Total 3 - CNd2HC2
Wild Rumpus Sports
 

Sweden

The team and I had an easy travel from Mounio to Sweden. Since then I have been skiing twice a day on the world cup courses. The 5k loop which will be used for the men’s 15k and women’s 10k has some minor terrain changes. Four tunnels and a replacement bridge have been added resulting in several short steep hills that will slightly alter the momentum of the course. A new 2.5km loop has been groomed as well that will be used for the men’s and women’s relay. The men’s relay has been shortened to 4×7.5km. It will be interesting to see if the shorter length has any effect on how the race is paced and the overall outcome.

My energy has been increasing each day and I am feeling much better skating than I did leading into last week’s race in Finland. It seems that sometimes I just need a few more days on the snow to make things happen. Speaking of snow I saw some positive signs for a good winter in the East. My favorite ski area, Waterville valley, opened their alpine mountain over week ago. And the Maine Winter Sports Center Junior and Development teams have also found some snow in Canada. I wish them luck with their season as I begin my own on the world cup.

MOUNIO

I have finished my first weekend of racing in Mounio Finland. I started all three races this weekend beginning with the classic sprint. I skied technically well in the sprint but lacked the snap I needed and missed qualifying by just over two seconds. The second race was a 10k classic which I skied very well. I was in the hunt for top three the whole race but finished 4th. Given the strength of the field it was a great effort. Sunday’s race was a 15k skate. I felt off from the start and never got comfortable on my skis. My struggle to get comfortable cost me on the last lap as I faded from 8th to 14th. It was a frustrating day, but one that I would rather have in warm-up races than on the world cup.

STRIDING

TOP SIX

SKATING

This last picture is of my parents dog, Wyatt, who I rescued from the pound 9 years ago. He is finishing up a sixteen mile run which was one of my last workouts before flying to Scandanavia. Wyatt is awesome.

WYATT

Autumn in Presque Isle

I recently spent a week in Presque Isle training. The weather was ideal and I took advantage of it for some long skis on rolling farm roads. I also did some near max bounding intervals at the Nordic Heritage Center and a 3 x 5k interval session with Welley Ramsey. Welley is in good shape and used his fast roller skis to really push me on the workout.

I also found time to do a short technique session with Aroostock county’s growing development group.

I am now in Park City training with the national team. I have testing on Monday and Wednesday before traveling onto Canmore for some on snow training.

NZ Wrap-up

I have been home from New Zealand for a week now. Looking back on the camp I would say that it was the best overall training I have ever had there. I got to ski in every conceivable snow condition from slush to ice and from hairies to hard wax. I was there for two half days and sixteen full days. I took two full days off and still trained 61 hours with three hard intensities. Hoff was a great training partner. However in his blog he only mentioned the one chess game he beat me in. We played three times. The first game was a stalemate, I crushed him in the second, and he eked a win in the third. So we are currently tied but I am confident that I will take the lead when I see him in a few weeks in Park City.

Chess

Last Day

Toughman Workout

Every summer I like to come up with at least one “Toughman workout.” My definition of of a “Toughman” is a workout that is so extremely hard and difficult that it is of questionable training value. However these workouts do have the clear benefit of making nearly all other workouts seem easy in comparison.

In the past I have done double century rides on my road bike or set out on a 42 mile run that summited four mountains. This year I decided to do a shorter workout with an increase in intensity. I started at the Franconia Falls trailhead and ran the Franconia Trail to the Garlfield Ridge trail. This was about 12 miles of gradual uphill on increasingly rough terrain. When I turned left on the Garlfield trail I increased my intensity to Level 3 and ran, bounded and ski walked to the Summit. The effort took 20 minutes. From Garfield I descended towards Mt Lafayette and once again increased my intensity when the Ridge started to gain elevation. I followed this routine over Mts Lincoln, Haystack, Liberty and the flume before descending back to my starting point.

View Of The Ridge From Mt Lafayette

Half Way Through

The loop took me 4:58 to complete with 1:20 minutes of level 3 exertion. Following the workout I went to Cape Cod for two days on the beach to ensure full recovery

Hanging with The Hoff

I have been training in New Zealand for the past six days with Noah Hoffman and the Canadian men. The Canadians had a 10k skate time trial scheduled on the 4th and they invited Noah and I to race. They even waxed our skis for us which was pretty sweet. I was happy with my performance in the race as I won by 30 seconds over Devon and Babikov. However this is not the first time I have won a time trial in New Zealand. I am well aware that I need to carry and build on my fitness into the season.

