Talking to Athletes: Eirik Brandsdal
FIS Cross-Country recently caught up with Norway's Eirik Brandsdal during the team's altitude training camp in Val Senales, Italy. Brandsdal is coming off a career best sprint season in 2014 where he finished second in the overall Sprint rankings.
FIS: How was your training during the off-season? Where did you make the biggest progress?
EB: My training has been good. I haven´t had any big challenges with my health or injuries. I believe my biggest progress this year has been the ability to handle more training. I have worked a lot with my classic technique, especially double poling.
FIS: You were so close to taking the overall Sprint World Cup title last season. It must have been frustrating but also rewarding to have the ability to fight for that final position?
EB: I was happy that I got closer to winning the Sprint World Cup title compared to the year before. Of course I was disappointed to lose by that small of a margin. I was not happy with the Olympics, so I really wanted to end the season with that win. When that didn´t work out, I needed some extra time away from skiing after the season. After some time off, my desire to win the cup has grown even stronger than last year. I am ready to fight harder for it this year! :)
FIS: You have been almost equal both in classic and free technique. Is that your biggest strength?
EB: I have worked hard to be good in both classic and skating. In the beginning of my career my skating was best. When I worked to improve in classic my skating got worse. Now I think both are good. If you want to win the Sprint World Cup total you have to master both disciplines. I like to say that my biggest strength is when the last 100 meters goes slightly uphill to the finish.
FIS: Arild Monsen has been with the sprint team for some time now. What is the most significant change/improvement he has brought to the team?
EB: Arild made us train more like a allrounders. We started to train longer exercises.
FIS: What is your impression about the sprint course in Falun? Does it fit you?
EB: I like the track in Falun. It fits me perfect and I am really looking forward to racing there. It´s a course with great speed. I think we will see many exciting finishes.
FIS: Looking to the upcoming season, where are your priorities?
EB: The classical sprints will be most important for me. We have many good candidates for the sprint in Falun, so I have to show that I´m in good shape for the Championships. I will also try to do more training during the winter.
FIS: I saw on your website you were a driving force behind 'strength parks'. Can you speak little bit about what these are? Do you have some other projects that you are involved with?
EB: I got an idea when I visited USA some years ago. There were outdoor strength parks in many places. I did some strength training there, and I liked it. When I got a scholarship from my sponsor I thought that it was a good idea to build one beside our clubhouse. Now we have our own outdoor park for strength training. It is important for me to be visible and active in my club. Kjelsaas is one of the biggest clubs in Norway and I am proud to represent them. They are a part of the reason I have made it so far in cross country skiing.
This year I also worked a lot with helping Bjorn Dæhlie develop their new poles. It´s been challenging and I ave learned a lot about developing a new product.
FIS: Thanks Eirik for your time and good luck this season!
EB: You're welcome.