September 25th, 2013
Training has continued to go very well on the Stelvio glacier. The MWSC, Noah, and I are staying at the Livrio Hotel at the foot of the glacier which allows us to ski out the door each day. Though isolated it is easy to take the tram down to our van and drive down to lower altitudes and civilization. Here are some pictures of me running through Bormio.
The food is better than one would expect at 10,000 feet but only three meals a day is a little light for xc skiers putting in up to five hours of training a day. Will Sweetser has been making frequent trips to the grocery store so that we can have five meals. I’m pretty sure that Noah has been eating about half of the food that Will buys for the six athletes he is supporting. I witnessed him eating an entire bucket of jam with wassa crackers two days ago. His appetite is staggering. Speaking of Noah, his documentation of our trip puts mine to shame and you should check his blog out at www.noahhoffman.com
The weather and snow conditions have been fantastic and very “un-glacier” like. Hard tracks makes for fast skiing and the bright sun has necessitated some serious sunscreen. I have taken to putting on copious amounts of zinc based protection twice a day.
To get up to the training loop we have to ski up a “gradual” alpine hill for 15 minutes. It is quite the “warm-up”
Overall I have been very happy with how the camp has gone. We have the most comfortable lodging I have ever had on a glacier (the coffee bar is key.) The snow conditions have been fantastic and Will has done a great job of ski prep so that we can focus on recovery in between sessions. I have been adapting well to the relatively extreme altitude. My oxygen saturation numbers have increased from 92% to 95% over the last week and my heart rates return to normal with planned rest. I have four more days of volume training here before I fly home and and begin sharpening for the start of the season with a return to an intensity focus.
On November 5th I travel to Muonio Finland to start the competitive season. Its always freezing there so I am excited to try out Oakley’s Pro Rider clothing. Last year it was a long walk to the dining hall in nothing but a thin puffy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5Ep1x2y-JQNo comments
September 18th, 2013
I am currently training on a glacier in Stelvio Italy. The training loop is about 5k long with the high point at an elevation of 10,900 feet. The air is thin up here but the skiing has been good so far. I was on multigrade hardwax for both of my classic sessions and my skate skis were gliding fast on the Fischer P1-1 grind. The visibility has been hit or miss but the sky is supposed to clear soon.
I have never trained this high for an extended period and I was curious about how the high altitude would affect my insulin sensitivity. My altitude experience has been limited to traveling from sea level to as high as 7000 feet. When I have transitioned to these altitudes in the past I have always had to up my insulin doses by at least 20%. I speculate that my body treats the change as a minor stress/annoyance and reacts by upping my cortisol production. Cortisol is a stress hormone that desensitizes the body to insulin. By going up to 11,000 feet I thought that I might have to up my insulin use by as much as 50%. However I have had to make virtually no adjustment to the doses I was using before my ascent. I can only guess at the reason, but I surmise that my body is working so hard to regulate itself up here that it is treating the extreme altitude as a training response. The more I train the more sensitive I become to insulin and therefore the less I need to inject. Yesterday I ran a basal insulin of .7 units per hour and used a total of just over 25 units.
I took the opportunity to get in a unique workout on the way up to the Stelvio glacier. Here is a picture Hoff took of me roller-skiing up the pass.
Since my last post about the Ride Aroostook fundraiser I continued to train big volume for an additional two weeks. Over the fourteen days I had four notable over-distance workouts including a 100k double pole, a 104k skate, and two five hour and fifteen minute runs on the Franconia Falls/Ridge loop. I ran it once in each direction. This is my favorite running loop and starts at the Franconia Falls parking lot off of the Kancamagus highway in NH. From there I run the Franconia Falls trail for 11 miles where it connects to the Franconia Ridge trail that I follow over Mt Garfield, Mt Lafayette, Mt Lincoln, Mt Haytack, Mt Liberty, and Mt Flume. From the last peak, I descend back to Franconia Falls trail and parking lot.
