he cuts back he improves rapidly. Today will be his last double training session until the end of the Olympics.
If you were Petter Northug, with the ability to medal in almost every X-C race at the Olympics, which races would you enter? The venue starts with the 15F then two days later the Classic Sprint, two days later the 30K Pursuit, two days later the Free Team Sprint, followed by the 4 X 10 Relay and three days later the 50 mass start Classic. If I were Petter I would not do the Sprint races because that leaves him four days of rest between the 15F and the 30K Pursuit. I read in some Scandinavian journals this morning that what Petter would do is still undecided. UPDATE! About ten minutes after I wrote the above checked another Scandinavian paper and Petter has now decided to enter the Sprint Classic race. That means an awful lot of racing in 12 days.
STAR Wax Sale: On our Index page you will see a closeout sale. Savings are quite fantastic. These items do not have the latest graphics and many stores want the latest packaging, but the bottom of your skis really don't care what the package looks like.
Tire Removal Station for Aero 150 tires: After reading an article in Silent Sports by Bruce Steinberg I decided something had to be done to simplify the removal and installation of the 6 inch tubes and tires. Read the article on a Friday and spent the weekend building prototype removal tools. After numerous unsuccessful attempts finally came up with a tire changing station that had some potential. Built the first unit in wood and metal, then made the production drawings. A few weeks later we had the first all metal prototype unit. The prototype needed some tweaking, but I was able to remove the tire and tube, install the tire and tube again and pump it up in 5 minutes and 47 seconds. The tweaking resulted in some minor dimensional changes and we are now looking forward to the first production tire changing station. I think that with the production version we might be able to beat 5 minutes. Would be nice to have video of it on Youtube. When we know the cost of the unit we will supply more information regarding availability and price.
December 12, 2009
Beitostoelen, Kuusamo and Davos: In the first three distance races on the World Cup Kris Freeman has proved that he is one the best on the World Cup finishing 16th, 4th and today 7th. The problem is the US team does not have enough skiers like Kris to make a very viable relay team. Newell continues to show that he is one of the best in the Sprint races and would probably make a very good anchor for a US relay team.
After having a baby and not competing the last two seasons Kristina Smigun is coming back very strong. Her third place in Davos today is quite remarkable. We have been supplying roller ski equipment to Kristina since she was a teenager. She is a very pleasant person to work with.
The Swedish women continue to surprise. Kalla finished 2nd and Haag 3rd at Beitostoelen, the next the day they won the relay with Kalla pounding Marit in the last leg. Haag skipped Kuusamo and has been top ten in the two individual races she entered. Today Marcus Hellner also showed why he is such a good anchor for the Swedish relay team as he finished 2nd. In Beitostoelen he was 19 seconds faster than Petter Northug in the last leg and had by far the fastest relay time.
We were pleased to find out from Andreas Forneman that when the Swedish women won the relay in Norway they were skiing on STAR ski wax. The Norwegian National Team have been testing the new STAR Nano Ceramic waxes and Andreas said they were blown away by this new product.
Pole length for Skating: When skating first became official with the FIS everybody started experimenting with longer and longer poles. I remember some skiers who had poles so long they were up to their eyebrows. As skating has evolved skating poles have gotten shorter and classic poles longer. For awhile classic poles were also supposed to be much shorter and on Bill Koch's advise I went from 147.5 down to 142. I just could not ski with them. In the late 80's I used 167.5 skate poles and 147.5 classic, but after a few years my skate poles had gone down to 160 and my classic poles up to 150.
Back in the late 80's early 90's there was a general rule with many coaches and ski shops to take your height in cm and multiply by 0.93 to get the right size poles. Later in the 90's the formula was reduced to height in cm x 0.90. Looking at the skating poles used today by World Cup skiers, the formula for length comes out to be height in cm x 0.87 to 0.89.The slight variations are due to anatomy and technique, but the bottom line is skating poles are now shorter.
The reason I bring this up is that many stores and coaches are using ancient formulas. A local High School skier, who is not that experienced, bought poles to a formula which is 0.875 x height and some ski stores and coaches told her the poles were way to short. This girls is 5'4'' ( 162 cm ) and purchased 142 cm poles. She was told to get poles from 147.5 to 150 cm. I got on the web and checked out the recommendations by ski stores that sell to a lot of racers. The four stores I checked that sell to elite skiers had the latest recommendations, they recommended 142 cm poles.
July 2, 2009
New XL 900 Classic Skis: About two weeks ago we shipped the first pair of XL920 roller skis to Marty Hall. We have been making the V2-900 series since 1994 and they have become a world standard, being sold to over 30 countries. These were the first skis to use our patented Speed Reducers. Since the first 900 series we have made numerous improvements to the Speed Reducers. In 2005 we introduced the Brake which has revolutionized roller skiing. The new XL 900 skis have metal wheel forks which accept the XL Speed Reducer and the XL Brake. Marty's skis had the forks assembled with bolts and a urethane bonding system, but the production units will be welded like the Aero skis. The Rear fork has a fender which does not interfere with mounting of the Brake.
What does XL designate? Many have asked us what makes XL skis different from other V2 roller skis. We use the term XL for skis that: 1- Use the Speed Reducer where the Lever engages both Roller arms so that the force of the roller bearing against the tire is evenly distributed. This makes for a more reliable and more efficient Speed Reducer. 2- All XL brakes are mounted to the rear wheel fork, not to the chassis of the roller ski. The XL Brakes are stronger and almost 30% lighter than the original Universal Brake.
Norwegian National Team Skiers on V2 Roller Skis: I recently found out that National Team skiers from Norway had been using V2 roller skis this Spring. The skis had been purchased from Alex Duchin. I e mailed Alex and asked if he had received any feed back from the Norwegians. The skis they had purchased were Aero XL125S and Aero XL 150SC.
Alex answered: " About the XL125S the feed back is very - very positive. They rated the XL125S as the best skating roller skis they had tried for paved surfaces. The XL150SC also had a very positive response as they rated them the best "snow like feel" roller skis. The Norwegians love the brakes and the reduced vibration of the Aero roller skis." This is very interesting, as Norway is not only the #1 country in X-C ski racing, but also in men's Biathlon.
From the reports from Europe and Russia we understand many of the top skiers are now using Speed Reducers and Brakes.There have been many accidents because skiers could not stop quickly and safely. Skiers have hit cars backing out of driveways, lost control on steep down hills and like myself coming down a steep hill and meeting an unexpected object around the corner. I met a moose in the middle of the road. Without the brake I would have been forced to take a dive into the side of the road, with probable injuries. At my age that would not be pleasant. Mathias Fredriksson, former overall World Cup Champion, might not be able to race again after his recent roller ski accident in Sweden. A month after the accident his shoulder is still not functioning properly. Bjoern Daehlie also messed up on roller skis and it ended his ski racing career. Roller skiing is preparation for winter racing. Why would anyone risk being injured before the racing season by roller skiing without a Helmet, Speed Reducers and Brakes? If the world's best can be hurt, like Daehlie and Fredriksson, so can you. It appears the European skiers are getting the message, why not the United States?
Another Scandinavian, Lars Olsen who owns a company called Torrak, recently purchased a large number of V2 roller skis and even more Brakes and Speed Reducers than roller skis. Robin questioned the large amount of Brakes he ordered and asked me to e mail Lars about the quantity of brakes. Lars e mailed me back and said that after seeing how efficient the brakes were he wanted to equip all roller skis, including the ones he purchased last year, with brakes. He said the terrain where they trained was very steep with 300 to 400 meter hills and 15% grades. He said it was virtually impossible to roller ski without Speed Reducers and Brakes.
Kris Freeman Training in Campton: Recently I was driving through the Campton area when I spotted Kris double poling on Rt.49 with his V2- 910's. When I met him I could not stop, as not only were there some 10+ cars behind me, but I was also late for a meeting with one of our many sub contractors in New England. A few days later Kris called Robin at our office to get some roller ski ferrules and he asked her if we had any new skis to test. We sent Kris a set of XL98S ( The synthetic tire skis. We put the ISR in the wheels, as the synthetic tires are very fast, and Kris hates fast roller skis. ) We drilled the skis for his bindings, but this just happened a few days ago so don't know if Kris has had a chance to mount the bindings and use them. Kris also has a set of our latest XL98R skis with the new smooth "wet look" shafts and the improved rubber tires. Waiting to get his feed back. Feed back from Europe has been very good.
Adele Espy likes her new XL98R: Adele is one of the best Junior skiers in United States. She is being coached by Dick Taylor and she recently got a pair of XL98R roller skis. Marty Hall said she would also be a good tester for the new XL98S roller skis. She now has the XL98S roller skis and we are looking forward to her feed back.
May 24, 2009
Anders Soedergren training again after back surgery: The person who deserved to win the 50K in Liberec, but finished 2nd when the world's best finisher Petter Northug beat him, is back training again. Anders wrote: "The other day I was at the winter sport center in Oestersund and roller skied on the treadmill. My back felt good and the test results showed that I am still in good shape. The healing process is good. The emphasis is now on strengthening my abdominal muscles and the muscles around the disc operation. I feel better every week. Not a hundred percent yet. Still very careful in my training, especially with running so that I do not over stress my back. Based on the results to date, I expect to be back to normal training in about one or two weeks."
Anders was recently an honorary guest at the big party for Petter Northug in Mosvik where the town and ski community celebrated Petter's three Gold medals at the World Championships. There was a large TV screen showing the finish of the 50K where Anders did 90% of the work. There was tremendous applause for Anders heroic efforts. Anders said it was a great celebration.
Laboratory tests on new synthetic XL98 tires finished: It's now time to test the tires on the road. The laboratory tests show phenomenal abrasion resistance and tremendous rebound which results in very low heat absorption ( the lowest we have ever tested ) and very low rolling resistance. These tires are rocket fast so most users will probably want to install the patent pending ISR (Internal Speed Reducer ) With the combination of rubber tires, synthetic tires and the ISR, you can almost have any rolling resistance you desire. Most, not all, skiers wear the rear wheel faster than the front wheel . This material has such outstanding abrasion resistance that I can see the synthetic tire on the rear wheel and the slower rubber tire on the front wheel being a very promising combination. If this combination is too fast, add the super light ISR ( 10 grams ) to one or both wheels. With the choice of two tires, medium, stiff and very stiff composite shafts, Speed Reducers and a very good Brake this roller ski for paved surfaces has everything you need. Europe is embracing Speed Reducers and Brakes and this month we received one order for over 100 Speed Reducers and 65 Brakes.
May 7, 2009
Boring 50 K races: I find almost all mass start races unbelievably boring. Swedish X-C TV commentator Jonas Karlson described why he found it so boring and ski writer Kjell Erik Kristiansen agrees. Jonas said that after being the commentator at 8 World Championships and three Olympics he is absolutely convinced that the drama in races with individual starts is much greater, if those producing the TV show know what they are doing. Unfortunately, the Central European TV producers are not willing to set up camera equipment in sufficient quantity to enable the public to follow the drama out on the course.
Jonas said that in mass starts, he now watches the first two K, then does something more interesting and meaningful until about 45 K when he watches to see who is the fastest sprinter and who drafted the most so save energy. Jonas said it is very different in bike races, where you have teams competing, not individuals. In biking everyone on the team has a specific roll and all share in the prize money. He said mass starts could be interesting if you had enough skiers from every country to compete as teams and the prizes were based on team efforts as in cycling. ( A study at Laval University in Quebec showed that on flat sections your pulse rate can drop by as much as 10 beats by drafting, and even on uphill your heart rate could drop by 4 beats. That is simply a dramatic reduction in energy expenditure for those who don't want to take the lead. In biking, you have designated people on the team, some who take the lead on the flat sections, others on hills, all doing their job for the key bike racer on the team. Teams can block other teams while they let their best skier get away. However, only a few countries, like Norway, have enough good skiers to follow this team effort. )
In Central Europe, the TV people don't know how to produce a dramatic individual race, or they don't want to spend the money. The most exciting ski races I have ever watched have all been individual start races produced by Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish TV. You literally saw every meter of the course and the commentators were knowledgeable. If you were physically at the race, as I have been, you had very large monitors so you could see everything. Every blogger who commented Kjell's article agreed with Jonas.
May 4, 2009
Marty Hall visits: It's always fun when Mr. XC visits. Marty arrived early last Friday morning and did not leave for Ottawa until 1 P.M. Marty seems to know everything that is happening in the nordic world and we discussed just about every subject you can imagine. We spent quite a bit of time discussing the Canadian Team. We both think Canada has a chance to medal in the men's relay at the 2010 Olympics. With Grey, Kershaw, Babikov and Harvey to anchor, Canada has a real good chance.
V2 International sales increasing: Despite the world wide economic depression, sales to Europe, Russia and the Pacific rim are on the rise. Just a couple of weeks ago we made a substantial shipment to Russia and today we received another order from mother Russia. Most of our overseas skate orders are for Aero roller skis except for Japan and Korea, while everyone buys the 910 classic skis.
What's happening? Just saw on the CCC website that the new head coach at Callaghan Valley is shown as Lee Churchill. This is the first I have heard regarding coaching changes. In the same announcement column there is an e mail address for skier applicants to write a G. Manhard. Don't know this person at all, but many Canadians have mentioned this name to me and it has never been in a very positive manner.
April 27, 2009
Snow / roller ski speed data: Ronald Faltus sent me some interesting data on snow skiing versus roller skiing. Ronald and his brother Robert are both using XL-100 skate skis and 910K classic skis. They roller skied and snow skied with a GPS. When roller skiing they ski together so their roller ski speed is always identical. Robert has been racing faster than Ronald and the data includes races so Robert's snow speed is substantially faster.
For classic roller skiing the speed was 11.2. For skate roller skiing the speed was 12.2. Ronald's classic snow speed averaged 11.0 and his skating 13.0. For Robert classic snow skiing was 13.1 and skating 14.8. Both Ronald and Robert have the slower skate wheels on their skis. With the new rubber wheels I think that snow and roller ski speed would be almost identical. ( Have to get a GPS )
Per Elofsson races for the first time in over 4 years: Got an e mail from Andreas Forneman in Sweden this morning who informed me that Per Elofsson entered the Valadalen ski race. He was pretty far back, 30th, but the fact that he is even racing could be a sign he might make a comeback.
New Tires for XL98 Roller Skis: We have developed a new tire made of a very interesting synthetic material. The tire is actually made right here in New Hampshire. It has amazing abrasion resistance, but it's very fast. By putting the ISR ( Internal Speed Reducer ) into the rim I was able to increase the rolling resistance by 25 %, but even with the ISR it's a lot faster than the latest rubber tires. Yesterday I tried braking with the synthetic tire. I was able to stop, but the hill was not very steep. The rubber tires brake better, but frankly I was surprised that I was able to stop at all.
March 28, 2009
Anders Soedergren's disc operation successful: Anders wrote that he now has a very good understanding of how the Swedish medical system works, having had a punctured lung repaired last summer, a testicle cancer operation last November and now a disc operation with neurosurgeon Gunnar Nyberg. ( Basically he had the same operation I had in May of 2005. ) He is very impressed with the excellent medical facilities and wrote that during his stay in the hospitals the care has been superb with an extremely pleasant and well trained staff.
Prior to the operation he was in extreme pain with stabbing pain down his leg and he could not sit. If everything goes according to plans he will begin rehab in two weeks, light training beginning in the end of April and early May, then normal training by June. When I had a similar operation I was pretty much back to normal within 4 to six weeks.
March 27, 2009
Gunde Svan leaves as head of Swedish Cross Country: Everyone was hoping that Gunde would stay on until after the 2010 Olympics. Gunde said when he first took the job it was only supposed to be for one year. He said it took him longer than he expected to reduce the turbulence within the National Team racing community and to set up a forward looking program, so he stayed on an additional 9 months. He really turned things around, found new sponsors and developed Team Spirit.
His main reasons for not continuing until the end of next season are family matters. His son Ferry is now 12 and daughter Julia 16. Gunde said he was so busy last season he did not even have time to shovel snow at his home. The children have shown excellent skiing potential. Wife Marie was also on the Swedish National Team so the gene pool is very good. Gunde is presently looking for a successor for himself and for a new National Team Sprint Coach. Gunde will retire from his job at the end of June.
Crap Cars: Anyone who reads this news page knows that I am a car nut. My wife flew down to Florida two weeks ago, I was too busy at work to go with her. She rented a full size car because we had a lot of goods to move, mainly to the dump.Because she would be renting it for two weeks they gave her a special Detroit "luxury car" with a big V8 engine and leather interior. Anita met me at the Tampa airport a week later. I was in terrible shape, had a fever, chest infection, etc. but she knows I am the world's worst passenger so I drove the car.
Now I know why Detroit is in trouble. This car is a gas guzzler with no acceleration, poor steering and brakes and handles like a horse and buggy carriage. My little four cylinder turbo accelerates twice as fast, gets 12 miles more per gallon, handles 100% better and has real brakes. You don't drive this "luxury" car, you aim it like when you are out boating and hope it ends up where you tried to steer it. I have found nothing complimentary about this expensive car, but my wife said the outside rear view mirrors were good. ( When that is all you can find that is really good, it's pretty sad. )
March 22, 2009
The World Cup ends with Dario Cologna and Alex Harvey showing they are Superstars: Young Dario has been simply spectacular. Whether sprints or distance this man can ski and he did it for a full season. There is no longer any doubt that Alex Harvey is on the road to stardom. His results in the last month have been fantastic. He and Dario are doing what Per Elofsson did early in his career. Let us hope these young skiers do not pull an Elofsson. Looks to me like Alex and Dario could be medal favorites in the 2010 Olympics. That is, if we can keep the dopers out. In Falun this weekend Christian Hoffman had such high hemoglobin values he was not allowed to race and will not be allowed to race for another 14 days. Not the first time Hoffman has had unusually high values.
March 4, 2009
Gunde Svan and Ferry Grill ski Vasaloppett together: From 1979 until Gunde retired in 1991, Ferry was Gunde's technician. Gunde promised Ferry 22 years ago that if Ferry wanted to ski Vasaloppett he would ski with him. Sunday March 1, 2009 was Ferry's 50th Birthday. Gunde flew from the Liberec World Championships on Saturday so he could ski with Ferry the next day. Ferry only started training last summer, mainly biking. Ferry said he had not skied for about thirty years. Gunde's job was to help Ferry. Gunde said Ferry had to work really hard the last 20K Actually pretty good time for 90K 5 hours and 40 minutes. Ferry has been the V2 Distributor in Austria and Bavaria since 1992. Have not spoken to him since the race, but will be in touch soon. Notice the bib in the picture below. 50 ar.
February 22, 2009
VM Liberec 15 K. Very Interesting: Just got a message that the US and the Estonian Team both bought STAR MP10 and F1 wax the morning of the 15K when the top seven skiers all used hairies. I know that Zach Caldwell has been successfully experimenting with this MP10 & F1 combination for "hairies". I wonder if that is what Kris used? I bet it is.
Soedergren finished 2nd in the pursuit today after pulling the field most of the way. Today Anders used hairies in the classic portion. The whole Swedish Team is still upset by the fact they were stupid enough to ski on wax in Friday's 15 K classic. However, today Sweden was the only country to place all four skiers in the top 20. This gives Sweden a very good chance to medal in the relay.
Alex Harvey was the top North American finishing 22nd today. I think this young man is the next superstar.
The V2 Rillers continues to do well at Swedish races. Got another e mail from Andreas today that yesterday, using the V2 Fine Linear structure riller, and STAR LA6 & C1 the skiers he prepped skis for captured one Gold, one Silver and one Bronze yesterday.
February 20, 2009
Today's 15 K in Liberec not good for those who used ski wax for kick: The first seven skiers all used "hairies" or no wax skis. Only two skiers in the top ten used ski wax for kick, Johan Olsson 8th and Tobias Angerer 9th. Kris Freeman made the right choice and finished a tremendous 4th .Veerpaluu, who won, said it was complete panic in our team just 10 minutes before the start. Just five minutes before the start Andrus decided to go waxless. Andrus said he had never skied on "hairies" before.
Jocke Abrahamsson said they had waxless skis ready for the Swedish Team, but the skiers were reluctant to ski on them. The problem was the tracks got warmer and glazed and the wax began to freeze on the skis. One of the favorites, Johan Olsson, said today we did not have a chance skiing against waxless skis. You know wax was the wrong choice when Axel Teichman finished 38th.
February 17, 2009
More News from the Scandinavian Cup Races: Today Andreas wrote: " Even more good skis withV2 riller. At the Sunday 5 / 10 K skate we got 4 out of 6 class winners at the Scandinavian Cup. We used STAR HA6 and XF cold liquid. I prepared the skis for 2 of those athletes and Falun Borlange Ski Club made the others after my test results. We used the V2 fine interrupted structure riller."
February 15, 2009
Scandinavian Cup Races: Received an e mail from Andreas Forneman stating that the V2 riller worked very well at the Scandinavian Cup races. He said they used STAR HA6 and XF cold liquid wax and the V2 Coarse Linear riller. With this combination they had very fast skis and four skiers made the podium. Four on the Podium, that's not bad.
15 K World Cup in Italy: In the classic 15 K yesterday the Swedish Team had very good skis and placed 1,3,7,9, and 14th. Soedergren had his first World Cup win in a classic race. His previous victories were all in Freestyle. He was very pleased that his back held up as he had to quit Tour the Ski due to back problems. However, he was not pleased with his skiing , even though he won. He said he skied much better at the Swedish National Championships and hoped to reach that form again for this upcoming World Championships in Liberec.
Anders wrote: " Today many of the top classic skiers looked a bit tired. I am sure they have been training hard for Liberec. Think the skiers will be a lot faster next Friday when we ski the 15 K. Before this race I had planned on not competing in the 15K classic race, but now I want to ski all the races. Even though I felt groggy today I managed to get reasonable speed, but I never thought I would win. Since I started in front of most of the top seeded 15K skiers I received few reports of where I stood. I feel quite satisfied."
Kris Freeman had a very good race finishing 16th, but the rest of the US team was nowhere. How is the US going to field a decent relay team at the World Championships?
January 30, 2009
Three Time Olympian Visits: Don Nielsen, Olympic X-C 1976 and Biathlon 1980 and 1984 has been a close friend of our family for almost 30 years. In 1991 Don moved to Greece and except for a few short visits to the US Don has lived in Greece for the last 17 years. On Saturday, January 10th, Don called from Boston after arriving on British Airways from Greece and stayed at our house for a few days before going to Hanover and then back to Boston to visit the Greek Consulate.
The main purpose of Don's visit was bureaucratic paperwork. Don was having trouble with his Greek residence visa and work permits. They claimed his passport was improperly stamped and he had to return to the US for additional paperwork. Don is now married to a very good looking woman from Greece. When our daughter died, Don planted an olive tree in her memory on the grounds of a monastery above Athens. It was really great to see him again.
Pre Olympic Races: What happened to the US distance skiers in Callaghan Valley? These results do not bode well for the World Championships in Liberec. Meanwhile the Canadians are doing very well. In the 30K pursuit there were seven Canadians ahead of the first US skier. When 20 year old Alex Harvey finishes over a minute ahead of the top US skier, something has to be wrong.
December 23, 2008
Wishing you all a wonderful Holiday: Nine days without power. Our son Erik arrived from Boulder last Friday, December 19, and we greeted him with no hot water and a very cold house, except for the kitchen where we have our wood burning stove. Friday afternoon we received a major snow storm which lasted until Saturday afternoon. Early Saturday morning I started plowing the driveway with my tractor when I noticed a big rig with a monstrous skidder and a 55 foot cherry picker. Two guys in a pick up truck drove up our driveway and said they were there to clean up the power line on our property. Frankly I did not know how they were going to get the skidder over the stone walls, but this monstrous rig just climbed over the stone walls breaking down small trees and bushes as if they were not there. Five hours later the crew of four had removed the trees and branches from the power line and the power company reconnected the line. We had heat and hot water for the first time in nine days. Below is a picture of the ice storm from our deck.
December 16, 2008
Being without electricity for five days is getting old: Like everyone on our hill, we have been without power for 5 days. Since we have electric heat our wood stove has been getting a real workout. The generator is hooked up to lights, a few 110 volt outlets and the well pump. No hot water and no baseboard heat, so cold showers are very quick. Hopefully power will be back in a few days. At the Jenex facility we never lost power. One of the few areas that did not go into a black out.
World Cup Standings very interesting: With Dario Cologna leading the overall World Cup and Johan Olsson leading the Distance, there is some new blood up front.
December 15, 2008
The Canadians had outstanding results in Davos: Team Canada is for real and Virpi Kuitunen simply awesome in classic.
December 7, 2008
World Cup X-C. Too early to tell what will happen later on: The real ski racing starts after Christmas, but to date all three Scandinavian ski countries are doing better than at any time in the last 10 years: Today, Virpi Kuitunen showed why she she is probably the best classic female skier in the world today. She destroyed everyone in the second classic portion of the relay, putting Finland 40 seconds ahead of second place Sweden. ( According to my Finnish friends, Virpi is still using V2- 910K for her classic training. )
After that impressive performance by Finland, everyone else was just a question mark. Norway and Sweden battled it out for second place and Charlotte Kalla of Sweden just managed to beat Kristin Steira of Norway for the second place.
Men's Relay: Petter Northug is a very fast finisher: Same as two weeks ago, Petter and Marcus from Sweden were battling for the finish. Emmanuel Jonnier of France skied like crazy to make sure that Italy and Germany did not catch the front team of three. Poor guy. Pushing like hell to make the podium before Italy or Germany, knowing that drafting behind him and probably saving 5+ heartbeats per minute, ( a lot of energy ) were two of the best relay finishers in the world. Petter who is an unbelievable finisher, beat Marcus and Emmanuel, who did all the work for almost 10 K. ( Emmanuel did hid job, he beat Italy. But, maybe he deserves more for all that hard work. )
December 6, 2008
On December 2, told Marty Hall that Anders would be top ten in today's World Cup: Marty chided me because I forgot to mention Stefan Kuhn's good effort in Kuusamo. After Anders cancer operation on November 21, he was not able to train for a week, but he was so turned on when he found out he did not have to have chemo that he was just aching to race. So, only fifteen days after his operation he finishes 6th, less than 7 seconds out of first place. However, being a mass start this race turned out to be another bicycle tour. Vitoz tried to pull away, but the pack caught him. On the last of the eight 3.5 K laps anyone of 30 skiers could have won the race. Anders went out in front on the last lap and tried to get a gap in the steep hills where he is very strong, but he was unable to pull away from the pack and not being a good sprinter let 5 skiers pass him coming in to the finish. Petter Northug, who is probably the best sprinter of the distance skiers, won by 0.2 seconds. I still say mass starts in races that are less than 50 kilometers long is a crap shoot and does not determine the overall best skier as a good sprinter has a big advantage.
Babikov unbelievable: While most skiers require a week to two weeks to adjust when crossing the pond, this guy just hops on a plane a couple of days before the race and finishes in the top ten. He did not leave for Europe until last Tuesday. He has done this many times before. If I remember correctly, he flew from Canada to Russia just before the Russian Championships and won a race. Then he hopped on a plane back to Canada and a few days later won another race. What's your secret Ivan?
Marcus Hellner for real: When Marcus won the first World Cup of the season it was a big surprise and the following day he almost won the relay. In today's race he went out in front several times and pulled the pack. This was just his second World Cup this season as he did not compete in Kuusamo. He recently switched ski brands and he was having trouble getting his skis sorted out so, instead of racing in Kuusamo, he was testing skis. This very young skier finished 16th today, less than 20 seconds out of first place. Marcus probably needs another year or so to do really well in 30K. He was in the top group until 5K before the finish, then he started dropping back, loosing about 4 seconds per kilometer. Will be interesting to see how he does in the relay tomorrow.
I expected Johan Olsson to be in the top ten, and he would have, but while in the lead group he broke a ski pole just 2K before the finish and dropped from top ten to 20th. After getting a new pole he skied very fast and gained eight places, finishing 12th.
December 4, 2008
Zach Caldwell called to give an update on his European trip: As usual when Zach calls it ends up being a very long conversation. He filled me in on the races from Gallivare and Kuusamo. A lot of interesting little details I did not get from my Swedish contacts. This coming Friday Zach flies to Ottawa with Gunnar to install the new Tazzari stone grinder. ( Maybe little Gunnar is the real stone grinding genius.) Lars Svensson and Zach were to have installed the stone grinder together, but in the end of October Lars's had an accident in Italy. ( A motorcyclist flew through the window of Lars car and the motorcyclist was killed instantly. Lars was knocked unconscious as apparently the motorcycle helmet hit Lars in the head and he sustained severe head injuries. After a hospital stay in Italy he returned to Sweden, but was not ready to meet Zach in Ottawa. )
Sunday November 30, 2008
A Good day for the US and Canada: With Devon Kershaw placing 5th, Andy Newell 11th, Stefan Kuhn 15th, Kris Freeman 16th and Kikkan Randall 23rd, it was a good weekend for North America. More interesting for me than the final finish was analyzing the pace strategy of the top twenty men in the 15 K classic. The winner Martin Johnsrud paced himself very evenly, 4th at 2.5K, 4th at 8.1K, 1st at 13.1K. Second place Lucas Bauer started very slowly, 44th at 2.5 K, 17 seconds behind the eventual winner after just 2.5K. He then moved up rapidly and was 7th at 8.1K and 2nd at 13.1K. Andrus Veerpalu, who finished 7th overall, was 40th at 2.5K then moved up steadily, but he had to make up some 16+ seconds from his position after 2.5K. That's a lot.to loose in the first 2.5K.
Devon paced himself very well. He was 5th at both 2.5 and 8.1K, 6th at 13.1K and picked up one place in the last 2K. Kris Freeman also paced himself quite well as he was 13th at 2.5, 10th at 8.1 and 14th at 13.1.
Tuesday November 25, 2008
Great News! Anders is OK: Anders wrote on his home page: It's been tough waiting to hear from the hospital after my surgery last week. After the operation my mental pendulum has swung between hope and disaster. Dr. Goeran Beskow, the head Doctor and the person who operated on Anders last Friday, called Anders at 14:00 this afternoon and told Anders all tests showed he was OK and he can begin training again.
Anders wrote that the news was more shocking than when he found out he had to have the operation. "I pinched myself in the arm and danced with joy around the floor in our apartment. Tomorrow morning I am training again. Actually I went out and trained this morning before I heard from Doctor Beskow. I can skate OK, it is just painful when I classic ski, so have to take it easy with classic for awhile. I contacted Joakim Abrahamson and Magnus Ingesson and told them I was ready for the Team again and want to race in La Clusaz in France on December 6th and 7th. I have now won something that feels even better than my two victories in Holmenkollen."
Sunday November 23, 2008
It's called the Gunde Effect: After Sweden finished second in the relay today, without Anders Soedergren or Mathias Fredriksson, and then the Swedish woman getting third, Gunde was so happy it was reported he had tears in his eyes. The Swedish Newspapers are calling the two Gold yesterday and today's Silver and Bronze "the Gunde Effect." In just a year Gunde has the Team back on track. The skiers are happy, the coaches are happy, there is camaraderie and unity again. The year before, with coaches not listening to skiers and vice versa, it seemed nobody was really happy.
About Gunde: This is probably in the Archive section of this News Page. When Gunde quit racing I was really upset. He had another five to eight years to show he was the best ever in X-C skiing. ( By quitting early, Daehlie beat him. ) My good friend, Ferry Grill, advised Gunde that he had accomplished enough and that he should quit. Thirty World Cup victories + all the Olympic and World Championship Gold. Gunde listened to Ferry and quit early. After Gunde ended his career he was not himself for awhile. Shortly after quitting ski racing, he started auto racing. Ferry, my wife Anita and I watched Gunde in an auto race in Austria. ( Gunde had asked us to come to the race.) He did pretty well, but did not win. It was obvious he missed ski racing and just had to find another way to compete.
Gunde is not your ordinary X-C skier. He is an extremely intelligent and very focused person. He became the host of many Swedish TV programs, from Sports / Game shows to Food shows. He is a true entrepreneur. He owns Porsche and Opel Auto Dealerships, consulting companies and more. Gunde could excel in almost anything. The skiers on the Swedish Team are just ignited by the fact that this legend is now their leader. This bodes well for Swedish X-C country. They need a true leader.
Labor Content in Composite Shafts: We knew the material cost would be very high, but we underestimated the amount of labor required to build the composite shafts. We have made some important progress, but we have a long way to go. We are now looking at much more advanced automation.
Saturday November 22, 2008
Anders watches on TV, while Marcus Hellner & Charlotte Kalla win this seasons first World Cup: Anders said there was no risk that he would fall asleep watching today's races. Last week Anders beat the winner in today's race by a minute. He said he wanted so much to race today. Meanwhile the 23 year old Marcus took a giant step by winning his first World Cup. Marcus has in the past shown that he is very fast in the last three kilometers. If he is doing well with just three k to go he has a very good chance. Anders said that Marcus has the ability to give everything in the end. Anders tipped him to be in the top ten, but not to win the race.
After watching Charlotte Kalla completely outclass the field, with second place finisher Marit Bjoergen 25 seconds back, and Marcus winning Anders said he had a let down. Later he took the dogs for a walk, but he did not exactly take very long steps after the removal of his testicle yesterday. He said that right now the worst thing is not knowing what's going to happen. The doctors have promised him all tests will be done by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. If he does not have to take chemo, he could be back very quickly. Things happen so fast. This last Wednesday Johan Olsson ( 8th today ) and Anders were doing intervals together. Let's hope he can return quickly.
