Green Racing Project Blog Header Image
  • Craftsbury Outdoor Center Logo
  • Concept2 SkiErg Logo
  • caldwell.png
  • Craft FS black larger
  • jlracing.png
  • Bliz KeepFocused white

Green Racing Project Blog

Slovenia, below ground and above

21.Sep.2016 by Caitlin Patterson

What takes a skier to Slovenia in September, you might wonder? Surely there are other places closer to a home base in Vermont where it would be possible to dryland train on rollerskis or on foot. And Slovenia isn’t known for any of the skiing glaciers like can be found in Italy, Austria, and Alaska. What Slovenia does have, new this year, is an indoor, underground skiing tunnel.

Make sure to check out the previous post on this blog, which went up earlier today, on the GRP biathletes’ experience at Slovenian biathlon national championships. For this post, I’ll focus on the tunnel experience and a few other mountain adventures in Slovenia that the skiers were lucky enough to get to do.

When our coach Pepa found out early summer about Slovenia’s new tunnel, which is located at the Olympic Sports Complex in Planica, she started considering options that would tie the tunnel into our fall trip to Europe. The last two years the GRP skiers have trained for several weeks in Ramsau, Austria, making use of the Dachstein glacier for on-snow sessions. Last year the snow melted out quickly on the Dachstein, so while we did get some good quality sessions on our skis, we finished the camp feeling a little bit short-changed in the skiing department. The guaranteed snow of an indoor tunnel seemed enticing, to make sure we could log quality workouts on skis, especially since Planica is only about a 2.5 hour drive from Ramsau. Thus in 2016, here on September 21st, we’re midway through a camp that combines a speed-and-technique block in the tunnel in Planica with a distance-and-high-altitude block in Ramsau at the Dachstein glacier.

cp-hdrplan

The Olympic Sports Center in Planica, Slovenia. Our accommodations were simple hotel-style rooms in the building at lower left, and our playground was the mountains beyond, plus the ski tunnel a 3 minute walk from our rooms.

For most, if not all, of the team, this was our first experience with a ski tunnel. It’s a very… interesting… environment, at least this Planica tunnel, which doubles as a parking garage during certain times of the year. The walls are drab grey concrete, and there are concrete columns which the trail winds around… but there are also unusual features to examine, like traffic mirrors and signs in Slovenian, ice-flooded stairways, ice stalagmites growing up from the ground and rime crystals on piping. We skied a single loop in between 80 seconds and 2 minutes, depending on the intensity, which can get a bit repetitious… but it also means that we have many opportunities to work on certain terrain features or transitions, and many opportunities for Pepa, Sam, or Nick to video us for later technique review.  The air wasn’t the freshest, and there was no music playing… but the snow is consistent and predictable, always use-able and often pretty fast, and people could bring in their own headphones with podcasts or music. So the tunnel definitely had its pros and cons, but overall the experience was quite valuable and we put in a quality one-week long speed camp. Below are some photos from our below-ground Slovenian experience.

Tunnel stalagmites, from a low perspective that makes them look extra tall.

Tunnel stalagmites, from a low perspective that makes them look extra tall. We got a few ceiling drips on our heads too, but not all that many. It seemed to be drippier in the tunnel on the days when it was raining outside.

Alex and Heather cruise towards a corner

Alex and Heather cruise towards a corner

Emily on the one uphill of the loop

Emily starting the uphill

Heather in the transition zone, switching from boots back to running shoes for the walk to our lodging.

Heather in the transition zone, switching from boots back to running shoes for a post-ski jog and then the walk to our lodging.

Kait, Caitlin, Ben, Liz focus before a sprint start (Photo by Sam D)

Kait, Caitlin, Ben, Liz focus before a sprint start (Photo by Sam D)

Heather and Ben sprint while wax tech Nick looks on (Photo by Sam D)

Heather and Ben sprint while wax tech Nick looks on (Photo by Sam D)

Liz and Caitlin sprinting on a straightaway (Photo by Sam D)

Liz and Caitlin sprinting on a straightaway (Photo by Sam D)

And then there were the above-ground sessions! Apart from our tunnel skis, fortunately we were able to get out into the mountains for several hikes and runs. Planica is in the Julian Alps, and the mountains are impressive, with steep cliff faces but also trails that bring hikers around to climb-able sides of many of the peaks. Because the skiers and biathletes within our group were on slightly different plans, with the biathletes racing in Slovenian biathlon national rollerski races on Saturday and Sunday (see previous blog post), different groups of us went on a variety of adventures. The trails and peaks that we saw just whetted our appetite for more, and I know I certainly hope to return to Slovenia and this area in particular for future excursions and training! The following photos are from a few of our hikes. (Unless otherwise noted, I took the photos in this post.)

Hiking crew above the Vrsic pass, left to right Caitlin, Nick, Heather, Kait, Ben, Liz

Hiking crew above the Vrsic pass, left to right Caitlin, Nick, Heather, Kait, Ben, Liz

Climbing above the Vrsic pass into the peaks of the Julian Alps

Climbing above the Vrsic pass into the peaks of the Julian Alps

Another view of a deep valley

Another view of a deep valley, Nick and Heather ascending the trail

Fossils!

