September 15th, 2014
We are in that strange shoulder season right now when it’s not quite Fall but the lazy summer feeling isn’t there either. As a skier it feels like the Lake Placid Training camp is a big turning point when we start hitting more intensity and all of a sudden the season is right around the corner.
We finished off our LP camp strong with the epic Climb to the Castle race which is always one of he hardest workouts we do all year long. It’f funny because distance skate skiing… especially uphill skate skiing, would have to be my worse event but each year I go into the climb thinking I’ll tear it up. I do think my skate technique has improved a ton over the summer and I’m a lot fitter when it comes to skating but damn a 40 minute uphill race is still tough. I ended up hitting a pretty big wall in the last K after trying to follow Tim Burke for most of the race. It was a leg burner posting a lactic acid reading in the mid 15′s afterward.
Needless to say we were due a few easy days after we closed out training camp with a long OD rollerski on Sunday. Since Erika and I had gone on a little surf adventure before camp started we were actually looking forward to just getting back to Stratton and taking it easy which is exactly what we did, making some stops along the way for ice cream and fishing. It was a beautiful ‘almost Fall’ day.
The Batenkill is a tricky river to fish. We thought we could outsmart the fishes by trying to find a spot where not many people fish from so we did a little bushwhacking to find a secret spot.
we did see a few fish jump but it was pretty unsuccessful fishing mission. Battenkill 3 – US 0 . we’ll be back
I’ve been spending the past week really catching up on a lot of work but also trying to get outside since we’ve been having some of those epic VT days. One of the harder workouts of the week as running my usual uphill running test down in Bennington VT and it went pretty well. It’s a seriously tough run and take about 12:15 plus or minus a few seconds when I’m running fast. I’ve been doing this test for a ling time so in order to get close to a PR time I have to get pretty jacked up, get in the zone, and really put the hammer down from the start. I’m also usually doing this test by myself which makes in tough and also pretty funny for anyone who might see me spiriting as fast as I can up the Mt. Anthony access road.
Erika has been out in Montana so for the weekend I’ve been able to hang out at home in Shaftsbury which has been great. I forget how good the training is down here and some of the back roads are beautiful for running and Ive been able to head out to some of my classic NY rollerski loops. Yesterday was a big Sunday Funday we had planned with the SMS-T2 team and we started a long rollerski in Townsend VT.
the leaves are just starting to change a little bit and it was a really scenic ski over to Putney. It was really fun to ski on some roads we don’t get to train on very often and also ski past some of the little Vermont ski areas like Grafton Ponds where we used to have Bill Koch ski races as kids. Some of my most memorable BKYSL races were always at the Putney School which is where we finished our 3 hour ski and right where coach Pat’s house it.
It really was a perfect sunday funday and we got to enjoy an amazing meal outside in the sun what included BBQ ribs and fresh corn. gotta love it
August 27th, 2014
Since this past week was a lighter one with training we spent some time doing some easy workouts around Stratton and getting organized for Lake Placid camp. After doing some L3 intervals on Saturday we had a good change to take a few days away from serious training so Erika and I headed out to the coast.
Our first stop was North Beach near Hampton. Once you get north of the craziness of Hampton beach I really like the NH coast both because it’s beautiful when the weather is great and also because it’s pretty laid back. Not too uppity… whatever that means. I’ve been taking little surf trips to Cinnamon Rainbows since I was in junior high and I have a love-hate relationship with the ‘wall,’ the local surf spot. You can’t see the waves from the road because of the concrete wall so there’s always a lot of anticipation as you get out of your car and check the surf. Reports are always off and I’ve been skunked many times.
This weekend was calling for small surf so expectations were low, but Erika and I had a few really fun sessions at the wall.
Looking over the wall at some surfers paddling into some glassy goodness. Shoulder high and shredable
Most of the surf boards I’ve owned over the years have been built for bigger waves, which is great for trips to Costa Rica but not necessarily the summer swells of the Atlantic. I was sold when I came across this 6’0 epoxy egg at the shop. It has an old school shape and a lot of paddle speed for the smaller summer days.