Kris Freeman and Devon Kershaw both do well: Kris Freeman finished 20th today, just 46 seconds out of first place and Devon was 28th. A little more time in Europe and they might be in the top ten. (See Kris Freeman's column by Zach )
November 21, 2008
Anders Soedergren does not deserve this: After destroying the other Swedish skirs at the tryout races last weekend, Anders found out this week that he had cancer in his right testicle and was operated on early this morning. Magnus Ingesson, who is a member of Gunde's Leadership group said he had been in contact with Anders after he came home from the hospital today. Magnus himself had testicular cancer in 1994 and missed a whole ski season.
The Swedish Team are devastated. Anders is the number one male distance skier and has won Holmenkollen twice. Gunde is probaly afraid he might loose Anders for the whole season, let us hope not. Anders is an incredibly nice guy, not just a great skier. The Norwegians cheered Anders as much as their own countrymen in the last Holmenkollen. Let us pray that he recovers quickly.
November 19, 2008
Just my Personal Ramblings on the Financial Crisis: For over seventy years people in America have been told: "As GM goes, so goes the Nation." History shows that it's been a pretty accurate statement. Right now, the US and GM are both in what is probably the worst financial crisis since I was born, and that was over 70 years ago. GM stated two days ago that it will run out of money in less than two months, but now they say eight months. GM is desperately looking for cash and has asked the government for a bailout. The really sad part is that the government is also broke. With the cost of the war in Iraq / Afghanistan, and insufficient tax revenues, the government has the largest budget deficit in the history of this country and it's mounting faster than the experts had predicted.
What started as a war in Iraq and housing problem in the US, where banks and other financial institutions purchased and sold paper derivatives that most fiduciary experts did not understand, has turned into a global meltdown. People were told these were safe investments. A town in Norway decided that these US investments would be helpful for their town in the future and put in some very serious money. The Norwegian town is now practically broke. Not many months ago, Iceland was a wealthy country. (Wealthier per capita than the US.) Because of inadequate US financial regulations, Iceland is now bankrupt.
I think it is important that we save GM. For a long time, GM has been criticized for poor management with short term thinking, poor planning, etc. The management should probably be replaced, but we should try to save the company. GM is the largest manufacturing company in the US. For over 60 years GM was the world's largest auto company. GM is now almost broke and rival Toyota has over $100+ billion in reserves. (Toyota passed GM as the world's largest auto company this year.) Today it was announced that a GM car from Opel won the European award for the best new car in Europe. This is good news for GM and bodes well for future GM products as this very good new platform will be used for the Chinese built Buick, as well as other GM cars from Korea and Europe. ( It costs $billions to develope a new platform and the platform is the foundation of a car. If the platform is poor, you simply cannot build a good handling safe car. ) With thousands of North American sub contractors dependent on GM, the ripple effect if GM goes under, could be so great that US unemployment could hit double digit figures. The highest since the 1930's.
The three American automobile companies, GM, Ford and Chrysler are all on the rope. Chrysler was saved by the government once before and, in my opinion, does not deserve to be saved again. Saving Ford might be a different story. (My experience with Chrysler products has not been good. With less than 85,000 miles on the Jenex company Caravan we have replaced the engine at 68,000 miles, transmission at 73,000 miles, rear differential at 28,000 miles, ( It's an all wheel drive.) and twice the brake lines and serpentine belt tensioner have broken. Luckily I was driving the van both times when the brakes failed. It was a scary experience both times! The only other time I lost the brakes was also in a Chrysler, many years ago, when I was coming down Laurel Canyon in Hollywood and thought I might be killed.
The Jenex Caravan car has been towed to the dealer six times. Without the supplementary 100,000 mile - 7 year warranty the car would have cost us a fortune.) My personal car has been the same brand for over 35 years.Just five cars in 35 years and I have driven some 750,000+ miles with them. All over Europe, United States and Canada. I have never been towed, never had an engine, transmission or any other failure that caused me to be stranded. This brand just runs and I love it. (During the 35 year period I also owned some supplementary Porsches. They are exciting cars, but I had both engine and transmission failures and they are expensive to fix.)
Obama is probably facing more problems than FDR in the great Depression. For the first time in history we have a 10 trillion dollar National debt. That's $32,895 per capita. If we add unfunded Medicaid, Social Security, Medicare, Veterans pensions and other obligations, this figure rises to $59.1 Trillion, or $516,348 per household. Unemployment, bancruptcies, house foreclosures, a devastating imbalance in exports vs. imports and the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has the country reeling. What happens when all the baby boomers apply for Social Security and Medicare? (The youngest of the baby boomers are still under 50.) If we don't start paying for these services now, future generations will be killed by the tax burden.
Anyone that's run a business, large or small, knows that you can't borrow money forever. The same for any Government. Eons ago, when my partner and I started the electronics company, that reached sales of over $1billion per year, we needed substantial start up capital. Our business plan indicated that we would not reach positive cash flow until the end of the third year. So, we needed enough money to pay for salaries, tooling and capital equipment for at least three years. Our investors did not try to micro manage us, they left us alone, but we still had to present a yearly report of our financial condition against the plan. If we did not meet objectives, they could have pulled the plug on us. Fortunately we did very well and reached positive cash flow about six months before our projection.
United States used to be the ultimate icon in business. Over the last 45 years I have travelled out of the United States many times every year. ( Especially when our electronics company had manufacturing sites in both the US, Europe and Japan.) Now when I travel overseas I find the US is no longer the business glamorate. Most of our sub contractors no longer buy American made manufacturing equipment like our company did in the 70's and 80's and early 90's. Why? Japanese and European capital equipment is now better. More efficient and more reliable. ( Every one of our major sub contractors rely on Japanese or European CNC production equipment.)
Obama, and the leaders of all countries, are facing a very different world. It is no longer an American or European economy, it's a world economy. When something happens to the economy in Japan, China, the US or India it affects us all. Let us hope that people with sound minds and world cooperation can solve this crisis. We need intellectual leaders, not just politicians. We will recover, but because of the mistakes we have made, a lot of what needs to be fixed in the US, like infrastructure, health care and education, will take a back seat to the economy. Bush has put Obama in a hell of a bind!
October 24, 2008
Endurance Record: Sometimes you read an article that really blows your mind. The article was written by David Brown in the Washington Post. The bar-tailed godwit, a plumb shore bird, migrates from Alaska to New Zealand and vice versa, without stopping. The birds fly non stop 11,732 kilometers ( 7,242 miles). The birds expend energy at eight to ten times the energy expended at rest and do it continuously for up to 200+ hours. Energy expenditure in the Tour the France bike race peaks at about 6X over resting energy expenditure. The birds were equipped with satellite transmitters that weighed less than 28 grams. The birds weigh about 650 grams, half of which is fat which they burn off completely during their flight. One female, which are larger than the males, landed in New Zealand eight days after departing from the Yukon Kuskiwim Delta of Alaska and averaged 61 kilometers per hour for 192 hours without a single stop. As endurance skiers, maybe we should study these birds a bit more. Obviously fat is a very good fuel.
Complaints about Aero 125 - 150's: In the last nine years we have sold well over 10,000 Aero roller skis. Over the years we have received hundreds of letters and phone calls praising the Aero's. Those who train on Aero's have won numerous Olympic Gold medals, in fact over 10. We have skiers like Bill Knight, who is extremely strong, tall and weighs 100 kg. ( 220 # ) and has been skiing on the Aero since they were first introduced. He has never had a problem with Aero's. Bill is a smooth skier and coaches High School skiers. Phil Shaw skied around the world on Aero's and never had a flat. His first ski was from Newfoundland to Vancouver. Phil weighs 86 Kg. ( 190# ) And top skiers like John and Bruce Bauer just love the Aero.
This person claimed the frames are very soft and the forks bend easily. He switched to 125's and found tire life to be very poor and he gets a lot of flat tires. When comparing the tire life of 150 to 125 the 125 tires do wear out much faster. This means that you must replace the tires quite often. They are not only smaller in diameter they are also narrower which means they are under much higher stress.This person weighs just 75 Kilo's ( 165 pounds ). The frames being soft is a stunner. In the lab we apply a load to the frame, in the center, of 2000 Newton's (440 pounds) for 1,000,000 cycles. All V2 frames must be able to meet 1,000,000 cycles. The deflection of the shaft of an Aero at this load is about 3 mm.
His other complaint was that we do not have an e mail link. The reason we eliminated the e mail link was because we simply received more inquiries than we could answer, like one weekend over 440 e mails. How do you answer 200+ e mails a day and stay in business? Instead we have a toll free number to call. I just don't know how to answer his complaints. What am I supposed to say? Maybe this person should be on solid rubber tires. Help me here!
October 22, 2008
New STAR Glide wax chart now available: Andreas Forneman, is now the STAR man in Sweden as Lars Svensson is working full time with Tazzari. Andreas and Lars have fantastic ski wax experience and Andreas has made a very good chart for old and new snow. It's on the Index page or click on the link here .FASTER SKIS.
October 16, 2008
New England's magic colors: While stacking firewood last Saturday I kept looking at the beautiful colors of the trees. As the sun had already moved too far towards the west to get any good pictures, decided to take some pictures on Sunday morning. From our house we can see many of the Monadnock mountains and just down the street is a farm with very nice scenery. Here are a couple of pictures, the first from our house, the second from the farm. In the farm picture with the pond, there are a bunch of geese in front of the pond and between the trees on the left can be seen one of the many cows that share the farm with donkeys, horses and small goats.
October 12, 2008
John Bauer called: John called to say hi, but also to let me know that he had recently gotten two flats on his favorite skate skis, the Aero 150S. He just had new tires put on and right after that he had the flats. He said he had skied for years without a flat. Said the 150's were so bulletproof he never carried a spare wheel when he skied. He suspected that the tubes got pinched when the new tires were installed. He was using a different shop to install the tires.
Sending him two new wheels today, with factory installed tubes & tires. After some 40,000 tires and tubes we have found the 150's to be very reliable.
October 6, 2008
Tire testing by Duncan Douglas: As noted earlier, Duncan is one of the skiers we use for tire testing. When Duncan did his extreme interval training on September 23, we changed the tires on his XL98 roller skis. Duncan had been testing two compounds that we call compound A and B. Duncan had one ski with an A rear wheel and one with a B rear wheel. Likewise on the front.
It took about 150 miles ( 245 km ) before Duncan could see any wear difference. Compound B tested slightly better in the lab and we expected B to be the best. After 245 kilometers Duncan called and said B was holding up better. That is the compound used in the new XL100 and XL98 tires. Duncan skis a lot in very steep terrain and he is unusually powerful. Shown below is a photograph of the B rear wheel after some 570 kilometers compared to a new wheel. The overall diameter had decreased by some 7.5 mm and the shape was very different from the original tire. Considering the terrain and speed that Duncan averaged ( about 17 kilometers per hour ) the tires held up quite well. Duncan skis with a GPS, so he knows exactly how far he has skied. Another good skier recently reported that on chip seal the tires wore a lot quicker.
October 2, 2008
Paul Daly called: Had not heard from Paul for quite some time. Just last week Duncan Douglas and I were talking about Paul. Paul was Duncan's coach for one year at St.Lawrence. Paul also coached our son Erik.
Paul said he was training and getting back in good shape, both running and roller skiing. He was looking for new wheels for his roller skis. Sound like Paul will be racing again. Know that one year Paul was National Masters Champion. We had a long conversation, so long that Paul was almost late for his next teaching class. Many years ago our daughter Berit sang at Paul's wedding.
September 28, 2008
Skiing in New Zealand: In June Alexie Sotskov left for New Zealand to be a coach for two + months. While there he e mailed a few times and when he returned he called me. He said New Zealand was just fantastic and that the Snow Farm had the best snow conditions he had ever encountered. One day while skiing a distinguished lady asked him if he was Alexie Sotskov. He said yes and she said: "Welcome to New Zealand." Alexie did not know who she was, but he had seen her face before. It was Helen Clark, the Prime Minister of New Zealand. She likes to X-C ski. Can you imagine Bush doing something like that?
There is a very nice roller ski video on youtube from New Zealand. The skier is Nat Anglem, the best X-C skier in New Zealand who has already earned FIS100 points. Because of the road surface in New Zealand, Nat told us it's very hard to ski on anything but Aero roller skis. Click on the link and enjoy the beautiful scenery of New Zealand while he cruises on Aero 125's. If the link does not work,when you get to youtube the title of the video is XC ski training NZ
September 24, 2008
Robert "Duncan" Douglas interval training: Yesterday afternoon I met Duncan at Miller State Park in Temple, NH, just 20 minutes from V2 Jenex. Duncan had called me the week before saying he wanted to meet and also to do some extreme long uphill interval training. If he wanted extreme I told him we had the perfect place. It's the fire tower road to Pack Monadnock mountain. 1.4 miles ( 2.3 km) with 900 feet ( 275 meters ) of vertical, the last part is a 23% grade. Pavement is not that bad and during the week very little traffic, which is limited to 15 mph.
Have known Duncan since 1990 and we have talked on the phone a million times, but we had never met. The former Olympian is in awesome shape. When it comes to climbing long steep hills, he is probably the best in the country. His technique is not what I would call graceful so on a rolly course with shorter hills he is good, but not outstanding. He gains his time in the long steep up hills and did he display his prowess in the steep hills yesterday. We used to have a yearly roller ski race to the top of Pack Monadnock, and from the bottom to the top I have never seen anyone skate up faster than 13' 45" and there were some very good skiers like John Sacket, and Sten Seeman in those races and they were using faster skis than the XL100R.
Duncan decided that he wanted to do 4 intervals, the first for warm up, then three very hard intervals followed by a fifth warm down. I was there to drive him down from the top. While I drove him down, Duncan took his lactate measurements. In his warm up ski he did it in 13'30". The next ski was an incredible 12' 15", and three and four were both under 12'40". In my opinion his lactate levels were very low as in the 13'30" ski it was 3.2 and his pulse in the first ski in the 170's on the 23% grade and just about 180 even in the next three tries. It was simply an awesome display of uphill power. The top picture is in the middle of the 23% grade, the bottom picture at the top when Duncan was checking his time and pulse rate.
So, Duncan skied almost 3,600 feet (1,100 meters) of vertical for a total distance of 9.2 kilometers in less than 50 minutes.
September 19, 2008
New XL 100 & XL98 tires have arrived: The new tires have three differently sized nano particles for enhancing the rubber, making it more durable and more lively. The smallest of these particles measures 20 billionths of a meter. What this means is that the tires will have more energy return, making them faster, and the tires will be more abrasion resistant. No need to worry that the skis will be too fast, as the ISR ( internal speed reducer ) can be installed to increase rolling resistance.
We are still trying to catch up on the long back log for XL100 and XL98 roller skis. The 98m has a more rounded profile as can be seen in the XL100 &98 catalog. The 98 tires also weigh about 25 grams less. However,with the smaller XL98 tires you will loose some ground clearance.
August 4, 2008
Duncan has put another 150K on the XL100's: Duncan called today and said he had put another 150 K on the skis since his last report. At 150K he could not really see any real difference between wheel compound A and B. However, after 300K he said B is better. This is what we would have expected based on the formulation so it made the engineers happy to see that sometimes science actually works in the real world.
August 1, 2008
XL100 roller skis: Duncan, along with Adele Espy and Dick Taylor have the XL100 skis with a more durable rubber compound. Because nano particles in the 10 to 20 nanometer range are very hard to mix into the rubber, rubber companies often try to cheat by using larger easier to mix particles. But, you need the small particles to get good abrasion resistance. We are now convinced the first production batch did not contain the specified particle size and we are waiting for another production lot to arrive. Meanwhile we did receive a few tire samples that we were told met our specification and they are being tested by Duncan, Adele and Dick.
Last Tuesday Duncan called me and said he had skied some 150 kilometers on the new tires and that they looked quite good. He said he really loved the feel of the skis. Yesterday I received an e mail from Dick Taylor stating that the skis were marvelous. Adele and Dick have only had the skis two weeks and I don't know how may K's they have skied. Dick said he would report back in about two weeks.
July 24, 2008
STAR Speed Traps and XL100R roller skis: Yesterday Ian Harvey called. Haven't talked to him in over a year, usually when he calls to order some roller ski stuff I am not here. He ordered a couple of the STAR Speed Traps and a pair of the XL100's with a brake. Ian went to Holderness School, the same school our daughter Berit graduated from and my wife and I saw Ian ski when he was quite young. When I told my wife Ian has two kids, the oldest being 12 she could not believe it. It was fun catching up with him.
July 22, 2008
Video by Bill Hegman of the Mountain Top Roller Ski Race: As a roller ski company we get a chance to look at the condition of roller skis from all parts of the world. We often find that novice skate skiers damage the shafts and forks of the ski by tipping the ski in an abnormal manner. After observing a lot of skiers, and after talking to a number of coaches, the technique problems that contribute to this excessive ski tilt include the following: ( See picture above )
1-Pushing the ski too far sideways instead of pushing vertically. 2- Pushing backwards so the foot and ski get behind the hip. 3- Letting the ankles twist inward, like a novice skier learning to herringbone. 4- Feet to wide, so the skis are not under the hip. All of these problems are exaggerated when skiing up a very steep hill. Think the video of Duncan Douglas on Youtube shows that you don't have to be scraping asphalt to get up a steep hill at very rapid pace. It's truly worth watching and I would like to thank Bill Hegman for putting it on the NENSA sight. Go to NENSA and watch the video. DUNCAN
July 20, 2008
XL100R now with Carbon Fiber: The composite shafts of the XL 100 were originally reinforced with fiber glass. The latest skis use carbon fiber which is both lighter and stronger. The pictures below show the ski viewed from the front top and the bottom of the ski with the distinctive carbon texture. This is what one coach wrote us. "Bottom -line -- these are clearly the best rollerskis I've ever been on. This shaft is SO MUCH better than any previous shafts, it's not even worth comparing."
July 19, 2008
Duncan Douglas is amazing for his age: The above picture was taken last year when Duncan won the roller ski race in Lake Placid. Last Sunday I saw on the NENSA sight that Duncan had won again, and by a very sizable margin, 50.8 seconds. It was not until Duncan called me on Monday that I found out he stayed with the lead pack and did not make his move until he was less than 2.5 kilometers before the finish. To ski 51 seconds faster than Anders Folleraas and the rest of the young skiers in less than 2.5K is quite a feat.
Right now Duncan is testing some new tire compounds for the XL100. Since he skis over 200K a week he is a good tester. In the laboratory the new compounds displayed outstanding dynamic characteristics. To test tires we run the tires at a constant 30 kilometers per hour under a load of 220 Newton's. After one hour the tires typically show a temperature rise over ambient of about 30 to 55 degrees Centigrade. Both of these new formulations had a temperature rise of less than 22 degrees Centigrade and a lower rolling resistance than the present XL100 tires. Normally when ordering custom rubber products you do not specify the formulations, only the final parameters you are looking for. This time I stipulated all of the most important ingredients. Abrasion resistance should be much better on these tires.
Foot Angulation when skating up hill: A good young skier who had received some XL100's stated that he bottomed out on the skis when skiing up hill. Since he had the medium flex shafts and he only weighs 140 pounds (64 Kg.) we found this most surprising. He came in to see me and he showed me the angle of the skis when going up hill. He basically had the skis lying almost flat. He did not bottom out the shaft. He bottomed out the wheel forks. The XL 100 has the narrowest shaft and the narrowest wheel forks of any roller ski we make, and the result is that the XL100 can be tipped more than any other model we make. If this young skier had been on the V2-850, the skis used in the NENSA roller ski series, he would have bottomed out with the foot tipped 20 degrees less than on the XL100. When skating, the more you tip the skis the slower the skis. You don't see top skiers doing this on snow or on roller skis.
The day after this young skier visited us I received an e mail from Dick Taylor, one of the best coaches I know, requesting a pair of XL100's for Adele Espy. In his letter Dick said:
"Narrow wheels give a more ski like balance and the 100 mm diameters put them over rough surfaces more smoothly. Mainly, they require a more complete and subtle weight shift in order to push off more vertically, as opposed to the side." The picture of Duncan above was taken after he passed Kris Freeman. This is a very steep section in the race at Whiteface. That's about maximum foot angulation for going up a very steep hill.
April 4, 2008
Gunde Svan Cleans House: Bengt Station has resigned from the Swedish Ski Association. Gunde said that Bengt responded in a very mature manner during this difficult process. Basically Gunde has temporarily dismissed everyone so he can organize from scratch. In an interview with Laengd.Se, Gunde answered a number of questions.
LSE: You have let everyone go? Yes, I want to start with a clean paper and formulate my own plans. The picture must be visible, clear and maximized.
What do you mean by maximized? We are good at telling the skiers how to train, pole, skate and diagonal. But, we must place much more emphasis on how to be better leaders. I think we can do a much better job by making sure we have the right people doing what they can do best.
Now you are looking for a Dream team? In my organization I want to have the best there is. I want people, who I think, can really contribute. In this analytical process I am thinking exactly the way I did when I was competing. The worst thing you can do is to become complacent when things are going well. To win you always have to be one step ahead of the others.
Who, of those presently no longer employed, will be with the Team in the Future? That I can't tell you today. There will be changes, but what changes has not been decided. This is a complicated puzzle and I am constantly evaluating different scenarios to see what might be best for the majority.
You are not afraid that you will loose some of the most competent people? I know many are weighing different options, but I am not afraid of the future.
Do you think there will finally be some kind of order in the Swedish Ski team? I hope to present a good organization that will work for the majority. However, I doubt that everyone will be pleased and happy.
When will you announce the National Team training group? Within a few weeks. I am responsible for the team, but I want to announce the team in conjunction with those who will be the coaches for the men and women's team.
What are the Competitors saying? We had a very good meeting a week ago where everyone had a chance to be heard. We discussed a lot of the organizational questions that I am now struggling with.
March 29, 2008
New XL100R Roller ski nomenclature: With three different shafts and three wheel combinations, the nomenclature became rather confusing. We think we have reduced potential confusion by making the nomenclature more meaningful and simpler. To see the latest nomenclature description of the XL100R and for more data on the product itself you can click this link: NOMENCLATURE.
The new XL100R ad that will be running in Trax magazine also has more information on the XL100R. Click below to see the ad and get more information on the XL100R. TRAX AD.
ALL WHEEL DRIVE: As an engineer, and a car nut, I have always been fascinated with various all wheel drive systems. It became pretty obvious to me many years ago that Haldex made the world's best all wheel drive systems. Haldex are used by Audi, the latest Range Rover, Volvo and by Bugatti Royal, at 1200 HP, the world's most powerful production car. It was literally impossible to drive the Bugatti without the Haldex system. However, all these cars use the earlier generation 1, 2 and 3 systems. This last summer Saab introduced a new 9-3 with generation 4 Haldex, called XWD ( Cross Wheel Drive ). It's far more sophisticated than anything before and includes a Saab designed electronic limited slip differential. To showcase the new development, Saab invited hundreds of automotive journalist from around the world to Sweden last summer. To show how the new Saab X handled with this XWD system, SAAB set up a very difficult gymkhana race course and made available some of the world's best handling cars to be driven by professional drivers, so they could compare them to the new SAAB. The cars included BMW -M series, Infinity 35, Audi and many other top handling cars, including the 420 HP all wheel drive Porsche Carrera.
Turned out that the small 9-3 with XWD had the fastest time of all cars, beating the Porsche Carrera, which was second. Porsche was embarrassed. Yesterday, Porsche announced that future all wheel drive Porsches will use the Haldex / SAAB system. The SAAB X should be available in the United States in April, but it is my understanding that almost all 9-3X allocated for United States for 2008 have been sold.
March 28, 2008
Making Progress on the new XL100R: This has been a tumultuous week. We received new composite tooling, three new injection mold products, one mold had to be modified as the material shrinkage did not follow the typical pattern, plus we had to evaluate a bunch of other new parts. In the middle of this I started feeling sick enough to have to go home. Felt dizzy and nauseous and fell asleep in the middle of the day. Still not feeling OK, but need to get the new production line going. It's always the same with any product that deviates from the conservative norm.
Over the last 12 months we have introduced a lot of new and better, products. The products include the XL brake, which is superior to the original Universal brake. The XL Speed Reducers, which are far better than the original speed reducer and the much improved wheel forks on the Aero 125 / 150 models. And, now we are coming out with the most advanced roller ski composite shafts on the market along with a revolutionary internal speed reducer and a solid rubber split rim tire. See the NEW PRODUCTS section for the latest we have to offer.
However, one of the most ambitious project is still not in production. Some 24 months ago we began the development of a daring new microcellular tire. Initial testing looked so good we felt very confident that this 100 mm tire would be the ultimate for paved surfaces. The owner of the company that was to make the tire, decided to retire and there was no one in the company with enough technical knowledge, or innovative talent, to take over the project. About ten months later we found a German company with advanced microcellular technology. The employees at the German company, with an American plant, were very confident that the tire would work. But, after making hundreds of prototypes none of the tires have met our specifications.
The microcellular tire has been tested by a very good young skier. Yesterday, his father told me that his son thought the tire was as smooth, or even smoother than his pneumatic 125's. In the present format, the tire only works for very light skiers. The project is not dead, but we have not made any progress in the last six months.
March 21, 2008
A Few Pictures of the XL100R: The NEW PRODUCTS page has a few pictures of the composite shaft and the wheel and tire for the XL100R. ( You can click on NEW PRODUCTS here or above to open link. ) Most of the production components are now in stock, but we are still missing a few parts. We expect to begin assembly mid April and should be able to ship the last week of April.
March 20, 2008
STAR SKI WAX: Under STAR RACE RESULTS on the Index page you can see some of the races were STAR wax was very successful. You can open the link by clicking STAR RACE RESULTS here or above. We have, in most cases, listed the snow, humidity and temperature conditions and the wax combinations that worked best. STAR is becoming the dominant wax at many of Scandinavia's best ski clubs. If you look at the recent National Championships in Sweden, and at the World Junior Championships you will find that STAR was a big winner.
February 17, 2008
Thomas Alsgaard, Frode Estil and Anders Myrland of TEAM FAST enter Skinnarloppet: Just 2 weeks before Vasaloppet, the most important marathon race in the world, Skinnarloppet is a great tune up race. This race in Malung, Sweden is only 45 Kilometers long so you are not going to get totally wasted. The winner of last years Vasaloppet, Oskar Svaerd won today followed by Myrland, Frode Estil and Thomas Alsgaard. Svaerd was an easy winner and said he was trying to peak in the next two weeks.
Alsgaard is skiing well, but found he is not registered for Vasaloppet, but Frode Estil and Anders Myrland were both registered.
February 14, 2008
STAR SKI WAX: STAR is one of the most popular brands on the World Cup. Probably the most successful. We have a new link on our home page called STAR RACE RESULTS where we have listed the waxes used in some of the races.
Not really Brain Surgery: This last weekend at Vermont Academy many skiers had trouble with grip. Some tried "hairies", but these were not good conditions for that approach. Alexie Sotskov used STAR K3 for his skiers and they had excellent skis. Our kick wax recommendations clearly indicate that K3 should be used in these conditions. We made this chart to help people, but apparently nobody except Alexie used it. Our charts for Glide and Kick are in pdf format and can be found under FASTER SKIS on our index page.
February 10, 2008
What a great article by Ian Harvey: In the latest "Master Skier" Ian has a very refreshing article about ski technique. Harvey very clearly illustrates how the world elite ski with very different technique, both in classic, skate and double poling. It's a very good read by a person who knows how to ski. Can't stand the many articles by skiers, coaches and ski instructors who promote a specific technique. And many who insist you ski a certain way, have no credentials.
Skiers and coaches have told me that Lukas Bauer has poor classic technique. Maybe it's not traditional, but skiing is all about getting from point A to point B in the fastest time. As Ian stated, you have to find your own technique for getting from point A to point B in the most efficient manner. Lukas has dominated the World Cup in classic skiing this season including the Tour the Ski. When he returned to racing yesterday in Otepaa he was dominant again in the classic 15K. Kris Freeman was a very respectable 16th, but Kris was still 2 minutes behind Bauer. In a 15K, there are usually 20 to 25 skiers within 2 minutes of the winner, that simply shows how fast Bauer skied.
Ski Wax is now Hazardous Substance according to the US Customs and Homeland Security: This story is true. We received some ski wax from STAR on January eight. Robin informed me it was sold in just a few days and we ordered more wax. It was shipped by UPS Air from Italy on January 22nd. When February rolled around and no wax had arrived tracked the shipment on the UPS sight.
It arrived in Koeln, Germany on January 23rd. It was identified as a hazardous substance and returned to Italy. Somehow it left Italy again and arrived in Philadelphia on January 29th and was forwarded to Kentucky. We could not track it on the UPS sight any further. The UPS sight indicated the package never arrived in Kentucky. STAR had a trace on the package and on February 7th we found out the package had been returned to STAR in Italy. It will now be shipped to us again. It must be that F1 cocaine powder that is the hazardous substance.
Take a look at our Sale Items: We need more inventory space as we are now getting ready for the roller ski season so we have some additional winter items for sale including a few of the STAR dual microprocessor digital wax irons. These are without question the best digital irons made and we are now selling them at a very special price. Call our toll free number 1-877- V2-Jenex ( 1-877-825-3639 ) for the best deal possible.
January 31, 2008
The 1994 Double Pole Revolution: Before 1994 no on believed that you could just double pole the 90 kilometer Vasaloppet and finish among the top ten. The double pole revolution started with Staffan Larsson in 1994 when he was seriously injured and was in a cast so he could not diagonal. He could only double pole and at 78 kilometers he had moved into 1st place with 15,000 skiers chasing him. He finally tired, but only four skiers passed him in the last 12 kilometers and he finished 5th overall. Have reported on this before, but the video from the 2007 Vasaloppet reminded me again of the importance of double poling in today's races.
Vasaloppet is mainly a downhill race as you start at 350 meters elevation and finish at 165 meters. However, in the first three kilometers you climb to 540 meters, a climb of 190 meters ( 640 feet ) and that's a lot of vertical. From 26 kilometer to 32 kilometers in the race there is another climb of 120 meters ( 400 feet ) and from 33 kilometers to 37 kilometers you climb again some 50 meters ( 165 feet ). So even though the starting point is some 185 meters above the finish, there are some serious climbs in this race. What skiers realized when they saw Staffan almost win was that double poling is very efficient. Today, the elite who race Vasaloppet hardly take a single diagonal stride. The average skier still strides the race, but the top finishers double pole. SVT has 14 short videos from Vasaloppet, seven of them show skiing from various points on the track. In the seven videos I did not see one diagonal stride.Anyone interested in seeing the best marathon skiers in the world should look at these videos and this is how you can watch them.
Go to the V2 index page and click on SKI VIDEOS. In the horizontal SVT bar click on Skidor, then on Laengdskidor. Next click on Diverse Arkiv Laengd, then Vasaloppet 2007. ( The reason I did not link directly is because the change their videos quite often. By going to Skidor, you can see all their ski videos. ) There are 14 short videos, seven with skiing action. The videos clearly indicate that double pole is the king of speed in classic marathon races. Most elite skiers use just enough kick wax to help them in the first steep 190 vertical meter climb, but it is my understanding that some use no kick wax at all. When you see the speed they are traveling at, it's truly amazing. No way could you achieve this speed by trying to stride.
January 27, 2008
What a Difference a Day makes: First the Norwegian red army captures the five first places in the classic sprint. Then in the 15K Freestyle not a Norwegian in the top ten and in the Free Style Sprint not one Norwegian in the final six. Just amazing how quickly things can change. Now looking forward to the next World Cup in Estonia.
January 24, 2008
The Norwegian Red Army dominant in the World Cup Classic Sprints: In the sprint for men in Canmore, Norway captured the first five places. Don't think Norway will be this dominant in the Free style sprints. Andy Newell finished a respectable 17th, with Chris Cook 20th and Torin Koos 26th. For the women there was at least some diversity in the race, as in the top five we had Majdic from Slovakia in first, Jacobsen from Norway in second, Kowalczyk from Poland in third and Kuitunen from Finland in 4th. SVT Television had a brief video of the pursuit for women, but no footage of the pursuit for men.
January 23, 2008
World Cup 30K Pursuit in Canmore: Ten skiers finish within 3.8 seconds! You only have to look at the finish times to see how the skiers were skiing in packs, just like in a bicycle race. There have been several studies that show the increased energy expenditure when not drafting in skiing. To break away, and not be caught by the pack is extremely hard. The first group near the finish consisted of 21 skiers separated by 22 seconds and 18 skiers were within 8.9 seconds at the finish. Next was Kris Freeman, some 17 seconds behind the first group. The next group was a full minute behind Freeman so I suspect, without seeing any video, that Kris was in the first group when the speed increased. If you are not a pretty good sprinter, you really don't have much of a chance unless the last two kilometers is all up hill and a very strong skier could pull away. Kris was only 38.2 seconds behind the winner, while the next best US skier was over 4 minutes back.
January 21, 2008
Races canceled in Scandinavia due to lack of snow: Most of the cross country races were canceled in Scandinavia this last weekend due to lack of snow. The only place with a lot of snow is the Saelen - Idre area in the provence of Dalarna where they have 110 cm of natural snow. Saelen is where Vasaloppet starts. Idre, which is the Alpine area next door to Saelen, has the largest snow making facility for Alpine skiing in the world. This year Idre has had a micro climate all its own, as all the areas north and south of Idre are practically snow less, while Idre has over 110 cm of natural snow.
Many cross country ski areas that had invested in snow making also had to cancel races as the temperatures had been too high to make snow. The snow making for Vasaloppet is very close to Saelen so they have been able to make snow. To make sure Vasaloppet is not canceled they have installed massive snow making, enough to have sufficient artificial snow for a track 110 kilometers long. The Scandinavian web sites are full of articles about building more ski tunnels to keep X-C skiing from becoming an extinct dinosaur. As we know from climatologists, the northern areas of this planet are the predictors of global warming. Here in New England it is today very cold, but as we know from two weeks ago, things can change overnight.
