Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lake Placid Training

Fall is in the air!  The trees are transforming into lovely combinations of oranges, yellows, and reds.  We've had to cover vegetables with blankets and row cover in the gardens to protect against the first couple frosts of the year, the harvest moon will be in the sky tonight, and that added excitement which accompanies the nip in the air is running through every Nordic skier's veins.  Every year autumn is kicked off with the annual Lake Placid training camp.  As the weather cools and the leaves start to change, we up the intensity with a camp full of hard sessions in the Adirondack mountains.   It's the perfect setting with lots of mountain trails to run on, quiet roads for rollerskiing, a rollerski track at the Olympic complex for speeds and sprints, and of course Whiteface Mountain providing enough vertical to fill the muscles with lactic acid while bounding or rollerskiing up it.  This camp is one of my favorites because its close to home and there is always a great group of skiers working hard together and pushing the level with every training session.  This year wasn't any different and we had an awesome group of athletes from Craftsbury, Stratton, the USST, National Training Group juniors, and more.  For me its fun to have both of my teams training together in the same place!   In twelve days we trained close to 40 hours including two overdistance workouts, two speed sessions, four intervals workouts, and one uphill rollerski race.

Children at Play!  Absolutely!  Thanks to everyone for their hard work making the training a success.
Caitlin Patterson (Craftsbury GRP) leading everyone at the start of a classic OD (Matt Whitcomb photo)

Jessie, Liz, and I during a distance double pole workout (Bryan Fish photo)
Max bounding intervals up the alpine trails on Whiteface Mountain was the first hard intensity session of the camp.  This workout is great to do with a big group with everyone pushing each other along and there were lots of lactate levels recorded in the low teens on this day proving that we had found the pain cave.  (Bryan Fish photo)

We did a lot of agility work on rollerskis which was fun and a great way to warm up for speed sessions.  Becoming more comfortable and agile on rollerskis allows you to have a better feel for the movement and make technique changes easier.  Here I am practicing doing a 180 degree jump and then some backwards skiing. (Matt Whitcomb photo)
There were plenty of mountains to run up and we did a 3.5 hour run over Big Slide and Yard Mountains which finished with a cold waterslide adventure.  (Andy Newell photo)
The Craftsbury team rented houses in town that had a great sun deck for soaking in the last of the summer rays.  I stayed with my US Ski Team teammates in the Olympic Training Center.  It's dorm style living and can be a bit boring at times but its perfect for recovery between sessions with a cafeteria open for 14 hours each day, ice baths and contrast baths available, foam rollers and a PT room, and very few distractions for easy napping and resting.  
We had a few opportunities at the camp to connect with the local community.  The Adirondacks are one of my favorite areas and the perfect place to be a Nordic skier so it was fun to share the experience with some young kids in the area.  One afternoon we participated in a Fast and Female Power Hour and discussed goal setting and then did yoga with 35+ young girls.  Here are all of the F&F ambassadors at the event.  Awesome ladies to train and hang with! (Abby Weissman photo)
We did a school visit at the Lake Placid Elementary School and had fun playing games at 3rd grade gym class (Matt Young photo)
And the Lake Placid camp wouldn't be complete without the Climb to the Castle rollerski race.  It's a 5 mile race up the toll road on Whiteface Mountain which has an average grade of 8%.  It's a hard grind that finishes with screaming legs and a steep pitch through a wind tunnel.  The finish line is usually obscured in fog/mist/rain/sleet and the head wind is so strong that it's hard not to worry about being blown backward with each tiny step forward.  Major toughess points are awarded for crossing the finish line.  The best part is sipping coffee and eating cookies in the castle after the finish, knowing there are 365 days until you have to do it again!  We made it though so onward to the next challenge! (Erika Flowers photo)

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