It’s kind of like a super short long board that turns really well and was a lot of fun to surf. We picked up a traditional long board for Erika from the shop and our surf vacation was on. We had a really fun session at the wall on Saturday evening and surfed until it was dark. Erika has been on a few surf trips with me, which can be tough when the conditions are too big to learn. This weekend though, it seemed like everything came together for her and she started surfing all kinds of waves and even dropping into some head high sets!
We spent the next day hanging out around the Portland area. The weather was awesome so even though the waves had died down a bit on Sunday, we still had some beach time to hang out in the sun.
Walking around Portland was pretty cool. One of the great things about living in New England is that within a short drive you can be right at the coast, something I think we don’t appreciate as much as we should. We met up with Annie and walked around town and checked out the docks.
Even though the waves were small, I still almost always want to get into the water and surf. We had gone to Higgins beach in the morning where the waves were glassy but tiny so we got to get some sun time in and take turns riding the 9 footer on little long board waves, trying to nose ride and surf with some old school style.
It’s hard to go to the Portland area and not do touristy stuff so we checked out the lighthouses and went to the legendary Lobster Shack for dinner on Sunday. There was about a 40 minute line to place an order but it’s one of those places where the food comes out really quickly and you can even go enjoy it on the rocks down by the water. It was definitely worth the wait and after a lobster roll I was ready to get back in the water for an evening 1 foot surf sesh.
Lobster shack classic
On Monday we had a long drive to make from the coast back up to Lake Placid for the start of camp, but not until we got a few more waves in. We woke up early and drove down to the ‘Wall’ again for some of the most fun surfing I’ve had all summer. Waves were 3-4 feet, shoulder high and totally glassy. Erika was holding her own among the crowded break and getting some great waves. The drive to LP was long but the weather was perfect and it was definitely worth it for the fun surf we had scored in the morning. For the next two weeks we will be having our typical training camp here at the OTC in Placid. Lots of intervals and time trials on the schedule so it should be exciting as always. I’m looking forward to a lot of tough workouts and hitting up all the local swimming holes.
August 16th, 2014
It’s been the week of camps! technicially the week of 3 camps since the Canadians are still in town training and the SMS BKL and junior camps have been going on at the Stratton campus.
I wasn’t even able to get a post in last week because things were so busy so there is a lot to catch up on. For me the last two weeks have been planned as a big volume block… one of the last big volume blocks of the summer before adding in a bunch of intensity as we get closer to the fall. Last week was a 24 hour week and this week was even bigger so it was awesome to have the Canadians and their coach Tor Arne Hetland here at Stratton to add a new level of intensity.
I spent the beginning of last week showing the crew around the southern Vermont area and leading them on some fun rollerski sessions and runs in the green mountains. We were really stoked to hear that the Canadians were having a camp here in the Stratton area so I tried to give them a tour of all the great training spots.
We have been putting in a bunch of longer workouts in the 3 hour range. Having Tor Arne around has been great so that he can drive the vans and support some fun point to point workouts. Here we are running toward Little Rock Pond after skiing for 2 hours from Manchester. We are pretty good buddies with the Canadian dude and have been traveling around the world with them for years so it’s great to catch up and talk to one another… or yell if you are Harvey on a long run.
Kris Freeman came over from NH for some training and the younger T2 dudes have been joining us for a buch of workouts so it makes the 3 hour rolls a lot more exciting. Tor Arne coaches the crew in this photo as Alex Harvey and I lead the crew up the big hills next to SMS campus. It’s alway fun to have a big group for distance skis and its cool to try to learn from great skiers like Alex, Devon, Babs, and Lenny.
As we jumped into our second week of training the weather turned just in time for one of the hardest workouts of the week. 6×5 minutes level 4 striding in the pouring rain is one of my favorite workouts. It makes it a little more exciting I think to do intervals out in the elements every once and a while. By the last interval we were pretty much hammering all out and feeling a serious burn.