Read a very interesting article about Global warming in a Dalarna newspaper. The contributor was a bus driver who, since 1970, had a bus route between Mora, the finish of Vasaloppet, and a town north west of Mora. He said that between 1970 and 1990 the snow was always hard packed on the road with virtually no melting until spring. ( They don't use salt. ) In the 90's there was periodic melting in the winter, ice formed and the roads became very slippery and sloppy. He said that every year since the early 90's the number of melt cycles had increased and the road conditions had deteriorated. I can relate to this. In the winter of 1983 I was working with L.M. Ericsson in Stockholm, Sweden and decided to drive to Rattvik to visit my parents. ( My parents moved from Westport, CT to Sweden in 1982. ) Just north of Stockholm the roads were completely covered with hard packed snow. Since no salt is used, the only time the snow melts on the road is if the temperature is above freezing. The roads were completely snow packed for the 300 kilometers to my parents place and the roads were exactly the same when I drove back to Stockholm three days later. During the 80's I worked in Sweden for a couple of weeks every winter and the road conditions north of Stockholm were just as the bus driver described, hard packed snow. Now, with thawing and freezing the roads are icy or sloppy and very dangerous, except of course when the roads have no snow in the winter which is happening more often.
January 18, 2008
Comments on doping by Dr. Bengt Saltin: The German Ski Association is apparently suing the reporters for ARD Television who claimed German skiers and biathletes were doped in a laboratory in Austria. Meanwhile Bengt Saltin, the famous doctor who discovered the effects of blood doping, said to Swedish Television this last Wednesday night that he knew several of the biathletes were doped and that there are at least three laboratories in Austria that are providing performance enhancing blood doping or other means of improving performance. According to the Austrian news bureau APA, swimmers, track and field and soccer athletes have also received banned substances in these laboratories.
Professor Saltin is right now working with the German anti doping agency to find out who has been using the facilities in Austria. What a mess.
A few comments on STAR ski wax from a Swedish Blog site: " After seeing how fast the STAR skis were this weekend my other brand will never be used again. From now on it's STAR." Janne
" Thanks for such fast skis on Saturday. They were rockets." Anna
"Thank you for waxing my skis last weekend. They were simply outstanding." Henrik
January 16, 2008
Charlotte Kalla must skip Canada: After the Tour win, which resulted in Kalla leading the World Cup in her first year as a Senior, she became ill. As a result of her win there was so much media attention that she must have been under a lot of stress. She is presently taking antibiotics and hopes to recover soon. She said this was the first time she had been sick in two years. Charlotte was really bummed out as the events to be held in Canada are her favorites.
German Athletes suspected of Doping: On September 2nd 2008, we reported on a highly developed German doping program that had been ongoing for over 30 years. Doctors at the University of Freiburg were the brains behind this program. Now the German TV channel, ARD, issued a report that a number of German athletes have recently visited a blood bank in Vienna where they supposedly received some high octane blood. According to ARD, those who visited the facility were German biathletes and cross country ski racers, some of whom, according to ARD were World Cup skiers.
After hearing the report by ARD biathlon coach Mussiggang said: " I have a hard time believing that any of our athletes are involved." Not the most positive statement from a coach. World and Olympic Heptalon Champion, Carolina Kluft said she thinks all world class athletes should be outfitted with a homing device so that all athletes locations could be monitored. She did not consider this an invasion of privacy as the homing device would simply identify where you are and where you have been. With Marion Jones finally admitting that she doped, and receiving jail time for lying to a Federal commission, it's about time we used the technology available to us to find out who these athletes visited and where they received their banned substances.
Rising Water: Just read a report by British scientists that the ice in the Antarctic is melting much faster than previous projections. ( Unfortunately I lost the report, but I do remember the most important facts.) At the rate the oceans water is rising, many cities will be under water by the year 2050. Many cities in Europe have already started programs to protect the cities from the higher water. The northern areas of our planet, those areas that were under some 3,000 meters of ice during the last ice age are somewhat fortunate as, even though the water is rising so is the land mass. The tremendous weight of the ice compressed the land mass and the area of compression is still coming back. This is very evident, especially in many parts of Scandinavia. If the scientists are correct, what will happen to New York when the ocean is one meter higher?
January 13, 2008
Ski Videos: If you click on the SKI VIDEOS on the V2 Index page you will be connected to Swedish TV. They have some fantastic videos of all sports. If you want to look at X-C skiing first click on Sport. You will then see a list of all sports. To view X-C, click on Skidor ( skiing ), then Langdskidor ( x-c). Some fantastic video from Tour de Ski, etc. They usually have good video of all ski events, Alpine and X-C. Note! Unfortunately not all videos can be viewed on computers outside of Sweden. To get a full screen view of the video simply click on the rectangle in the lower right corner of the video.
January 12, 2008
Global Warming: According to the experts on climatology and global warming, the changes in temperature, draught, rainfall, wind etc. are more dramatic than before global warming. On January 4, the temperature was -20C in the morning and on January 8 the temperature was +20C. That's a 40 degree Centigrade swing in four days. Took a picture of our driveway in the afternoon on January 6. As you can see below, we had a massive amount of snow. Took another picture in the afternoon on January 10th and it looked like summer. According to the local forecast we will get more snow tomorrow night.
STAR Ski Wax: This week we received some STAR wax that we ordered right after Christmas. If I remember correctly the wax arrived on the 8th. On Thursday, January 10th, Robin informed me that most of the wax we had ordered had been sold and we had zero inventory on several waxes that we just received. It's been impossible for us to project wax sales. When we look at the sales data for the last ten years, it just makes no sense.
January 6, 2008
Charlotte Kalla Wins Tour de Ski! This is her first year as a Senior on the World Cup circuit and she beats all the best including Bjorgen and Kuitunen. After Kalla, the next four skiers were over ten years older than Charlotte. If she does not pull a Per Elofsson by overtraining she could be both World and Olympic Champion. Anyone that can climb like she does is born with unusual aerobic capacity. She is an incredible climber, but starting 39 seconds behind Virpi, the leader after five events, I did not think it was possible for her to win. Gunde Svan and Charlotte set up a game plan where Kalla would go out slowly and then give everything she had in the steepest part. On the lower flatter section Virpi gained on Kalla and Charlotte found herself over 50 seconds behind. Here is an interview by the newspaper DN right after the race.
Were you worried when Virpi gained another 15 seconds on the flatter part? "Tried to forget it and ski smoothly. Know that I am very good in the steep sections" When did you first see Kuitunen? "Just when we started up the steepest portion. Then I started feeling really good because I was gaining on her. What did you think when you finally caught Virpi? " I just wanted to stay behind her and recover and not start my final surge too early." You spoke to Gunde just before you pulled away from Virpi. Why? "I wanted to be sure I did not start my sprint too early. Decided that when we hit the serpentine part I would go for it." When did you realize that you were going to win? "Just a few meters before the finish line."
Kalla's mother said that Charlotte was so determined and trained so hard they often had to put the brakes on her training.
January 3, 2008
Tour de Ski or Tour de Farce? In the last couple of days I have spoken to a number of skiers and coaches who think something is wrong when Lukas Bauer beats the best in the world by such margins. Does this remind you of Muehlegg in the 2002 Olympics? When Zach and I were watching Johan, Zach said to me that something was very wrong, Muehlegg must be doped. Many were skeptical and chided Zach, but Zach was right.
Found out today that no one has been tested in the Tour de Farce in the last three days. Odd Bjoern Hjelmeset made an ironic comment about Lukas superfast skis. Axel Teichman could not understand why they were not being tested. When Charlotte Kalla won on Tuesday she was not tested. Nobody is being tested.
When reporters from Sweden's largest newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, asked Jurg Cacol, who is in charge of the venue in Nove Mesto, why nobody is being tested he answered: "It's not always best to test at races, it's better to make surprise tests." DN Continued. "But is it not standard procedure to test the top three skiers in every World Cup Race? His answer was: "What's normal? It's the unexpected that gives us results."Sounds like a lot of do - do to me. WADA is simply not doing their job if they don't test every winner on the World Cup circuit.
STAR Ski Wax being tested for the 2010 Olympics: Today we shipped a massive amount of ski wax to Canada for testing in the unusual micro climate where the Nordic events will be held in the 2010 Olympics. Over the next two years Zach Caldwell will be testing wax and ski grinds for the US Team, and the test base is built around the STAR ski wax foundation. In the 2003 World Championships, when the US Ski Team had one of their best results ever, the US Ski Team used STAR almost exclusively.
December 31, 2007
Planet Earth: If you have not seen this magnificent series of 5 DVD's made by BBC, I urge you to watch it. It is simply mind boggling. The budget was almost unlimited and 40 photographers, accompanied by other professionals, spent five years making this series. This is what the New York Times wrote: "A tour de force.... A masterpiece. The Chicago Tribune made the following comment: " The best DVD of the year... an absolutely extraordinary achievement".
December 30, 2007
Tour de Ski: The third day of Tour de Ski just finished. The way the points system is configured, if you don't have luck in the sprints you can quickly be knocked out of contention. After the second day Lucas Bauer had a phenomenal lead, almost one minute, but after the Sprint he is now in second place. So many skiers fell, or were taken down by other skiers, that if Mother Luck was not on your side you could move down the results table at lightning speed. Charlotte Kalla, who was second before today's Sprint broke her pole and moved from second to 6th place. Marcus Hellner, second after the first two days was taken down by Svartedahl when Svartedahl fell, and Hellner moved from second to 9th after the Sprint. In some ways, the Tour is a crap shoot.
Three time Olympian called from Athens: On Thursday, December 27th, Don Nielsen called from Athens to let us know he had gotten married. Don moved to Greece in the early 90's. Don, who competed as a X-C racer in the 1976 Olympics and as a Biathlete in the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, has been a close friend of our family for some 25 years. Don spoke to my wife Anita, and said he would e mail more information about the wedding.
While training for the 1984 Olympics Don spent two weeks at our house. We had an excellent ski - running trail in the woods behind our house and a good spot for him to shoot. Also at that time we could roller ski almost anywhere, with very little traffic. Have lots of video of Don and our son Erik roller skiing. In the two weeks that Don was at our house he used up almost 3,000 rounds of ammunition. When our daughter Berit died, Don planted at Olive three in her memory on a beautiful hillside above Athens next to a monastery and he sent us several pictures of the tree and the plaque. Although we correspond regularly, we have not seen Don for a long time.
December 24, 2007
Happy Holidays! We wish you all the very best in 2008. We will not be at work this week. We realize that this can be an inconvenience to some of you, but when you work over 2,800 hours per year you need some time off. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( www.bls.gov.) the average full time employee in New Hampshire works only 2,000 hours per year. Most of my career I worked over 3,000 hours.
Our son Erik, who is home for the Holidays from Boulder, CO, set a nice little 0.7 K ski track in our field and we got in about 15 laps on Saturday afternoon. First time on snow in a long time.
Tour the Ski starts December 28: Not too sure I like this format, but according to many World Cup skiers web sites, most are looking forward to this duel.
December 21, 2007
New STAR Personal Crono Test has arrived: This is the most user friendly ski glide tester ever made. We have only a few in stock, but if you order and we are out of stock, we can obtain more in about two weeks. With the U.S. dollar being worthless against the Euro, the Crono ended up about $145 more than we estimated. See NEW PRODUCTS for pictures and info on this superior ski glide testing device.
December 3, 2007
Comments from Anders Soedergren after the Kuusamo race: Last weekend I was 3rd, today 17th. Just could not ski fast today. It felt just like I was doing a long distance training ski. After the race I was not even tired, could have gone three more laps without any problem. Sometimes the body just does not have another gear, you just have one speed. The skis were OK and the cold did not bother me.
Have another tune up race on Wednesday with a very strong field and on Thursday we leave for Davos. Looking forward to Davos, one of my favorite places to ski. Hope I have another gear there. Will stay in Davos for a week after the race to train so will not race in Rybinsk. My friend Thomas Alsgaard said he is going to make a comeback. Have trained with him a few times this year. When we were in Greenland, Thomas and I went for a 5 hour 20 minute run in very difficult terrain. You have to be in pretty good shape to be able to do that. Think Alsgaard is making a comeback just because he likes skiing, not just to try make the podium.
December 2, 2007
Excellent results for Andrew Newell and Kris Freeman in Kuusamo: With a 4th place finish in the sprint for Andrew and a 5th place finish in the 15 K classic for Kris, the US is off to a great start for this season. In the female section Norway continues to dominate with Marit Bjoergen leading the World Cup by over 100 points after only 4 races.
Maybe this will be a real winter: According to he latest forecast New England should be in for a major storm this afternoon. Last year I did not even mount the bindings on the skis Zach Caldwell picked out for me.
November 29, 2007
Jay Hakkinen 9th in a field of over 100: The Biathlon Season started today and Jay had a superb race. Jeremy Teela was 38th and Tim Burke 49th.
Dick Taylor and his wife Sally visit: Dick and Sally stopped by and I had a chance to see the modified Concept 2 rowing machine that Dick has turned into a very good poling machine. With an ingenious adapter the Concept 2 becomes a very good double pole trainer. We spent several hours discussing training and grabbed lunch at a good local restaurant. Dick left a German Nordic magazine which is the best I have seen to date. My German is very rusty, but will review what I can before I return the magazine to Dick. Dick Taylor used my racing suit that my Grandmother made when he raced at the Nationals and qualified for the Olympics.
November 28, 2007
Testing New Roller Ski Shafts: For snow skis there are a number of different flexes to suit different skiers. Roller skis are generally designed for a maximum weight, which means that for lighter skiers the shafts hardly deflect at all and if you are on solid tires, this means a very rough ride. Aluminum shafts are the most common, however to make them last they must be quite stiff. ( Aluminum has very poor fatigue resistance and if the shafts are designed to absorb road shock by deflecting they will fracture in no time. To last, they must be stiff. ) With pneumatic tires a stiff shaft is not much of a problem, but with solid wheels you need a flexible shaft to absorb vibration. ( Just received a post card today from Brayton Osgood who trains in Bend, Or. He said the roads are so rough he does almost all his training on the Aero 150's. )
When we decided to build composite shafts we began by first designing a test stand that could accurately measure deflection of the shafts under different loads. After deflection tests, the shafts are fatigue tested under 2000 Newton ( 440 pound ) load for a million cycles. To date we have made about 50 composite shafts. They have been produced in two flex formats. A medium flex, which is about 3X more flexible than our aluminum shafts, but can still take a load of over 500 kilograms and a softer flex shaft which is about 5X more flexible than the aluminum shaft. These composite shafts are made from several different materials each providing a unique property. To date all of the composite shafts have been lighter than our aluminum shafts.
Just returned from testing these skis for ten days in a warm climate. Too cold in New England now to get a good feel for speed and road feel. All test skis were equipped with 100 mm solid rubber tires and were tested on some very rough road surfaces. The composite shafts gave a much better ride than aluminum. Although I weigh 75 Kg. (165 pounds ) I spent most of my roller ski time on the softer shafts. For best roller ski characteristics we should probably offer three or more different flex skis, but this is impractical, both for retail stores and for Jenex. We plan to offer two flexes, but for some skis there will be just one composite shaft, since even a stiffer composite shaft will flex 3X more than aluminum without fatigue failure. The shafts will definitely be available by March and will be offered in two different 100 mm wheel designs. All models but one will be offered in the new XL format which incorporates more advanced Speed Reducers and Brake.
World Cup Ski Racing has started: Marit Bjoergen is certainly back and 20 year old Kalla showed that, by finishing 3rd in Beitestolen and winning the opening Sprint Relay in Germany, she is for real. Not great results for the two Americans that competed in Norway. Let's hope that they perform better in Finland this weekend.
October 31, 2007
Ola Rawald makes skiers faster: The Swedish Olympic Committee has hired Ola to work with both biathletes and x-c skiers. The skiers are very happy to have Ola back. Many of them give Ola credit for the three Gold medals at the Turin 2006 Olympics. After the Olympics Ola worked with the Chinese Team. Rawald said that you will see the biggest difference in speed with the Swedish biathletes. He said that they will be much faster this season than last year.
Peter Larsson, who with Tobias Fredriksson, won the Dusseldorf relay said : "Ola is more than a coach. He knows your strength and weaknesses and he is incredible when it comes to improving your technique."Ola said it's really a simple equation. It's all about turnover, rhythm and power. Ola continued. Bjoern Lind developed tremendous power at the Olympics. We are now working on this again and on fine tuning the technique.
October 29, 2007
Races in Dusseldorf: After winning two Gold at the 2006 Olympics, then never making the podium last year, many ski enthusiasts said Bjorn's career was over. Bjorn heard this so often that in a recent interview by the newspaperAftonbladet, he stated that this year would be different and he would prove it in the first race of the year. He did by coming in second on Saturday.
On Sunday he was to ski the relay with Tobias Fredriksson, but when he woke up Sunday morning he had a sore throat and Peter Larsson skied with Tobias and they won. The two youngsters Marcus Hellner and Emil Joensson finished third. There were 32 teams and Andy Newell and Torin Koos did well, finishing 9th.
In the women's relay the two Swedish teams were 1 & 2 when Lina Andersson fell during the exchange. In the 5th leg Charlotte Kalla pulled ahead by over three seconds and the Swedish second team took Gold. Gunde Svan was running around looking pleased as hell.
October 23, 2007
Did not take Gunde long to settle the dispute: Gunde met with the skiers last night and everything is settled. The skiers signed the agreement with the Swedish Ski Association and the skiers will be at the Sprint Championships in Dusseldorf this coming weekend.
Apparently Mekonomen will get the exposure they need as sponsor and the skiers are pleased with the negotiations.
Apparently Sponsors behind the new Rules: If you are a sponsor for the National Ski Team, and the team members leave the Team to form their own private team you probably have a right to be upset. Apparently the new rule, see October 19 report, was instigated to satisfy the sponsors.
However, none of the breakaway members have agreed to sign the new contract. It's my understanding that Gunde will be meeting with the skiers tonight. Previously it was reported that Gunde had already met with the skiers, but apparently he only contacted them by phone.
Duncan Douglas: Spoke to Duncan yesterday. Think he could burn out unless he gets some more rest. The former Olympic Biathlete called me yesterday after he finished a 56 kilometer roller ski on the 150's in 2 hours and 35 minutes. Duncan is a doctor ( MD), married and has four children. About two years ago he started training for ski racing again. In addition to his scheduled hours at the hospital, he is also on emergency duty and sometimes has a 15 hour shift. This makes training very difficult. He said that in order to train he often has to get up at four in the morning. Right now he is in very good shape, as evidenced by his recent victory at the roller ski race in New York where he beat everybody, including Kris Freeman. His training routine is that of a masochist. Since he has limited time to train he has to get the most out of each session. Being a doctor he obviously has an advantage over others in understanding the limits of training. If he does not "blow up", he could be one of the fastest American skiers this winter.
October 19, 2007
Skiers not pleased with new rules: When Mathias Fredriksson, Anders Soedergren, Bjorn Lind and Tobias Fredriksson were dissatisfied with the management of the Swedish Ski Team and formed the Mekonomen ski team, the managers of the Swedish Ski Team made a new rule. If you are on a private team you can't compete in World Cup events for Sweden.
Sweden is the only country in the world with this new rule. In Norway, and other countries, there are many private teams where the skiers can represent their country. Anders said: "You must know why the Swedish Ski Organization came up with this new rule" Gunde Svan is trying to figure out how to solve this problem quickly. He does not think it can be solved before Dusseldorf, but he hopes he can do something soon.
The public is furious with the Ski Organization. In just one blog I counted a large number of comments in just a few hours. People are calling the Ski Organization a cheap dictatorship and every comment I read implied that the people who made this new rule must be "miniature managers" with very little self confidence or self esteem. I hope Gunde blasts these buggers.
October 18, 2007
Gunde Svan quickly moving into his new position: Did not take long for Gunde to go to work. He has already spoken with Mekonomen management and tonight will be meeting with the ski team members that left the National Team. Mathias Fredriksson said he could not return to the National Team because he had a three year contract. Think that can easily be sorted out by letting Mekonomen become a sponsor of the National Team. Since Mekonomen have already provided money, they could get the same advertising exposure while being a part of the National Team.
Reading between the lines, I think what Mathias implied is that he would not return to the National Team unless Gunde removes some of the incompetent people now running the National Team. That's what this whole Mekonomen thing is all about. The skiers left the National Team because they felt there were too many people running the National Team that were not suited for the job.
October 17, 2007
Gunde Svan takes over the top job for Swedish Cross Country: The Swedish National Team has been split into two groups, the "Mekonomen" private team with four of Sweden's best skiers and the official National Team. The Swedish Olympic committee has been very unhappy with the poor management of Cross Country. Today at a Press Conference at noon, it was announced that Gunde would be the new head of XC.
For you youngsters, Gunde quit in 1991 at the early age of 28 when he was at the top of his career. My good friend Ferry Grill was the one who convinced Gunde to quit. With four Olympic Gold, one Silver and one Bronze, seven World Championship Gold, three Silver and one Bronze, Ferry felt that Gunde had nothing more to prove. It seems like everyone in Sweden is happy that Gunde is taking over. He is a great leader, a good communicator and if anyone can turn the team around it's Gunde.
More on Gunde: Just six hours after the announcement that Gunde was the new X-C ski chief the major Swedish magazines had already received over 5,000 comments from readers. Over 78% thought this was great for skiing. On the skiing web sites I did not read one negative comment except from one person who thought Gunde might be paid too much. Gunde had his own TV shows, has several successful businesses and does not need the money. Whatever Gunde is paid it will be worth it, because with Svan in charge getting deep pocket sponsors will be much easier. Corporate Sweden trusts Gunde. The Swedish ski budget was very small and the Ski Association had few large sponsors. With Gunde there, raising money will be much easier. Think this is a real chance for him to revitalize Swedish skiing again.
October 16, 2007
Duncan Douglas just plain Fast. Not aided by rocket skis: After the race on Saturday in New York there is a lot of misleading information on the web regarding Duncan's skis. Unfortunately I am responsible for some of the misleading information. I was doing a rapid pace hike up Mt. Pack Monadnock with my ski poles on Saturday when my cell phone rang. It was Zach Caldwell calling from British Columbia. He asked all kinds of question regarding speed of roller skis.
We had sent Duncan some V2-6600 roller skis which use 76 to 80 mm in line skate wheels. For racing we use Hyper's fastest 80 mm wheels and that's what I thought was shipped to Duncan. ( With fast Hyper 80mm wheels Peter Galanz won the World Championship Roller Ski Pursuit some years ago. ) However, Duncan did not use this setup. I had forgotten that I had asked Libby Adam's to slow down the Hyper wheels by using our kinematic damping. Those wheels are ultra slow so Duncan's skis were equipped with some almost twenty year old Rollerblade wheels that were not that fast when they were new. Urethane wheels usually get faster in the first year, but after a few years oxidation reduces the elasticity and rebound of the material. Twenty year old wheels are not very fast. Duncan skied like hell to beat the rest by such a large margin.
The 6600 skis do have some advantages as with 4 wheels on each ski you get excellent push off and the wheels bridge gaps and depressions in the road making for a smoother ride. Fast wheels make a very large difference on courses with flats and down hills but, they are not that much better on all up hill courses. Over the years I have tested various skate skis on the 1.8 mile hill leading to the Waterville Valley Alpine slope. On the lower flatter section fast wheels made a very large difference, but for the last mile which is quite steep, there was not very much difference in the time going up the hill using slow or fast skis. The bottom line is that Duncan was not on very fast skis. He simply skied very fast.
September 13, 2007
Kris Freeman likes the new skis: Last week we shipped Kris a special pair of classic skis that use a different method of increasing rolling resistance. Kris called Zach Caldwell and said they were perfect. Today we are shipping some new skate skis as his existing skis are in pretty bad shape.
STAR wax and Digital Irons should arrive soon: There are only a limited number of 110 volt irons, so if you want the best iron made, call us soon.
The great Skier and Arctic Explorer Richard Weber called: The famous explorer has been a friend for over 20 years. First met Richard when he stayed at our condo for the NORAM ski races in the mid 80's. Richard won all the races that year and after graduating from college he became a famous explorer and guide. He just returned from his camp in the arctic. It's magnificent. Don't have the web site right now, but will post it.
September 12, 2007
Vasaloppet to have man made snow: With Global warming moving at a rapid pace the organizers of Vasaloppet are convinced the race cannot be held in the future without man made snow. They have now invested in a snow making facility that can produce 100,000 cubic meters of snow, enough to provide sufficient snow for a 100 kilometer track. With over 30,000 competitors and a massive amount of spectators, Vasaloppet has become an important economic stimulus to the area.
Vladimir Smirnov has a new career: Vladimir will soon be the General Manager for Saab Scania trucks in central Asia. He will be responsible for heavy truck sales in Kazakstan, Turkmenistan, Kirgistan and Tadzjigstan. After 16 years in Sweden he is moving back to Kazakstan. Scania is one of the five largest truck manufacturers in the world and is known in Europe as the King of the Road. Vladimir is such a well known figure in Central Asia and he understands the culture, so he will probably be as much of a PR man as General Manager. We have stamps from Kazakstan with Vladimir featured on the stamps. Know that daughter Anna will object to moving to Kazakstan, because she refused to move to Norway when Vladimir was thinking of moving. Anna is now 19 so she is probably ready to be on her own. Would not surprise me if h keeps his house in Sundsvall as he will be traveling to Sweden regularly.
Latest Catalog now on the web in Acrobat pdf format.
September 2, 2007
German Doping Scandal: The rumors have been around for years, even before the bicycle racers in Telekom ( later T-Mobile) admitted they were performance enhanced by researchers at Freiburg University. Now there is evidence that West Germany, not just the former East Germany, have been systematically doping athletes since the 1950's. Two researchers have already left the University of Freiburg and many more are expected to be indicted. An International commission of three biomedical professors and three Judges are presently investigating the doping scandal. One of the three professors is Bengt Saltin, famous Swedish doctor known for his hemoglobin research. The commission is expected to make their first report in December of this year.
What is known to date is that for many decades Freiburg University researchers have provided German athletes with hormone and blood doping formulations. This is probably the biggest scandal ever in German sports. We are presently only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Andreas Schmid and Lothar Heinrich have already been expelled from the University. Professor George Huber, who was the chief medical doctor at the 2002 Salt Lake and the 2006 Turin Olympics is also involved and has been relived of many duties at the University. The Directors of the University stated that researchers at Freiburg University would no longer be working with the 1,500 elite German athletes. It appears that the University of Freiburg was the center of athletic performance enhancement by doping. The Dean of the University stated he did not know how the drugs were obtained or who paid for them. ( Sounds like crock to me. )
It apparently began in 1952 when Doctor Reindell, working with the famous running coach Woldemar Geschler at Freiburg, decided to use drugs. Woldemar coached a mediocre middle distance runner named Joseph Bartel. At the time, Joseph Bartel was ranked 41st in the world. Oscar Wegener, a colleague of professor Reindell, recently said that when Joseph Bartell won the Gold medal in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics it was strictly due to being doped with Pervitin, a substance given to world war two German soldiers to make them feel temporarily invincible. Apparently a very powerful drug.
After professor Reindell retired, the person that took over the department for performance enhancing research was Josph Keul, a famous professor who tried to prove that anabolic steroids were not dangerous. One of the researchers working with Dr. Keul was Dr. Ernst Jacob. At the Turin 2006 Olympics there were several researchers from Freiburg and when Evi Sachenbacher was caught for doping her doctor was Ernst Jacob. Wonder what all these performance enhancing drug doctors were doing at the Olympics? Don't think they were just supplying water and Gatorade.
In 1977 professor Wolfgang Schauble, also at Freiburg University, said: "We want to use these substances only in restrictive and controlled conditions by medical experts, because in certain sports we can not be internationally competitive without these substances."
What do you think Wolfang Schauble is doing today? He is the German Minister of Athletics. This story about German doping is just beginning. It's a really sad mess. Wonder if other German cross country skiers besides Evi are involved.
Swedish Cross Country Racers start Team Mekonomen: Dissatisfied with the format of the National Team training program, four of Sweden's best X-C skiers have left the National Team and formed their own Professional Team. Right now there are only four skiers. Gold medal winner from Turin, Bjorn Lind, Mathias and Thobias Fredriksson and Anders Soedergren. Would not surprise me if others also join. The stock Exchange company, Mekonomen, has not declared how much money they have provided, but it's not a short term contract because it continues past the 2010 Olympics. This appears to be a solid organization. Involved are: Dr. Ulrich Ghisler, team doctor, who is very experienced with X-C skiers. Stefan Larsson, former National Team skier and winner of the Vaasaloppet ski race in 1999.
Coaches are: Ola Rawald, Mathias Persson, Glenn Bjoerklund and Janne Bengtsson. Others include Jean Marc Chabloz from the Swedish Biathlon Team, Bo Olsson, Karin Magnusson, who is the nutritional expert, and Emma Helena Nilsson, Administrator. Ski Tuning and service people include former National Team tuner Micke Book, Hans Ake Olofsson and Lasse Jonsson. This is a pro Team, probably better in quality than the Official National Team.
Kris Freeman's wheels a bit too slow: Next Tuesday we will send Kris some more wheels. At least he now knows that with kinematic damping we can make the wheels as slow as molasses. He said they were too slow for double poling, OK for diagonal.
XL105 Microcellular tires making progress: The last lot produced by the German company has been the best too date. However, the company has had problems with process variability. The rolling resistance from one tire to another has an abnormal spread, but last Friday we think we found what is causing the problem. We cut the tires down the middle, just like cutting a bagel. With the conventional microscope we did not detect anything unusual in the microcellular structure. We then used a Jenex video microscope. With this microscope we can get up to 300X magnification and we can look at a monitor instead of peering down a tube. It appears that the tires with higher rolling resistance have larger microcells in certain areas of the tire and we think we know what's causing this problem in the manufcturing process.
August 28, 2007
Slow wheels for Kris Freeman: Yesterday we sent some extra slow 910 wheels to Kris Freeman. Kris is now in such great shape, the 910's are not quite slow enough. The speed is regulated by the patented kinematic damping. To make the wheels slower than the standard 910's we used a higher viscosity damping fluid. Unfortunately we did not have any unassembled wheels with the aluminum hub used for the ratchet wheels. Like any speed reducing method the by product is heat. The aluminum hub would have been much more effective in removing the heat generated by the kinematic damping. As soon as we receive more aluminum hub wheels we will make another set for Kris.
Kristina Smigun retires: The Olympic double Gold Medal Champion from 2006 has decided to retire. When Vladimir Smirnov retired, Kristina became one of the top skiers to promote V2 products. She started skiing on V2 roller skis in the 90's. We always received pictures and post cards from her and when she visited Florida in the spring, which she did almost every year, we would send a new supply of wheels or skis to Florida for her to take back to Estonia. She is still quite young and it's a shame she decided to retire.
Visit to Sweden: Just returned from a trip to Sweden. Had a great time and in the twelve days there walked over 40 hours. We rented the same apartment we have been using for many years. The apartment is next to a very good bike / running path in hilly terrain overlooking the Arstavik sound between lake Maelaren and the Baltic ocean. Every two kilometers there are now new exercise stations. There is a balance beam, an arm dip station that can accommodate three people, two shoulder stations and three arm pull up stations. The shoulder / push up stations are very simple and very practical. A 15 cm X 15 cm beam, 3 meters long is pivotally mounted at one end and the other end rests on a horizontal support and has two ergonomic hand grips. A weight can be moved up and down the beam to generate more or less load. I used the least amount of weight and found that 3 X15 reps was sufficient to make my muscles ache. There were always people running and the exercise stations were being used every day by people of all ages.
Infrastructure getting better every time we visit Sweden. This is the first time we did not rent a car. It was totally unnecessary, it was much faster to travel by public transportation. The first six years that we rented the apartment we had a choice of using the subway or the bus. The bus station is located next to the subway, just a two minute walk from the apartment. Now there is also a high speed commuter train station located just above the subway station. There are more stops on the subway and it takes approximately 20 minutes to get to downtown Stockholm. With the high speed commuter train it takes only six minutes. The subway goes every 10 minutes, the high speed train every 15 minutes.
Letter from Bruce Bauer: In the beginning of August I received a letter from Bruce with photos of his horrendous project in the summer and fall of 2006. He built these massive stone wall and walk ways. He wrote: "I was in lousy shape last year and this is my excuse. About 10 ton of rock into the wall, 12,000 lbs. of concrete hand mixed in a wheelbarrow, another 10 ton of loose rock placed on the slope. I'd never done anything this size before, but it went well and was sort of fun in a hard working way.
This summer I've done much more training, especially with the Aero's with the brake. It works well, and of course it makes skiing through town much safer. This year we are going to get some snow and I am already looking forward to some racing.
Marty Hall: Marty just e mailed with photos of his new house in Ottawa, right in Gatineau Park. The house looks great. Marty and Kathy designed it and Marty was the general contractor. To reduce energy consumption they installed the new high speed direct water heaters, no hot water being heated in a tank using precious energy. The golf course is right out his back door and a 2 minute walk to the ski trails in Gatineau park.
July 12 , 2007
V2 received a very nice Plaque from the Canadian Ski Team this week: The Canadian Ski Team has been using V2 roller skis, since about forever. Every year we receive a number of nice posters or a plaque. Very professional and they never fail to thank us for sponsoring their team with a few roller skis each year. They often buy many more skis than the number offered in our contract for the team. For Junior National Team skiers, like Alex Harvey, we have special prices and Pierre Harvey and Richard Weber always make sure their skiers have a supply of V2 roller skis. Canada is on a roll, by the 2010 Olympics they could be a major Nordic power.
Swedish A Team for Men not cohesive: Don't really know what is happening, but Swedish skiers are opting to train on their own. Mathias and Thobias Fredriksson have left the National Team training program and now Anders Soedergren and Bjorn Lind are contemplating training independently. Sweden still has a very good team, but it's not the kind of coach - skier relationship that it used to be. Something is truly wrong with the XC program. Apparently the Team is really opposed to the new management. This last weekend Anders got married. This was to have happened last year, but a tragic family accident, where his bride's brother died, postponed the marriage.
