Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hot laps on Frozen Thunder

Around and around and around the 2km loop of "Frozen Thunder," a track of white at the Canmore Nordic Center, in Canmore Alberta.  We skied lap after lap of the trail but I stayed psyched and enjoyed almost every lap, consumed with the novelty of being on skis again.  The snow had been saved from last winter, buried in a huge ditch and covered with wood chips during the warmer summer months.  In mid-October it is laid out around the loop providing some of the earliest skiing in North America.  The loop took anywhere 5-12 minutes depending on the snow conditions and intensity of skiing and we skied for three to four hours every day.  This may sound boring but when you finally get to put away the rollerskis, you're surrounded by beautiful mountains, and have nine straight days of sunny and warm bluebird skies, any complaints are few and far between.  The transition to snow is always a fun time and I always find lots to think about as I try to remember how to glide the long boards across the snow.  Even with  a couple weeks of on snow training intermixed thoughout the summer, I usually feel like Bambi on ice for the first day or two before I get my ski legs underneath me and feel my technique come together.  The familiarity comes back quickly and this time of the year always reminds me how much I love to ski.  Rollerskiing might be similar in movements but it doesn't come close to comparing with the speed, glide, variability, challenge and fun of actual snow skiing.  The Bow Valley and town of Canmore in the Canadian Rockies is also beautiful spot and an awesome location for a training camp.  After a busy time in Park City filled with meetings, testing, and other events, it was nice to "relax" during this camp.  When we weren't training we could usually be found walking to Beamers coffee shop for fast internet and hearty muffins, hanging out at chez Chandra Crawford drinking tea and practicing yoga, or enjoying the classy and cozy digs at the Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge.

Here I am skiing behind my teammate Noah Hoffman.  Frozen Thunder was just a strip of white trail but great ski conditions. (USSA Nordic photo)
Sun and smiles every single day of camp!  The clouds didn't surface until the last morning when we woke to rain and snow at 4am for our drive to the airport. (Noah Hoffman photo)

Canmore has a wonderful and welcoming ski community.  As soon as we arrived in town, Chandra had the entire team over for dinner and cooked a delicious meal that ended with pancakes and maple syrup.  Yum!

Towards the end of the camp we competed in the Frozen Thunder Classic Sprint and it was lots of fun to put on a bib and go hard!  It's a great opportunity to do a low key race and get some of the kinks and nerves out of the way before going to Europe and the big show.   (Noah Hoffman photo)
The day after the sprint we had a 10km TT on Frozen Thunder for a chance to also ski a distance race on the snow.  By the end of those back to back workouts, my hip flexors were screaming with pain, another reminder of the transition back to snow.  But I was happy with the efforts and it left me very fired up for the actual start of the race season. (Fasterskier photo)

The last day of camp we had an overdistance workout on the schedule.  We started with a couple hours of skating on the snow and then Chandra, Jessie, and I switched to rollerskis and double poled on the bike path to the town of Banff for lunch. Here are Jessie and I with Cascade mountain looming large in the background.  (Chandra Crawford photo)

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