This week was also the start of the annual SMS summer camps that Sverre runs here every year. These camps are pretty special to me because they were one of the biggest reasons I stated training for skiing in the summer when I was a kid. I would come up from Bennington to the BKL and the Junior camps to learn about what xc skiers did for training in the summer. The camps were also a big reason why I ended up going to SMS for high school… so I think it’s a great opportunity for kids to attend them.
BKYSL campers are the younger kids. this year we had about 50 campers! (Lilly Photo SMS blog)
During the past week we have had plenty of time to interact with the kids. We try to eat meals with them in the cafeteria and talk about skiing whenever we can. One big draw of the camp is that we also get to ski a few workouts with the campers which is pretty unique. This is probably the only camp in the country where young skiers can join more than 5 Olympians for a rollerski technique session.
Pat and I work on skate technique with the ‘older” BKL boys. We worked on everything from V2, to V1, to skiing with frisbees.
(Lilly Photo SMS blog)
Annie Hart works on cornering with some girl campers. (Lilly Photo SMS blog)
For each group we like to hold a Q and A and it’s always interesting to see what the kids ask. This year for the junior camp we even got Tor Arne and the Canadians to come in and answer some questions from the campers, it was pretty rad.
Tomorrow will be my last day of big training as I wrap up this two week blog of volume. We are planning a sweet point to point run with the crew. After intervals this morning and about 26 hours stacked up for the week I’m starting to get a little tired and looking forward to an off day. for Daily updates from the Camps, lots of photos, and to keep up with what the SMS club is up to check out their blog http://smsxc.blogspot.com
August 4th, 2014
hot damn… it’s already August! since returning from Alaska camp I’ve been here in Vermont for the past week enjoying a little VT summer vacation. The past two weeks of training camp in AK had a lot of high quality training so this was a great change to kick back and take an easy week. A lot of my teammates on the SMS-t2 team headed home but Erika and I hung out here at Stratton and had a kick ass stay-cation (i think thats what you call it) and got to enjoy some great VT summer activity.
Evening Swimming at North Beach in Burlington
One of the things I was have been really looking forward to the last month was seeing Old Crow Medicine Show at their concert in Shelburne VT. They have a new album out that we’ve been listening to a lot and it’s not too often we get good bands that just want to play in a little Vermont field… Shelburne Farms is a pretty laid back but beautiful venue. So we drove up to burlington for the day going for a run by the water in the afternoon and eating at the dockside restaurants on Lake Champlain.
Old Crow sounded really amazing… I think their stage presence and sound quality has come a long way in the last few years. It’s cool to see a band with blue grass roots still able to rock a venue.
Old Crow playing at Shelburne Farms
The next morning we headed town to Thompson Point to visit with the Ogdens and Hodges at their family lake house. Since I live so far south I don’t get to spend too much time around Lake Champlain but being by the water for a few days makes you appreciate how big the lake is and how awesome it is to have that during the summer.
With a few days of vacationing it was time to get back into hard training a little bit on Saturday with an uphill running TT. It had been while since I’d done my running time trial up Mt. Anthony in Bennington and I was a little worried about running it the week after returning from the Big AK training camp but it turned out to be a great run. Sometimes the legs can be a little heavy after a week of only skiing. but I was just 1 second behind my all time PR set two falls ago and faster than any time I ran it last summer, so I was stoked. Erika and my buddy DJ came out to run up the mountain with me so it helped to have them there to help me start hard and push even harder into the finish.
We had amazing warm sunny weather for the entire weekend which made it possible to finish off vacation week with style. I got the new and improved Triumph out for a bunch of rides, did a little fishing, and got to hang out in Weston with buddies. Although ‘hanging’ out in Weston usual turns unto ‘working’ in weston it was still a good time.
Spending time helping insulate Ryans house… foam is up on the outside
Last year I picked up a vintage Arthur Fulmer helmet on Ebay and haven’t used it at all until now. It’s extremely old school looking and extremely sparkly… but I guess thats how they used to roll back in the 70′s drag racing scene.
Starting tomorrow I will begin another two big weeks of training here at Stratton. Fortunately the Canadian men are coming to town which should make things exciting and help push me through the next big block of training. I’m looking forward to catching up with those guys and their new coach, Tor Arne Hetland who was always a idol of mine and a cool person to race against back in the day!