Coaching: Sometimes coaches tell athletes they have potential, even when the results are not really great. These coaches, in my opinion, are not doing their job. If the athlete is not improving and is actually following the coaches program, the coach must try a different program and if the results don't improve, even after the training program has been modified, the athlete has probably reached the peak of his ability or the coach has some really bad training programs. This is a tough decision for a skier and a coach. Many skiers don't accept this. If the coach has the guts to tell the athlete: "You are probably not going to get any better" , skiers usually don't take kindly to this advice and try to find another coach.
If you look at training scientifically, test results must improve in order to get better race results. Roller skis are not the most precise method of evaluating training improvements. However, they are a pretty good barometer. Just like skiing on snow, conditions vary. Roller skis get faster in warmer weather and older wheels often roll faster. ( Not because the bearings are getting faster. But, sometimes the material continues to cross link. When this happens, the rebound, or energy return of the molecules in the tire goes up, which makes for faster wheels and faster skis.)
One of the best ways to test your condition is simply to run up a mountain road and measure your time, about every 6 to 8 weeks. Try to do it when the temperature is somewhat similar, but it does not have to be identical. Make sure you have the same rest periods before each time trial. Running in shoes will not produce the variability of skiing on snow or roller skis. If you are getting slower or faster, the clock and the pulse meter will tell you. Test results are critical to evaluate performance. Some athletes try to evaluate too often. That's a real no, no, because that means you are not sticking to a training program. High School kids do this all the time.
There are a lot of "coaches" out there who have no scientific background. They might have been reasonably good skiers, but they do not fully understand the science of improving physical performance for X-C skiing. These "coaches" can ruin the best potential talent we have. In my opinion, Kris Freeman is one of the best talents for traditional distance skiing, and he wasted several years on a training program that was not suitable.
NENSA to have top racers on the same roller skis for specific races: This is good news. But even so, just like on snow skis, different weight skiers and bindings in diffent positions, will never make the skis perfectly matched. Roller skis are just like snow skis, no one ever has the same exact speed. However, it's better than not controlling the type of roller ski being used. Good luck at the races!
July 4, 2007
Climbing Pack Monadnock and "Old Time" Racers: Today is the 4th of July and decided to work only a few hours. Seventeen days ago I got the worst respiratory infection I have ever experienced. After five days in agony decided to see a doctor. After listening to my chest he became worried about the infection turning into pneumonia and put me on antibiotics. He told me it would probably not help, but it was a precautionary measure.
After two weeks I started to feel a little bit better, but the antibiotics did not help. Because of our work load it was impossible to rest. Love to hike up Pack Monadnock, a small mountain just 2,200 feet high ( 700 meters ). Decided that today, the 4th, this would be a very good way to clean out my lungs. Always use my classic ski poles when going up. The shortest route is just 1.45 miles ( 2.33 kilometers ) but, the vertical climb is some 1,000 feet ( 300+ meters ). It's a really good workout. Used to roller ski up the paved fire tower road, but have not done that in several years.
Apparently everybody had the same idea as I have never met so many people on the trails. I was very surprised not to meet another person using ski poles. Our Japanese distributor recently contacted me to find out if "Nordic walking poles" were very popular in the US. Told him no, because my wife and I hike a lot and we rarely see them. However, every time we go to Europe we see a lot of people using poles. Anyway, the hike helped me clean out my lungs and from Pack Monadnock, which in the local Indian language means "little" Monadnock, you can look directly at Monadnock mountain, the mountain that now exceeds Mt. Fuji in Japan as the most climbed mountain in the world. Monadnock is about 300 meters higher than Pack Monadnock and is located some 25 kilometers south east from Pack Monadnock.
With ski poles I can hike up Pack much faster than without poles. In "tick" season I often hike up the paved auto road. Found I am over 10% faster with poles and my pulse is lower. Using upper body propulsion combined with your legs gives you an advantage. Just like cross country skiing, no upper body power and you can be dead meat.
Back in the "old days", before cross country skiing became a professional sport, many world class cross country skiers were lumberjacks. Do you think they had upper body power? When I was about ten years old I worked one summer for a few weeks in a lumber camp in Sweden that had a very good cross country skier. After cutting trees all day, light almost 24 hours a day, he would go for a 1 to 2 hour run. Talk about upper body power. He was the smallest of all the lumberjacks, but every week he cut more wood than anyone else. You were paid by the amount of wood cut. Each lumberjack had his own "res" which is a pile of wood where the thickest part of the trees are laid on top of each other in a cross ply fashion until the pile at the heaviest section is at least one meter high. The bigger lumberjacks could lift more weight, cut more trees in fifteen minutes than the cross country skier, but they tired quicker and had to rest more often and never equaled his weekly output.
Not that many years ago, at a World Cup event in Falun Sweden a reporter for a Swedish Newspaper wrote that an older person, without a racing bib, was skiing behind some top racers for about five kilometers and maintained the same speed as the best World Cup racers. No officials tried to remove him from the course, because he was the skiing legend, Sixten Jernberg. The Olympic and World Champion was over thirty years older than the racers, but he was skiing at the same pace. Know how Sixten trained, as I have read his book several times. When he was building a cabin in the mountains he carried all the materials to the sight. One time he carried a back pack weighing 80 Kilo ( 176 pounds. ). That's a heck of a lot more than he weighed. So in the old days upper body power was obtained by work. Now it's mainly double poling. ( Sixten also said that based on the tremendous improvements in ski racing equipment and wax he was surprised skiers were not that much faster in classic skiing. He was extremely surprised to be able to ski with the best at his age for a full 5 kilometers. I am not surprised, watching the old movies from the Olympics in 1956 and 1960, he was flying.)
Priority Lists: In any business, setting priorities is important. In most companies very few departments agree on priorities. That's why you need to have someone that decides the most important tasks for the future. It is normally the President or General Manager, but not always that has to make the tough choices. Manufacturing, Engineering, Marketing, Sales and Human Resources all have their own priorities. We know that our home page needs a major make over, but when you are sitting high enough to view the whole landscape of the company, the home page in my opinion, is not a major priority.
Right now our shaft, brake, speed reducer and tire suppliers are not providing enough components. We need more components to meet customer demand. This is a major problem we are trying to solve. But, equally important is the ability to stay one step in front technologically. Have only worked for four companies in my 50+ year working career and that includes V2 Jenex. In every company I worked for, or founded, our success was based more on technology than marketing expertise. In the largest company I co-founded we could afford to hire great marketing and sales people, and we did. ( We hired more MBA's and Ph.D's than you can count on your fingers and toes.) But our success, as the best in the world in our field, was based mainly on technology coupled with good marketing and sales strategy. That company hit sales of over $1 billion per year, but is no longer that large. It required both great marketing and sales management, but we were not a Coca Cola. We were mainly a technology company, not selling pop soda for $1.00 that cost $.05 to make and $.60 to market.
When making roller skis you don't have a lot of options. Nordic Skiing is a minuscule market. The quarterly sales in the electronics company at it's peak was about 3X greater than the sales of all Nordic Equipment sold in United States and Canada for a whole year. So now, as a small company making roller skis we juggle a lot of things. We can't afford to hire people to do specialized tasks. We hope to have a new home page in the next nine months. Some think it's a major priority. As the person who has to make the final decision I do not.
New XL 105 Tires: In the last two weeks we ran another 60 hours of laboratory testing of various tire configurations and we have finalized the tire specifications. There are some very good software programs now available for Statistical Analysis. These programs can turn your most intuitive engineering senses upside down. This time we tested over 12 tire configurations. Tires varied in width, profile, diameter and density. The designer of the experimental test program works for the German Company and is an expert in this kind of SAS ( Statistical Analysis System ) experiments. We provided the engineering information and he developed the experiments.
Not using these new statistical analysis tools, it would be impossible to define the best geometry, material and density of the tires. All this said, we must remember that this technology is nothing if the new tires don't work on roller skis on the road. Based on the latest data we should be able to start testing the XL105 tires on the road in August. The engineers at the German Company were very complimentary about our laboratory testing. Most experiments were done twice to evaluate repeatability and the data never varied by more than 0.25% which, according to the experts, was exceptional.
June 17, 2007
Shipping Aero XL: We have started shipping the Aero XL. In the angst of getting out back orders, the first skis were shipped without the new labels as the delay would have been three days. The suppliers of shafts, speed reducers and brake parts are beginning to fill the pipeline, but orders for Aero XL received now will not be shipped for about three to four weeks.
Years ago we made it a firm policy not to jump any orders ahead of others. Orders are shipped in the sequence that orders are received. We have only broken that rule a few times, and only under exceptional circumstances. We broke that rule this last week. A National Team skier from a foreign country called and said his car was stolen with his roller skis in the car. He was desperate. He called on Friday and we shipped his skis by Fed Ex on Monday.
Last Wednesday we finished the mounting instructions for the new Speed Reducers and on Thursday we shipped as many Speed Reducers as we could assemble. Planned on finishing the brake instructions today, Sunday the 17th, but woke up this morning with a fever, sore throat and a serious chest infection. Just too tired to go to work.
June 10, 2007
Russians crazy about Aero skis: A few weeks ago we shipped almost 100 pair of Aero skis to Russia. On Thursday this week we received another order that was even larger. The distributor said most of the skis were sold before they arrived in Russia. Since our suppliers of components have not yet caught up with the largest back log in our company history, this means that new orders for Aero products will continue to require about a four week lead time. We also have people on vacation, which makes it even tougher.
Three steps forward: This week we made more progress on the new 105 mm tire than we have in the last two months. With more test samples coming soon, think we can come up with a tire geometry and material composition that might work.
Very interesting article on Europe's comeback: Michael Heise, chief economist at the Allianz and Dresdner bank, wrote the article. These are just a few comments from his article. For years Americans have been hearing about economic stagnation in Europe. The truth is Europe is back and very much so. GNP is expected to grow by 2.7% this year, above US levels. It is Sweden that is now the leader, it's gross domestic product expanded at a rate of 4.4% last year, productivity growth exceeds the US and at the same time Sweden is running a healthy fiscal surplus. Both Sweden and the Netherlands are achieving economic growth without sacrificing their social safety nets. Anyone who doubts Europe's comeback should look at the equity market capitalization. According to Thompson Financial, Europe is now ahead of the US with a market cap of $15.72 trillion slightly higher than the market value of the United States.
After reading the article started to think about the many large Swedish companies. Having been a supplier to such companies as Volvo truck and aircraft group, Saab Aircraft and L.M. Ericsson Communication I am somewhat familiar with Swedish companies. Got on the web and found out that Swedish companies are the largest in the world in many fields. Volvo is the largest truck company in the world. Not talking about pick up trucks, real trucks. Few people realize that Volvo owns Mack Trucks, White Trucks, Clark Equipment, Renault Trucks from France and Nissan Trucks from Japan. SAAB Scania, is also one of the top five large truck companies in the world, with sales in over 130 countries, but not the US. ABB ( Asea Brown Boveri ) is a Global leader in power distribution and automated manufacturing. They make a lot of the Robots used in Detroit for auto manufacturing. ABB has 108,000 employees and sales in 2006 of 28.4 billion dollars. Sandvik is a world leader in machine tooling and construction. Last year they had sales of $12 billion and employ 42,000 people. Skanska is one of the world's largest construction companies. They have operations all over the world and do major construction projects in the United States, as in the new water supply tunnel in New York. Electrolux ( not the US vacuum cleaner company ) is the largest manufacturer of home appliances in the world. They own such US companies as Eureka and Frigidaire and also the giant Italian Zanusssi. Husqvarna is not only the largest manufacturer of lawn mowers in the world, but also chain saws. Stihl is larger than Husqvarna, but not when you add in the sales of Jonsered, which is part of Husqvarna. Volvo Penta is the largest manufacturer of inboard marine engines. From 10 HP to 2,0000 HP they have 5,000 dealers globally. Pergo is the inventor of laminated flooring and the largest manufacturer of laminated flooring. L.M. Ericsson is the leader in cellular phone transmission equipment. The last time I looked they had over 40% market share in the US. IKEA is the largest supplier of furniture in the world. They have stores in all continents. SAAB Aircraft is the world leader in Turbo Prop commercial aircraft. In the last twenty years they produced over 400 commercial aircraft and many American airlines use SAAB turbo prop planes. THULE racks for skis, bikes, canoes, kayaks and everything else is the world leader in automotive carriers. Astra Zeneca is one of the giants in the pharmaceutical industry. These are just a few of the large Swedish companies that have enabled the country to grow economically with excellent health care and social services.
June 3, 2007
A changing planet: When we moved to southern NH, 35 years ago, from Massachusetts and before that California, Milford was a sleepy rural town. There was only one traffic light on route 101A from Milford to Route 3 in Nashua. Today there are 31 traffic lights and soon there will be more. Southern NH is becoming a suburb of Boston and the quality of life is deteriorating. Apparently developers refer to this as progress. For the last thirty years, southern NH has been the growth area for the state. When we purchased our 27 acre lot in 1972, it was a parcel of land that had been intact as one unit since 1762. The deed to the property was 210 years old
The land was not advertised for sale. When we saw the view from the top of Federal Hill over the Monadnock Mountains we went to the Town Hall to find out who owned it. The woman had inherited the property, but the deed was so confusing, she did not know how many acres were involved. Stone wall here, to stone wall there. She thought the property was about fifteen acres. Turned out it was 27. We have loved every moment of it until the recent developments on our street. For twenty + years only three new houses were built. Then a parcel of 65 acres was sold to a developer, who purchased another plot adjoining it and began to build some 82 homes. Not long after, some seventy more acres were sold to a developer of condominiums. With 72 condominiums and 82 new homes on our formerly peaceful country road, our neighborhood is no longer a sleepy New England Town.
We actually have to wait to cross the road safely to get to the Mail Box. It used to be that when we heard a car we used to look to see who drove by. Now we count how many cars pass per minute on our street. Our son Erik, who lives in Boulder Colorado, can't believe the change to the area. Nothing we can really do. Population increases, more homes are needed. Some call it progress. Might just move to northern NH, where the population is decreasing.
Two steps forward, one step back: That's the way I would describe the development program for the US made microcellular tires for the Aero 105's. The material has never been used in tires before and there are so many variables it's unbelievable. Just one change and the material behaves very differently. We are now making 9 different tires for laboratory evaluation. The tires are designed so that the laboratory data can be entered into the diagnostic software program that will determine what parameters enhance certain performance characteristics and what parameters are negative. It's extremely exciting, but also frustrating. However, I know from developing products for over 40 years, you have to plug in the right numbers or it will not work.
The material has some very unique properties. The German company has used this material very successfully for many elastomeric applications, however never in a rolling application and that's why we need to do so much testing to find the right geometry.
May 27, 2007
We apologize for the long Delivery time for Aero Roller Skis: It's not that we are behind the planned build schedule, the skis are simply more popular than expected. The demand has been unprecedented and our suppliers of components have been struggling to catch up with the increasing demand. However, it's not like with really popular products where you have to wait an eternity. I ordered what is probably the most popular camera lens in the history of the Nikon company. Since I had numerous 35 mm Nikon lenses I did not order the new lens when I ordered the camera. It took four months to receive the camera and when I got it in February of 2006, decided to order the new lens. It arrived in January of 2007, 11 months after ordering the lens and I had to pay $150 over the suggested list price. Talk about back orders and popularity.
New XL Aero Skis: In less than two weeks we will begin to ship the improved Aero 125 and 150, called the Aero XL series. Brakes for the new XL. The XL have the rear fork designed so the brake can be mounted without drilling any holes in the chassis. The new mounting system also leaves more space on the shaft for the bindings. By eliminating ten components and using a superior mounting system the brake is now 25% lighter and less expensive.Better Wheel Forks. The new forks are stiffer and stronger without increasing weight. Improved Speed Reducers. The Speed Reducers are now designed so the same unit can be used on both the 125 and 150 wheels. ( There are two positions for locating the bearings, one for the 125 and one for the 150. If you change from 125 to 150 wheels, or vice versa, you don't need to purchase new Speed Reducers. ) The new lever engages both serrated bearing retainers for more uniform pressure and the bearings have a simpler mounting system and can readily be replaced by simply removing a bolt and nut.
Kris Freeman finally switched to V2 roller ski ferrules: Got a call stating that Kris finally had it with his sponsors roller ski ferrules. Since our ferrules make the poles a slightly different length, compared to his sponsors ferruless, he had several pair of poles cut to fit V2 ferrules. He already told Zach Caldwell that V2 ferrules made a major difference in his roller skiing. About a week after providing Kris with ferrules, John Bauer e mailed and said he had been using V2 ferrules for a year now and he wrote they were by far the best he had ever used. ( Believe he got them from New Moon Ski Shop in Hayward, where he lives. ) Kris is still training on the slowest wheels we can provide. Actually, with our patented Kinematic damping technology we can make wheels so slow, they would be brutal.
Amy Caldwell off to Coach in Canada: Before she left last week we supplied her with spare wheels and lots of roller ski ferrulles. See Caldwell's home page for the latest on the family venture. It sounds awfully exciting. All the best to Amy, Zach and Gunnar.
R&D: When in February we started working with the multi billion dollar German Company, we knew it would be a long and very tough development program. Building a new microcellular tire in the US, that's different from anything built before, ain't going to be easy. Fortunately their engineers are really into the project. One engineer told me this project was more interesting than anything else he was working on. It's revolutionary, and when you break new ground, using materials that have never been used for this kind of application, you are bound to run into some unexpected setbacks, and we have. However, as one engineer said: "This material is just too good not to work." The company has some very good diagnostic tools and we now have a powerful 3D modeling software program.
Two weeks ago I ran over 35 tests in the laboratory, some 60 hours of testing in one week. The data was pumped into the software analysis program and we saw some trends that appeared significant. Without the laboratory testing machine we would have only roller skiers testing and we would have little scientific data. After using this very good laboratory machine for almost ten years, we know that certain parameters regarding tire temperature, rolling resistance, tire deformation, permanent set under load, etc. must be achieved in the laboratory, before road testing. Skiers come in very different size and weight. All have slightly different technique and they often ski on different road surfaces. Before the test machine, it took us over two years to come out with the very simple 900 roller ski tires. We began testing in 1987 and shipped in 1989. And these were just solid rubber tires. The data varied so much depending who was using the roller skis that when you reviewed the data it made no sense for the engineers that were developing the material. Everything was so subjective, they had no idea what material parameters to modify. For development purposes, we finally decided to use the data from just one very good skier who was getting his Masters in engineering. He was a top skier, a very good engineer and with his input we finally came to market with the skis.
Based on the laboratory data to date, there is no way to predict when we are in a position to begin testing tires on the road. If I were to make a guess, maybe some time in August. We know that if the tires don't meet certain laboratory test parameters, it's just a waste of time and money putting them on roller skis. What we have found over the years is that often prototype and pre production tires will test fine, but when the manufacturer goes into full production the tires are not the same. The first time this happened to us was with an American company located in Rhode Island. The test samples and pre production tires were great, but the production tires were awful. They were never able to produce the tires on the production line and the money spent on molds went down the toilet. We found a new supplier in Iowa, built another set of molds for their line, and finally received good production parts about one year later. It took over a year to get the tires right.
One of our suppliers in Taiwan has the same problem. The tires built in the laboratory and on the pre production line work fine, but the production tires are very different and of much lower quality. Because of these problems in the past, all of the microcellular test tires produced for us by the German company are made on the production line. This will eliminate a potential setback as we move from test tires to production tires.
Canadian Nordic Program: Based on what I have heard from Marty Hall and others in the Canadian Nordic program, it's scientifically structured and extremely well financed. In fact when I was told how much money they already have for the 2010 Olympics the number was so large it was hard to believe. Apparently the economic success began with the 1988 Calgary Olympics. The money was wisely invested and has grown to staggering sums. Very different from the US and many other countries programs, where they are always begging for money.
Right now the Swedish Nordic program is on the tightest budget in years. In fact it's so financially deficient many athletes are very worried about the future of cross country skiing in Sweden. Unlike Norway, where skiing is a major sport, there are too many competing sports in Sweden. It's a country of only 10 million people, yet Sweden has over 50 NHL hockey players, including the captain of Stanley Cup winner Detroit. Ottawa's captain is also Swedish and they are in the Stanley Cup finals this year. Because Sweden has won Olympic hockey twice in the last four Olympics it has become an even bigger sport. Tennis, Golf, Soccer and Track and Field are much bigger in Sweden than Nordic skiing. Just like in Germany, skiing is becoming a minor sport. Doug Garfield, who has been researching this, told me that it was not long ago that skiing was viewed as one of the three most desirable sports in Germany, now it's not listed in the top ten. Very unfortunate.
In Waterville Valley: This is only the second weekend in the last six that I have not been working. Must admit it feels good to get away for a couple of days. We are staying at our condo in Waterville Valley and on Saturday we had dinner at Bruce and Julie Brinkema's new house in Waterville. It's truly magnificent, with one of the best views in Waterville. Bruce and I were roommates at Dartmouth and our families have been very close for over forty years.
Today I jogged for the first time in a long time. ( I was not running, I was shuffling. As I was moving along at snail pace it was hard for me to comprehend that in High School I was a 4'36" miler and that in our first test run for the cross country ski team at Dartmouth I beat all the Varsity skiers. ) Took the outer loop around the Valley where you first head up towards the Alpine slope on Tripoli Road, then turn on to W. Branch Rd. by the Mad River. It's just 4.3 miles, but my old body felt it.
Russian and Estonian skiers into Aero skis in a big way: Recently shipped almost 100 pair of Aero's to Russia. A coach, who saw the Russian team training last year, said that every skier he saw was on Aero's. A few days after shipping to Russia received an e mail from Kristjan Vaehi on the Estonian team ordering more Aero's. Over the last ten years we have shipped a lot of skis to Estonia.
April 13, 2007
People on our street in Florida are fantastic: The neighbors on the cul de sac at my parents former house are simply great. The houses are all located on Lyons Bay, one of the many beautiful bays on the Gulf coast. Last year a neighbor took us on her boat for a marvelous trip along the bay and the intercoastal waterway. Saw osprey, dolphins and all kinds of other beautiful wildlife. She is a fabulous Captain, who also has a license for twin engine airplanes. This morning a neighbor came over with a Spanish mackerel he had just caught about a mile out in the gulf. The fish looks great and he suggested we broil the two large fillets with mayo sauce mixed with garlic. Anita just picked up some vegetables to go with tonight's dinner. Most of the people here are from New York State and New England.
The house was in pretty bad condition when my parents were forced to move out and enter an assisted living place. The result is that every time we come down we have a lot of work to do. Today was an easy day, some tree pruning, put in a new kitchen light, which meant some rewiring, replaced the locks on the pool doors and we had the Salvation Army come over to pick up some furniture we do not need. Pruning bushes here can be very interesting. I was up on a six foot step ladder when, as I reached in with the pruning shears, something flickered in the dark leaves and I spotted the head of a snake. He was almost at the top of the bush. Climbed down and got Anita so she could see it. Then got the camera to take a picture of it. The snake finally turned it's head so I could get a better shot of it to identify it in my Dad's reptile book. Turned out it was an Eastern Racer. They average 4 feet in length and prefer bushes and trees. According to the book, Racers are very fast and somewhat aggressive. Since we generally only spend a week here, each time we come down, it's taking us an awful long time to fix up the place. We like to do a lot of the work ourselves. It's more satisfying than just hiring someone for every little task.
The other day when we went out for lunch a dolphin was cruising back and forth near the dock by the restaurant. Yesterday we took a break from work with a hike in a state park just three miles from the house. There we saw a very streamlined bird we had never seen before. Looks like a very large swallow. It has a split tail and a red bill. Apparently it's an Arctic Tern. According to the bird book he is the champion of all migrating birds. They breed in the Arctic and winter in the Antarctic. They migrate over 25,000 miles per year. One of the most beautiful birds I have ever seen and based on the streamlined structure, must be a very fast flier.
April 12, 2007
"Mind boggling increase in morbidly obese": I was sure that I recently read an article that stated there had been a reversal in the increase of obese people. However, as I read the article in USA TODAY, I realized that the previous article I read was from a Scandinavian news paper that showed that the number of children and adults that were overweight had declined. According to the latest study, 66% of Americans are now overweight and in just the last five years the number of morbidly obese has increased by 24%. The definition for overweight is 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight. Morbidly obese is defined as 100 pounds, or more, over a healthy weight. According to the study by Roland Sturm, of the non profit RAND Corporation, the increase in morbidly obese is "mind -boggling". Sturm went on to say: "The numbers show the trend is paralleling what is going on in our society. We need to move to a healthier environment."
George Blackburn, associate director of nutrition at Harvard Medical School, calls the increase a catastrophe. He said: It is an emergency because the disability, the discrimination and the health care costs for this population are enormous.
Work: Recently a retired friend told me how great it was not to have to go to work. He said that for the last ten years of his career he disliked his job, but decided to stick it out to get his retirement pension. He is probably 12 years younger than I and he asked me why I continued to work. I then realized how lucky I was. In the last 50 years of working there were really not many days when I did not like to go to work. In any job there is tension, stress, anxious and nervous moments, but these moments can also be exciting. Tension could result from a new project not meeting the schedule, suppliers not performing, sales, marketing and engineering not on the same wave length, customers not paying their bills on time, or having to make presentations to Wall Street Analysts and wondering if I would screw it up by not getting across our strategy and dragging down the value of the company stock. But, there was more excitement than tension. What I like most about my job is finding new solutions to a problem. When at Dartmouth College a close friend, who later graduated from Tufts Medical School, showed me the antiquated medical instrument he was using. Found a better solution and designed a new fiberoptic sigmoidoscope that was the first of it's kind in the world. That was the beginning of my love for designing things, which to date has led to hundreds of designs and over 25 patents.
We had a Minuteman missile crisis in the 60's. Had to keep the engineers working in L.A. one week till about 2 in the morning.When I told them that I expected all to be at work again by 8 A.M., every morning, no one objected. Many of us were workaholics. That was very early in my career and that kind of work environment established a pattern for the future. Unfortunately, this kind of professional commitment has never left much time to train for ski racing. In 1970 I decided to start X-C ski racing again. Realized that my commitment to work was injurious to my health. My weight had gone from 152 pounds to 187. Began training, very little time when you work over ten hours and most of the time at least six days a week, and spend another 90 minutes on the road going to and from work. This was in the early days of the semiconductor revolution and competition was fierce. Most of us worked through lunch, munching a sandwich and never leaving the office. Decided to enter Vasaloppet. Since it was 90K needed some distance work and began long runs with our dog. Usually ran for 2.5 to 3 hours on Sunday, about the only day when I had time for a long run or a long ski. Every other morning at 5:00 AM roller skied at the Ipswich River State Park in Massachusetts for 30 to 40 minutes. Since my rule was to try to be at work no later than 7:00 in the morning, that's all the time I had to roller ski. Dropped my weight to 154 pounds, but my race results that year were not great. Three years later the results were acceptable, considering the few hours that I trained.
I am sure that if ski racing ever becomes more important for me than work, I could probably do OK in my age group. The reason I think my body could absorb quite a bit of hard training is that in a recent physical exam my test results were considered extremely good. My cholesterol, liver, blood values and blood pressure were so good that they asked me to explain in detail my diet, what supplements I took and what physical exercise I did. Told them it's probably all genetic, but they did not buy it and asked me to tell them. Eat a lot of fish and chicken. Oat meal or other cereal for breakfast with bananas, blueberries and cinnamon. Cinnamon has been shown to reduce cholesterol, as does oatmeal, and blueberries are one of the better antioxidants. Never use anything but low fat milk. Don't eat ice cream or other desserts, except if someone serving dinner offers it. Have one glass of Red Grapefruit juice every day. An in depth study in Israel showed that red grapefruit was extremely beneficial in reducing cholesterol and blood pressure. Better than any prescription statin they tested. Never liked soda or junk food so don't drink any kind of pop or eat junk food. Try to eat a reasonable amount of fruit. Have plenty of wine. As for exercise, most of it comes from doing a lot of physical work. For supplements take 400 mg. of cod liver oil every day, 1000 mg. of bilberry extract, milk thistle for my liver, selenium and a multivitamin.
April 7, 2007
Anders finally mentioned the slow skis at Sapporo: In a previous note I mentioned that Anders Soedergren rarely complains and that in one race his skis were incredibly slow. It was over a month after the World Championships in Sapporo that he finally admitted the skis were brutally slow. To finish 14th, with skis that were so slow that Fredriksson gave up at 20K is quite an accomplishment.
The Environment: Anyone who reads this news column knows how passionate I am about the environment. When, over ten years ago, I began my campaign about global warming many of my friends were skeptics. ( But, I was used to this. When we founded our electronics company I told our employees, in a general company speech about the future, that by 1990 most cars would be front wheel drive. For a long time I was the laughing stock of many because of this statement as, at that time, no car made in the US was front wheel drive. However, before 1990, most cars produced in the world were front wheel drive, including American cars.)
Global Warming is finally becoming a major subject in the US. Even our President, who not very long ago said, global warming is due to natural causes, is making statements that CO2 is causing the change. However, his calculations did not compute. When he mumbled something in his TV report about the pollution in China and India, he was right, but he also got the numbers wrong. Experts on climatology measure CO2 emissions based on emissions per capita, not just by country. The only sensible method of measuring pollution is by output of pollutants per person. It is estimated that by the end of this year, China will have equal CO2 emissions to that of the United States. The President made a point of this. China is becoming one of the most industrialized countries in the world and has a population of 1.3 billion people, compared to 300 million in the US. So, if China as a country, pollutes equally as much as we do in the United States, it simply means that each person in China is only polluting 23% as much as each person in the US.
Now know why the US is a big Polluter: Drove down to my parents house in Florida this week. When we arrived in Florida, Nokomis next to Venice on the Gulf Coast, the traffic was so bad from Ocala to Venice, 184 miles, that all three lanes of the road were at times at a virtual standstill. An aerial photograph from a satellite would have depicted 3 lanes of road for 180 miles, in both directions, with nothing but cars. Most of the cars were SUV's and pick up trucks which probably average about 18 miles per gallon, or less. Our turbocharged 280 HP car averaged 30.6 miles per gallon for the 1550 mile trip down from NH. Having raced cars I like to drive fast, but never with crazies around me. Have often driven over 130 MPH on the Autobahn in Germany, but never where it could endanger anyone. Most of the cars coming from Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, etc. were driving like maniacs, completely out of control, until the roads from the north merged and the Gulf coast of Florida became a parking lot. ( I felt safer driving 130 MPH on the Autobahn than 75 MPH on I 75 or I 95 .)
Brilliant Idea: To reduce pollution, the EU is now contemplating a system that taxes your vehicle based on the amount of CO2 emissions. Since each country has it's own taxation system, the EU can only make recommendations, however many countries favor this system. Personally I think it's a brilliant idea. You want to pollute, then you should pay for it. Based on the information from an article in today's New York Times, the pollution in the US is as follows: Generation of electricity accounts for 34% of the pollution. Mainly due to the stinking coal burning power plants in the mid west that are damaging the forests in the North East. Transportation accounts for 28% of the pollution. According to the New York Times here are the five worst and five best vehicles.Worst polluters: Ford F series, Chevrolet Silverado, Dodge Ram, Ford Econoline and Dodge Caravan. The Least polluting vehicles:Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and Honda Accord.This review did not show details on commmercial 18 wheelers and how they pollute with respect to cars and pick up trucks. Hope that the recent statements by the President will get the message to the average person that Global warming is for real and every person should start to do something about it now.
Environmental meeting in Florida: Yesterday met with a number of people who live on Lyons Bay. A person had received a variance from the state of Florida to tear down a small house and build a large new one with a septic system that does not meet the state requirements for nitrogen emissions near the water. The bay is a paradise for all kinds of fish, manatee, dolphins and many birds including eagles and osprey. Over the last 25 years the pollution by humans is very noticeable and we want to make sure there are no more variances allowed. We are going directly to the Governor of Florida with our objections.
March 18, 2007
The FIS is quick to present Alpine results, but very slow with cross country: Today was the last day with the relay races in the World Junior Championships. I was anxious to get the results. The FIS had not yet posted the results so looked at some Scandinavian papers. Found out quickly that Norway won the girls relay with Sweden second and Sweden, surprisingly, won the boys relay with Russia second. But, no matter where I looked could not get beyond the first few teams. Wanted to find out how the US and Canada made out. Five hours after the races were completed, still could not get the official FIS results.
Charlotte Kalla went out last, 18 seconds behind Astrid Jacobsen of Norway. The course had been shortened from 5 to 3.3 kilometers. Kalla was gaining ground all the time and at the finish she was right behind Astrid. Many felt that if it had been 5K Charlotte would have won. In the boys race it was simply a sprint to the finish with Adam Johansson winning over Russia by a few centimeters.
March 17, 2006
Last years Holmenkollen winner sick: If it's a distance race and Anders Soedergren does not make it into the top ten I always think he either missed the wax, took a tumble or he is sick. In Lahti last weekend he finished 11th. I was waiting to hear what happened. The following day he had a fever. Turned out he raced with an infection ready to erupt. He was too sick to even think about entering Holmenkollen the next weekend. Many of the best skiers have said that Holmenkollen is the ultimate experience and the most important race on the World Cup. The old boys did well today. Thirty six year old Odd Bjoern Hjelmeset won with Estil Froede, 35 in third place. Kris Freeman had another good race finishing 21st.
