Wednesday, July 17, 2013

First BKL Camp of the summer

Every summer the Craftsbury GRP skiers host two Bill Koch Ski League Day Camps for local kids.  Each week twenty kids spend five days at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center being coached by GRP athletes and coaches through a non-stop schedule of rollerskiing, orienteering, swimming, more swimming, sculling, biathlon, mountain biking, more swimming and lots more activities.  Organizing these camps is one of my big projects for the summer and its fun and inspiring to see the enthusiasm and high energy which these kids bring to being active outside.  Here are some pictures to share the stories of the week.

A huge thanks to PowerBar for providing lots of bars to keep everyone fueled during the week.  There were some hungry campers and Ezra from South Dakota took down the most bars to keep up with new VT adventures.

Monday morning started off strong with most of the group rollerskiing on the common.  The library is closed on Monday morning leaving an open stretch of pavement free of cars which is the perfect place to learn to rollerski.  Many of the kids had never rollerskied before coming to camp but everyone was up for the challenge.
A focused Cormac
We put together an obstacle course which included some rollerskiing on the grass.  Being comfortable on rollerskis is very important and agility courses help learn these skills.
Callie was flying bu got pretty close to the edge of the road making this turn around the cones.
We also did some short sprints and here are Griffin and Zander racing head to head.  Zander had the only crash of the first morning but he did an amazing job of timing the fall to land in the grass rather than the pavement.
The next activity on the schedule was canoeing.  This year's group was much more ambitious than years past and almost everyone paddled all the way to the other end of the lake and back.
Quincy, Ava, and Jack showed everyone the best technique to paddle three people in a canoe.  This boat also survived a bee attack at the narrows and made it back safe and sound to shore after a lot of swimming.  
Ian psyched with a Powerbar after his first day at camp.
On Tuesday morning the campers tried orienteering around the Craftsbury Outdoor Center trails.  They started off with some expert coaching from Pepa, a former ski orienteering World Champion.  Almost all of the groups easily found all of the checkpoints and found the biggest challenge of the morning to be surviving the deer fly attacks.
Biathlon was another activity at camp and everyone learned how to shoot and then competed in some biathlon relay races with pushups for penalties for missed shots.

Clare, a GRP biathlete, helps Elias with shooting technique.  All the GRP athletes helped out with camp.  The skiers led most of the sessions but the rowers taught everyone how to scull which was the highlight of the week for many campers.
There was a mountain biking day.  Kids warmed up riding the pump track before riding the Center's single track trails.  
Taking a break from the heat and humidity in the shade of the solar panels.
I was impressed with the fearless riding that happened.  Here Avery hits the teeter toter.  
Awesome teamwork as Claire helps Ezra fix his bike
And the big event of the camp- Friday's adventure race!  Lucas, one of the mastermind's behind this year's course, explains the race.
Jack and team rescue the greased up watermelon and bring it back to the beach on a paddle board
Crossing the touring center pond on balance logs- high stakes for falling in!
Ian and David in the wheelbarrow race
Passing the logs and moving across the upper field without stepping on the grass
And the campers even got put to work stacking wood!  
Slip and slide!
Big celebrations happened after the race with a pizza party and ropeswinging at the Dreissigacker's camp.  
Coach Anna was the master dough stretcher
And the camp favorite-- ROPESWING!!  
MacKenzie with a BIG splash!
The view from the top of the jump
A big thanks to all the GRP for coaching and to Judy Geer for hosting the party on the final afternoon.  We're gearing up now for a next camp in the beginning of August.

Thanks PowerBar!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

VT Summer Livin'

The past five weeks I have spent in one place: at home in VT.  I can't remember when my bags were unpacked for such a long time but it feels great!  The weeks have flown by, busy with training, projects at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, summer fun, and dodging thunderstorms.  Vermont along with the rest of the East coast has been a tropical rain forest this summer.  Monsoon season has brought heat, humidity and lots of intense thunderstorms.  You can guarantee that some point during the afternoon or evening the humidity will rise beyond return and the skies will let loose in an impressive downpour and lightning show.  The trick is timing it just right so that you are stretching outside at the end of a sweaty workout (in which case a shower isn't necessary) rather than halfway across the lake on a paddle board or rollerskiing on a very rural road through hilly and open farm fields.

A snapping turtle explores the lonely waterfront during a rainstorm. (Lynn J photo)
I love having these periods of time at home for the opportunity to train with my Craftsbury GRP teammates while focusing on individual needs.  Without any travel it is easy to make big improvements with consistent hard training in a familiar environment.  This summer a nagging Achilles injury forced me to target even more specifically some big weaknesses.  Normally my training includes lots of running and classic skiing.  For me, The feeling of a fast and fluid running stride or kicking and gliding up a big hill are hard to beat.  But the past month I had to cut out almost all running and striding and get creative with my training.  I've done lots of double poling, SkiErging (always a great option in the thunderstorms), aqua jogging in the lake (a great running substitute when the mercury has risen), and skate rollerskiing.  It was a test of patience at first but the progress I've made in strength and technique has been an exciting trade.

And I've grown some flashy tiger stripes in the process!
Keeping my new white mountain bike clean has been an impossible challenge on the muddy Craftsbury trails.

Lots of skate intervals (Sheldon M photo)

Testing lactic acid levels (Sheldon M photo)
Dumb and Dumber style moped riding is a great way to get video while rollerskiing (Judy G photo)

Another awesome part of being home is the Craftsbury Outdoor Center meals which keep getting better and better every time I come home.  I feel unbelievably lucky to have gourmet meals prepared for me every day with local and nutritious ingredients.  As GRP athletes we show up at the dining hall every day at lunch and dinner time and have delicious food is waiting for us.  So this week rather than arriving in the showing up in Carharts and workout clothes, we decided to bring a little more class to dinner one night.  All the GRP skiers and rowers picked names out of a hat for our prom dates and then we dressed accordingly.

Charlie and I (Judy G photo)
Kyle and Liz arriving in style (Judy G photo)
Ethan and Liz (Judy G photo)
Alex and Lawrence (Judy G photo)
It's time to get back on the road again and the next stop is Alaska for a USST women's camp.  I can't wait for two weeks with the team in Anchorage and on the Eagle Glacier.  I have a couple more days in VT though before I leave, so enough time to fit in a few more sweaty rollerskis, swims in the lake, and a maple creamee or two- all the essentials of VT summer!

Quiet moment on Big Hosmer Pond (John G photo)