After I finished the month long volume block which came in at just under 100 hours, I switched focus to intensity for a few weeks. My energy came up rapidly and I had some great sessions. There have been many good indicators of fitness including my pulsox reading. The picture below was taken while I was lying in bed. The top number indicates that my oxygen saturation is at 97% and my heart rate was at 30 bpm.
During all the training I still found some time to have some fun with Amber. On one of my off days we headed to the state fair where we bought unlimited ride passes. I had a much higher tolerance for thrill rides when I was a kid. Here are some before and after pictures.No comments
August 11th, 2013
This Weekend I drove back up to Presque Isle Maine to take part in the Ride Aroostook bike tour which benefits the children’s diabetes program “Camp Adventure.” I have worked with this camp on two occasions, going for a downriver canoe and participating in a run and shoot biathlon relay race. I was impressed with the organization and ambition of the camp.
Ride Aroostook is a two day bike tour that is advertised as being 150 miles total (by my measurement it was 62 miles the first day and 70 the second). I decided that it would be fitting for me as an Olympic skier and type 1 diabetic to roller-ski the event in order to drum up more donations and draw more attention to Camp Adventure.
I skated the first day and really enjoyed the well marked course that hugged river beds and meandered through rolling potato fields. The weather was nearly perfect at 68 degrees and blue sky. However a strong wind made some of the open sections a little slower than I would have preferred. There were three aid stations spread out evenly which meant I could ski with just a water-bottle belt and restock at each stop. Using Swenor skate skis with “2″ wheels it took me five hours and four minutes to complete the 62 miles. That evening the event organizers provided an Italian buffet for the riders. I was the keynote speaker and gave a short speech at the dinner.
Day two saw even better weather. A full sun and 70 degrees was complimented by a light breeze. The course consisted of two loops. The first was 33 miles long and the second was 37 around. I double poled the first loop on Swenor classic skis with “3″ wheels in 2:45 and realized that I would be out for six hours if I completed the whole course on my slow skis. So I switched to my Swenor “2′s” and continued onto the last loop which I double poled in 2:50 for a total time of 5:36.
Thanks to some generous donations I was able to raise nearly $1800 and I got two well supported over distance workouts in the process. I would say I had a successful weekend. Now I am going to take a nap.No comments
August 3rd, 2013
I raced the Top Notch Triathlon in Franconia NH this morning. The unique race starts with a six mile uphill Mt Bike. This is followed with a half mile swim across Echo lake to the base of Cannon Mt. The last leg is a run/scramble up the alpine trails to the summit.
I set the course record for this race with a 1:06:05 in 2006. That year the course was dry as a bone and the Mt bike was ripping fast. This summer has seen more rainfall than I can ever remember in New England. For good measure there was a long thunder shower last night that completely saturated the trail. Setting a new record in the muddy conditions was going to be a tall order.
Fortunately another very talented competitor, Ryan Kelly, raced today and we pushed each other hard. Ryan is a more practiced and technically better rider than me. I was killing myself to stay with Ryan’s strong accelerations and smooth lines on the more technical sections of trail. I looked forward to the hard sustained climbs where technical proficiency wasn’t as important as overall engine size.
I made one stupid mistake that resulted in a crash. When I previewed the course I noted that the two most technical sections were in rapid succession and that my preferred line went from left to right. What I failed to take into account was that there was a wooden bridge in between the two lines where I needed to cross the trail. Wet wood and rubber is not a good combo. I came down on my hip hard, lost about 20 seconds to Ryan and had to cash some chips to catch back up. On a 1-10 stupidity scale I give myself a 5 on this one.
Ryan and I went through the swim exchange at exactly the same time and I followed his slip stream all the way across the lake. I have been swimming a lot this summer to gain shoulder flexibility but I have not received any formal technical instruction since I was 12 years old. Amy Caldwell offered to coach me a bit this summer but it never happened. I was able to stop choking on water cease thrashing about half way through the water, when I started timing my stroke with a mental chant “should have” (left arm) “learned to swim” (right arm). Anyway, with the advantage of the slipstream I came out of the water only five seconds down.