Magnar Dahlen must be smiling: Magnar is not just the coach for Finland, he is one of the best wax technicians. The wax technicians must have nailed the wax today in the 30K and 50K at Holmenkollen. The women went 1, 2 and 5 for Finland. Magnar is the guy who got us involved with STAR ski wax. The Finnish women have been outstanding this year. However, today it was not just the women who did well. Sami Jauhojaervi, just 25 years old, finished 5th and Ville Nousiainen, just 23 years old, finished 9th.
Charlotte Kalla totally dominant in the Junior World Championship Pursuit: Unlike the Pursuit for men, where five finished within 10 seconds, Kalla left everyone breathless and won the 10K by a whopping 40 seconds. She was so far ahead, she stopped in the stadium and grabbed a Swedish flag before crossing the finish line. Elizabeth Stephen from the US had a very good race finishing 17th and Brittany Webster from Canada had a superb race, finishing 6th.
Alex Harvey only 5 seconds out of First Place: Alex has another year in the Junior league and was only five seconds from first place. The first time I met Alex's father, Pierre Harvey, was in 1990. We did some work together on a project for a Canadian company. There was a ski show in Montreal and Pierre came down from Quebec City to help us at our booth. He is a fantastic person. Pierre is also a winner of Holmenkollen. Alex could be another Pierre, maybe even better than his father if he concentrates only on skiing. Pierre was both the best skier and the best cyclist in Canada. Pierre got Alex some V2- 910's for training.
Made another mistake: In the March 7 report, said that the US has only two really good cross country skiers. Not true, as Kikkan Randall is a world class sprinter which she showed again with a 5th place World Cup finish. My apologies Kikkan.
March 7, 2007
More from the 50K in Sapporo: Anders is such a nice guy it sometimes takes awhile to really know what happened in a race. When Anders wrote, he said he had a bad day at work during the 50K. It was only after reading his comments several times, and reading what Braeten said, plus Mathias Fredriksson, that the whole scenario came to light. Sweden screwed up badly in the waxing department. Mathias quit the race because his skis were so slow. Mathias said there was no way to finish in the top ten with skis that slow.
In the media, Anders blamed his back for only finishing 14th. But, as you unravel the layers of the onion, you find hints about terribly slow skis. In fact, brutally slow. Anders did not want to blame the technicians. Absolutely sure his back hurt, because he was trying to get into the top ten with skis that did not move. Braeten said there must be much better cooperation between the technicians and the skiers.Braeten blamed the skiers as much as the technicians for such crap skis.
Optimistic: This week, met with the high technology German company for the 4th time. Discussed tire technology with the Chief Chemist, Product Manager and the Chief Tool Designer. We hope to have prototype samples within a month. If this technology works, it will revolutionize roller skis. They will be, lighter, smoother and more durable. And, all custom components will be made in the US.
March 4, 2007
Kris Freeman had an outstanding 50K, finishing 12th: Kris showed again that he is one of the best in the world and is in a separate class from the rest of the US distance skiers. Kris finished just 2' 38" from the winning Norwegians. Lars Flora and James Southam were respectively 12' 35" & 21' 28" back. As I stated earlier, the US team has only two world class skiers, Kris Freeman in distance and Andy Newell in the sprints.
Oscar Svaerd wins Vasaloppet again: This morning it was another sprint duel to the finish of the 90K race. Svaerd just beat world marathon cup leader Ahrlin.
Ander's back gives out: The 50K is the best distance for Anders and he rarely finishes outside the top 10. After his horrendous fall in the 30K pursuit, where he dislocated his shoulder, his back gave out today and he finished 14th, 2' 46" from the leaders. Will have to wait to see what he writes.
March 3, 2007
The 15 K Freestyle at Sapporo was a total fiasco due to snow: The highest seeded skiers, who started in the back, had a much a rougher time when it started snowing. Those who started early missed a lot of of the snow and a totally unknown young Belorussian named Leanid Karneyenka started third and finished 2nd. Johannes Eder, not in shape, started second and finished 4th. This is what Anders Soedergren, who started 116th and finished 13th, said about the race: "Had the best freestyle race this season, but got nowhere despite being in good shape. Before the race I was warming up in the hill at the 5.7 K point when I spotted Johannes Eder, the former doper from Austria. He was obviously in bad shape and I felt he would have a very tough day. At that point I had no idea what was going to happen.
Could not have imagined that he could be 4th. But, in Sapporo anything can happen. Snow, that felt like sandpaper, began to fall during the race. Things must change. So far only an 8th and 13th place finish and I am in very good shape. Must now do a much better job in the relay and in the 50K." Ander's did do a good job in the relay yesterday getting Sweden a bronze medal. For the US team it was another nightmarish day with best finisher, Lars Flora, in 57th place.
Relay for men: Apparently the US team never started. The big surprise was Germany not getting a medal. A lot of sickness at Sapporo and several teams used substitute skiers. 3.5 seconds separated the top three teams, Norway, Russia and Sweden.
Virpi Kuitinenen has been simply awesome: How many medals? How about Bronze in the individual sprint, Gold in the Sprint relay, Gold in the Distance relay and Gold in the 30K classic. She gave Finland a one minute lead in the first leg of the relay. It was almost three years ago that she decided to train on slower, more demanding roller skis and she switched to V2- 910K's. In the 30K there was apparently only one American entered, Catlin Compton, and she never finished.
Who is this? A Norwegian 19 year old Junior finished 3rd in the 30K. Another star is born. Therese Johaug did the impossible, beating all but two seniors in a 30K. Can see a real rivalry between Charlotte Kalla and Therese in the future. Both 19 and both top finishers in the Senior Championship. That's good for the sport.
Evolution, not Skiing: Jill Preutz, from Iowa's State University and Paco Bertolani, from the University of Cambridge have been studying Chimpanzees in Senegal. They found that chimps actually made wooden weapons. They took branches, removed leaves and twigs, sharpened them and used the wooden spears to kill smaller animals. Until recently it was thought that the apes copied farmers, who used tools, but these animals developed the weapons on their own. DNA from Chimps relates them to humans.
February 25, 2007
More News about Anders Soedergren after his Pursuit race: Just received an e mail about his shoulder. That was no fake shoulder injury noted in the article below on the 30 K Pursuit. Dr. Ghisler, said that when Anders decided to finish the race, still 18 kilometers to go, he made a wise decision. The extra blood flow to the injured shoulder, he popped in place after the accident, means that Anders might be able to compete in the remaining races. Dr. Ghisler said that if Anders had quit, chances were that he would not have been able to compete in the rest of the races at the World Championships. The additional blood flow to the injured shoulder from skiing another 18K might save him. If the pain in his shoulder does not subside, Anders will have to take pain medication until his shoulder is operated on after the ski season. Obviously Anders is both determined and tough. He said before the World Championships:"It's the Podium or Nothing." My admiration of Anders has never waned. This quiet, very personable athlete, and also a very intelligent person, is a true representation of the best in cross country skiing. After finishing 8th after falling and dislocating his shoulder I give him an A+.
The World Championships in Sapporo: The US team is there, but so far the only skiers with any presence are Newell and Freeman. Both of these skiers have proven in the past that they are among the very best in the world. As every ski enthusiast probably knows by now, Newell finished 5th in the Sprint and in the 30K pursuit Freeman finished 19th, just 1' 8" from the top three, who were all within 0.9 seconds.
The rest of he US team were over 2 kilometers back. They were loosing 0.54 meters per second to the top ten skiers. Kris Freeman decided to have his own training program last year supervised by Zach Caldwell. He spent most of the year training by himself in New Hampshire. Whatever Kris is doing, the rest of the team should also be doing. I know a lot what he was doing from Zach and from Kris himself. High resistance, long workouts.
Something wrong with the course when 50% of the racers fell in the Pursuit. It's not often that the world's best skiers fall. It happens, but 50 % of the skiers in a race? The course had a treacherous icy hill followed by loose snow in the bottom curve. Mathias Fredriksson and Anders Soedergren were in the lead pack of six, when at 12 kilometers Anders was forced into the loose snow and took a horrendous fall. This is what he said:
"Took such a fall when I went into the snow I look like I went ten rounds with Tyson. I have blue marks everywhere. Had been leading the race and felt really good. My shoulder popped out when I went down and although groggy, the first thing I did was pop the shoulder back. After I had recovered enough to continue it was a mental game. Never thought I would see the lead pack again, but with six kilometers to go I had managed to catch up. I was in the back with Estil Frode, but continued to slowly advance. To finish 8th, 15 seconds out of first place was not my goal. Braeten was furious with the condition of the course. He told me 35 skiers fell."
Considering the fall, think it's quite remarkable that he finished just 15 seconds out of first place. Fredriksson, who had also been in the top five, went down in the same hill and finished 14th.
Olsson called the Italian an Idiot: The person who had the right to be most upset during the race was probably Johan Olsson. He had a perfect race. He was in the lead pack all the time and with just six kilometers to go he was leading the race and said he felt very strong. When entering the feed station an Italian knocked him down and Johan got his elbow in his stomach. He got the wind knocked out of him. He said it took him a long time to recover. He managed to finish 20th.
He said: "You train hard for a year and when you are leading the race with just six K to go some idiot knocks you down." Braeten said the regulations at feeding stations must be changed, so this cannot happen again.
Charlotte Kalla "grymt" cool in today's 15 K Pursuit: The nineteen year old Junior has been called a super star and in her first Senior World Championships she showed why. In the classic portion she thought everybody was skiing to slow and moved out in front to increase the pace. At the change zone for skating she was in first place. She pulled a bit too hard in the classic and paid for it later in the skate. But how about finishing 7th, less than 25 seconds from 1st and beating most of the best skiers in the world including Marit Bjoergen and Olympic Champion Kristina Smigun. Many said she was "grymt cool" which translates from Swedish into awesome cool. For the US it was another sad story with Kikkan Randall finishing 41 and Lindsey Weir last out of a field of 52.
February 11, 2007
The Importance of Stretching: On Saturday, two weeks ago, I decided to cut some wood for our stove. Had just purchased a new Husky ( Husqvarna ) chain saw, as my 20+ year old saw was beginning to balk. Did not properly choke the saw and had to pull it about a dozen times before it started. Cut wood for about an hour and then did some carpentry work in the new office I am building above the new garage. The following morning had a pain in my back. It was different from any back pain encountered in the past. It was a continous pain and hurt no matter what my body position.
After nine days in pain I was getting worried and went to physical therapist / chiropractor office. Jim Weir, who I usually see, was on vacation skiing and I met with a Mr. Howard. He looked at me and then started testing me for flexibility. My quads and hamstrings were so tight my pelvis could not move properly. Had neglected my stretching for a long time. When he tried to stretch me, both legs cramped. He said: "I don't think there is anything wrong with your back, you are just too tight. " He told me to stretch every hour for a few days and to let him know if the pain disappeared. I noticed that the pain was reduced after every stretching session and just three days later, the pain was gone. From now on I will stretch several times a day.
Anja Pearsson perfect so far: After trying to recover from her knee operation and her boots and skis not working properly, she got everything together for the World Championships. Today she won the Downhill race and, with two more races left, she has won three Gold this week. Believe this is the fifth World Championship where she has captured a Gold medal, but three in a week is a little unusual. She also made history. The only woman to have captured Gold in all five Alpine Diciplines.
Made in USA: With so many things we buy being made overseas it would be nice to get something made in America. All custom components in V2 roller skis are made in the USA, except for the Aero tires. No company in United States makes this kind of tire anymore and the last pneumatic bicycle tire produced in the US was in 1987.
For over a year we have been working on a new tire design that could be produced in the US. A tire that would provide a smooth ride, yet cannot go flat. We will not know if we are going to be successful for another few months, but things are beginning to look brighter. A very large German company, with a major manufacturing facility in New England, will soon be making prototype samples. They have the technology and they are interested in our project. Jenex has expertise in a field they would like to enter, so this relationship can benefit both companies. If the tires are successful, the new roller ski models will have all custom components made in the US.
James Mannion called: On Friday, when I am alone at the plant, Dr. Mannion called and asked about a new Speed Reducer for his Aero 150's. Some two years ago Dr. Mannion wrote a very favorable article about our new brake. Nordic skiing is a very small world and with the web, news passes fast. His article complimented the new brake. It also made me realize that roller skis are a lot safer today than 15 years ago.
February 7, 2007
A tumultuous month for the Swedish Ski team: Don't know what really happened, but there appears to have been a disagreement between Inge Braaten and Thomas Alsgaard. Alsgaard just left the Swedish Team. Many skiers were disappointed, but there has been no official comment why the sudden departure. At this moment there is another problem, at least according to Braaten. He wants everybody at high altitude training before the World Championships, but some, including Fredriksson and Larsson, want to train at lower altitude and they have left Switzerland for Sweden. There have been hundreds of comments on the web by X-C ski enthusiasts. About 90% feel that Braaten is treating experienced skiers like high school kids.
Meanwhile, Magnar Dalen is letting everyone on the Finnish Team decide on their own between high or low altitude peaking before the Championship's. The Finnish Team is coming on very strong, both men and women. Virpi leads the World Cup and several new Finnish men skiers have been in the top ten this season.
Waxing Note from the US Nationals: Zach called me from the Nationals about some wax experiments. He then e mailed me the information and I forgot about it. It was written in early January from the ski races. Here are some excerpts form his letter.
" I had made up 12 different top coat combinations and Swix FC10 liquid ( with moly ) and FC2 were the best. Faster than pure fluoros with no additive content.
The last test ski I had was a total experiment - STAR MP30 crayoned on to the ski cold with F2 sprinkled on top and melted through. It was clearly better. Decided to experiment a little further and used MP30 with fluoro liquid finger painted on top and the whole thing ironed at very high temperature. New winner and that was our race wax."
Zach said he let some of the other technicians use the STAR MP30 and they confirmed his findings that it was the fastest. Lars Svensson had told Zach that when putting a liquid fluoro on top of MP30 it should be ironed at very high heat.
Yesterday we sold the last bars of STAR L6: This wax has become very popular, even with Alpine racers. We inventoried more L6 than any other wax and now we are out. Yesterday an Alpine coach showed up and bought every bar we had in stock. It's been very cold here the last four days and this weekend it should warm up to about - 7C. They were getting ready for this weekend and STAR Map Black and L6 should be a very good combination.
Just Don't Get It: Study after study after study, shows that keeping your headlights on, in the daytime, reduces the chance of an accident by 12 to 20%. Yet, a lot of people still don't drive with their lights on. ( One ridiculous argument someone presented to me was that you have to replace the bulbs more often. Next month my car will have traveled 75,000 miles and will be five years old. Have never replaced a headlight bulb.) Our eyes are much more sensitive to light than to a bright color. Brighter colored cars are of course more noticeable than a neutral colored car, but nothing gets another drivers attention better than the headlights.
Last week I was visiting a company in Louden, NH. Had never been there before and the directions were a bit vague, so left rather early for my 8:30 appointment. There was a Shaker road, Old Shaker road and Shaker Village road. Took the wrong Shaker road and had to turn around. When I got to the stop sign of Route 106, an undivided highway with a speed limit of 55 MPH leading to the Loudon NASCAR race track, a woman was turning left and I was turning right. It was a cloudy dark morning and a gray car with no lights was traveling down the road at very high speed. I spotted the car in the last minute and that's when the woman started to pull out. Blew my horn and waved my arms, and she stopped just as the car flew by. She was visibly shaken and I went over to talk to her. She told me she never saw the car. If I had not seen the car it could have been a deadly accident. If the woman driving the gray car had the lights on, the woman pulling out would easily have spotted the car, and I would have seen it much earlier. Like in many other countries, there should be a law in the US requiring the lights to be on. Motorcycle accidents were dramatically reduced when the light law went into effect.
February 6, 2007
World Alpine Championships Postponed for three days: The terrible weather in Are, Sweden prevented the races from being held last Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The winds were so bad it was a white out. Snow was falling and drifting so badly on Sunday and Monday, 7 snow cats and hundreds of people were trying to prepare the runs.
After three days of no skiing the first races were finally held today. The first race was won by the former Olympic and World Champion Anja Paerssson. It was a real surprise as she has had a terrible season, with injuries and skis and boots that did not fit. The week before the championships they took 2.5 mm of her boot soles and changed the edges of her skis. She said it made a very big difference.
Not a good sign for the US before the Nordic World Championships in Japan: With less than three weeks to go before the Championships in Japan the US relay team put in a dismal performance in Davos. Most of the countries did not have their best skiers in the relay and the favorite, Germany, was not even represented. With such a weak field the US should have been able to stay in contact. In a relay it's much easier to stay with the field than in an individual time race. The US team lost 0.26 meters per second, to the Russians and had about 1.5 kilometers still left when the Russians and Italians crossed the finish line.
When Jim Galanes first introduced the loss per second it was a brilliant eye opener. Every coach and skier I have talked to likes this method of measuring performance. One coach said: "You can't be right, you calculated wrong." In the 90's the German's developed a very scientific training program for distance cross country skiing. It was based on a very large data bank of information from skiers runners and tri athletes. What little I read about the US program did not seem to be backed by any meaningful scientific research. Why the US ski team did not adapt the scientific German program, years ago, is beyond me. The information was available and many American coaches, including Dick Taylor and Jim Galanes, studied the successful German program.
Just took a look at the US women's results and it made the men look good. The women lost an average of 0.47 meters per second and were over 1.5 kilometers back in a 20 K relay.
Inge Braaten was smiling: Unlike the men's relay, all the big guns were skiing in the women's relay at Davos. It was a dramatic relay with Sweden surprising everyone. In the first leg, a finally healthy, Lina Andersson tagged Anna Karin Stroemstedt first. Anna-Karin, who has had a stress fracture that prevented proper training, lost 17 seconds, but then Charlotte Kalla, the 19 year old super Junior, took over and going into the last leg Sweden was again first.
Norway's Marit Bjoergen soon caught Britta Norgren, but Britta hung on. Britta said she knew she could sprint as well, or maybe better than Marit. Britta said she was just worried about Marit in the hills. She said Bjoergen suddenly put on an incredible burst of speed in the hills but, much to Britta's surprise, she was able to stay with her. In a hill just before the finish Britta passed Marit and won the sprint to the finish.
This was Britta's second really good race this season. She passed Virpi in the last relay and Sweden finished 2nd. She overtrained in the fall and had been having a rough time recovering. Later Marit said. " The Swedish jaentansurprised me. I thought she would drop back in one of the hills."
Anders Soedergren skips Davos: Inge Braaten had no problems with Anders skipping Davos. In fact he was glad, as he felt Soedergren needed some rest and some relaxed training. He had been on a downward spiral from too much racing and he said it was time to start final preparations for Japan.
January 26, 2007
Lack of snow postpones the World Junior Championships: It's been a tough season for World Cup Nordic races with many cancellations. The postponement of the World Junior's to sometime in early March affects everyone, but especially those that were expected to ski for their country both at the World Junior and World Senior Championships. One of those was Charlotte Kalla, the Junior who won the 10 K skate race at the Swedish Senior National Championships. After winning the 10K she decided not to participate in the other races and went home to train for the World Junior's. After she got home the World Junior race was postponed to some time in March. No official date was announced at the time. Just March.
She said she is not quite sure how to train right now. Peak for the World Senior Championships in February, or cool it and go for the World Junior's in March? In her first World Cup Senior race this year she finished 7th, which is quite remarkable for a 19 year old.
Researchers at the University of Innsbruck predict no glaciers in the Alps by 2050: Earlier this week the scientists released some very gloomy statistics. ( Since we have record cold temperatures in New Hampshire right now, many probably think Global warming is a hoax.) To try and keep, Hannenkammrennen, the most prestigious downhill race in the world, from being canceled,Austria spent $450,000 lifting snow by helicopter to the downhill run. It did not work and the race still had to be canceled this week. Although last year was a good snow year in Europe, one must look a little beyond the length of our nose.
Over the last ten years the Alpine Glaciers have lost, on the average, 3% of their ice every year. World and Olympic Alpine Champion, Anja Pearsson, said that in the ten years she has been training on the Soelden Glacier it's very obvious how much ice has been lost. She said you did not have to be a scientist to see the effect of Global warming.
Rational Thinking: While scientific evidence is pouring in from around the world showing that humans are the main problem of global warming some, ideologists, claim the warming is a sign from God. Here is what a computer consultant from Seattle, Washington said when the school wanted to show a movie about global warming. "No, you will not show that video to my child, blaming our nation - the greatest nation ever to exist on this planet - for global warming."
The 43 year old computer consultant is an evangelical Christian who said he believes that a warming planet is "one of the signs" of Jesus Christ's imminent return to Judgment Day. How do you hold a rational conversation with someone who refuses to review the scientific data and has such strong ideological beliefs that no matter what you present for evidence their mind cannot be changed?
There are many reasons why some people don't accept factual evidence. It can be religion, ethnic beliefs, family "values", or simply because that was the way they were taught things should be, or should be done, and nothing you present can change their mind.
Our electronic systems company was doing well. Both growth and profit exceeded projections. However, my cofounder of the company and I strongly believed we needed to make some major changes in product and marketing strategy to continue our growth. One senior member of the company disagreed and wanted to stay on the same path that had been so successful for the last eight years. We presented semiconductor technology changes and marketing data to show that it was impossible to continue on the same growth curve without some major changes. He was convinced we were wrong and, we were equally convinced we were right.
We decided to hire a major consulting firm from Boston to help us set the course for the future. The consultants assigned for the job spent about two months gathering data in our business segment. We went to a conference sight and spent many days reviewing and discusiing the data.
Attending the strategy session were also two senior members from another division, including the CEO. After many days of discussing and debating the data gathered all, but one, were convinced that we must invest in new products and modify the marketing strategy to be successful in the future. With massive data showing there was a dramatic change in semiconductor technology, we could not convince the senior member who originally opposed our change. He was unwilling to accept the evidence presented. Why? He had been successful doing things his way. This was not a case of fanatical ideology, it was simply the fact that he believed so much in his way of doing things, that had been successful for him, that he could not rationally analyze the data presented. The data did not agree with his experience, therefore it must be wrong. We had no choice. The person had to be replaced or our future plans would not be successful.
Some people categorize "stubborn" people into this category. I like stubborn people because they usually want you to present the facts necessesary to change their minds. The, "I am from Missouri", mentality is not a problem. The real problem is the inability to think rationally. When people, because of their ideological beleifs, are unable to separate facts from their opinion we get mired down in a mudhole. (Just my opinion. )
January 3, 2007
Tour de Ski 15K: Today it was snowing at Obertsdorf and conditions varied greatly. For those who started early the conditions were much better. Waxing was very tough and a lot of teams used no kick was, just "hairies". Those who did really well, Goering and Sommerfeldt went out early. Mats Larsson, a Swedish skier who is not highly ranked went out early and finished 9th., his best result ever in a major race. The Germans nailed the wax and their starting positions, finishing 1,2 and 3.
As the snow became heavier those who started late had much slower conditions. Vincent Vittoz was pretty upset as some Germans were skiing in front of Angerer to help his glide in the track. Vittoz was second in the tour, but today he finished 24th and dropped to 6th overall. The bottom line is it was not a fair test of skiing skill. For many glide was a real problem.
January 2, 2007
Fiasco for favorite Marit Bjoergen in Tour de Ski: Look's like Marit beat herself up badly winning the Sprint. Today the favorite for the Tour de Ski finished 25th some 55 seconds back. Many skiers had real excuses for today's performance. Several with stomach problems, probably due to food poisoning. Marit however, just seamed tired. ( My only encounter with a bad Salmonella infection was in Munich. Felt like hell. Lost 15 pounds and spent several days in the hospital. )
Anders in a Good Position: Anders Soedergren said he was quite satisfied with his performance today. Fifth, but only a few seconds out of first place. In the final skate portion he put in a charge to separate the pack. It worked. He wanted as few skiers as possible in the final sprint and only twelve stayed with him in the lead pack. He said:
Since it's the time difference, not your placing which counts, I wanted as few people as possible in the final sprint to the finish. That is why I put on a serious press to separate the pack and allowed only twelve skiers to enter together.
Ander said he felt strong and is looking forward to the final race. Feel good and I am usually very good in steep terrain. The final race, 3 kilometers up an Alpine slope should suit me well.
This Tour de Ski concept is new and will undoubtedly have many changes in the future. Many top World Cup skiers like it, many others are very skeptical. Hope the venue is not so hard that they get wiped out before the season is over. The most surprising results in today's race was that the best Norwegian man was 12th.
January 1, 2007
Canadians off to a great start in the "Tour de Ski: Happy New Year to all the Readers of this column. The Canadians were off to a great start with Devon Kershaw second for men and Chandra Crawford third for women.
Read a number of comments from Scandinavian ski watcher sights and many said it was a real circus. Most felt that it was too crowded with six skiers in every heat. Olympic Champion Bjoern Lind broke his pole, Tor Arne Hetland and Sime Oestensen both fell and were out before the final. In the final Petter Northug, Oesten Pettersen and Thobias Fredriksson all went down right after the crowded start. The Norwegians decided to quit after the fall, while Tobias went in pursuit of the rest. After the fall he had no chance of catching the lead group and finished 4th. The winner was Christian Eigermann from Switzerland who had previously only been in the podium once.Virpi Kuitunen finished 6th and held on to her World Cup lead.
How Sick is This! I was just getting ready to throw out some newspapers when I noticed an article in the Sunday December 24, New York Times titled. A Lump of Coal Might Suffice and a comment in bold: Reminded again that performance and pay are not always linked.
Last July, Hank Mc Kinnel was dumped as CEO of Pfizer. Under the "leadership" of Mr. Mc Kinnel, Pfizer shares lost almost 50 % 0f their value. Put another way, the stock value of Pfizer was reduced by a staggering $137 billion.Prior to Mr. Mc Kinnel's "leadership" Pfizer was always a winner. So what did a totally inept board of Directors decide to award Hank for loosing so much money? A Pension of $6.65 million a year for as long as he lives. Another $78 million in deferred compensation and $18.3 million in performance based shares. Tack on $12.0 million in severance pay, $2.15 million in bonus, more stock grants worth $5.8 million and $576,573 in medical insurance. His total compensation is estimated to be worth $180,000,000 after a loosing performance. Would love to receive this kind of compensation after mismanaging the company. These Directors are sick or, being paid off!
Frederick Rowe Jr., President of Investors for Direct Accountability, said: "Over a long period of time, the board has obligated Pfizer shareholders to pay Mr. Mc Kinnel staggering sums for continuos, unmitigated failure. This is nothing other than a betrayal of Pfizer employees and shareholders."
This was not a real board of Directors, just a bunch wimps controlled by the CEO. The previous CEO of Pfizer, James E. Burke, who is highly respected in the business community said: Remember that being a business leader is about giving- not taking." Beginning 2007 there will be a new yearly prize to recognize the public company board that has enabled the most self serving performance by a chief executive in America. It will be called, The McKinnel Award.
December 30, 2006
Global Warming: The foremost International Climatologists ( IPCC) are soon ready to make their 4th International Report in Paris. The last official report was in 2001. Have received the Inital Report for 2007 and the news is not good for those who like skiing. In fact it is very gloomy. You don't have to be an Einstein to see what is happening, but many people just don't get it. Because Washington, Oregon and Colorado are now getting pounded with snow does not mean we do not have global warming. Since Global Warming is not a big headline in the US, I find a lot more information from Scandinavian and German Newspapers. However, as hurricanes, storms, rain and unusual drought increase in the US, it will become a major subject here as well.
Here are some of the data from IPCC. 1- Five of the six warmest years ever recorded occurred between 2000 and 2006. 2- The ice in the Arctic and Antarctic is melting at a rate beyond any previous projections. Between 1963 and 1993 the ocean waters rose by an average of 0.5 mm per year. Since 1993 the water rise has accelerated rapidly averaging 0.8 mm and in the last three years 1.0 mm. By the year 2050 the majority of climatologists believe the ocean will have risen between 30 and 58 centimeters. ( 12 to 23.3 inches.) The scientists predict that global temperatures will increase by an average of 3 degrees Centigrade. The lowest projections are 1.8C, the highest 4.5C. )
What can we do to slow down this trend? We must reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being spewed into the atmosphere. We in United States send 6.2 ton per person into the sky every year. In Scandinavia the number has been reduced to 1.9 ton per person and is going down very rapidly. We can start by applying very simple and generally inexpensive solutions to reduce energy consumption. A- Replace all incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent bulbs. (We have done this and reduced the amount of electricity used for lighting by over 300%. ) B- Insulation is inexpensive compared to oil, gas or electricity cost. For a very small expenditure we added additional insulation in our attic increasing the R value from 26 to 64. ( Two blankets of R 19 high density glass insulation.) C- Windows are not rated by R values. ( I am convinced it's becaue they are such poor insulators.) A double glass window with low E glass has and R value of only 2.7. By adding a 3M clear and reflective insulating film, easy to do, winter heat loss and summer heat gain can be dramatically reduced. Add the new double honeycomb cell window drapes and you can increase R value by another 4 points. With these changes, your window can go from very poor to very environmentally friendly. For adding all fluorescent lighting and increasing the insulation, both the state of NH and the Federal government will reimburse us for a portion of the cost.
D- Next time you need to purchase a new appliance get an energy eficient dryer,washer and refrigerator. When your car needs to be replaced get one with high fuel efficiency. I have a powerful, 260 HP, car that averages over 31 miles per gallon on the highway and about 26 in town. This is a lot better than most US cars, but the next car we get will be even a lot more efficient. ( Cars and Trucks are the main reason for the US spewing out three times more Carbon Dioxide than any other industrialised countries. ) This summer we will be changing our heating system to a DX Geothermal, the most efficient heating and cooling system developed to date. By using the temperature of the earth to heat in the winter and cool in summer we will be able to reduce the amount of energy to heat and cool our house by over 300 %. We need to start energy conservation now, or future generations will not be able to enjoy the pleasures of snow. It's that simple. According to some experts snow loss will first effect Scandinavia, the North American East Coast, the Midwest and Central Europe. Then the rest of the Ski World will be snowless. Many of my friends are sceptics. They just don't understand Global Warming.
V2 -Aero 125 Roller Skis: Many have asked us why we do not put valve caps on the valve stem. Most tube failures occur near the valve stem. Placing caps on the stem increases the amount of stress on the tube and reduces the life span of the tube. Tube failures decreased substantially after we removed the valve caps.
December 19, 2006
Anders sick: Turns out his less than stellar performance in the relay on Sunday, was not his fault. On Sunday morning he said hi felt unusually tired. He even thought about not racing. He said that after you feel dead tired after just 500 meters you know how long 10K feels. He is usually the best skier in the hills, but he had no strength. Instead of attacking the hills, he just tried to get over them.
In the afternoon on the way home to Sweden the infection started to brake out. He was coughing and had a runny nose. This infection probably affected his skiing on Saturday as well. He is now looking forward to the Tour the Ski which starts on December 29.
December 17, 2006
Charlotta Kalla had a great day, Anders runs out of gas: The Swedish ladies were not expected to be able to compete with the Russians, Norwegians, Finns or Germans. After two laps at La Clusaz, Sweden was 4th. Charlotta, the Swedish Junior, was skiing the third leg and she moved Sweden to within 1 second of the leading Finnish team at the 4th exchange. Skiing the last leg for Finland was Virpi Kuitunen who has been super hot. Sweden had Britta Norgren and today she was strong. She passed Virpi, but when the German express train, Evi Szachenbacher, caught Britta there was nothing Norgren could do except watch the express train go by. But, second is not that bad. If Charlotta does not burn out, this 19 year old World Champion Junior could be a real future star.
In the men's race Sweden was hanging in with the three top teams until Anders took over in the third leg. He ran out of gas and Russia just dominated. He said he was really tired from yesterday. The Russians were so far ahead they could have had coffee break and and still won.
December 16, 2006
Anders misses the Podium Again: Mass start races are becoming so tactical it's truly like bicycle racing. Ander's said that in the race today he and Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Mathias Fredriksson decided to work together to split the field. This crazy race was 12 laps around a 2.5 kilometer loop.
Mathias and Ole Einar's skis were too slow to keep up with Anders, so the tactical plan went up in smoke. Anders said his skis were fine, but to try and go at this pace in a mass start race without any helpers was almost impossible. Anders said he did not feel that good today. In the early part of the race, between 7.5 and 12 kilometers, he was really down. After that his energy returned. It was a very tough race on a very tough course. In the end there were 6 to 8 skiers that would decide the winner. He said that in the last lap his muscles were screaming in pain. Angerer from Germany won, with Legov and Dementiev, both from Russia, next. Anders was 4th. Based on these latest results Anders is second in the World Cup Distance races and 4th overall, including Sprint. Good luck to Anders. He is one of the best distance skier in the World, except in Mass Start Races, where luck and final sprint speed is often the deciding factor.
December 14, 2006
STAR Digital Irons have been shipped: The demand for the STAR Digital Iron has been phenomenal. All orders placed up to noon today have been shipped. When Zach Caldwell stopped by this afternoon he was stunned. He only faxed us his order list Tuesday afternoon and every one of his orders was on a UPS truck or at the Post Office for Canadian orders. ( The all female staff at V2, except for myself, is exceptional. They know it... and I know it. ) We still have a few irons left, but they are going very, very fast.
Zach also delivered two pair of Fischer skis for me. One pair of skate and one pair of classic cold skis. Picked for a weight of 156 pounds, which means I will need to loose a few pounds, like about eight. Since it's 41 degrees Fahrenheit at 9:00 P.M. today, maybe I need water skis instead of cold snow skis.
Kuitunen now Leading the World Cup: Another skier who trains on V2 roller skis has been winning classic races with very large margins this season. In Kuusamo Virpi won by 44 seconds and on Wednesday, in Cogne, by 32 seconds. Marit Bjoergen, who was the Cup leader and was on the Podium the first four races, was 1' 48" after Virpi. That's a lot in 10K. Kristina Smigun, who has been on V2 for training since 1998, is now in third place on the World Cup.
