I am back in Lake Placid now after a great training camp in Bend, Oregon. Despite a rough start, where we we had a 24 hour airline delay. Bend once again proved to be the perfect spot to start the training year. This is one of those special places where we get to ski in mid-winter conditions in the the morning and run in shorts and t-shirts during the afternoon. In my opinion, it does not get much better than that!
Our travel delay getting to Bend was almost comical. I have traveled a lot over the last 10 years, but I think this story takes the cake for the worst delay. To make a long story short, the first flight out of Albany was cancelled due to a maintenance issue. There were no other flights that day or the following, so I ended up renting a car, driving to NYC and spending the night there. We were able to catch a flight the next morning but this flight was delayed as well because of mechanical issues. I barely made the last flight of the day from Portland to Redmond, Oregon. I arrived in Bend tired and a little grumpy. Although, the sight of perfect skiing conditions the next morning quickly put me back in a good mood.
One of my favorite parts about training in Bend is, we get the chance to train with other Nordic teams. This year the US cross country, Paralympic, and the Canadian National ski team were training in Bend as well. These teams include some of the best skiers in the World. It was a great opportunity for me to see how others are training. As an Olympic level athlete, it is always important to be confident in your own training program. At the same time, I feel that you need to look outside the box to find ways to improve
Another benefit to our training camp in Bend was that I was able to test a lot of new equipment for next season. The biathlon racing manager for Rossignol, and some of our team ski technicians joined us in Bend for three days of testing. We were lucky to experience different conditions everyday so it gave us a great opportunity to try all of my new skis in different situations. I wish biathlon was only about who skied the fastest and who shot the straightest, but very often it also comes down to who has the best equipment. So this was a great opportunity for me to dial things in for next winter.
The Paralympic skiers had the most inspiring training I have seen, thus far. I was absolutely stunned by their strength and feel like our team puts a huge emphasis on ski specific strength. We thought that we did not have much room for improvement in this area. After watching some of the Paralympic athletes, I am definitely reconsidering this thought. Some of these athletes were training big hours, in really challenging snow conditions, while using only their upper bodies. This was impressive to see, Furthermore, it also made me realize that I have quite a bit of room to improve in this area.
I will be back home training in Lake Placid for the next few months. This time of year we put a big focus on training lots of hours, and I don’t think there is a better place than Lake Placid for this. With so many low-traffic roads for roller skiing and cycling, and the endless miles of trails for running, Lake Placid is definitely ideal for training this time of year. Another bonus to the area is that we now have a new roller ski loop at our shooting range. It’s nice to have a variety of options when I am consistently putting in four and five hours of endurance training everyday.
Lake Placid is also special at this time of year for another reason– great fly-fishing! Unfortunately, training consumes most of my time and energy so I don’t get out often enough. Hopefully I will get out a few times in the next weeks, and then I can provide some nice fish pictures along with my training pictures for my next update.