"It was impossible not to enjoy 50 km at the World Champs in Oslo!"
A Scandinavian newspaper called him once "A Brit that isn't actually that bad..". And Andrew Musgrave is not bad at all!
He scored very good 6th place in 15 km Free at the U23 World CHampionships in Otepää last winter. Several weeks later at Drammen he was close to cracking top 30 in the World Cup sprint but with 31st time in the qualification was not enough. Maybe a disappointing moment for the young British but just a few days later he finally went through the sprint qualification and score decent 28th place in the World Championships sprint in Oslo. FIS Cross-Country News talked to Andrew about last winter and plans for the future.
Q: What was your best and worst competition last season?
Andrew Musgrave: I had a quite a few good races last season, and quite a few bad ones too, so it is difficult to choose! The race that was the most fun to do was definitely the 50km at the World Championships in Oslo. I skied pretty badly, was tired, and in pain, but the Norwegian crowd made it fun anyway! There were so many spectators that were loud and enthusiastic that was impossible not to enjoy the race!
The race where I skied best was probably at the U23 World Championships in Otepaa. 6th place was my best result, in the skate race, but I felt like I skied better in the 30km skiathlon. I don't really know why, but it just felt like it was a good race, and that I couldn't have gone any faster than I did.
My worst race was probably the Birkebeinerrennet. I don't know what happened. I started off slowly, and got slower and slower as the race went on! By the end my legs were so tired I couldn't even tuck down the hills! It was an effort just to move my legs! I now have a ton of respect for the Marathon Cup racers!
Q: What is the most important thing you learned last season?
A.M.: One thing I learned is that doing every event at the World Championships is hard work, and probably not the best strategy for getting good results!
Q: How has been your off-season so far? Where have you trained?
A.M.: My training this season has been pretty good. I haven't been ill or injured, so I can't complain! I have been in Norway all summer. I normally live in Lillehammer, but for all of July I was in Oslo, studying Norwegian at the University of Oslo. I enjoyed being there, and training somewhere different than usual.
Q: How does your training plan normally looks like?
A.M.: My training this season is pretty similar to last year. In the early summer I trained a bit less than last year and I am planning to train a bit more at the start of winter, but that is the only difference. Now in the summer I am doing about 80 hours of training a month. I have been doing a lot of rollerskiing, running and strength work. I also do a bit of biking.
Q: Where is your favorite training resort and which competition do you like most?
A.M.: I love training in Norway in the spring. The days are long, the sun is bright, and it is warm. Hovden in Southwest Norway is one of the best places. When it is cold at night and warm in the day the crust-skiing in the mountains is unbeatable.
I also like to compete in Norway. The crowds are bigger and more enthusiastic than anywhere else in the world. The Holmenkollen 50km is one of the most fun races to do. I think it is a shame that the race is now always mass-start. I think it is part of the tradition of the race and more exciting to watch when it is individual start.
Q: Who were/are your role models?
A.M.: I think like almost everyone else in cross-country skiing my main role model was Bjørn Dæhlie. It was amazing how many races he won, and how hard he could push himself in every race. Another role model of mine was Per Elofsson. I have spent a lot of time watching videos of him, to try and learn to ski with as good technique as he did. I think he was one of the most technically efficient skiers of all time.
Q: What hobbies do you have beside skiing? What do you do when your are not skiing or training?
A.M.: I like outdoor activities, like fishing and mountain-biking. I don't have my mountain bike here in Norway, and really miss having it! Every time I am out running and I see a trail that looks good for biking I wish that I had my bike with me.
Q: What would your do if your were not a skier?
A.M.: If I were not a skier I would probably be a student right now, somewhere in Britain. I would probably be studying a science or engineering subject, and making the most of student life!
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A.M.: Hopefully in 5 years time I will still be skiing, but have a few more Olympic and World Championships medals than I have now!