In June of 2004, I got a phone call from Finland. Virpi, and several other National Team Finnish skiers, felt that the Finnish classic roller skis they were using were not demanding enough. They simply did not have enough resistance for a workout to improve racing performance. So they purchased V2- 910K's. In 2004 Virpi was a very good young skier. The representative for the Finnish team who called said that Virpi was already ranked 6th overall on the World Cup and 4th in Sprints. We are seeing a resurgence of elite skiers using slow high resistance roller skis. Gunde Svan, who quit skiing long before he had reached his best performance potential, trained with very high resistance equipment. He won 30 World Cup races and many felt he could easily have won another 20 if he had continued.
Anders Soedergren said that Cogne was a "Hornets Nest": Anders, who finished 5th ( 7.2 seconds out of first place ) said that he felt good. He used his Kuusamo approach, went out slowly and picked it up in the middle. At 14k he thought he might win, but in the last 1K the Norwegian Army picked it up even more and he lost by a few seconds. Sent a "Power Lung" to Anders in the beginning of this month. Will be very interested to see what he thinks of it.
John Bauer called yesterday: He said he is in good shape. Body fat to muscle ratio, better than when he was in top shape on the ski team. He said that in the spring of 2006 he felt stronger and better than at any time in his skiing career. But, now something is wrong. John had just recently received the V2 -9001 skis he ordered and was wondering about the best binding placement.
November 29, 2006
The New Digital STAR waxing irons in Boston: Our shipping company informed us today that the STAR waxing irons have arrived in Boston. This means that the irons will probably arrive at V2 on Tuesday, December 5th. All irons will be shipped from V2 Jenex, including those sold by Zach Caldwell. Zach is sending us a list with names and addresses of those who have ordered from him. These items are very heavy and we are shipping by UPS Ground. We ship all over the country daily and here is what we find for delivery time by UPS Ground. ( Don't believe UPS data. ) From NH to other points in New England = 1 to 2 days. Mid West = 3 to 5 days. Rockies = 7 to 8 days and Far West 10 to 14 days. Shipping by Fed Ex next day, 2nd or 3rd day could be very expensive as the item is heavy and the freight charge will be based on dimensional weight, not actual weight. Let us know if UPS Ground is not acceptable. If customs do not drag their feet too long, we should be able to start shipping the world's best waxing iron by Wednesday, December 6th.
November 28, 2006
Anders Soedergren after the race in Kuusamo where he finished 3rd: "Now I feel much more relaxed. Felt really good and as for speed it can be increased later in the season.
My goal was simply to get through the 15 kilometer race with a positive feeling. Because I had not been able to train normally in the last few weeks I did not set any goals before the start. Started the race at a very low tempo, exactly opposite from Gaellivare where I had a 20 second lead over Ole Einar Bjoerndalen at 2.3 kilometers. I was way back in the beginning, but had also not used up a lot of energy. In the middle of the race I felt really good and began to increase my speed.
I am in good shape and i can ski a lot faster than today. In the near future I need to train more. Inge Braeten seemed pleased as Mathias Fredriksson got 4th, Martin Larsson 14th and Johan Olsson 22nd in his first race of the year.
Riller drums for Lars Svensson finished today: Today we assembled another 70 riller drums. We are still missing some parts for the control handles, but have been assured by the local machine shop that they will be finished this week. This machine shop, less than four miles from our facility, is something else. It has the same Japanese machining center that fabricates the Cadillac North Star engine. There are 210 automatic tool changers on the machine and four robots can supply raw material and remove the machined parts.
Took Zach Caldwell there a few years ago to see the shop. The owner told us to watch for the tool change. Both Zach and I missed seeing the first tool change as it took only 1 second to remove one tool and insert the next tool. While machining the parts, laser measurement inspection beams automatically measure the part during fabrication.
November 26. 2006
Anders Soedergren had a great race at Kuusamo: After being sick and having a poor race in Gaellivare, Anders came back and finished third today. Kristina Smigun continues to impress, being second last week and third today. Anders did not train Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday last week as he was worried about getting sick again. As usual Kris had the best US finish in 33rd place.
November 26, 2006
New Pricing for Riller: Just received the quotes for machined components yesterday. These prices are based on the fact that material prices have more than doubled since our last production lot some 11 months ago. This riller can make your skis faster in all conditions except for cold fine snow. The speed improvements can be dramatic, especially in moist or wet conditions. (Read the November 19 and the November 16 News for comments on the riller by Lars Svensson and others. ( Lars is probably the most recognized and most respected Nordic ski tuner in the world.) Properly used, the riller will last a very long time.
Lars said he does not use the fine drum. He claims you only need four drums, coarse and medium interrupted and coarse and medium linear. When you look at what you spend for skis and wax, this professional ski tuning tool is really not expensive. If you can only afford to buy two drums then I would begin by getting the coarse Interrupted and medium Linear. As can be seen in the picture on the Index page and below, there are two handles that hold the riller drum. The precision centerless ground stainless steel rod in one handle, (+- 0.0002", which is the average persons hair split 15 times ) fits the industrial quality bearings in the drum perfectly. The male rod threads into a female receptacle in the opposite handle. One handle has an acetal ( Delrin) guide. This is a professional system that gives you maximum control. There are rilling systems by other manufacturers that cost well over $1,000. Why spend that kind of money when the guru of Nordic ski tuners, Lars Svensson, thinks the V2 riller is the best?
North American Retail Prices as of November 22, 2006: Interrupted Drums, $79.00 / ea. Linear Drums, $79.00 / ea. Control Handles. One male and one female control handle, $79.00.
November 19, 2006
Kris Freeman at Gaellivare World Cup: What an opener! Kris finished 18th yesterday. The kind of training Kris has been doing is generally not conducive to such an early season good result. Based on what Zach and Kris have told me, and what's on Zach's home page, we should not have expected to see such a result.
What does this mean? I think it means he will be phenomenal later in the season. When Kris decided to train in Andover, New Hampshire and not go to New Zealand he made a very wise move. As you can read on www. engineeredtuning.net, Kris trained at lower intensity for very long sessions. Very similar to the kind of hours the Germans have been putting in. When he first started his 4 to 5 hour double pole sessions this last spring, he was on medium fast skis. ( The terrain around Andover is very hilly. ) Soon after he called to get some 920's, a slower ski. He gained strength and endurance rapidly and not long after that he was training on 910's for both double poling and diagonal. He later called to get Speed Reducers. Kris also used the slowest skate ski he could find, not the US team's skate skis. Before the season started I made bets with people that Kris would be a top 10 finisher in World Cup races. He is good enough to medal at the World Championships.
The Hands of New England: Just returned from the Jackson Ski Touring Center where Sally Taylor ( Dick Taylor's wife) had a photography exhibition that was outstanding. Over a period of three years, Sally photographed the hands of many New England skiers, coaches and others involved with Nordic Skiing. Hands are a very interesting subject and the fifty photographs tell a marvelous story about New England Nordic Skiing. When you see the hands of Marty Hall, you know immediately that it's Marty. The selection of 50 pictures includes such great skiers as Bill Koch, John Caldwell, Tim Caldwell, Jim and Joe Galanes, Mike Gallagher, Martha Rockwell, Sue Long, Nina Kempel, Dick Taylor and many, many more.
The pictures will be at the Jackson Ski Touring Center until December 1st. However, some of the pictures will be there for a longer period of time. Taking these pictures was no simple task Some people do not even live in New England, such as Jim Galanes. When Sally found out Jim was coming from Alaska to Vermont last October, Sally and Dick drove from Maine to Vermont to see Jim and take the pictures. Put Blodgett was at the reception. Last time I saw Put was in a ski race in the late 70's. If you get a chance, go to the Jackson Ski Touring Center. It's truly worth a visit.
German Training Program: While at the photo exhibit, Dick Taylor said he had some really interesting training information he had translated from German. He gave me a copy of his translation. It's not that often that I read information about Nordic training that is really interesting. Most of it is just a rehash of what I have read before, or it's not based on scientific principles. There is a lot of very good data out there by real exercise physiologists who have done a thorough study and know what works and what does not. In Nordic Skiing a lot of this data is only available in German, Russian, Italian, Swedish or Norwegian. ( The problem is, sometimes people read this stuff, but only pick up on one specific training parameter. A training program is then developed that does not include all the chapters in the original study. Result! Disaster. I have an awful lot of books and articles in three different languages about endurance training. The German approach is very interesting. Probably the most scientific approach to date. Hope Dick publishes all the data in English.
Anders Soedergren under the weather: Anders had not been feeling well. He felt tired and logy and decided not to train Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. He finished 41, the same as in his first race last year. He said: ( Some of what he said is a bit hard to translate. )
"On Friday I tested myself in a light workout at home and decided to leave for Gaellivare. In my warm-up I felt pretty good. Spoke to Alsgaard and decided to go as hard as I could. My technique felt good and at 2.3 kilometers I was in the lead. Kept the speed until the four kilometer mark, then my body could not take it any more. The remainder of the race can be described as a trip just to reach the finish. ( An understatement when you consider he beat Johnson and Chamberlain by a large margin. )
You probably wonder why I started when I was not feeling well?
That's a good question!
We will see if it was a mistake to start. Any effect would be good. Either get the crap out of my body, or wait for an infection to break out. To be logy for another week is the worst that can happen.
On to something more pleasant... Charlotta Kalla! What a fantastic race. I am very impressed. The 19 year old went full speed from start to finish without respect for all the World Cup elite. Kalla is a tuffy that was not afraid to train with the men when at the fall training camps in the Alps." ( Nineteen year old Kalla finished 7th in her first Senior World Cup Race. )
More Comments on the Riller: Shortly after Lars Svensson's comments on the riller, received an e mail from Jim Galanes, one of the most respected ski coaches and ski tuners in North America. This is what he said: "I can say that I used it to adjust almost all the skis I waxed, especially in wet conditions. I almost always found that running one of the riller drums, depending on the conditions, made the skis faster."
V2 Riller Really Works: Sarah Konrad e mailed us from the California Gold Rush in 2005 and said: "Conditions at Royal Gorge were not typical, so I didn't need the big structure for slush. But since I had the brand new V2 riller, I prepped an extra pair with the medium interrupted structure. When I tested my skis race morning in the heavy new snow, this one ended up being the best, better than the Z40 grind and a European grind that I have found to be good in these conditions. Interesting! "
This is not the first time racers and coaches have told us the riller was better than their stone ground skis. With five different drums and by using one structure on top of another structure you have a structure system to meet any snow conditions. V2 is not a toy riller, like so many others on the market. Each drum weighs 525 grams ( Well over 1 pound ) and is machined to the most precise tolerances.
November 16, 2006
V2 Riller: On Tuesday this week received a call from Lars Svensson, probably the most respected name in the Nordic Ski Tuning Business. Lars is the person that Zach Caldwell purchased his Tazzari ski grinders from. Lars was recently here to install Zach's new machine. Lars does ski tuning for many major National Teams including Norway, Sweden, Germany, Russia, etc.
Lars told me that in the last five years the stone grinding structures on skis have become much finer as the new stone grinding machines have become more precise. As a result skis are being rilled a lot more than before. Lars told me that in one major race last year just about every skier came to get their skis rilled with the V2 riller. Lars said that he had used every riller on the market and said that after using the V2 riller for two years it was by far the best he had used. He said many of the major ski clubs in Sweden had asked him to get them V2 rillers and he ordered a substantial number of Riller Control handles and almost fifty riller drums.
He found the large drum to be much better than smaller drums. You have to have a good ski form and press down harder than with the smaller drums, but he found the V2 to be more precise, it always rolls and never cuts the ski base. We consider it a real compliment to have one of the most respected ski tuners in the world say the V2 riller was the best.
Italy calls about V2 Riller. Just about three hours before Lars called we received an inquiry from Italy about purchasing V2 Rillers. When I asked how they found out about the riller they said they saw it being used at the 2006 Olympics. They requested a quote for a substantial number of rillers. Unfortunately the price of brass has increased over 100% in the last year. In quantity, the price of brass rod 45 mm in diameter is now about $125.00 per meter. This makes the riller drums much more expensive.
Here are some specifications: Weight of the Riller Drum = 525 grams. Riller Drum Diameter = 4.5 cm. Each Riller Drum is equipped with two precision 22 mm bearings. Patterns .35 mm., 1mm.and 1.5mm.Washout channels every 15 mm. Washout angle 100 degrees.( See Picture above for herringbone pattern. ) If you look down at the ski, there is a herringbone pattern centered every 15mm with dirt - water wash out channels at 50 degrees or 100 degrees included. This is important: Continuos rills collect dirt, don't disperse water and slow the ski instead of making it faster. Think of a ski with continuos rilling grooves running from tip to tail. You are skiing in watery conditions with many airborne contaminants, so what happens as your skis glide along this surface? Where does the water and contaminants go as you ski along? By the time the contaminates reach the rear of the ski the fine "rills" are clogged with crud and water and the ski is slower than ever. As the ski moves down the track floating on a layer of polyethylene embedded with a substance that has minimal friction for the snow conditions, you don't want the structure in the polyethylene base to be clogged. You want to get rid of those nasty substances as quickly as possible and that is what the interrupted rill pattern does. And, it does it in a 100 degree pattern for better release and dispersion than some of the present interrupted patterns and it does it every 15 mm.
To get a more aggressive ski structure heat the base with an iron and press very hard when rolling. Since this is a non cutting tool, it takes all your strength to get a pattern in a cold base. The riller diameter is so large and the unit so heavy, we found we could go back and forth and generate a deeper pattern ending up in exactly the same location, as the big drum never slides under pressure. Make sure you have thoroughly scraped the ski and brushed it before rilling. Otherwise you simply end up with wax embedded in the rilling tool grooves and the ski has grooves only in the excess wax that should have been removed in the first place.
Many people don't understand how a racing ski base works. Except for kick wax, there should be no wax above the exterior surface of the sintered polyethylene. Think of a ski base as a sponge that is much harder than your kitchen sponge. The wax penetrates into the fine pores of the sintered polyethylene and slowly migrates out as you ski. What makes your skis fast or slow is the synergistic effect of the lubricity of the wax in the pores and the polyethylene and the structure of the polyethylene.
We made fine, medium and coarse patterns over a very fine stone ground pattern in a Madshus ski. Then we heated and waxed the ski with soft Uniblock Yellow, hot scraped it and removed the rolled patterns. The fine stone ground pattern was still there but the rill structure was gone, the best of both worlds. That is the real benefit of this kind of tool. No burrs and damage to the base from cutting riller tools and the ability to quickly remove the pattern. You can easily press coarse patterns over fine patterns. By varying the rolling pressure you can also have the front section of the ski different from the rear of the ski.
Because of the new shaped skis we have the acetal guide on only one side. With one guide, it's easy to control the tool. You can't use this tool properly if you are a total klutz, but it's ten times easier than learning to flat scrape a ski with either a flexible or stiff scraper.
Simply hold the riller tool straight with both 5 inch handles, push the guide against the side of the ski then press down very hard and roll the pattern into the ski. Note: You must have a good ski form to support the ski. If you want a deeper pattern, heat the ski by ironing the base at about 100C and press hard while the ski is still hot. It's really simple, but it takes muscle to get the pattern in as you are displacing the polyethylene, not cutting it, and this is the major benefit of the V2 Rilling Tool.. Cutting creates all kinds of burrs that must be removed and it permanently impacts the base, it's just stupid to use cutting rilling tools.
STAR Digital Waxing Iron: According to Zach Caldwell and Lars Svensson, the new STAR iron is the best on the market. We are selling these irons at a special price of only $190.00. For a complete review of the iron go to Zach's home page. engineered tuning.com.
April 25, 2006
Marit Bjoergen stated that she over trained last year: Marit said she learned a valuable lesson from her training last summer and fall. She said that she trained with too much intensity. She did not train more hours, but she stated there were too few recovery periods. I learned from this experience and I will go back to my previous training methods with more recovery. I will not try anything new, I will simply use the training program that worked for me in the past. That program included periods of high intensity and periods of lower intensity for recovery.
How many athletes do we know that never give their batteries a chance to get fully charged?
April 22, 2006
Inge Braten and Thomas Alsgaard to continue to work with the Swedish Team: Inge has signed a contract to be in charge of Swedish X-C through the next Olympics. Thomas will be moving to France this fall to work on a vineyard. Don't know if he is starting a vineyard from scratch or if he bought an existing one. However, he will continue to work with the Swedish Team which is good news as I think everyone felt he was a positive influence.
Fourteen skiers have been selected for the Swedish A Team. Three others have been selected as an "Observation" group and they will participate in some of the training camps. I can only surmise that if they do well in the training camps and in the physiological tests, they could be moved to the A Team
April 15, 2006
More data on ski speed: One coach e mailed us and said that Americans were typically loosing between 0.2 and 0.5 meters per second against the best skiers on the World Cup. Since I have always analyzed using percentage and distance back I was shocked to see the distance lost per second. At first it was hard to believe, but then I did the calculations for many races and it's true, US skiers loose about 8 to 19 inches per second to the best in the world. In the last Holmenkollen 50K the best American skier lost 15.5 inches ( .395 meters ) every second.
Why are American skiers loosing this dramatic distance every second? With the video diagnostic tools available we should know exactly why. It can only be glide, cadence or stride- skate length. With a video analysis on the flats, slight uphill, steep uphill, slight downhill and steep downhill, it should be very easy calculate where the time is being lost. Then a training program could be devised to correct the deficiencies, whatever they are.
Anders wins a mass start race: Anders wrote that he finally figured out how to win a mass start race. Mathias Fredriksson and Petter Northug were his main rivals in the 27 km Fjaelltopploppet. He wrote that all year he had tried to break away near the end of the race, like he did in the Olympics. Since he was often in front pulling, the skiers behind were not as tired.
This time Anders decided to go super hard in the first long hill and he broke both Petter and Mathias. As he crested the hill he continued to ski hard and in the next long hill he went as hard as he could again. He won the race by 2 minutes. He said that in the future he will go hard early and if the pack catches him they will be a lot more tired than in the type of mass start races we saw this year.
April 14, 2006
Comments on the traditional percentage back to evaluate performance: We received a number of e mail letters, from coaches who have our address, regarding our comments from April 10th. The coaches said they thought our method of evaluating skier performance hit the target square on. One coach had analyzed a number of, non mass start, World Cup races and his data showed that to be in the top 20 the ski speed must be within 4% of the average time of the top three finishers.
To be in the top 10 on a World Cup the ski speed must, with few exceptions, be within 2% of the average time of the top three. In many, non mass start, Olympic and World Cup races the best American skier was over 2 kilometers behind. As noted earlier, typically American skiers lost 10+ seconds per kilometer. Someone with more than a modicum of scientific knowledge in exercise physiology, along with a board of experts, better analyze this quickly before the skiers get even slower. In many countries, there is a board of experts that review the general training programs. The committee usually consists of a doctor in exercise physiology, previous Team coaches, and usually retired World Cup skiers. It's a planned program based on available scientific data.
However, the skier develops his own training program based on the fact that no one knows his body better than the skier himself. I know many "coaches" who have worked with World Cup winners who do not think of themselves as a coach, but as a consultant. They have formal training in exercise physiology, they have a lot of experience and they are there when the skier needs consultation.
Anders Soedergren, who had outstanding distance results this year, uses a traditional training program and added something that I at first thought might be destructive. During the summer he enters a lot of long distance foot races and he usually wins. He works on sustained distance speed, not a lot of body breaking intervalls. He usually does not have good results in the early World Cup races, but after Christmas he moves pretty fast.
April 10, 2006
"American Men Distance Skiers getting Stronger, but Slower": This statement was made by Dough Garfield, who has a Doctorate in exercise physiology and three decades of Nordic skiing experience both as a racer, coach and recreational skier.
You have to look at race results to see what is happening with the US Nordic program. We decided that a fair method of determining how our skiers compare to the best was to compare results from the 2002 Olympics, 2003 World Championships, 2005 World Championships and the 2006 Olympics. For individual races we decided to take the average time of the Gold, Silver and Bronze medalists and compare the time to the average time of the three best American skiers in the race. The comparison uses the traditional time in percentage behind method. Here is what we found:
15 K: 2002 4.6% back. 2003 4.9% back. 2005 8% back. 2006. 7.6% back
Pursuit: 2002 2.8% back. 2003 1.2 % back. 2005 7.4% back. 2006 5.8 % back
Relay: 2002 1.4% back. 2003 3.2% back. 2005 4.5% back. 2006 4.1% back.
Except for the fall World Cup races, where many of the best are still training when it's an Olympic year, only Kris Freeman made it into the top 30. In 2002 the US team was much stronger than now, especially if you look at the Relay results.
Anders Soedergren did most of the hard work in every distance race: When you look at the video footage of the 30 and 50 K races it was Anders who did most of the work. I am extremely glad he won Holmenkollen as he considers this race the most important on the World Cup. He was the best long distance skier on the circuit and stayed in shape from January to this last week when he won the Swedish National 50K by 4 minutes.
March 13, 2006
My Father dead at the age of 97: My Father died at 7:50 A.M. this morning. He came from a poor family in southern Sweden and decided at the age of 17 to come to the United States. He studied English while working in Spitzbergen, Norway and at the age of 19 he arrived in New York. The person from Connecticut that was supposed to meet him at the ship was not there and Dad had to make his way from the dock to Port Chester, NY on his own using his textbook English.
He was strong and a hard worker and managed to always have a job during the Depression. In 1942 he was drafted into the army where he was an M.P. He tried various jobs until he found something he really liked, carpentry. For the last 20+ years of his working career he was a carpenter. His arm strength was almost unreal. At the age of 59 he did an arm pull up with one arm and he weighed 170 pounds. He was a very stubborn and frugal man who loved to read. He was very smart and when watching Jeopardy he would often beat the people on the show. He had the memory of an elephant and when he was 95 he corrected me on the birth date of one of my uncles. I was sure he was wrong, but when I checked he was correct. The last ten years were very tough for him as he lost his eyesight and could no longer read. He tried a variety of magnification devices, but nothing worked. God bless him.
Holmenkollen, the first real race in a long time: Finally a real ski race. Many skiers felt that Anders Soedergren was the best 30 and 50 K skier on the World Cup. Unfortunately mass starts are not to his liking. But, if you look at the video coverage of this years mass start 30 & 50K races you will see Anders doing most of the hard work. If I remember correctly he was always within 10 seconds of the winner and is ranked 3rd on the World Cup in distance races.
He wrote on his home page that Holmenkollen was the one race he hoped to win. He said Holmenkollen is the King of races on the World Cup. Well yesterday he got his wish as he won by some 23 seconds over Di Centa.
March 9, 2006
Canadian skiers on a roll: Canada continues to do well on the World Cup. Not just the women, but now the men are also showing excellent results with Drew 3rd in the sprints and 16th in the pursuit. Marty Hall called yesterday and he gave the Canadian Team an A- and the US Team a D+.
Kikan Randall is skiing very well, finishing 5th in the sprint this week. Jim Galanes must be feeling good about her results. The US men distance skiers are either totally fried or they are sick. Since the first of January I can only remember one result in the top 30 and that was Kris Freeman in the 15 K classic at the Olympics. Something is very, very wrong. The US skiers are much better than the results to date.
Mass start races: Went on a number of Scandinavian web sites and lovers of X-C skiing are all writing about the mass start fiasco. On one web site 14 people commented on the 50K at the Olympics and all were against the mass start concept. In fact from all the letters I read on different sites I did not read one letter that favored mass start races for distances 50K and under.
February 26, 2006
Mass start races a crap shoot: As I stated in the February 12 report, mass start races do not necessarily determine the fastest skier. In today's race anyone of the top 10 finishers could have won. When 10 skiers finish within 5 seconds, and the top 5 within 2.2 seconds, it's as much luck as skiing ability that determines the winner. This was a 50K race. If it had been an individual start race with just 15 seconds between each starter, to make sure there was no major weather variation between the first and last starters, the results would have been very different. In the individual start 15K race, on February 17, there was 1' 14" separating the top 10 skiers and that was a very short race. It might be more exciting for people watching, who don't understand X-C skiing, but the mass start races do not tell us who is really the fastest skier over 50K. Italy, Czechoslovakia, France and Sweden had 2 skiers in the top 10 while Austria and Russia had one.
Several skiers commented that they would not congratulate, Bronze medal winner, Botwinov after blood doping equipment was found where the Austrian skiers were staying.
Andrew Johnson, based on time back from the winner, had the best US performance in the Olympics. Andrew was 1' 44" back which means he lost only a little over 2 seconds per kilometer, which is a lot less than the average of 12 seconds per kilometer for US skiers in the other races.
Hakkinen had another good race: For awhile it looked like Hakkinen could medal in yesterday's race. He missed only one target and was in 6th place after leaving the last shooting station. Being one of the fastest skiers on the biathlon circuit many thought he could medal. But, he apparently had too much lactate in his legs as he slowed down and actually let seven skiers pass him on the last lap, finishing 13th.
February 17, 2006
Very tough waxing conditions in today's Olympic 15 K Classic: Kris Freeman separated himself from the rest of the US skiers and finished a very respectable 22nd while the other US skiers seemed inseparable and finished 51, 52 and 53 some 3'30"+ back. You know how tough the conditions must have been when Norway's first skier, Estil Frode, was 17th. The other Norwegians were 21st, 28th and 45th.
Sweden had 4 skiers in the top 20, Germany 3, Russia 2, Italy, Austria, Finland and Norway 1. Estonia must have nailed the tough wax conditions as Andrus Veerpalu won by some 14 seconds and his team mate Jack Mae was 5th, just 34 seconds back. The surprise on the Swedish team was the young Johan Olsson who finished 6th. For V2 it was another good day as the Estonian team trains on V2 roller skis.
February 16, 2006
Kristina's 2nd Gold: Kristina obviously peaked at the right time. The former World Champion has always been a top skier, but she gives the Swedish team director, Norwegian Braten, a lot of credit for her performance this year. She has been training with the Swedish group and Braten is her personal coach. Kristina had the largest winning margin since 1972. Kristina's boy friend wrote me that her classic technique had improved greatly after she began using the slowest roller skis we make for her classic training, the 910K and the V2 Terra. Kristina wrote me that she actually prefers the heavier and very slow Terra skis for training.
Speaking of slow, the Swedish women said they were very surprised at how slow Kristina trained in the summer and fall. Both running and roller skiing was at a very slow pace and Kristina did less interval training than the Swedish Team had been used to. I have heard from people who skied with Bjoern Daehlie that they were surprised at his slow training pace. I only skied behind him once, in 1995, when he was training and although, at my age, I could not keep up with him in the hills he was training at a very slow pace. But when race time came, Bjoern's speed was awesome.
Vladimir Smirnov has done an excellent job with the Kazakhstan Team: If you look at the results for both the men and women, they are doing extremely well. In today's 10K classic for women I saw three from Kazakhstan ahead of the best US skier.
The Chinese Program is working, the US 2005 & 2006 Program is not: The Chinese ski program is relatively new, but the results are coming at a rapid pace. The new program director was previously in charge of the Swedish ski team. Since skiing has no real history in China, they picked athletes based on aerobic and general athletic ability and sent them to Scandinavia to learn how to ski. In the 10 K race today, one Chinese finished 18th in a time of 29'34". The best American was Wagner with a time of 31'41". That's over two minutes faster than the best American in a 10 K race. Wagner lost over 12 seconds per kilometer to the Chinese woman and the rest off the US skiers a lot more.
The fifth fastest ski time in the 20 K Biathlon was a Chinese. When we see how fast Jay Hakkinen skis, compared to the men on the US ski Team, we know something is wrong. Jay, who has been living in Germany, has his own training program. How can skiers as talented as Kris Freeman, Andrew Johnson and Carl Swenson be so far back in the two races they have entered to date this month. Let's hope that in the race on Friday they break out and show that they can ski. They are like a totally different team from the results at Val Di Fiemme in 2003.
February 12, 2006
Black Sunday for US Cross Country: The results in the 15 K and 30 K pursuit were simply pathetic. In the men's 30 K, the classical portion was quite slow and Anders Soedergren complained of the slow pace, but part of this was because the Norwegians went out in front to slow the pace down so Frode Estil, who was involved in an accident, could catch up. Despite the slow pace the Americans lost over a minute before the change to freestyle.
The freestyle portion was no better and the US team continued to loose time ending up over 4 minutes back, while the top 17 skiers were within 27 seconds. Skiers from Spain, Kazakhstan and Japan beat the US skiers. This is probably the worst performance by American men and women in the last 15 years. It was so bad that not one US male or female skier was mentioned by name on NBC TV. But, no matter how poorly the US skiers did it was unjust not to mention one US skier. The commentators, who stunk, acted as if there were no Americans in the race. The only North Americans mentioned were Beckie Scott and Sara Renner.
Medal Winners in today's pursuit train on V2 Roller skis: Kristina Smigun has been training on V2 roller skis since the 90's and has sent us many pictures of her training. She uses 910's and Terra for classic and Aero's for skating. Bronze medalist Evgnia Medvedeva Abruzova, also trains on V2 roller skis. Eugenie Dementiev, the winner in today's pursuit, like other Russian skiers trains on Aero and 910 skis. Vladimir Smirnov sold a lot of 910's to the Russian Team and we have delivered over 100 Aero combi and skate skis to Andrey Sergeev, the former National Team skier, for use by the National Team.
Anders Soedergren had very slow skate skis: Anders said he felt very strong and leading the pack tried many times to make a break, but he said the skiers caught up with him on the down hills and flats. It was obvious from the minimal video on NBC that his glide was not equal to the other top five skiers, but he was only 3.5 seconds from Gold. The 50 K is his best distance and I predict he will medal if he has decent skis.
Mass start races becoming tactical like bike races: I don't think the fastest skier always wins in a mass start race. Skiers work together, like in bike races, it's hard to break away, because we know from many studies, that drafting saves an enormous amount of energy. Being behind another skier on the flats can lower your pulse rate by up to 10 beats. That's why bike time trials are used to see who is really the fastest and that's what cross country skiing used to be like. Now it's a last minute dash and ski glide and sprint speed in the last K determines the winner. ( Just my opinion. )
February 11, 2006
Jay Hakkinen Super Fast. First US Biathlete to make the top 10 in the Olympics: Congratulations to Jay for being the first US Biathlete to make it into the top 10 at the Olympics. At first I did not realize how fast Jay skied, although I knew he was the only one in the top 10 who missed 3 shots. Jay had the second fastest time of the 88 competitors. Only Ole Einar Bjoerndalen beat Hakkinen. Right now I am positive Jay is faster than anyone on the X-C team in skating. Another major surprise was China's Zhang who had the 5th fastest ski time.
In the off season Jay surprised me by doing a lot of roller skiing on classic skis. While biathlon is all skating Jay trained as much on classic roller skis as on skate skis. He told me he thought it was very important to do both techniques so he would not overload his muscles by repeating the same skating motions all the time. In September 2005 Jay called and asked us to ship him some more skate and classic roller skis to his girlfriends house in Germany where he has lived for the last few years.
Jay used to ski classic on the 910's, the slow skis, but he said the hills were so steep were he was training in Germany that he wanted 930K's as the terrain was more than enough resistance. Jay always sent us pictures from newspapers and magazines and he called to let us know how his training was going. All of us at V2 are very proud of Jay. Jay told me the X-C Team had been in touch with him as a possible member of the X-C relay team.
Dr. Bengt Saltin's comments on the high hemoglobin values of the 12 athletes who were suspended for 5 days: Dr. Saltin, the FIS doping expert, said this is a common problem if skiers are training at too high an altitude. The benefits of more red blood cells is well documented, but the downside is that the blood thickens and does not flow as readily. Dr. Saltin said this can be a serious health risk. He said: "We know that 102 bicycle racers have died from very high hemoglobin values." He continued: "I know the Americans were training at 2,500 meters and I consider this poor leadership by their organization."
February 10, 2006
Leonid Kuzmin's investigation of the most essential factors influencing ski glide: This is a very unusual scientific study. Scientific reports generally contain research data and from this data you can reach certain conclusions. This report contains a lot of subjective information and personal opinions regarding the ski industry, particularly ski wax companies.
Some of the data is quite interesting, but the methodology of testing the coefficient of friction of skis was not very impressive and the few data points and the limited number of snow conditions used for testing does not make this a scientific report. The report reads like someone has a grudge against the ski wax companies.
In 1999 I developed a concept for accurately measuring the coefficient of friction of skis. I have discussed the concept with many ski technicians and everyone agreed it would probably be the most accurate method for measuring ski glide. We started building the test unit in 2003 but never had time to finish it. The major components have already been fabricated and I have promised Zach Caldwell that I will finish it before next ski season. Zach will have the test device to gather data on different ski structures and different ski wax. The device measures the coefficient of friction at various speeds, so you can test ski structures and wax from very slow to very high speeds to see if structures and wax behave differently depending on velocity.
February 5, 2006
Bjoern Daehlie said Davos will tell us who is in shape for the Olympics: If Bjoern is right, today's 15 K was not good for the US. First American was Andrew Johnson in 54th place, 2'25" back. That's a lot in 15K. Canada did better although still close to 2 minutes back. Norway dominated with 1st, 4th and 7th. Sweden did well with 5th 11th and 12th, but it should have been better, as Anders Soedergren was cruising comfortably in 8th place when he went down and was suddenly in 18th place. He had to ski hard to get back to 11th. The big surprise was Austria's Martin Tauber in 2nd place.
In the women's race Finland's Virpi Kuitunen totally dominated winning by 31 seconds. Second was Sara Renner and 4th Beckie Scott. The Canadian women have been phenomenal this year, both in sprint and distance races.
World Junior Championships: From what I could see the only really good US result was Elizabeth Stephen who finished 7th in the 2X5 Pursuit. Alex Harvey from Canada finished very well and he was the only one born '88 in the top 20. With the genes he must have from the great Pierre we can look forward to a very good Canadian male skier. For the first time in many years Sweden had a very strong female team with 1st, 4th, 6th and 9th in the Pursuit and 2nd in the relay only 5 seconds behind Norway.
