If It’s Monday, Then It’s Cycling, Stand-up Paddling, or…for Klemen Bauer
Biathlon training is a combination of aerobic, strength and precision. However, it is not just simply ski and shoot; but a sport where multiple training techniques are used to build the aerobic capacity and strength. For Klemen Bauer, whether it is Monday or any other day of the week; every day in spring and early summer brings a new adventure on the road or trail, on the water and in the sky. “It is definitely my favorite part of the year.”
Bauer is probably the sport’s ultimate cross-trainer combining the usual things like cycling and hiking into his program, but then veering in his own direction. Beyond road cycling and mountain biking, his program includes long distance stand-up paddling, stand-up paddling sprint racing, kayaking, hiking and flying, paragliding, long boarding and as the weather warms up some kite surfing. Of course at some point, there will also be rollerskiing and those hours at the shooting range. Yet for now, Bauer is just doing all of those things he loves while building up for the new season.
It is no surprise that the Slovenian veteran takes this different path to his training. He has always been a bit of a free spirit. Adventure has always been a part of his persona, going back 10 plus years ago when he was paragliding, free-climbing, and competing ( winning with teammate Peter Dokl) in the multi-day Cross-Slovenia Adventure race that involved cycling, running, kayaking and orienteering.
Long Career: Medals, Four OWGs
Bauer has been in the biathlon business for a long-time, having won a Sprint Silver at the IBU YJWCH back in 2005 and then a 15K Individual Bronze medal in the 2007 IBU YJWCH. Along the way there have been 11 IBU World Championships, while Pyeongchang was his fourth Olympic Winter Games. He owns an IBU WCH Mixed Relay Silver medal from 2012 and was 4th in the 2010 OWG Sprint.
However, today, cross-training is important to keep the 32-year-old fresh, motivated and healthy. He commented, “I think more now about my body, because I am older. That is the perfect excuse for how I train.”
New Philosophy: Go with the Flow
He explained his new training philosophy. “I am starting to incorporate some of the training ideas that I have been collecting over the past few years. I decided after the Olympics to take some of the stress out of training; I just go with the flow at this time of the year. If the weather and setting is great; I just go for it.”
One of his newest training twists is on the water, stand-up paddling. Last week, he paddled 24 km on a local river. “One of my ideas was this long distance paddling. I have been doing stand-up paddling for two years. It is the perfect cross-training for cross-country skiers. I do it twice a week. When you go on the bike for three hours, it is all legs and then you have to balance it with upper-body training. Paddling is perfect for cardio, balance training and upper body…and it is fun! You discover places on rivers, lakes and the sea that are just amazing. I use an inflatable board, which is really compact. I keep it in a backpack in the car all the time; if I see a spot, it is inflated in five minutes and I am on the water.”
Keeping in the fun mode, he recently entered a stand-up paddling sprint race, finding a new adrenalin rush. “After paddling for two years, I decided to would try a race and test myself just for fun. I actually won the inflatable board category and will probably do one or two more, as part of a deal with the people who gave me the board.”
Hike and Fly
Hike and fly is another twist in the Bauer training repertoire. He enjoys hiking high into the Slovenian mountains to build leg and cardio strength, but there was one drawback, less than perfect knees. So to save the wear and tear on his knees, the adventuresome biathlete packs his glider and helmet into a backpack, hikes for several hours and literally flies home! He explained, “Sometimes I just hike up a short way and fly down back to my car. Then sometimes, I try to do some distance, maybe 40-50 km, always trying to raise the bar higher and higher. It depends a lot on the weather and wind currents. Flying takes a lot of focus and can be very exhausting.”
From the Top of Grintovec
He went for a typical bar-raising hike and fly last week, with more than 1000 meters of altitude gain to the top of one of the highest peaks near his home. “This was a big one, training and flying-wise. A friend and I hiked three plus hours, up to the top of Grintovec, the highest peak at 2558 meters in the Savinjske Alps. Then we flew down and landed back at our car in Stahovica.”
Solitary or Group Training
Flying and paddling are mostly solitary pursuits. Bauer prefers to train alone, because then “I can make my own schedule; I like that flexibility.” Yet frequently, he can be found cycling with company. “I like some organized tours. I did a 22 km mountain bike tour last week with a group and today I rode 100 km with some triathletes. But mostly I prefer training alone.”
Nutrition and Cycling
A big part of successful training, especially when cycling or hiking long distances is nutrition. Bauer typically has a good breakfast or lunch before heading out. “As long as you eat well before exercise then you do not need too much refueling. On a day like today, when we cycled 100 km, I usually take in about 2-3 liters of fluids, plus a couple of gels and a couple of bars. That will get me through the workout.”
Luckiest Guy; Perfect Job
After so many years in biathlon, Bauer contemplated leaving this spring, but then this cross-training specialist realized he is in a unique situation, “I must be the luckiest guy out there. I know there will be winter and competitions; but right now, I am enjoying every day; it is the perfect job. When I started to think about retiring, I looked around and said, ‘there is no other job that gives you this chance.’ I plan to continue biathlon on a year-by-year basis. As long as I can touch the high level, I will continue. It is still fun.”
And…there are more adventures out there just waiting for Klemen Bauer!