WARMING UP FOR THE TIMETRIAL

This is the latest date that I have skied in New Zealand. I knew that I would be confronting spring conditions which is what I wanted since about 90% of world cups seem to be held in slush. As long as the snow holds up to some of the warmer temps this should be ideal prep for the season.

A LITTLE BROWN

This is not a US Ski Team camp so Noah and I have been spending a fair amount of time on ski prep for testing. We were given a good space for out wax room though.

SKI PREP

The Canadian left this morning so it is just The Hoff and I for the next ten days. That means there will be a lot of time for Chess. So far we have only played one game which ended in stalemate. The game was truly pathetic. Instead of trapping each other or sticking to a strategy we generally just wait for each other to do something stupid. Unfortunately this is the most effective strategy as I basically handed him my queen on the 12th move of the game. About twenty moves later he returned the favor.

Busy Schedule

I have had a busy schedule recently but it hasn’t kept me from keeping a high training load. After spending two days on the road visiting diabetes camps outside Chicago and Greenville North Carolina I got right back into a hard block of training.

Press release from one of the camps http://www.henriettapost.com/features/x1602164697/Olympian-Kris-Freeman-shares-story-of-hope-with-kids-with-diabetes

July 26th AM 3 hour skate with 15 speeds
PM 30 min classic with 1:30 strength

July 27th AM 2 hour classic with one hour L3 building to race pace (see video)
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Caldwell-Sport/122574094490229
PM 2 hour run

July 28th AM 4 hour pursuit OD (two hour double pole followed directly by two hours skating)

I took the 29th easy and now I am entering a four day training period with 20 hours scheduled. Saturday I will race in the “Top Notch” triathlon which is my favorite multi-event. It consists of a six mile hill climb MT Bike, a half mile swim and a run from the base of Cannon MT to the summit.

Training in Maine

A few weeks ago I had a good camp in Presque Isle Maine. There were two focal intensity workouts. The first was a one hour threshold skate with 8 two hundred meter sprints meant to simulate preems. It felt like I was skiing on a closed course with all the cones and signs Sweetser set up for the workout. Russel Currier set a good initial pace and we switched off leading throughout. Welley put up a good fight in one of the early preems.

The second intensity was a 6×5 min threshold bounding workout that Welley joined me for. I didn’t know that Presque Isle had a quality bounding route like the one we used. Overall I enjoyed my training in Maine. Rollerskiing through rolling farmland was a particularly nice change of pace. The new restaurant in town that serves quality espresso was nice surprise as well.

L3 with Preems

3 Hour Double Pole

Bounding with Welley

Bounding

dlife

For the past eight years I have spent a few weeks each summer visiting summer camps exclusively for kids with diabetes. My first visit of this year was in Presque Isle in June. I joined the campers while they spent the morning learning to shoot at the Nordic Heritage Center biathlon range. I took the opportunity to fire a biathlon rifle for the first time and hit my first two targets before missing six in a row.

A week later I spent three days on the road to attend camps in Memphis and Nashville Tennesse before swinging over to Casper Wyoming.

The following link is a youtube video of a segment for the CNBC TV show “dlife” that was filmed during the Naitonal 50k in Craftsbury. The clip does a good job of showing what I do at the camps I attend. It sensationalizes a bit when it says that I was “leading the way” in the 30k in Vancouver. I told them I was in the lead pack. They also cut off a sentence I said about not dropping out of the Olympics if there is anything that can be done to prevent it.

Off Day?

Today was supposed to be an easy off day for Hoff and I. However there is a severe lack of stimuli in our isolated lodge, so we convinced each other that going for a crust cruise was a good idea. We headed out to climb the mountain that dominates our view every morning at breakfast.

starting the ascent

continuing the climb

still going up

Hoff on top

Sketchy traverse

The roundtrip crust cruise took a little over two hours. It was the most scenic ski I have been on in years and we only got lost once.

Norway

I went home for three days after Bend camp and then traveled to Norway to ski on the trails in Sognefjell with Noah Hoffman. The Norwegian national team arrived a day later and we have been invited to train with them. They have been very generous, helping with waxing, video, and technique examination.

The weather here has gone back and forth between burning hot sun and blizzard like conditions. Close to a meter of snow has fallen since out arrival five days ago.

Soaking in the sun while I can post 20k threshold

Lodging is very “hostel” like. We stay in bunk rooms with communal bathrooms and showers. The food is excellent though, and we are treated to five meals a day and a never ending supply of strong coffee.