January 27, 2006
Interesting Commentary on Sprint Racing: Tobias Fredriksson said that after Sweden only got 4th in the sprint races in the 2002 Olympics, he felt training for sprint races must be changed. But there were no skiing experts in sprint training so he went to a middle distance track coach, changed his training and won the World Championships in 2003.
Fredriksson said training methods are now changing very rapidly in the Scandinavian ski Gymnasiums. Tobias said the new very young generation of sprinters are much faster. He said that in 100 meters he and champions like Bjoern Lind and Peter Larsson don't have a chance against the new kids like Emil Joensson, Robin Bryntesson or Fredrik Bystroem. Fredriksson said we have more endurance, but they are much faster and when the gain stamina we are dead meat.
January 24, 2006
Remember the name Petter Northug, this skier is the next Superstar: World Junior Champion Petter Northug, only 20 years old, kicked butt at the Norwegian National Championships. But, apparently the Norwegian Ski Federation is not going to let Petter go to the Olympics. This guy is apparently another Daehlie or Svan. He has had better results than many top World Cup skiers this season. The Norwegians are very upset that this unbelievably talented skier will not be allowed to ski in the Olympics.
Ivan Babikov is another phenom. After totally dominating the US National Championships he flew to Russia and was 4th in the 50K. The next race he won. Talk about talent and guts.
Mathias Fredriksson eight in Obertsdorf despite breaking his ski: Mathias said he felt very comfortable in the lead pack of skiers, but with only 5K left in the 30K pursuit Di Centa fell on the steep downhill into the stadium. Mathias tried to get around him, but Di Centa slid right in front of Mathias and when they collided Mathias broke his ski. Mathias finally got another non race prepped ski but he still finished 8th.
Mathias said he felt so strong with only 5K to go he knew he had a very good chance to win. Mathias has been suffering with Twar since last year and has not been able to train properly until recently. He said this was the first race this season that his skating felt OK. Mathias club partner, Anders Soedergren, finished second in the race, just 0.4 seconds from 1st place.
January 22, 2006
A Serious Sprinter: Andy Newell made it to the finals in today's sprint races in Obertsdorff. Have not seen the final results yet, but he could be a real surprise at the Olympics. In any case he can't finish less than 4th today. In yesterday's 30 km pursuit, the US must have seriously missed the wax as both Swenson and Freeman were about 6 minutes back from the leaders and Andrew Johnsosn did not finish the race.
Sarah Konrad to ski both Cross Country and Biathlon at the Olympics: Right now Sarah is the fastest skate skier in the United States. I understand some people did not want her on the Team because she is 38 years old. But, in last years World Championships, Sarah was the only US skier to be in the top 30, including the men. Norway's Hilde Pederssen just won her first World Cup at age 41 and she is one of the very best on the Norwegian Team. When you are going to the Olympics you simply pick the best you can find, you don't discriminate because of age. Marillio De Zolt was winning World Cup races when he was 40+. I predict Sarah will, for women, have the best US results at the Olympics.
November 2, 2005
More answers from Per Elofsson to questions asked by reporters: When asked again the reason for his bodies collapse Per responded that it was not just the over training, it was also the time required for sponsors and the media. There was just not enough rest and after awhile my body could not take it.
Would you have trained as hard if you knew you would not have to compete against dopers? "That is a very good question. I thought that in order to get even better I had to train even harder."
When asked which of his victories on the World Cup he savored the most Per said it was his first World Cup victory. Bjoern said he had a very good race and when he was beaten by a 21 year old by 15 seconds, Daehlie knew that a new Champion had arrived.
In the future, will you be working with cross country skiing? " Yes, I think so. I hope to be working with the Swedish National Team. I would like to help in whatever way I can. I have learned a lot which I think could help others."
October 27, 2005
Per Elofsson Retires: Per announced his retirement at 18:00 hours last night. The announcement had been expected for some time. For a long time Per has been sick from previous overtraining. His immune system was no longer functioning properly. Every time he increased his training intensity, to what he had been used to in previous years, he became sick. Many ski enthusiasts had speculated that Per's problem was mainly mental, but those closest to him, both ski coaches and doctors, disagree. They claim he was already going downhill in the fall of 2001, while training for the 2002 Olympics.
From the age of 15, Per had trained five days a week and rested two consecutive days. For seven years he was never sick and everyone who coached or trained with him was amazed at how well he could read his body. In 2001 he took two Gold at the World Championships in Finland and he won the World Cup. He was looking forward to Gold at the Olympics.
In the summer of 2001 he switched from five days of training to six days and increased his training intensity. He won the seasons first World Cup, but according to Elofsson, his body did not feel the way it used to. He was beginning to feel the effects of too much training.
Although he won the overall World Cup in 2002 he did not perform as expected at the 2002 Olympics getting just one Bronze medal. After that he said it was all downhill. He started getting sick and his body was attacked by the bacteria mycoplasma. During the summer and fall of 2002 his training was interrupted by long bouts of both injuries and sickness. For a person who, in his first seven years of training, never was sick this was very disturbing. His training before the World Championships in Val di Fiemme was so sporadic he did not expect to be close to the podium, but he still won Gold in the skiathlon.
Ski experts all over Scandinavia, including Bjoern Daehlie, said he was the most talented skier they had ever seen. Per entered the World Cup races at the age of 20, the '97-'98 season, and he was 6th in one World Cup race and 10th in the Nagano Olympics. On the 28th of November 1998, at the age of 21, Per won his first World Cup beating Daehlie in the 15 K race by 15 seconds. Bjoern predicted that in two years Per would be the new king of X-C and he was right. In 2001 and 2002 Per won the World Cup and was ahead of both Daehlie and Gunde Svan's rapid rise to World Cup dominance.
I hope future stars will learn from this. Per is only one of many whose career was cut short by overtraining. From 1998 to 2003 Per won 11 World Cup races, 3 Gold at World Championships and one Olympic Bronze. We wish Per all the best in his future career.
The Vasa Racing Poles are here again! ! Many consider the Vasa Racing to be one of the very best ski poles on the market. Light, tough and stiff. Because of the dramatic increase in carbon prices, the poles are more expensive than last year, but they are a bargain compared to other brands. Shafts only, not cut to size = $79.00 / pair. Vasa Racing poles with grips, competition strap and baskets, or roller ski ferrules, not assembled = $99.00 / pair. Vasa Racing poles cut to size and assembled with grips and competition straps, baskets or roller ski ferrules = $119.00.
October 23, 2005
The Ski Season has Started: The first FIS World cup races began in Dusseldorf this weekend. Peter Larsson won the individual sprint for the fourth year in a row while (who else) Marit Bjoergen won the women's sprint. In today's relay race Norway just beat Sweden by 0.1 second. It seems very early to be racing on snow.
More Input on Aero Roller Skis: After our October 8 Aero article, we received several favorable comments from other Aero users. Ronald Faltus, who works for Astra Zeneca in Montreal, made the following comments in a letter to us. (Ronald and his brother Robert are avid Canadian skiers. )
"My brother and I were using the Aero 150's for several years and really liked them. Then about 3 years ago we switched to the Aero 125's and we like the 125's even more than the 150's. They are lighter and the lower center of gravity makes them much easier to use. The roads here are generally in very poor shape and with the Aero's we can ski almost over everything without always worrying about falling especially in the dark. That makes training a lot more enjoyable and safer. We use 910's for classic. I get about one flat per season. Robert has had none yet!" Soon getting flat tubes, even if only once a year, will be a thing of the past.
October 8, 2005
Carbon Graphite fibers double in price: The extraordinary demand for industrial composite structures, aircraft, power generators, military goods plus sporting equipment, coupled with increased oil prices, has doubled the price of carbon fiber this year. Both the new Boeing and Airbus aircraft are virtually all carbon fiber. Windmill power generators are being built at a very rapid rate all over the world. When the blades are 40 meters or larger, they must be made of composite carbon graphite. One propeller can use enough carbon fibers to build about 1,000 bike frames. The result of this demand is that our new pole shafts cost over 100% more than last year. We will still offer the best pole bargain, but there is a substantial price increase.
Why Aero Roller skis are so popular ? The Aero series, along with the 900 classic skis, are our best selling roller skis. Skiers have told us the Aero revolutionized roller skiing. Skiers from all over the world have told us that were it not for the Aero skate skis, they would not be roller skiing. With the smooth ride, ability to negotiate surfaces that stop other roller skis, and with the effective speed reducers and brakes, the Aero quickly became recognized as a much safer ski.
We first introduced a pre production model of the Aero 150S at the Vladimir Smirnov camp in Vermont in July of 1999. Zach Caldwell had the demo pair and everyone wanted to try it. The first generation had a higher center of gravity and they were harder to balance on than smaller wheel roller skis with a lower center of gravity. However, there was a positive element to this. If you skied with good technique they felt great, if you faltered they bogged down.
Vladimir said that, if he had not retired, this is the ski he would use for all his skate training. The Aero became so popular, so quickly, we could not keep up with demand and it took us well over a year to meet sales volume. Having sold Aero's all over the world we decided to look at our sales records and do some analysis on subjects like number of replacement tires, tubes, etc.
After six years of selling various Aero's, replacement tubes account for less than 15% of wheels sold and replacement tires only about 13% of wheels sold. This either implied that the tires and tubes last a long time or the skiers were not using the skis very much. We knew the latter was not the case so we asked John and Bruce Bauer, who we knew had put in mega K's on the Aero's, how long the tires lasted and how many tube failures they had had.
Here is what Bruce Bauer e mailed us: " All in all, I guess I can go a full season on a set of tires. Typically I may do about twenty 50 K days (bear in mind how much easier that is than an on snow 50k day) and numerous 1 to 2 hour skis. I have NEVER had a tube failure or flat tire.
That is an incredible record considering all the crap I have skied over in the last 6 years of having those skis. I only skate on the 150's. ( I gave away my Marwe's long ago when I realized how safe the 150's are ) and I have skied over more glass, down more wicked hills and dished out more abuse than one could ever expect skis to handle. As I've said before, I can't say enough good about those skis."
( Bruce was one of the top skiers at the 2005 American Birkebeiner, finishing 10th overall .)
Russian and Estonia Skiers like the Aero's: This year we received an order from the Estonian Team for more Aero's. Shortly after the skis were delivered we received a second order for more skis for the National and Development Teams. Kristjan Vahti said that as soon as skiers tried the latest Aero they wanted them. The elite Estonian skiers have been buying Aero's every year since 2001.
Seven of the top ranked skiers in the world train on Aero's: Took a look at the top 30 FIS ranked X-C distance skiers for this last season. We found the names of seven that we know use Aero skis for training. However, we think there are several more based on what the Russians and Estonians have told us.
Phil Shaw began his roller ski tour across Canada on a European pair of roller skis: ( Phil is one of Canada's top skiers who has won numerous major Canadian races and at age 37 he finished in the top 100 in the Swedish Vasaloppet. With over 15,000 skiers in the Vasaloppet, including 250 of the world's best distance skiers, that is an outstanding result. )
We first heard from Phil in 2002. He called to say that he was roller skiing from Newfoundland to Vancouver and he had been on the road for about a week. He told us it was impossible to safely cross Canada on his sponsors skis. He said the roads were rough and his sponsors skis vibrated so much on the rough pavement that after some 30 to 50 K his legs were numb. However, the worst part was negotiating very steep and curvy unknown terrain. Despite his skill as a skier, he said it was extremely dangerous and he was forced to walk down many steep hills.
He said that without an equipment change he would never make it across Canada. He wanted Aero 150S with Speed Reducers as well as 900's with Speed Reducers and he said that Norway Nordic in Montreal would sponsor him for his new skis. We made arrangements to get the skis to Phil. He crossed Canada without any incidents and he did not have a single flat in his 6,000 kilometer journey. Phil was so impressed, he used Aero's in 2003, 2004 and 2005 having skied Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and Italy to Norway; all without any problems on his Aero's. ( We are waiting to hear from Phil on exactly how many kilometers he skied in total, but preliminary calculations indicate over 20,000 kilometers. )
Alex Nilsson follows Phil Shaw with a reverse route across Canada: Alex is a remarkable 70 year old who is in better shape than most physically active 30 year olds. Alex first contacted us from British Columbia in February of 2005. He told us that for his 70th Birthday celebration he was planning to ski from Vancouver to the east coast of Canada with a message about the dangers and prevention methods of Diabetes 2. He already had purchased some Aero 150's and he wanted to order a brake so he could get used to the braking action. His son, Nicklas Nilsson, who lives in Chicago, purchased some Aero 125 Retro Classics with Speed Reducers and brakes, spare tires, tubes and also 900 series skis for his Fathers Journey.
Alex said that without Aero roller skis such a journey was virtually impossible, especially crossing the Rockies. The web has some great information regarding Alex's successful journey across Canada, ( See www.fitstep.com/ski-site/index.html ) Alex reached Newfoundland this week. The home page, with journal entries by his wife, is very interesting.
June 27, 2005
May 29, 2005
Back Surgery: I had surgery on May 20, at the Jho Spinal Institute at the Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. Based on my condition to date, the back surgery was very successful. ( Before I continue on my progress I should cite some statistics regarding conventional surgery for L4 / L5 decompression. Data from studies in the US, Europe and Japan indicate that only about 60% of surgical patients were better after surgery than before. Five years after surgery, only about 50% felt they were better than before surgery and a high percentage said the surgery made their back more painful and they were less mobile than before surgery.)
Based on these studies I decided against any conventional surgery such as Laminectomy. Before deciding where to have the operation I spent over 50 hours researching the latest decompression technology and met with two orthopedic surgeons and four spinal neurosurgeons. Two prominent neurosurgeons, who claimed they were performing minimally invasive surgery, wanted to insert two titanium screws and two titanium anchors in my back. The surgery would take between 4.5 to 6 hours and the recovery period was estimated to be six months.
When Dr. Jho reviewed my MRI, one of his assistants called and stated that Dr.Jho could perform this operation in about 1 hour. This was the doctor I wanted for the surgery, but I was told the waiting time could be up to one year. ( One of the patients, that was operated on the same day as I, told me she waited over one year to get an appointment.) I met with Dr. Jho the day before the surgery and he reviewed in detail the minimally invasive procedure he was going to use. From a mechanical engineering viewpoint it made a lot of sense. By drilling a small hole in the vertebrae and working with an endoscope he would remove disc and vertebrae material that had reduced my spinal canal from about 12 mm to virtually 0 mm at L5.
Dr. Jho operated on six patients the day of my surgery and three were doctors, two were orthopedic surgeons. Dr. Jho has a fantastic reputation. At 5 P.M., the day of surgery, all patients gathered in my hospital room. With the exception of the one female patient, we were all able to walk hours after surgery.
Dr. Jho told me I could drive back to New Hampshire the day after surgery, which we did. My wife drove about 200 miles and I the other 425 miles. The only post operative problems I had was an allergic reaction to the perchoseth pain killers. I went off them and for a couple of days used Tylenol. After 6 days I stopped all pain medication. My back feels great, the pain down my leg is gone, the 2 cm incision in my back is still sore and a bit swollen. The major problem to date was the fact I was so excited about the operation I only slept a few hours for three days straight and I worked way too many hours. It caught up with me and I ended up sleeping for about 20 hours straight. ( In the middle of my hibernation I heard my cell phone ring and it was Kris Freeman. I was so out of it I asked Kris to call me back the following day. He must have thought I was nuts as I knew the words I uttered made no sense. )
I was told it takes the body between 8 and 20 weeks to adjust to the decompression. Six weeks after surgery Dr.Jho requested that I have another MRI so he can see how successful the decompression was. The advantage of this minimally invasive method is that you can have surgery again, if necessary.
The Estonian National Team going Aero in a big way: The Estonian Team have been using Aero's for several years. Krsitjan Vahi, Kristina Smigun's boyfriend, sent an order for skis, but the e mail contained so much "static" I had problems reading it. I deciphered it as best I could and sent a letter to Krsitjan asking if I had interpreted the order correctly. I am glad I contacted him as instead of 11 pair of skis he had ordered 23 pair of which 18 pair are Aero's.
May 5, 2005
Per Elofsson Back on Swedish A Team: I did not think it would happen, but Per is training and Per was the main attraction at the National Team's gathering in Kolmarden. Presently Per is training only 10 hours a week, but two weeks a go he evaluated his Oxygen uptake and it was a very respectable 6 liters. Not shabby, considering that top skiers like Torgny Mogren was about 5.8 liters when in good shape. Per in peak form has an oxygen uptake of 7 liters which is above most of the World elite.
Per had his first really long run and he said his muscles cried: "help me!". With his phenomenal capacity he should improve dramatically in the next six months. It's good to see him back, it will definitely inspire the rest of the team.
V2 Riller Really Works: Sarah Konrad e mailed us from the California Gold Rush and said:
"Conditions at Royal Gorge were not typical, so I didn't need the big structure for slush. But since I had the brand new V2 riller, I prepped an extra pair with the medium interrupted structure. When I tested my skis race morning in the heavy new snow, this one ended up being the best, better than the Z40 grind and a European grind that I have found to be good in these conditions. Interesting! "
As we had predicted, Sarah Konrad was the best US skier at the World Championships, finishing 24th. Sarah won the Gold Rush last year, but she said she was really tired from competing in both the World Biathlon and Cross Country Championships so this year she only finished 2nd. At age 37 Sarah truly impresses.
This is not the first time racers and coaches have told us the riller was better than their stone ground skis. With five different drums and by using one structure on top of another structure you have a structure system to meet any snow conditions. V2 is not a toy riller, like so many others on the market. Each drum weighs 500 grams ( over 1 pound ) and is machined to the most precise tolerances.
Just before the start of a race in Maine, former National Team skier, Dorcas Wonsvage complained about slow skis. Jim Rodriguez grabbed his V2 riller and just minutes before the start rilled her skis. She could not believe the difference the riller made. (She won the race.) It's not inexpensive, but it can be a skiers most important tool. Yesterday a High School Coach called and in the discussion he mentioned that the V2 riller was more important for his team than ski wax.
How to Celebrate your 70th Birthday: A couple of months back, Alex Nilsson, from British Columbia, called to let us know he was going to roller ski from Vancouver to Quebec. He said he was doing a " Phil Shaw" reverse route. Alex is going to be seventy this summer and he wanted to do something different. From our discussion I am sure he is in very good shape as he is an avid biker, snow and roller skier.
He wanted our advice regarding roller skis. He already has Aero 150S that he has been using for skating and he equipped the skis with both speed reducers and brakes. However, since skating requires so much more road space, he wanted to classic ski for safety. He has a pair of 930's, but he wanted bigger wheels and better speed reducers and brakes for the steep terrain across the Rockies. He now has Aero 125 Retro Classic's with Speed Reducers and a Brake. He purchased a substantial amount of spare wheels, roller ski ferrules, etc. His wife has prepared him with very visible clothing and he said: "I look like a Christmas tree." Nilsson begins his journey in June, while his wife drives their RV. We wish him a great roller ski adventure and a Happy Birthday!
Surgery on May 20th: I now have an appointment with a very respected neurosurgeon. Because this doctor is so busy the first opening they had for surgery was in the fall. By pleading, crying, begging, etc. I managed to get an appointment for May. Since my back is getting worse every week, I hope the surgery works.
Patience: V2 back orders are at an all time high, so please be patient. The first five days of May we had almost as many orders as in an average month. We are doing all possible to reduce the back log, but it has been steadily increasing. It's not a simple manpower problem, with over 600 custom components and some 50 subcontractors, any aberration creates a logistics nightmare.
March 6, 2005
Kris Freeman is Back: In Lahti today Kris showed why he is the best US cross country skier finishing 15th in the 15K free and beating many of the world's best. Let's hope he does equally well in the next races. Over the Christmas Holidays Kris used our condo while training in Waterville Valley and when he returned the key there was a note saying he had a great training camp.
What a Vasaloppet! In today's Vasa there were 20 together sprinting for the finish and the first 10 skiers were only 6 seconds apart. Would have loved to see the finish.
Spinal Neurosurgeons: My back is now at a point where I must have surgery. I am looking for a surgeon that has a good reputation using the new minimally invasive methods using Endoscopes. The new methods are much more effective and recovery is very quick. I have severe stenosis at L4- L5 and have sent my MRI information to four different spinal clinics, however it's very hard to determine which surgeon is really good. If anyone out there knows of a reputable surgeon, please call on our toll free number 1-877-825-3639.
March 4, 2005
We apologize for not updating the News in such a long time.
A very strange Nordic World Championship: If you look at the World Cup results before the Championships, with few exceptions, they sure don't reflect the results of the Championships. In a letter I sent to our North American Dealers, I predicted that Sarah Konrad would have the best results and I was right as with a 24th finish in the 10K freestyle she was the only American to crack the top 30.
US results were a far cry from Val Di Fiemme in 2003 when United States had the best results ever. Something was completely wrong with this years training program as Kris Freeman is one of the best skiers in the world. Except for his excellent performance in the first leg of the relay, he was nowhere. Let's hope the pattern is broken in the few remaining races.
January 8, 2005
Happy New year to You all: We are finally getting some snow in southern New Hampshire. Yesterday about 5 inches and we expect some 4 to 6 inches today.
The local High School X-C ski association picked up my snowmobile yesterday for grooming their trails. The snowmobile is now theirs. The snowmobile had only 5 hours of use, so for all practical purposes it was brand new. A local resident lets the High School groom his 6 kilometer equestrian trails and since the property is about 125 meters higher in elevation than the High School it gets more snow. We wish our local kids a good X-C year.
Thobias Fredriksson Wild Ride: When Thobias left Switzerland, Sunday January 2, for the Swedish National Championships the next day, he had no idea what was in store for him. Here is a brief summary of his trip to the Nationals:
Sunday, 11:30. Leaves his high altitude training camp for Zurich. 17:15: The plane from Zurich to Copenhagen is late and Fredriksson changes to an 18.55 direct flight to Stockholm. 22.10: Thobias lands at Arlanda airport in Stockholm, but because of passport control and customs he misses his flight to Sundsvall. ( Vladimir's home town. ) Thobias finds out his skis did not make the flight to Stockholm. 23.00: He decides to take a Taxi from Stockholm to Sundsvall ( 350 kilometers and 4,000 kronor, or $560. ) Meanwhile he is on his cell phone with his brother, Mathias, to get some skis for him for the races the next morning.
Monday 02.30: Thobias checks into the hotel in Sundsvall. 08.00: Thobias gets up. 10.45: The first Sprint Races begin. 13.40: Thobias wins the Gold on his brothers skis. 18.30: Thobias flies from Sundsvall. 19.20: Fredriksson lands in Stockholm. Tuesday 07.10: Flies from Stockholm and lands in Zurich at 10.15.
Anders Soedergren satisfied, except for Pankratov: A little over a week ago Soedergren thought his ski year was over. When he went out for his second training pass that day the lights on the ski track were off, but there was good moonlight. Suddenly he caught a root and his arm was literally pulled out of his socket. He said he was in extreme pain and he could not ski for the next few days.
Despite his injury Anders took Gold at the Swedish Nationals. His main competitor, Mathias Fredriksson had a fever and did not compete. Today, in the World Cup 15 K classic race in Otepae Estonia, Anders was 10th, but he should have done better. Anders was passing the Russian Pankratov in a steep hill when Pankratov tramped down on his pole and broke it. Anders said he not only lost his tempo, but skiing with one pole up the hill he started cramping. Even though he got a new pole some 100 meters later he said he lost substantial time. He was satisfied with his skiing, but he was not satisfied by loosing so much time and ending up 10th.
Wolfgang Pichler does it again: Wolfgang made Magdalena Forsberg the top biathlete. She was the queen of biathlon and retired after the 2002 Olympics. I believe it was Magdalena who convinced the Swedish Biathlon Team to get Pichler as a coach.
Yesterday, the Swedish team took their first relay gold in a World Cup biathlon in over 12 years. It was a surprise to almost everyone, except Magdalena. She said Wolfgang is such a good coach and the team is very young. The oldest skier is 26 the youngest 22. The skiers said without Pichler we would not be on the podium. The skiers said he is unbelievably demanding and very knowledgeable. If he does not know something he seeks the information and learns it.
Vasa Racing poles now standard with the V2 Comp Strap: We still have a few poles left from the second production batch this year. We recently received 3,000 pair of Comp Straps and will make these standard on future orders. If you buy the Comp Strap alone, we have been able to reduce the price to $11.95 / pair. The Comp Strap fits over conventional straps and turns your old fashioned grip into a very efficient competition grip.
Back Problems Continue: Recently had another MRI which shows serious disc compression. Started a physical therapy program at a local clinic which made it worse. Called Rebecca Hammer, who is both a rolfer and physical therapist and begged her to find an opening for me. She does miracle work. I was in great pain and 1.5 hours later walked out much better. The problem is she is so busy it's hard to get appointments. Now doing my standard Robin Mc Kenzie back exercises and looking for the least invasive form of surgery to reduce the pressure on my nerves which results in leg pain and lost motion.
December 21, 2004
Congratulations Sarah Konrad: Yesterday I received an e mail from Sarah saying she had excellent skis and a very good race in the 10K freestyle in Soldier Hollow. She was obviously being modest. I had not seen the results and when I checked last night I realized she destroyed the competition, finishing 47 seconds ahead of second place Rebecca D.
She tried different grinds and wax combinations and she found STAR HA4 and F2 to be the best. We wish Sarah the best in future races.
Per Elofsson does not look like a skier: Per has gained an awful lot of weight and I think it will be very hard for him to come back for the 2006 Olympics. Have not been in touch with his coach, but it's time to check this out. After being sick for almost a month Anders Soedergren showed he is one of the best, finishing 2nd in Ramsau, only 0.3" seconds out of first place. He said he felt very strong and was sorry he did not start the sprint much earlier.
December 11, 2004
Germans the best now, but Russia really on the rise: Last Friday Alexie Sotskov called and we were discussing the very different training methods employed this year by the Russians versus the US Team. According to Alexie, the Russians did a lot more base training while the US Team did a lot more high intensity training including a lot of intervals.
It's much too early in the season to tell which training method is best, but the really young Russians ar coming on like storm troopers. In yesterdays pursuit in Val Di Fiemme there were 7 Russians and 4 were born 1981 or later and the 6th place finisher, Eugeni Dementiev, was born in 1983 and finished only 4.9" out of first place. Russia has 4 skiers in the top 30 in the overall World Cup and two of them, Dementiev in 9th place and Pankratov in 15th place, are only 21 and 22 years old. New young Russian skiers are showing up on the World Cup with excellent results such as 21 year old Artem Norin who finished 24th yesterday and was 1' 20 seconds ahead of the best US skier.
December 7, 2004
New Competition straps here: The new comp strap fits over conventional straps up to 30 mm wide. The new strap is lighter, more comfortable and the quality of the stitching is better than the original V2 comp strap. This is a very simple strap that gives you better control and a more comfortable grip. The strap was originally designed to modify a conventional strap into a simple, but very effectice competition strap. When the Russian Biathlon Team visited us several years ago they liked the straps so much they bought every strap we had in stock. The new strap is much better.Lighter than other comp systems and weight is most important when skiing.
November 25, 2004:
Universal Brake: We would like to thank James Mannion for his article shown on the Michigan Nordic Ski Racer website. Here are some quotes from his article: " It did look like a bit of a Rube Goldberg contraption on the web site. Marty Hall gave it the OK on Jenex's website, so I decided to give it a try.
The Jenex website does not do it justice!
First of all it is lightweight and totally unobtrusive. The brake comes complete with drill bits and instructions. I am thrilled with the results! I can readily climb hills that my training partners avoid because of scary descents. The ability to modulate the speed is great. On some of the steeper and longer hills I have learned to feather the brake on and off to add speed or regain control. I have found that getting down in a tuck position allows me to apply the brake with good center of gravity on the steeper hills. On more moderate hills the brake works well in the upright position.
I can't wait until my training partners upgrade to the brake. It has really opened up some new roller ski venues and has put a little spark in my fall training"
Thanks James we appreciate your comments very much. I spent two years developing the brake. It looks so simple when it's finished, but there were many obstacles. The brake had to have numerous adjustments to fit different shoe sizes and binding locations and different types of boots. The brake had to take up very little space on the ski and it was obvious it would get damaged if it could not be folded over the binding. I set a weight limit of 125 grams, but all of our initial prototypes were too fragile. Another major problem was designing it so it could be used on all of the V2 ski models which range in wheel diameters from 70 mm to 150 mm. Just the brake pad design was complicated. It had to be inexpensive and functional. Because of cost, we decided two brake pads must fit all 14 models. We knew from making Nordixc brakes that the material had to be extremely hard, basically the hardness of a file, because on the first Nordixc brake pads the silica (sand) particles that stuck to the tire would wear out the brake pads in no time. And toughest of all was making the brake for a reasonable price. So, although it looks real simple, this patent pending brake was more complicated to design than it looks.
Alaska Legalizes roller skiing on roads: Senate Bill 327 specifically legalizes roller skiing on roads in Alaska. The Bill legalizes roller skis on roads where bicycles are allowed. One reason for the Universal brake development was ammunition to fight towns, counties, states and provinces that prohibit roller skiing on roads and paths where bicycles are allowed, because roller skis do not have brakes. Well they do now! At least V2 roller skis.
November 19, 2004
Lee Borowski Videos: I think the new Classic Video is even better than the "Simple Secrets of Skating". I liked the skating video, my only objection was keeping Muehlegg in the video. There are lots of World Cup footage with good skaters like Thomas Alsgaard and Per Elofsson. Fortunately the classic video does not use a druggie.
Both videos are excellent for someone who is learning to X-C ski. Even more advanced skiers can benefit from the video. If you want to be a better X-C skier, I highly recommend both the skating and classic video. Available at many places including V2 Jenex.
New Brake: I think Marty Hall went a little overboard in the Trax Magazine article of the Universal Brake. However, Marty did tell me that next year all of his college skiers will be using the brake.
New Products: We have many exciting new products on the way, including a 100 mm Retro Classic with the microcellular tube construction. It will be light and very stable.
October 29, 2004
Vasa Racing Poles: This years first production lot of Vasa poles has been sold out. Not surprising! Vasa Racing poles are stiff, light and very durable. They are equal in performance to poles that cost over three times as much. We asked some of the most respected names in the ski racing business if we should make any changes to the poles. Their answer was: "Don't change a thing, you now have an almost perfect combination of stiffness, durability and light weight." Some of the best ski racers and coaches in the country could not figure out why so few stores purchased the poles.
But, that is the stores problem, not ours. We have already sold every pole we produced this year and it's only October. Based on the number of ski racers and coaches that were buying the poles, we realized that we would shortly be out and needed to produce another lot for this season. Unfortunately, the cost of the poles has increased. However, at $79.00 for shafts only and $99.00 for shafts, with grips and baskets unassembled, it is still the best pole bargain in the world. We know the latest production lot will not last long and we will not be making more poles until next spring. If you want Vasa Racing poles for this season, we suggest you order soon.
October 23, 2004
Marty Hall and Brakes: Marty's skiers recently had a bit of a confrontation with a motorist in Maine. The motorist was upset and said there are no brakes on roller skis and he felt roller skis were unsafe on the road. Marty, and I think some other skiers on his Bowdoin team, do have brakes. Marty told me that next year he wants every skier on his team to have brakes, if for no other reason than to avoid confrontations with motorists. The brakes do work and it does make roller skiing safer.
Demand still greater than production capacity: Demand for roller skis still greater than our suppliers production capacity. We are in better shape than in July, but we are still not getting enough shafts. Our supplier claims they will have increased capacity to avoid this problem for next year.
The problem of a weak US Dollar: V2 Jenex has always had a policy of using American suppliers. However, with the dramatic reduction in manufacturing in the US, there are now many items in V2 products that one cannot purchase in the US.
No one in United States now makes a 16 mm needle bearing clutch, 22 mm fluorocarbon lubricated bearings, or miniature high pressure tires for our Aero products. In the 90's the dollar was very strong and the items we purchased from abroad were reasonable. However, in the last four years, the dollar has lost about 45% of its value against the Euro. Many overseas companies no longer trust the dollar and for about the last three years we are being quoted in Euro. This has resulted in a phenomenal price increase on our components.
In 1999 one Euro cost only about $0.87. As we began to run a deficit government the IMF devalued the dollar so today we must pay $1.26 for one Euro. The overseas companies have had nominal price increases so over 90% of the cost increase for components purchased overseas is a result of a weak dollar. Needle bearing clutches, ski wax, etc. costs about 45% more than it did four years ago. It's obvious we need to increase prices, but I don't know how to predict the value of the dollar. In fact I have seriously thought about buying Euro and paying in Euro. From International economic reports, many feel the dollar is still overvalued. Our economy is poor and we have large deficits, so it's pretty obvious the dollar is not going to be strong for a very long time.Yesterday I read that GM is planning a work force reduction of 12,000, American Airlines is laying off 1,000 employees and US Air employees had to take over a 20% pay cut. Buying Euro's while the dollar is still worth something, might not be a bad idea.
Canadian Investor: Just met with a Canadian business man who has had extremely good investment results in the last few years. He told me he did not invest in American companies anymore, but in Canadian and other countries companies. He said his investments in India had been very successful. Another successful investor told me the same thing, most of his investments are in overseas companies. My US investments, with a couple of exceptions, are worth less today than four years ago.
October 11, 2004
Outsourceing: For decades American companies have increased their outsourceing programs to where today we import $500 billion more than we export. I Think the original idea behind outsourceing was quite good. Poor countries could not afford to import goods made by high technology countries. The idea was to transfer the manufacturing of high labor content simpler goods to poor countries with very low labor rates so these countries would obtain some capital to purchase needed items. The simpler goods would also be less expensive to purchase in the developed countries. A win-win situation for all.
