Benedikt Doll’s Solo Spring; First Camp in Martell

Benedikt Doll’s Solo Spring; First Camp in Martell

Benedikt Doll spent the lockdown spring at home in his beloved Black Forest, with plenty of solo tine for introspection. As the calendar flipped to July; that changed as he and his German teammates gathered this week for their first team camp of the new season in Martell, Italy.

Benedikt Doll’s Solo Spring; First Camp in Martell

Mixed Feelings at Season’s End

The 2017 IBU Sprint World Champion admitted he had mixed feelings when the season ended abruptly in Kontiolahti. “There were some places I wanted to reach in the World Cup Total Score (he finished 8th, just 16 points from 7th), so I thought some more races would be good, but it was fine because I was feeling a little bit weak at that point.”

Still, the season had been productive for Doll, with his second career victory taking the Annecy-Le Grand Bornand sprint, 2nd in the Pokljuka mass start, 3rd in the Ruhpolding sprint plus an IBU WCH Relay Bronze medal. That medal gave him five consecutive years of at least one medal in a major championship.

Benedikt Doll’s Solo Spring; First Camp in Martell

Sports is Rest

Even with a couple of extra weeks of down time after the shortened season, Doll did not sit around too long before getting active again. “I am not the guy who comes home after the season and does nothing for four weeks. Sports is a part of my life; after about two weeks, I started to do some road biking and mountain tours. A little bit of sports is still rest for me.”

Benedikt Doll’s Solo Spring; First Camp in Martell

Family; Training Plans on the Run

He admitted that the “lockdown time” was not that bad as a biathlete. “We were lucky to race almost all of the season except for Oslo. The summer athletes will miss their whole season. We do not have much going on in April or May. It is usually a nice time to meet some friends in the city and enjoy life a little bit. We could not do that, but otherwise there were not a lot of big changes. I did a lot with my wife, sister and my parents and stayed away from others. Still, we were allowed to do sports with one other person, socially distanced, so I met some friends that way and worked on plans for the upcoming season with my trainers while we were out running. It was different but really okay.”

Benedikt Doll’s Solo Spring; First Camp in Martell

Waking Up Early

By the time May rolled around, the 30-year-old officially kicked off the new training season. “By then, we were only able to train in groups of five; it was a little different. The first group trained in the early morning, the second in the late morning. I had to get up at 6:30 instead of normally getting up at 7:30. It was really difficult because I hate to wake up early!” During the early sessions, building base, “We did a lot of road biking, mountain biking, long running and hiking tours with poles.”

Benedikt Doll’s Solo Spring; First Camp in Martell

Cycling, Ice Cream, Panoramas

Doll especially enjoys the long road cycling days. “Our longest tour was 140 km, once the ice cream stores were open. We were able to stop and enjoy some breaks, without any stress so it took almost 6 hours. That is the best time, when you can get in the long training; it is not so fast, you can make a stop and go wherever you want and enjoy the panoramas. I really like those days.”

Benedikt Doll’s Solo Spring; First Camp in Martell

Getting Back with the Team

Normally, team camps start in late May or early June, but not this year; with the first camp this week in Martell, Italy. “We planned a road cycling camp the first of June, but cancelled it. It was the right decision, because now we do not have as many regulations now…It is really important for us to have a training camp where the quality is very good. I like getting back with the team; Arnd Peiffer, Simon Schempp, Johannes Kuhn, Lukas Fratzscher and Roman Rees are all here. It has been a long time.”

“Cooking every day is hard!”

Doll, the experienced cookbook author and chef admitted he needed the change of pace. “It was getting a little strange at home because every day was the same. I am happy to have a change in my life, to see the others again, another place and be in a hotel…and I do not need to cook every day. I like to cook but cooking every day is really hard!”

Benedikt Doll’s Solo Spring; First Camp in Martell

Training Camp Input

After a late start to organized training, this first get-together at the 1300 meter high Italian venue is pretty normal. “Then plan has some mountain tours on the bike, running, classic roller skiing. We have a new shooting coach, working a lot on shooting technique. In this camp, we will get a lot of input that we can use when we get back home. I made some changes at home, but it is nice to have other people who can add some other opinions and input. That is really important to make improvements.”

Benedikt Doll’s Solo Spring; First Camp in Martell
Benedikt Doll’s Solo Spring; First Camp in Martell

No Corona Lessons

With the isolated spring over, Doll said there “was no specific Corona lesson…There was so much time alone that you could look inside yourself and focus…There were many things that I wanted to change after the winter season. I put a lot of power into making these changes; one was a focus to improve my shooting. That was the biggest thing that happened for me this year.”

Benedikt Doll’s Solo Spring; First Camp in Martell

Photos: IBU/ Benedikt Doll, Christian Manzoni

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