July 17th, 2014
For the past 4 days the USST has been training along side the APU team here in Anchorage. This is the beginning of a 2 week camp in which the second half will be spent skiing on snow up on the Eagle Glacier. I haven’t been in Alaska in the summer since 2001 when I did my first US Ski team camp as a 17 year old…. so it’s been while. Although traveling out here is a bit of a process from Vermont, the training is pretty rad and the long cool days provide a perfect climate to escape the New England heat and get in some harder training.
The next two weeks will have a pretty high volume of hours but also we will try to hammer on one another a bit doing hard intervals and some speed workouts. the big pack roller skiing of some of our distance workouts is also a good change of pace. literally…the pace tends to be a little high when you put 15 -20 fast dudes in a group and tell them to ski distance for 2.5 hours.
So far we have had two really cool distance skis. one from just outside of town in Anchorage where we skied through a log of different developments finishing with a great view of the city. And another with even more vertical yesterday when we skied up Hatcher Pass. Although it was a little cold and cloudy it was still a pretty scenic training session, as you came around the corner to the top of hatcher pass it definitely looks like you’re somewhere in Europe or something winding up into the big mountains. A little bit of a change from our typical VT skies.
Ben and I climbing up
At the top!
Erik B trains out of Anchorage for most of the summer to he’s been stoked having both of his teams in town working together. here he is at the top of Hatcher pass.
We have a few more rollerski workouts planned over the next 2 days including some L3 skating intervals tomorrow at Kinkaid park and hopefully a ling OD on sunday before we wrap up the dry land portion of our camp and swap with the girls who are up on Eagle Glacier right now. I’m looking forward to getting back up to the glacier having not been back in 13 years. the views up there are amazing and flying in on the helicopter is always a fun opportunity. hopefully weather cooperates.
All in all life has been pretty good up here in AK… as long as you are aren’t a picky sleeper.
closing my shades at 10pm to get ready for bed and the sun is still shining!
July 12th, 2014
Big news coming out of southern Vermont here…. I’m officially a fisherman. After going fly fishing for the first time last year and being skunked each time I finally caught my first fish the other day. I have to admit I’ve realistically only gone a few times but it was starting to be an ongoing joke between Erika and I that I could never catch one, but the loosing streak is finally over.
It’s not the most spectacular looking fish but it was still a solid catch, haha … reeled in with my own tied flies! I think they’re only getting bigger from here on out.
The second week of this ‘big month’ has been had a great mix of everything here in VT. This week of training was slightly smaller than last but still packed with some quality workouts including some of the first L4 rollerskiing intervals of the summer. This is the time of year when we start to add in a little harder faster ski specific workouts so on Tuesday I started out the week with a 5×4 minutes sprint specific workout. it was a lung burner but it felt good to go fast.
Since this big week is still supposed to have a lot of volume we’ve been putting in the long workouts too. These are the weeks when you can be doing a bit of thunder storm dodging but when it’s clear it’s absolutely beautiful training around here at Stratton
A few of our staple workouts like bounding up Stratton and a lot of our OD’s end at the top of the mountain so when the gondola is running it’s a good way to save the legs from getting completely blown out.
With the kick ass wether going on I was really stoked to finally get my Triumph back from the shop. I dropped it off to my mechanic last year and it sat there all winter. There weren’t any serious modifications to be done but with such busy schedules I wasn’t able to get it until just a few days ago. It was awesome to get back out on the bonneville and I’m really looking forward to riding it a lot once we’re back from Alaska. With new tires and a fresh tune up it really fires off the line now putting those drag bars to good use.
we finished off the week today with some double pole intervals and strength . despite a few hard workouts all in all its been a more relaxed week as we get ready to head to a big two week training camp in Anchorage and up on Eagle glacier. It will be pretty easy to get the massive hours needed for this ‘big month’ with the next two weeks in training camp with the USST. I haven’t been up on the glacier since my first ever training camp with the US Team back in 2002, so it will be cool to get back to Alaska in the summer time and get some hard training in.
