Training camp often implies a certain factor of monotony. Long hours of training are followed by napping, resting, and preparing for more training. Distractions are limited to enhance recovery. Tired bodies lead to tired minds which often don’t correlate with much intellectual involvement. This past week in Ramsau, Austria with my Craftsbury Green Racing Project teammates has seemed much more like a very athletic vacation than a training camp. Each day provides new excitement and adventure. Not once has training felt like a job but instead with each session I feel incredibly lucky to be active and outside in such a beautiful location.
|The view from behind our house. The farmer who is renting to us even brings us pitchers of fresh milk from the cows grazing outside.|
Our days usually begin around 6:15 or 6:30am with a groggy breakfast. The first few mornings were extra challenging to wake up but we stumbled into the kitchen fighting the jet lag and the time change and hungrily devoured big bowls of fruit, yogurt, and muesli with hot mugs of coffee. We were ready to start the day. Our commute involves driving 10km from our house in town to the tram station, switchbacking through green fields along the base of the mountain. Town is situated at around 1,100 meters (3,700ft) and the tram station is about 500 meters higher. The real elevation gain happens when we get into the tram and climb straight up along the cliffs to the upper station situated at 2800meters.
|I have been impressed with the vibrant green of the pastures but we have had a fair share of rainy weather to nourish the grass.|
|The tram ascends directly to the top of the peak without any poles. The first morning I couldn't tell if my racing heart during the tram ride was from the elevation or my excitement to ski.|
|Switchbacks across the glacier|
|Skiing! (GRP Facebook Page photo)|
|Skiing with the other Ida (Ida Ingemarsdotter from Sweden) during a foggy whiteout powder day (Pepa photo)|
After a couple hours of skiing, we take the tram off the mountain and drive home for lunch and recovery. We are renting a big house in town with wonderful views and only a short walk into the center of town. I usually try to get off my feet for a little while after lunch but I’m horrible at napping so I have usually spent my afternoon getting sun on the deck off my bedroom or curling up with a book near the fire on the rainier days.
|The view from the deck|
Our afternoon session is dryland training and usually involves a hike or run in the mountains. The trail system here is endless and all very well marked which makes it easy to explore. Some trails climb high into the mountains while others meander through the pastures and even driveways and backyards. We haven’t seen any private property signs here and instead everyone is out sharing the land and getting their exercise. We have had a lot of cloudy and rainy weather this past week so we’ve missed many of the beautiful views in the valley but the forecast for the upcoming week looks very promising for some sunny days of training.
|A misty OD hike|
|Climbing over a pass|
|Descending out of the fog|
|Skiwalking above town with Caitlin (Andrew Dougherty photo)|
We are taking turns cooking dinners for the team and have been surprising even ourselves with the incredible amounts of food that we consume with every meal. At first we shopping at the local market but since it sold only small European sized portions, we branched out and found a bulk grocery store for the rest of our shopping. Containers are measured in kilograms and we still have to shop every few days. Yogurt is of course the training fuel of choice and we easily polished off a 10kg bucket of it in less than two days!
|Ethan sized pan of mac and cheese|
And if the daily training days haven’t been exciting enough, we have turned into tourists on our recovery days, visiting the nearby town of Schladming on our afternoon off and the city of Salzburg on our "off" day.
|Exploring Schladming on a rainy afternoon. The last time I had been in town was for an Alpine World Cup night slalom so it was a little quieter in town this time.|
|Fresh pretzels are my favorite Austrian treat. The markets in Salzburg sold so many different flavors of sweet and salty pretzels!|
Life is good and I’m feeling very grateful to have the opportunity to train in such a beautiful place. I have my fingers crossed and my sunscreen and shades ready for some sunny weather for the next week of camp.