Then I made my second mistake. I have done this race multiple times and always set up my running exchange 100 meters further up the mountain than anyone else. This year a dozen people had placed their things near mine and I got confused and ran right by my shoes before having to turn around. Ryan ended up with a 20 second lead. I have to give myself a 10 out of 10 on the stupid index here.
Every time I have raced the Top Notch I have had the fastest run time so I was confident that I could still make up the gap and win. Ryan was hauling ass though and I had to dig to catch him by the halfway point of the mountain. We climbed together until what I figured was about two minutes to the top. Then I made my move. Hiking on ridiculously steep grass and mud we had a ski walking battle. My advantage here is obvious and I was able to put 16 seconds on him by the finish.
The back and forth in the race resulted in a couple of fast times. Despite the sloppy conditions I posted a new course record of 1:05:30 and Ryan bested my old record finishing in 1:05:46. He gave me a great race.
On the diabetes side of things, racing a point to point triathlon without a support crew is not ideal. It is an especially big pain when there is no clothing transport from start to finish. I had to pack two med kits with extra OmniPod insulin pumps, glucose monitors, and Humalog insulin. The OmniPod is programmed by a separate remote that is not waterproof and bigger than I would want to carry in a race. Each Pod is synced to one remote at a time in order to avoid cross talk between OmniPod users. I needed to have my remote at the start of the race in order to make last minute adjustments to my programming. So I left a second remote as well as new insulin pods and a glucose monitor as close to the finish line as I could. This way I could attach a new pump synced to the second remote after the race. The closest I could get this med bag to the finish was the base of Cannon Mt. So I had to finish the race and jump on the Tram to the bottom of the Mt as quickly as I could. It took twenty-two minutes to get from the finish to the bag.
I have been running a very basic basal insulin rate of .5 units per hour 24/7 due to my high training load. For the race I turned my basal up to .7 two hours prior to race start. The extra insulin is to keep my glucose from rising too high from anaerobic effort. Five minutes before the start my glucose was 163 and according to my Dexcom continuous glucose monitor, rising slightly. I took a micro-bolus of .15 units to curb the rise and started.
When I arrived at my bag one hour and twenty-seven minutes later, my glucose was 127 which indicated very good glucose control on the day. I did not need to make any adjustments so I left the Pod I was wearing on. Next I walked around the lake that I had swum across earlier, found my bike in the exchange rack, and had a great time ripping down the soaked trail I just raced up. Once back at my car, I grabbed my synched remote, made some small adjustments and headed out for another forty minutes of wet trail riding.No comments
July 18th, 2013
In late June I wrapped up my first training camp in Maine with a 5k running race. I broke 16:00 for the first time since the year 2004 with a 15:53. Not blazing fast but still a good indication that things are going well.
Since then my summer has gotten very busy. Over the past eight years I have been visiting summer camps for kids with diabetes all around the country. I share the story of my diagnosis and career with them in the hopes that they will not let the disease deter them from their dreams and goals in life. I find the advocacy work very rewarding so I planned to visit 10 camps over course of five weeks. I planned the disruption into my training in the Spring so I have only scheduled 75 training hours for July.
I am not allowed to post pictures of the campers so the two pictures below are of me at Camp Jack in Road Island and playing dodgeball in New Mexico.
It has been very hot and humid in New Hampshire but I love training here. The beauty of the landscape here never gets old. My last three days of training have been as follows.
2 hour run/2 hour double pole
1.5 hour no pole skate/2.5 run on Welch and Dickey Mountains
6 hour road bike for 120 miles
The over distance road bike will be my second to last ride of this length. I am transitioning to more specific training. Below is a picture of Wyatt taking advantage of a stream on the Welch and Dickey trail.No comments
June 21st, 2013
My first camp of the year in Maine is nearly over. It has been very well supported and I have gotten some good quality sessions in. I did some L3 kayak intervals with Will Sweetser on the Aroostook river.
I also did a 100 mile road bike zig zagging my way from Presque Isle to Fort Kent. It was really nice to have a support van for the entire ride. This morning I went for a two hour double pole with Welly, Sam Tarling, and two junior team members.