The Norwegian plan we have followed…

June
3rd, Am Norwegian team arrives, PM 2.5 hour skate
4th, Am 3 hour skate, PM 2 hour classic
5th, AM 2 hour skate with 20k level 3 (1:06 on time), 2 hour classic
6th, AM 3 hour classic, PM 2 hour skate
7th, AM 2 hour classic with 20k level 3 (:57 on time), 2 hour skate
8th, Am 2.5 hour classic/skate, PM National team depart

Eldar and Johannes getting ready for the 20k threshold

Vbeke improving her already impressive tan

Hoff and I will be on our own for a few days and then Zach Caldwell comes in on Sunday to work with us. I fly back home next Thursday.

Ouch!

The team and I went on a two hour Mt bike a few days ago. While working to chase down Simi and Noah, I hit a rock with my chainring so hard that it jolted me out of my pedals. My feet skidded to a stop and then what was left of my big chainring slammed into the back of my calve.

Fortunately the accident had no impact on my training. My leg was sore and I will have an awesome scar but I rode home with no problem and skied pain free for the rest of the camp. I skated 3.5 hours with Hoff this morning while inserting about ten twenty second sprints into the ski. Tomorrow I fly home where I will train for three days before heading to Norway.

PPP coverage

The Pole Peddle Paddle is definitely a big deal in Bend. The race took up the first page of the sports section for three days in a row and claimed space on the Front Page the day after the race. There were also two news broadcasts in the evening.

http://www.ktvz.com/sports/31087040/detail.html

http://www.ktvz.com/news/31088492/detail.html

I enjoyed competing in the event. It took a lot of energy though, as preparation took three afternoons in a row. Andy Fectaue from Rebound physical therapy helped me practice using the equipment that he put together for me. He also shared the techniques he developed for fast transitions from his own racing days. I have recovered well and enjoyed mixing it up with my teammates in a skate sprint relay yesterday.

Back to Work

After a great vacation in Hawaii I got back to work with five solid days of training.

Then I flew to Park City to continue testing new insulin protocols.

Surfing was more fun.

Vacation

Seiser Alm

The team and I headed to Seiser Alm after the tour. We are staying at the Panorama hotel which sits on a snowfield with a 12k loop of perfect hard track skiing. I had zero energy the first few days I was here but now I am feeling like myself for the first time all season. Yesterday morning I skied 40 minutes at threshold which was the first intensity I have done since the tour. I felt strong and rested which gives me a good feeling going into next week’s races in Otepaa.

10th fastest time in 32k skate at altitude?

I think the title says a lot.  This summer when Zach and I mapped out the season and the tour de ski we were confident that I could hold my own in every stage except the marathon skate from Toblach to Cortina. Given how subpar my form has been in the races leading up to yesterday’s stage we were not optimistic. When I asked Zach for strategy advice he gave me one word “survive.”

The race had a pursuit style start based on overall positioning from the previous six stages. I was 42nd, 6:33 behind the leader Dario Cologna. Skiing with Ivan Babikov and Robin Duvilard I moved up to 29th place and posted the 10th fastest time of the day. My shape has been off all season but this has been the best indicator of a return to form. As someone wrote me in a text “don’t stop believing.”

struggling

My first two weekends of skiing have not gone as planned. In fact they have been downright embarassing.
My largest impediment has been myself. I was hit with a major change in my personal life just before traveling to Sweden which left me with so much anxiety that I barely slept the first week I was here. Combined with jetlag I was basically worthless in the opening Norway world cup.
I was able to calm myself down when I arrived in Finland and felt much better. As I was warming up for the sprint I actually thought qualifying could be possible. Then two minutes before the start my pole broke in the starting pen and I had to use Newell’s poles for the race. The unfamiliar strap and height threw my timing off and I was a massive 6 seconds from qualifying. Not what I needed for a confidence boost.
The next day was the 10k skate which has been my only respectable finish thus far. I raced strong and controlled for the first six ks and then Lukas Bauer passed me on his first lap while I was on my second. He was moving well and I knew that if I could stay with him he would pull me to a top ten finish. I also knew that the effort it would take could also make me blow up. I abandoned my top 20 pace and went for broke. My pockets were empty 2k later which left me with an additional 2k to struggle to the finish. I more or less kept my composure until the finishing stretch where I was so full of lactate that I nearly fell over. I finished 24th having dropped about 7 places in the final kilometer.
I had been excited for the 15k classic pursuit since it was announced on the schedule last spring. The morning of the race the tracks were hard and a thin klister cover was working very well. The course was a very difficult 2.5k loop that was to be completed 6 times. Last summer the wax tech that I had worked with for the past three seasons quit the US team to work with Sweden. I was very disappointed to lose him because we had finally learned to work well together last year. I never had bad skis last season when he was working. His replacement Oleg is just as talented but we have not had any time to learn how one another works. This led me to be make a very poor decision. Instead of listening to Oleg and taking the pair he had found the fastest, I chose a pair that had a lower pocket and was extremely easy to kick. I had also placed 4th on this ski in Kuusamo before, which unfortunately affected my decision. The skis were slow on the first lap of the race but extremely grippy. Then the skis of the 100 men going around the course brought up significant moisture and before I knew it the low pocket of the ski was sunctioned into the snow and I knew why Oleg had reccommended a different ski. I was able to hang with a group that was moving up through the field quickly but with the slower skis I was getting no recovery on flats or dowhills. I blew hard at 10k and my race was over. There was no one to be mad at but myself. I made an amature decision and I paid for it. I know better than to pick a ski on a pre-conceived notion but with everything havng gone wrong so far this season I wanted a magic day to bring me out of it. I blew it.