However, without thinking of the long term effects, more and more items were transferred to low wage countries including items requiring less labor and higher technology. This meant that developed countries had to transfer more advanced "know how". When this process began few economists, or CEO's of companies seemed concerned about the long term effects, they were simply looking for reduced manufacturing costs. It does not take a genius to figure out that as these countries began to manufacture higher technology goods, we had fewer and fewer items that we could trade or sell, and the philosophy behind outsourceing began to develop cracks. So in a matter of about three decades the United States goes from a slight imbalance in Imports versus Exports to a yearly deficit of $500 Billion.
Nobel Laureate and Economist, Paul Samuelson, recently wrote an article which stated we must rethink our philosophy on outsorceing. ( Many other economists had recently voiced similar concerns, but their opinions fell on deaf ears. ) When the Dean of American Economists questions our free trade practises it's time to listen. Take a look at the goods you buy for your home. Most computer stuff is made overseas as are DVD's, Digital Cameras, VCR's, TV's, Microwaves, etc. We also import many more cars than we export. And, many US companies are using overseas technical support people. There are fewer people working today than 4 years ago and many of the new jobs in the service industry are lower paying jobs.
So what keeps us ticking? If you are a trader and you have fewer and fewer goods to trade, the only way to obtain the other parties goods is to buy them. If you have cash reserves you purchase more goods. When the savings are gone your only solution is to stop buying or to borrow. The United States has borrowed so much, we are now the world's largest debtor. Since US savings are the lowest of any industrialized nation we now have to rely on foreign capital to keep afloat. You probably don't believe these figures, but they have been verified by government statistics. To keep the US ship floating we rely on $10 billion in foreign investments every week. That's $500 billion per year. Does this figure ring a bell! It is the same number as our import export deficit. But, we can't borrow forever. Eventually we have to pay our debt and it could be very painful.
A Government going broke: According to economist Peter G. Peterson in his new book, Running on Empty, United States is going broke. In 2001 the government surplus was projected to be $5.6 trillion by 2010. With the poor economy in the last few years, the war in Iraq and the three tax cuts the deficit is now projected to be over $5 trillion by 2010. That's a swing of 10+ trillion. This is the first time in over 70 years that an administration has had fewer jobs at the end of the term than at the beginning. As Mr. Peterson points out, tax cuts did not create new jobs, only a deficit government. Mr. Peterson, who was Chairman of the Federal Reserve, provides all the logical reasons for why a government must balance the budget.
All X-C skiers should read this: Your local area might be cold and have snow now, but what about 50 years from now? You only have to read the September, 2004 issue of National Geographic to see that the climatic changes are escalating at a pace that is extraordinary. In the last ten years there is a dramatic spike in elevated temperatures. The most trusted scientists all agree the major problem is the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide. United States is the largest polluter, contributing 28% of the worlds carbon dioxide. The temperatures in Alaska have increased by over 4 degrees F in one decade. Permafrost is melting, houses and trees are tilting in Alaska and sea erosion is unbelivable. The scientists tell us the polar regions are the first to be affected and are like the canary birds in a mine. The polar regions tell us what is about to happen to the rest of the world. All evidence points to the fact that in 50 years X-C skiing could be extinct. Let's hope not, but without major environmental changes, kick this sport good bye! I urge you to read this issue.
Soon China will probably be an even greater polluter than United States. In just the last five years China's consumption of oil has increased by 700%. That's not a typo. 700% in five years and the consumption curve is getting even steeper. This year the Chinese are expected to purchase 4.5 million cars. This will undoubtedly drive up oil prices which could be both good and bad. Some might be forced to use more fuel efficient cars, which is good, the bad news is that lower income Americans that are just getting by, could be in a real bind.
What can we do? In United States I don't think we have many options. Unlike Europe, the United States has no viable transportation systems besides the automobile. Any chance of good high speed mass transportation was destroyed in the 30's, 40's and 50's when United States opted for major highways without other parrallel transportation systems that could carry goods and people more efficiently than the automobile. In many areas former railroad beds have been built on and it would be very expensive and time consuming to open up new high speed routs that could transport people and goods more efficiently at lower pollution levels.
About the only solution I can see for reducing carbon dioxide is the use of extremely fuel efficient cars and trucks that have virtually zero carbon dioxide emissions and eliminating all fossil fuel power plants. If right now we all embarked on such a venture, chances are we could not reverse the climatic changes in time. So as a result of our insatiable appetite for hydrocarbon fuels and our inability to shut down the midwestern coal burning power plants, future generations might not be able to enjoy X-C skiing. But, the loss of X-C skiing is nothing compared to the many other problems our future generations could face from the elevated temperatures.
The High Cost of Drugs: A Harvard medical professor recently wrote a book indicating that drugs in the US are much more expensive than in other countries because of big Pharma lobbying. According to the book, the Pharma's spend more on marketing than on research. In 2003 the FDA approved some 70 new drugs, all but 7 were moodifications of existing drugs that could not be proven to be more effective than the previous drugs. According to the author the drugs were simply modified for marketing purposes. The author claims the argument that drug companies spend so much money on research that they have to charge more in the US to recover the cost is fallacious. According to the book, most good drug research is done by Universities, not the drug companies. My 96 year old Father's drug bill averages about $700 per month. If my Father had any idea of what we are spending on his drugs he would refuse to take a single pill.
Fatsos and Diabetes: The US is the fattest nation on the planet and, from what I have read, we have the highest percentage of diabetes. I recently had discussions with two doctors and they were extremely worried. The doctors said the main problem was the lack of a proper diet and exercise. They stated that many of their patients did nothing to try and improve their health and had all kinds of excuses for not exercising and for not eating properly. The doctors said we need a massive education program on the importance of healthy food and of the benefits of exercise. They also felt laws must be instigated to reduce the salt, calories and fat in processed food. Read the labels. Even so called health foods have high sodium.
We have a lot of things that need fixing and I wish our politicians would focus on issues that could damage this country more than our problems in Iraq or by any terrorist. Unfortunately, the Democrats and the Republicans are so polarized there is no mutual drive to fix the things that are wrong.
August 11, 2004
Feedback on the Universal Brake: We are now beginning to get feed back from the field, not just from those who tested the pre production brakes. Here is what Ross Okawa said: ( Ross is an avid roller skier ) " A few minutes from my home is a community college with roads set in hilly terrain. Normally, I'd ski the downhills with ATRA's constantly engaged. Safe, but also a bit dull. With the new V2 Brake, I could leave the Atra's off, and enjoy the feeling of having much greater freedom to vary speed and turn - radius on sweeping downhill runs. Having the new V2 brake, step turning and drills are more interesting. Using the new brake is easy. Modulation is excellent. It's easy to apply the brake gradually and release gradually. The new V2 brakes are simply outstanding."
Ross also made the following comment: By the way, although I purchased a spare tube for my Aero 150 tires many years ago to have on handjust in case, I have never had to use it. ( Ross has had the Aero for about five years.)
Marty Hall: Marty called to say he loved the new brakes. ( I just hope people don't get carried away and overheat the tires. )
Grant Taylor: Grant is a big guy, around 280 pounds, and we modified some 125 Retro Classic to handle his weight. Grant had the skis for a couple of months, but he wanted a brake, as he had an incident going downhill when a car pulled out of the driveway and he took a nosedive. Grant called about a week after getting the brakes, saying they worked beautifully.
Running On Empty: About every ten years a book comes along that really gives us a wake up call. The author, Peter G. Peterson was Secretary of Commerce under Nixon, later Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank. Peterson is an Economist and a Republican. The book has been highly praised by many, including; John Mc Cain, Bob Kerry, Warren Rudman, Sam Nun, etc. Tom Brokaw, of NBC, said: "Peterson has performed a great national service withRunning on Empty. No one knows better the costly consequences of record deficits for future generations. This is a wake up call we cannot ignore."
The book is an easy read and very frightening. The war on terror is nothing compared to the melt down that could happen to this country if we don't honor this wake up call. Here in just a few words is Peterson's summary of the problem:
"When George W. Bush came into office in 2001, the ten year budget balance was officially pronounced to be a surplus of $5.6 trillion. But, after three big tax cuts, a stock market bubble and the devastating effects of the 9/11 economy, the surplus has evaporated and the 2010 deficit is now estimated to be over $5 trillion. America was once the greatest creditor to nations around the globe; it is now the largest debtor in the world. And the domestic deficit is only half the story. Given our annual $500 billion trade deficit and our anemic savings rate, we depend on an unprecedented $2 billion of foreign capital ... every work day.... If foreign confidence were to wane, this could lead to a dreadful hard landing. According to Peterson, President Bush said that "deficit is just numbers on a page."
Peterson explains why the IMF is no longer focusing on Russia and Argentina, their main concern is the United States. In 1900 the United States, per capita, saved more money than any industrialized - developed nation. We are now last of all industrialized countries. Any thinking person has to read this book.
July 23, 2004
Very Interesting Information: Last night my wife and I saw Fahrenheit 9/11. Whether you are a Republican, Democrat, Socialist, Communist Atheist or a God loving person it's truly worth seeing. Although Moore is biased, the movie sticks to documented data not suppositions or possibilities. He has an amazing ability to dig up factual data that companies and or governments try to suppress.
Most of the information is common knowledge, if one is an avid reader and viewer of news, but there is factual data I had never heard of. On 9/13 two days after 9 /11, when all other flights had been shut down, a whole series of flights from the US to Saudi Arabia were permitted with some 24 of Bin Ladin's family members allowed to leave the US. I am sure there are a lot of people that would like to sue Moore, but virtually all data presented is footage from other news and government organizations.
July 20, 2004
Aero 150 Comments: We recently received a complaint letter about the unreliability of Aero 150 wheels. This person called the Aero 150 unreliable without having any data base but his own. Since hundreds of roller skiers have talked to us and written to us about how bullet proof the Aero 150 are, we decided to see how many skis were sold since their introduction in 1999 and compare that number to how many replacement tubes and tires were sold.
Many who use the Aero 150 log incredible distances on the skis so we would expect to sell a lot of replacement tubes and tires. Turned out this was not the case as many skiers reported over 1,500K before replacing tires and tubes. In comparison to new wheels sold on skis, replacement tubes and tires make up less than 10%. Phil Shaw, who has logged over 10,000 kilometers on his Aero's skiing from Newfoundland to Vancouver in 2002, then Scotland, England and Ireland in 2003 and this year New Zealand and Australia, has not had one flat and he wrote us that he averages almost 2,000 kilometers on the tires.
Lee Borowski made the following comments in a letter to a skier who asked his advice. ( Lee sent me a copy and said I could use his comments. )
"For safety and smooth ride, the Aero is hands down the best ski on the market. Pro Ski and Marwe both are well liked by some pockets of excellent skiers. Some of these guys say you can't ski on the Aero with good technique. But, ( in my video ) that was the first day my son ever skied on an Aero and he only skied about a 1/4 mile to get used to them- and those are the 6 inch (150 mm ) wheels. I personally feel that the Aero roll out more like snow than any other model. I'm bigger than most skiers so the other skis with pure rubber wheels tend to pinch out in the last part of the glide. Every year I test my roller skis against snow skiing then going directly to a road nearby- and the Aero are the "most snow like" each year.
I like the 150's because they roll over everything, even pot holes and I just telemark onto the shoulder ( if I have to ) in an emergency. Then there's the Speed Reducers which we use in two ways. First, they are the best brakes on the market. Only place I've even had to use the slowest setting is coming down from Porcupine Mountains on Summit road in upper Michigan.
As to turnover, I can turn my 150's over as fast as I can my snow skis. Second, you can make the roller ski slower than the slowest brands on the market by simply using the speed reducer; there are four settings so you can make them so slow that Samson would have trouble moving them. I have never had a flat with my 150's and the tire wear is excellent. But one caveat is you must have your boots adjusted very tight to use the aero's, especially the 150's. Wayne Fish is still on his original tires after 4 years of use. I have gone through more tires, but we roller ski a lot more in southern Wisconsin. But, to replace the tires is not very expensive."
June 6, Strategy:
For the last 35 years Strategy has been one of my favorite subjects. In my former job we had numerous strategy sessions on a variety of subjects every year. Below is the best strategic article on the Fourth Generation Warfare I have read. It's so good I decided to put it on our home page. It's from Strategic Forecasts and is written by William S. Lind who is a well recognized military Strategist. I wrote it here as I don't know any place you can get this document on the web, even though it's unclassified.
Understanding Fourth Generation Warfare, by William S Lind: Rather than commenting on the specifics of the war in Iraq, I thought it might be a good time to lay out the framework for understanding that and other conflicts. The framework is the Four Generations of Modern War. I developed the framework of the first three generations in the 1980's when I was laboring to introduce maneuver warfare to the Marine Corps. Marines kept asking "What will the Fourth Generation be like ?", and I began to think about that. The result was the article I co authored for the Marine Corps Gazette in 1989, "The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation." Our troops found copies of it in the caves of Tora Bora, the Al Queda hideout in Afghanistan.
The Four generations began with the Peace in Westphalia in 1648, the treaty that ended the Thirty Year's War. With the Treaty of Westphalia the state established a monopoly on war. Previously many different entities fought wars- families, tribes, religions, cities, business enterprises- using many different means, not just armies and navies ( two of those means, bribery and assassination, are again in vogue). Now, state militaries find it difficult to imagine war in any way other than fighting state armed forces similar to themselves.
The First Generation of Modern War runs roughly from 1648 to 1860. This was war of line and column tactics, where battles were formal and the battlefield was orderly. The relevance of the First Generation springs from the fact that the battlefield of order created a military culture of order. Most things that distinguish "military" from "civilian"- uniforms, saluting, careful gradation of rank- were products of the First Generation and are intended to reinforce the culture of order.
The problem is that around the middle of the 19th century, the battlefield of order began to break down. Mass armies, soldiers who actually wanted to fight ( an 18th centuries soldier's main objective was to desert ), rifled muskets, then breach loaders and machine guns, made the old line and column tactics first obsolete, then suicidal. The problem ever since has been a growing contradiction between the military culture and increasing disorderliness of the battlefield. The culture of order that was once consistent with the environment in which it operated has become more and more at odds with it.
Second Generation Warfare was one answer to this contradiction. Developed by the French Army during and after World War I, it sought a solution in mass firepower, most of which was indirect artillery fire. The goal was attrition, and the doctrine was summed up by the French as, "The artillery conquers, the Infantry occupies." Centrally controlled firepower was carefully synchronized, using detailed, specific plans and orders, for the infantry, tanks, and artillery, in a "conducted battle" where the commander was in effect the conductor of an orchestra. Second Generation Warfare came as a great relief to soldiers ( or at least their officers) because it preserved the culture of order. The focus was inward on rules, processes and procedures. Obedience was more important than initiative ( in fact initiative was not wanted, because it endangered synchronization ), and discipline was top down and imposed.
Second Generation Warfare is relevant to us today because the United States Army and Marine Corps learned the Second Generation Warfare from the French during and after World War I. It remains the American way of war as we are seeing in Afghanistan and Iraq. To Americans, war means "putting steel on target". Aviation has replaced artillery as the source of most firepower, but otherwise, the American military today is as French as white wine and brie. At the Marine Corps warfare training center at 29 Palms, California the only thing missing is the tricolor and a picture of General Gamelin in the headquarters. The same is true at the Army's Armor School at Fort Knox where the instructor recently began his class by saying, " I don't know why I have to teach you all this French crap, but I do".
The Third Generation Warfare, like the Second, was a product of World War I. It was developed by the German Army and is commonly known as Blitzkrieg, or maneuver warfare. Third Generation Warfare is not based on firepower and attrition, but speed, surprise and mental as well as physical dislocation. Tactically, in the attack a Third Generation military seeks to get into the enemy's rear and collapse him from the rear forward instead of "close with and destroy, "the motto is "bypass and collapse." In defense, it attempts to draw the enemy in, then cut him off. War ceases to be a shoving contest, where forces attempt to hold or advance a "line". Third Generation Warfare is nonlinear.
Not only do tactics change in the Third Generation, so does the military culture. The Third Generation focuses outward, on the situation, the enemy, and the result the situation requires, not inward on process and method. Initiative is more important than obedience ( mistakes are tolerated, so long they come from too much initiative rather than too little), and it all depends on self discipline, not imposed discipline. The Kaiserheer and the Wehrmacht could put on great parades, but in reality they broke with the culture of order.
Characteristics such as decentralization and initiative carry over from the Third to the Fourth Generation, but in other respects, the Fourth Generation marks the most radical change since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. In the Fourth Generation war the state looses the monopoly on war. All over the world the, state militaries find themselves fighting non-state opponents such as Al Quaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the FARC. Almost everywhere the state is loosing. Fourth Generation war is also marked by a return to a world of cultures, not merely states, in conflict. We now find ourselves facing the Christian West's oldest and most steadfast opponent, Islam. After about three centuries on the strategic defensive, following the failure of the second Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683, Islam has resumed the strategic offensive, expanding outward in every direction. In Fourth Generation War invasion by immigration can be at least as dangerous as invasion by a state army.
Nor is Fourth Generation warfare merely something we import, as we did in 9 /11. At its core lies a universal crisis of legitimacy of the state, and that crisis means many countries will evolve Fourth Generation war on their soil. America, with a closed political system ( regardless of which party wins, the Establishment remains in power and nothing really changes ) and poisonous ideology of "multiculturalism", is a prime candidate for the home grown variety of Fourth Generation war-which is by far the most dangerous kind.
Where does war in Iraq fit in this framework? I suggest that the war we have seen thus far is merely a powder train leading to the magazine. The magazine is Fourth Generation war by a wide variety of Islamic non state actors, directed at America and Americans ( and local governments friendly to America ) everywhere. The longer America occupies Iraq, the greater the chance the magazine will explode. If it does, God help us all.
For almost two years, a small seminar has been meeting at my house to work on the question of how to fight a Fourth Generation war. It is made up mostly of Marines, lieutenant through lieutenant colonel, with one Army Officer, one National Guard tanker Captain and one foreign officer. We figured somebody ought to be working on the most difficult question facing US armed forces, as nobody else seems to be. The seminar recently decided to go public with a few of the ideas it has come up with, and to use this column to that end. We have no magic solutions to offer, only some thoughts.We recognize from the outset that the whole task may be hopeless; state militaries may not be able to come to grips with Fourth Generation enemies no matter what they do. But for what they are worth, here are our thoughts to date:
If America had some Third generation ground forces, capable of manuever warfare, we might be able to fight battles of encirclement. The inability to fight battles of encirclement is what led to the failure of operation Anaconda in Afghanistan, where al Qaeda stood, fought us, and got away with few casualties. To fight such battles we need some true light infantry, infantry that can move farther and faster on its feet than the enemy, has a full tactical repertoire ( not just bumping into the enemy and calling for fire power ) and can fight with its own weapons instead depending on supporting arms. We estimate that US Marine infantry today has a sustained march rate of only 10 to 15 kilometers per day; German World War II line, not light infantry, could sustain 40 kilometers.
Fourth Generation opponents will not sign up to the Geneva Conventions, but might be open to chivalric code governing how our war with them would be fought? It's worth exploring. How our forces conduct themselves after battle may be as important in 4GW as how they fight the battle. What the Marine Corps calls "cultural intelligence" is of vital importance in 4GW, and it must go down to the lowest ranks. In Iraq, the Marines seemed to grasp this much better than the US Army.
What kind of people do we need in Special Operations Forces? The seminar thought minds were more important than muscles, but it is not clear to us if US SOF understands this. One key to success is integrating our troops as much as possible with the local people. Unfortunately, the American doctrine of "force protection" works against integration and generally hurts us badly. Here is a quote from the minutes of the seminar: There are two ways to deal with the issue of force protection. One way is the way we are currently doing it, which is to separate ourselves from the population and to intimidate them with our fire power. A more viable alternative might be to take the opposite approach and integrate with the community. That way you find out more of what is going on and the populations protects you. The British approach of getting the helmets off as soon as possible may be saving lives.
What "wins" at the tactical and physical levels may loose at the operational, strategic, mental and moral levels, where 4GW is decided. Martin van Crevel argues that one reason the British have not lost Northern Ireland is that the British Army has taken more casualties than it has inflicted. This is something the Second Generation American military has great trouble grasping, because it defines success in terms of comparative attrition rates. We must recognize that in 4GW situation, we are the weaker, not the stronger party, despite all our firepower and technology. What can the US military learn from cops? Our reserve and National Guard units include lots of cops; are we taking advantage of what they know?
One key to success in 4GW may be "loosing to win". Part of the reason the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not succeeding is that our initial invasion destroyed the state, creating a happy hunting ground for Fourth Generation forces. If you destroy a state, it is very difficult to recreate it. Here is another quote from the minutes of the seminar: " This discussion concluded while a war against a state may be necessary, one should seek to preserve that state even as one defeats it. Grant the opposing armies the 'honors of war', tell them what a fine job they did, make their defeat 'civilized' so they can survive the war institutionally intact and then work for your side. This would be similar to 18th century notions of civilized war and contribute greatly to propping up a fragile state."
Humiliating the defeated enemy troops, especially in front of their own population, is always a serious mistake, but one that Americans are prone to make. The 'football mentality' we have developed after World War II works against us. Another quote from the minutes: " Osama bin Laden, though reportedly wealthy, lives in a cave. Yes, it is for security, but it is also leadership by example. It may make it harder to separate ( physically and psychologically ) the 4GW leaders from their troops. It also makes it harder to discredit those leaders with their followers. This contrasts with the BNW ( Brave New World) elite's who are both physically and psychologically separated by a huge gap from their followers. The BNW elite's are in many respects occupying the moral low ground, but don't know it."
In the Axis occupation of the Balkans during World War II, the Italians in many ways were more effective than the Germans. The key to their success is that they did not want to fight. On Cyprus, the UN commander rated the Argentine battallion as more effective than the British or the Austrians because the Argentines did not want to fight. What lesson can the US forces draw from this? How would the Mafia do an occupation? When we have a coalition, what if we let each country do what it does best, e.g. the Russians handle the Operational art, the US firepower and logistics, maybe the Italians the occupation.
How can the Defense Departments concept of "Transformation" be redefined so as to come to grips with 4GW? If you read the current "Transformation Planning Guidance" put out by DOD, you find nothing in it on 4 GW, indeed nothing that relates at all two either of the two wars we are now fighting. It's all oriented toward fighting other state armed forces that fight us symmetrically. The seminar intends to continue working on the question of redefining "Transformation" ( die Verwandlung? ) so as to make it relevant to 4GW.
Will Saddam's capture make a turning point in the war in Iraq? Don't count on it. Few resistance fighters have been fighting for Saddam. Saddam's capture may lead to fracturing the Baath party, which moves us further towards a Fourth Generation situation where no one can recreate the state.
Recently, a faculty member at the National Defense University wrote to Marine Corps General Mattis, commander of I MAR DIV, to ask his views of the importance of reading military history. Mattis responded with an eloquent defense of taking time to read history, one that should go up on the wall at all of our military schools. " Thanks to my reading, I have never been caught flatt -footed by any situation". Mattis said. "It doesn't give me all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead."
Still even Mattis seems to miss the point of 4GWH. He said in his missive. "Ultimately, a real understanding of history means we face NOTHING new under the sun. For all the 4GW war intellectuals running around today saying that the nature of war has fundamentally changed, the tactics are wholly new, etc. I must respectfully say, not really"
Now as before the rise of the state, many different entities, not just governments of states, will wage war. They will wage war for many different reasons, not just "the extension of politics by other means." And they will use many different tools to fight war, not restricting themselves to what we recognize as military forces. When I am asked to recommend a good book describing what 4GW would be like, I usually suggest Barbara Tuchman's, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century. We are not saying the Fourth Generation Tactics are new. On the contrary, many of the tactics are standard guerilla tactics. Others include "terrorism" and Arab light cavalry warfare with modern weapons.
The fact that no state military has recently succeeded in defeating a non state enemy reminds us that Clio has a sense of humor: History also teaches us that not all problems have solutions. Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
June 5, 20New Picture on our Index Page:
This picture of Thomas Alsgaard and Per Elofsson was taken by me at the Salt Lake Olympics. Notice the body is not positioned in the direction of the ski !!!!!! Hmmmmm?
Suppliers still unable to keep up with demand: A month ago we figured our back log would be reduced to less than a week, but heavy demand and suppliers not keeping up on certain products means that for some models delivery is still 2 to 3 weeks away. Our key supplier has been working almost every Saturday to catch up and is making progress.
Virpi Kuitunen buys 910K Roller Skis: Got a call from Finland this week saying that Virpi just purchased a pair of 910K and that other members of the Finnish National Team wanted the same model. Kuitunen finished 6th overall on the World Cup and 4th in the Sprint Cup. This young skier has the potential of a great future.
V2 to supply Roller Skis for the Madison August 7 Run and Roller Ski Race: We received a call from the organizing club saying they would prefer the top 20 skiers to be on the same V2 model. Using the same skis is the only way to equalize the race. We did the same thing in Ruhpolding, Germany where all the Biathletes used the same V2 skis in the Sprint races. We are not yet sure what ski will be supplied, but most likely it will be the new 100S skate ski. Another more advanced skate ski is in the works, but we are not sure it will be ready for the August race.
May 29, 2004
Per Elofsson has Press Conference: This week Per held a Press Conference in Umea, Sweden stating that he was now training hard again. Per rested for about four months just doing enough exercise to stay in reasonable shape. As I suspected, and stated in an earlier report, his goal is the 2006 Olympics, not the 2005 World Championships in Germany.
No one can predict what will happen after chronic fatigue, which is apparently what Per had. Some recover, others never reach their previous level of fitness. Only time will tell how Per can handle this.
May 25, 2004
It's about Time: Anyone who follows US Track and Field knows that for decades USADA ( United States Anti Doping Agency ) pointed fingers at other countries for drug abuse while discarding evidence of US athletes and not following the International Standards for drug testing. Now USADA is making a dramatic turnaround.
With Kelli White's testimony and the documents recovered from BALCO'S satellite drug operation, USADA is now seriously going after those associated with BALCO, the manufacturer of designer drugs that were undetectable. Those associated with BALCO include Marion Jones, Michelle Collins, Barry Bonds Jason Giambi, Regina Jacobs, Chrystie Gaines, etc. A former US track star told me over two years ago doping was so prevalent, you would have to be a blind man not to see it. Let us hope USADA gets them. I hope this will not be another OJ case where highly paid attorneys manipulate the legal system and let cheaters compete in the Olympics.
Duped: The information here is just my opinion based on everything I have read. Ideologists scare me, because they have a concept of how things should be and therefor evidence, or ideas, that disagree with their ideology is not accepted.
Ahmad Chalabi played on the idealistic ideas of Wolfowitz, Perle, Douglas Feith, Rumsfeld and Bush and fed them information which agreed with their concept and it became truth without supportive evidence. The CIA and the State Department, who were skeptical of Chalabi stood up against the proposal for Iraq and worked up a 15 volume Future of Iraq project that that Feith's office in Washington put in the dustbin. Feith himself signed a long and detailed summary linking Saddam to the Al Qaeda terrorists and to Weapons of Mass Destruction. The administration was convinced Saddam had WMD and that he helped the terrorists so when Chalabi who, was paid $39,000,000 by the US government, provided "intelligence" to support this fact it was used to build the case against Saddam.
Many warned the Bush administration that Chalabi was selling intelligence that was suspect, but ideologists do not want to hear information that does not agree with their beliefs. The CIA has now confirmed that most of what Chalabi sold was pure fiction. For many years Chalabi had been trying to drag the US into a war with Iraq and when the CIA could not get evidence of WMD against Saddam, Chalabi decided to manufacture the evidence and in the process of doing so United States paid him $39,000,000 for his information.
Chalabi has now been found to be an incredible manipulator who sold Washington nothing but false data. Now Feith, Rumsfeld and the rest are trying to distance themselves from Chalabi, who was previously the darling of these people. Why did so many in Washington believe Chalabi, when over 100 experts who spent many months in Iraq testified there is no evidence of WMD? The answer is simple, they wanted to believe him because it fit their ideology. Fifteen months later we find we were thoroughly duped by Chalabi!
Back Problems: My cousin Annika's husband, Sakari Uunila, in Vancouver, Canada had seen my May 16 note on Rolfing for my back problem and he sent me a great e mail. Sakari was on the Canadian X-C Ski Team in the 60's. Turns out he developed similar L4-L5 disc problems in 2002. His pain was so severe he could hardly walk and MRI revealed a serious problem and he contemplated surgery.
Meanwhile he began a regular routine of exercises which began to help him. He then found the best neurosurgeon in Canada in a Private Clinic and made an appointment. The surgeon used to be a X-C ski racer in college and although surgery had been scheduled based on the MRI results, when he heard that Sakari was improving through exercise he canceled the surgery and told Sakari to take 6,000 mg of MSM and 2000 mg. of glucosamine for at least 6 weeks. If the combination of exercise and these natural drugs did not work he would again schedule surgery.
The combination worked. Today Sakari said he feels better in his back than he has in 30 years and he even entered his first X-C race in 16 years. It's a miracle that he met a surgeon that was willing to try other methods. In addition to rolfing I am now doing the exercises in Robin Mc Kenzies book "Treat Your Own Back". Rebecca Hammer is also a Physical Therapist with experience in the Mc Kenzie technique and she will help me to perform the exercises properly. Can't wait to feel better. Maybe I can even run again. Of course I am now also taking 6000mg of MSM and 2000mg. of glucosamine.
Turns out my idea of a heel lift was not a good idea. When I told Doug Garfield about the lift he said I am sure Rebecca will remove your heel lift. He was right. Using the heel lift will actually prevent proper spine and pelvis alignment.
Training Budget Cut in Half: Mathis and Thobias Fredriksson are right now not members of the Swedish National Team. When the already small training budget was cut in half, they protested and did not sign the agreement with the National Team. Mathias felt reducing the budget by 50% must be addressed, not just accepted.
Supplier Unable to Keep up with Demand: We hope this is a very temporary situation, but our supplier is presently unable to keep up with demand for TIG welded shafts. Our sales volume has increased and we are presently unable to get enough shafts or brake parts. The supplier has superb manufacturing technology and we are trying to develop a schedule with them that will meet sales volume. We apologize for not being able to ship in a timely manner.
May 16, 2004
Per Elofsson: Ola Rawald said Per is training, but presently his capacity is under the U23 skiers. He implied Per has long way to go. The hardest part is probably mentally. Per won his first World Cup Race at the age of 21 and in his first year on the Senior World Cup circuit he was ranked 5th. The following year, 2000, he won the World Championship in Finland and was ranked 4th in the World Cup Circuit. Then in 2001 and 2002 he was #1. He changed his very successful training program and in 2003 he was ranked 24. In December of 2003 he decided, after two poor races, not to compete again until next season.
His basic physical capacity and technique is awesome, but is there enough time for Per to compete in the Championships in Obertsdorf or will he develop more slowly and aim for the 2006 Olympics? Per is only 26 so he could have many years left as a top competitor.
Rolfing: I was one of the few people I knew that never had back problems. But, just before the Olympics in Salt Lake, my back became extremely painful . Chiropractic treatment did not help so I decided to have an MRI which revealed L4 & L5 disc problems. Exercise helps, but the pain is severe enough to limit my mobility. Injections help for about 6 weeks, but they are probably not healthy in the long run so I decided to try Rolfing.
Rebecca Hammer, who was at the Rolfing School in Boulder when John Bauer was there, is now teaching me how to endure even greater pain. Rolfing can hurt! Marty Hall called last week while I was at a Rolfing session. He told my wife Anita that while in Sweden Pierre Harvey developed back pain. Barbara Tanno, the Swedish skier, fixed Pierre up with a Rolfer. When Pierre returned from his treatment he told Marty it was so painful he would never go back.
I bought a thick heel lift and some Methylsulfonylmethane, which is a natural organic compound that reduces inflammation and can be taken without side effects. With the thick heel pad it feels strange when I walk, but my back is straight, my shoulders even and I hope this will help. After only 4 sessions I am a firm believer in Rolfing as my mobility is now better than two weeks ago.
May 1, 2004
New Brake & Fenders: Shown above is an Aero 125 SR with the new Brake and Fender. The Fender weighs 20 grams. It mounts with the standard wheel bolt. You simply discard the washers and mount the fender. We should be able to start supplying brakes by May 14, 2004. The brake mounts behind the binding, 1.125 inches of space is required from the end of the binding to the end of the shaft, or to the molded fender housing on 800 and 900 series.
The brake is actuated by pushing the brake ski about 18 inches (.45M ) ahead of the other ski ( Telemark position) and pushing the knee back. The brake has numerous adjustments to accommodate just about any shoe size and different binding locations. The padded U piece that engages the leg when braking touches the leg about 1 inch above a typical skate boot.
When in use, the brake arm is raised and locked by a spring loaded plunger, so the brake can only move backward. When properly adjusted, the brake only touches the leg when braking. When not skiing the spring plunger is pulled out and the brake folded over the binding. Weight of complete unit is 125 grams. All materials except the heat treated brake pad are black anodized aluminum and stainless steel. Brakes are available for 800/900 series all Aero skis including the Retro Classic.
April 27, 2004
Vladimir now Vice President of IBU: Just found out that in addition to his FIS duties and President of some Kazakhstan Ski Organization, Vladimir also became a V.P. in the International Biathlon Union. Will call him soon to chat a bit which we have not done for many months.
Ola Rawald e Mails: The Swedish coach, who works on technique with many good skiers such as Mathias Fredriksson, Anders Soedergren and Per Elofsson, said Per is back training. Per however, will not be at full training load until July. As a freestyle technique coach, that Mathias said is the best he has worked with, I asked him about the changes he has seen in freestyle. His comment was that he really has not seen any real changes. He said he simply tries to make skating as simple and effortless as possible.