Pat talks DP technique with the girls
July 5th, 2014
This is a great time of year to be in VT and as always the week of the 4th is one of the biggest training weeks of the year, actually July is one of the biggest months of training for me hopefully logging around 85 hours for the month. So before I jumped into this missive month it was time to relax a bit and head out to Bozeman with Erika for a wedding. This was my first time in Bozeman during the summer months and it was awesome! great training in the mountains and beautiful wide open spaces that are so different that what Im used to here in VT I felt like a tourist most of the time snapping all kinds of photos. There were big thunderstorm rolling through each day but it kept the days cool and the scenery super green so I wasn’t complaining.
there was sill snow in the mountains especially on some of the big peaks. Anya, Howie, Erika and I did a run/hike up a 10,000+ foot peek which was a cool adventure for a sea level guy like myself.
The sun came out and it got really beautiful out for the ‘slide’ down. instead of following the trail we hit the snow and did some high speed glissading, it was a lot faster and a whole lot more fun and a bit of an off piste adventure.
The weather ended up being perfect for Saturdays wedding and it was a great time and a cool chance to meet a lot of Erika’s family and have a good ol party. The Little Smokies are a local blue grass band that played during the ceremony and reception which was rad. always but to stomp it out on the dance floor to some Montana blue grass.
It was hard to leave this scenery but on Monday I had to fly back to Albany and get ready for the ‘big’ month of training. For the last 5 days it’s been brutally hot here in VT with the usual sweat fest humid workouts we tend to get here in July and August. My flights ended up being delayed heading home so to make up hours I’ve been putting in 4-5 hour days for the remainder of the week but everything has been going well. For our saturday workout today we had a massive group bounding up stratton for L3 intervals and roller skiing this aft.
Ben and our new training partner ‘the Torch’ sweat it out during an uphill running test.
June 24th, 2014
I started off the week with a visit to a local elementary school in Bennington to celebrate their ‘get moving’ week. I usually do several school visits in the Fall to get kids fired up about xc skiing but hadn’t made it to Monument Elementary yet so I stopped in and talked with the kids and ran them through some exercises. they were an energetic group of kids who were stoked to get outside and let loose. I have a feeling since it was the last week of school these guys were itching for summer vacation…. hopefully after our talk they will be thinking about staying even more active throughout vacation.
it was beautiful outside and not a bid way to spend an off afternoon.
This weeks training schedule was another big volume week that started off less than ideal. After some great bounding intervals up Stratton we had an agility and strength session planned for the afternoon. One of our goals of he SMS T2 team is summer is to train as much as possible with the club and development kids and one of the ways we are doing this is through agility training on and off the skis.
Jessie runs through some mobility drills with some of the SMS club kids on campus.
unfortunately even after a good warm up I ended up throwing out my back in the gym doing power cleans. I wasn’t even lifting partially heavy but I think my legs were just a little tired from bounding intervals in the morning which resulted in a bad strength session with a blown back.
so for the remainder of the week I’ve been trying to still get in the big hours but without hurting my back any further. right now running is by far the most painful but I can still rollerski and bike pretty well. 2 times this week I swam in the Stratton snowmaking pond for an afternoon workout.
For the remainder of the week the team had some great group workouts including some L3 skate intervals and distance roller skiing. I finished off the week with a 4 hour classic/ skate ski combo workout down in Manchester on some sweet roads that we don’t get to ski too often. It was a bummer to miss out on the run/swim portion of the workout with the rest of the team but one of the sacrifices of being injured. Erika and I finished off the sunday fun day by tubing and swimming (and walking down the river since there wasn’t very much water flowing) which is always a super fun VT activity.
I drove by the Annies the other day when they were roller skiing and I was able to snap this picture from the car as I drove by. odd bunch
anyway… with the back still busted up i should have taken my monday off day to heart and really laid low but instead I finished up the last of my big renovations at the cabin including finishing off some exterior painting, staining some furniture, assembling some epic rocking chairs that my USST teammates got for me, and a lot of other odd jobs. by the end of the day the cabin was ready for relaxation/ party season…. whatever the weekends bring.