I will take advantage of the pool at the University of Maine Presque Isle and put in some laps for today’s second session.No comments
June 14th, 2013
Training in New Hampshire has gone very well so far this Spring. I have hit all of my goals for the first six weeks of training. Admittedly training goals are the easiest to hit at this time of year but none the less. Sunday I head up to Presque Isle for my first training camp away from my condo in NH. It will mark a change in focus towards more specificity.
I will be thirty-three years old in October, but my body still responds very fast to training and I have been recovering quickly from a fairly high load. I have been looking over my last several years of racing and my last two seasons have been subpar. However in 2011/2012 I scored the most world cup points of my career. Being only two years removed from what could arguably be called my best season, I believe that my best races are ahead of me and I plan to race at least through the 2015 WC in Falun Sweden. I have great support from my industry sponsors (Fischer, Swix, Alpina) and I still love ski racing.
I have been asked several times what my insulin dosing was for the 50k in Tahoe this Spring. For most races I run the same amount of insulin from the start to finish of a race but the 50k is a different beast. Because of the long duration of the event I completely deplete my glycogen stores. Thus I need less insulin in my blood as the race progresses. I started the race with a high (for me) basal rate 0f 0.8 units per hour in order to keep my topped off glycogen stores from raising my blood sugar. For the second hour of the race I had my OmniPod insulin pump programmed to lower my basal rate to 0.6 units. At two hours my Pod lowered the basal rate once more to 0.4 units which is the dose I finished on. Throughout the race I took 13 planned four ounce feeds. I started the race with a blood-sugar of 170 and finished at 140.No comments
May 12th, 2013
I started training again on May 1st. I have started conservatively with 20 non-specific hours the first week. If you follow me on twitter you would have seen a few of the activities that I have been doing. If you want to follow me on twitter I am @TeamFreebirdXC
Here are some pictures
XC skiing does not help maintain leg speed. Justin enjoyed hurting me during some speed work last week.
This a picture of Amber and I skinning on Mt Sunapee
I was able to skin at Waterville Valley till May 1st. Here is a picture of me holding my Fischer Watea Tele skis. Fischer, Alpina, and Swix have all pledged their continued support for me through next season. I have great sponsors.
I was skiing on the 1st and swimming on the 3rd. I don’t know why but every year that I have swum at least two hours a week in the off season I have skied fast. Its anecdotal but good enough for me.
I raced and won the Mad Triathlon in SugarBush Vermont yesterday which includes a six mile downriver kayak. The “Triathlon” actually has four events. It starts with a 7.2 mile downhill run followed by the kayak, a ten mile road bike hill climb and finishes with a 5k trail run. It is a cool event that used to be know as the SugarBush Triathlon. They renamed it two years ago when they lengthened the initial run and swapped out their traditional 5k ski for a 5k trail run. I have wanted to compete in the race for about 15 years but it had not fit in my schedule till this year.1 comment
April 15th, 2013
Today I went for my first ski since I got home from Tahoe. I skinned up the alpine slope in ideal corn snow with perfect sunny skies overhead. I felt lousy though. I have barely slept the last few days as I have been trying to reconcile with a new situation. I will no longer be a member of the US Ski Team. I was told that even though I am extremely likely to be representing the US at the Olympics in February, I was not nominated for NGB support because there was little probability of my medaling next year. Despite this assumption the Maine Winter Sports Center and my longtime coach still believe in my potential. We will continue to prepare for Sochi on our own.4 comments
February 8th, 2013
My time at home was very productive and I am feeling like myself again. I traveled to Davos Switzerland last night and just got back from an easy classic ski in fresh powder. I have eight days to prepare for the 15k freestyle world cup being held here. Five days later I will compete in the 30k at the World Championships
I had good sensations competing in the Craftsbury Marathon last Saturday. This picture was taken a few hundred meters from the finish
My Dad won the M7 age division and the unofficial beardcicle contest.No comments