New Zealand

The men’s team and I have been down in New Zealand for the past two and a half weeks. Up until yesterday the weather has been phenomenal which has made for a great camp. For the past two seasons I have structured my training into three day blocks. The format allows me to train really big for a few days and then get a feeling for how I am absorbing the load on the easy day. Block one was 12.5 hours and included a 6×10 min L3 skate intensity. Block two was 12.5 hours with a 4.5 hours classic OD as the focus. Block three was 14.25 hours with a five hour (2.5 classic, 2.5 skate) OD as the primary session. Block four was only 9.5 hours but it included two races.

The first race was a 15k classic mass start on a perfect sunny hard track day. The field included Devon Kershaw, Alex Harvey, Ivan Babikov, Lenny Valjas, Brian Mckeever, Andy Newell, Noah Hoffman, Tad Elliot, several Japanese, a few Koreans, and the top Australian and New Zealand racers. Based on the speed of the tracks it was clear that leading or attempting an early break away was ill-advised. The course 5k course loop meandered downhill for 2.5 k followed by .5k of gradual incline and 2k of varying terrain including two steep uphills.

It became clear after a few ks of racing that the pace was not going to be high and that the race would be decided over the last few minutes. As I was racing I debated whether to attack on the first uphill with 2k to go or at the second uphill with 1.25k to go. Last year I attacked with 2k remaining and broke the field up quickly. But I exploded with .5k to go and Devon passed me easily to take the win. I didn’t want that to happen again but I also didn’t want to have a footrace with Alex and Andy for 1k either. I decided to make the same move as last year. It was so predictable that Devon shouted “Here it comes” to his teammates as I accelerated at the 13k mark. My move broke the pack of eight down to a pack of four quickly. For the next few minutes Alex, Devon and Andy  “Yo Yoed” off and onto my tails. On the final uphill I was able to secure enough of a gap to ensure the win. Andy was also able to sprint by both Canadians to take second.

The next day was a freestyle sprint race with the entire Russian sprint team, Lenny Valjas, Andy, Simi Hamilton, and Tad Elliot competing. I qualified 4th and earned 53 sprint points, my second best FIS sprint ever. Sixteen skiers advanced to the heats with 2 skiers advancing from each round. The Russians were struggling all day which resulted in an all North American final. Andy, Simi, Lenny and myself battled for the win. After coming out of the start in last I found a gap to get to the front of the race. I knew that my best chance of winning was to set as fast a pace as possible in order to tire the guys out. My strategy worked to a point. Simi and Lenny both got tired but Andy still had enough legs left to pass me in the home stretch. Simi took 3rd and the men’s team got to enjoy a podium sweep.

The weather was terrible yesterday with near white out conditions and vicious winds. I had an off day scheduled so I wasn’t too disturbed by it. However today the weather is still bad. A 10k skate race was supposed to take place today but it was canceled.  Up on the snow farm you have to go big on the nice days and go with the flow on the bad ones.

That Didn’t Work

Going home in the middle of the season does not work for me. I had five weeks of no world cup racing in the middle of my season. I also got sick during the third and fourth week which made me miss the Craftsbury marathon; my only planned race during my stay at home. Staying in Europe for the entire season will make it easier to stay healthy by avoiding the unnecessary travel home. It will also enable me to always stay in touch with high level racing. I finished the tour with a seventh place stage finish. I came back to the world cup with a fifty-seventh place finish in my best event. Going home does not work.

Oslo was a great opportunity and it has passed me by. I am just getting into shape as it is ending. Unfortunately I am also tired now so I will skip the 50k tomorrow and turn my focus to the remaining world cups.