Fossils!

Peaking carefully over the edge to see the sheer cliff on the other side

Peaking carefully over the edge to see the sheer cliff on the other side

We took brief break from our training routine with a sight-seeing and shopping walk around Bled, Slovenia, which is known for this much-photographed lake and castle

We took brief break from our training routine with a sight-seeing and shopping walk around Bled, Slovenia, which is known for this much-photographed lake and castle

Looking down on the jump complex at Planica from Ciprnik peak

Looking down on the jump complex at Planica from Ciprnik peak

Crazy black salamander or newt from one of our hike/runs. On that particular run we saw dozens of these little guys on a certain section of trail.

Crazy black salamander or newt from one of our hike/runs. On that particular run we saw dozens of these little guys on a section of trail.

Ben celebrates bagging a peak (Slemenova spica, over 6000ft).

Ben celebrates bagging a peak on one of our first afternoon runs (Slemenova spica, over 6000ft – a good climb from Planica at 3000ft).

Coaches and skiers (missing biathletes), from left: Pepa, Heather, Ben, Kait, Caitlin, Liz, Nic

Coaches and skiers (missing biathletes), from left: Pepa, Heather, Ben, Kait, Caitlin, Liz, Nick. Thanks Craft Sportswear for the awesome new custom-designed suits.

This morning was our first skiing session on the Dachstein glacier above Ramsau, Austria, and we were greeted by sunny skies and fast snow. For now follow our Instagram account @greenracingproject, or Craftsbury Green Racing Project on Facebook, for (nearly) daily updates from the glacier – we’ll be sure to get a glacier summary post with photos up here on the blog too by the end of the camp!

Biathletes Take on Slovenian Biathlon National Championships

21.Sep.2016 by Hallie Grossman

By Ethan.

Just over a week ago as we sat in the airport on our way to Slovenia for GRPski’s annual fall training trip, we got word that the Slovenian summer biathlon national championships were happening in Pokljuka, SLO the following weekend. We were headed to a training center in Planica, SLO, only an hour drive from Pokljuka. It seemed like a no-brainer to try to jump into the races, and gain some valuable biathlon race experience.

img_3251

The Olympic Sport Center in Planica, Slovenia where we were based out of for the week.

Coaches Pepa and Sam got in touch with the organizers, and they were happy to have us join in on the event. With some shuffling of our training plan to accommodate, we all got psyched to go mix it up with Jakov Fak, Teja Gregorin, and the rest of Slovenia’s world class athletes.

img_4165

Coaches (and Mary) documenting their training.

The races consisted of a sprint race on Saturday and a mass start on Sunday. Pokljuka is Slovenia’s premier biathlon venue, often hosting world cup level racing in the winter. The venue also features a nice, but not super long (only 1.5km) rollerski loop that made up the course for these summer races. To get adequate distances for the races we did a few double loops, making two laps before coming in to shoot.  The course was mostly rolling terrain with one steeper climb and short, steep descent right onto the range, making for a pretty interesting range approach. All in all it was a super fast and fun course.

alex

Alex on the steep descent into the range.

Saturday started off with pouring rain that delayed the start 30 minutes. Despite sporadic showers and big puddles throughout the race, I think everyone finished smiling.

rain

A very wet range.

img_2001

Saturday afternoon recovery jog. To Italy!

On Sunday, the rain held off and there was even a little sun! Mass start races are generally pretty exciting and this one was no exception.  We started the men’s race strong, with Alex taking the lead on the first loop, charging past the field to lead into the range. Things got interesting from there… IBU rules for mass start races state that on the first shooting you’re supposed to go to the point that matches your bib number. In the US, for some reason, we generally file into the range in the order that you arrive, starting at point one… So, Alex went to point one, and a bunch of people got all mixed up. Luckily we didn’t let it get to us, and both Alex and I cleaned the stage and were back out on course. Mike was close behind with two penalties. It progressed into an awesome race with some good shooting, and I think we all got a chance to ski and shoot next to some of the best biathletes in the world. Luckily after some talk amongst the coaches our hosts decided to take pity on the poor Americans and not disqualify us.

img_2793

Lapping through the stadium on the first lap of the mass start.

 

img_2800

Alex and Ethan on the range with Jakov Fak (in black).

Needless to say, the correct mass start procedure was explained to Emily and Hallie no less than 3 times in multiple languages before the women’s start. The women’s field was much smaller, but no less exciting, with 50% of the competitors being Olympians. With a small women’s field, the junior boys started at the same time, which lead to quite a quick start. Emily cleaned both her prone stages, and Hallie had only one penalty in each of her’s. This allowed the girls to work together for the middle part of the race, before things spread out a little more with the standing shootings. 

img_3349-1

Emily and Hallie skiing together on one of the middle loops in the mass. start.

img_2806

Emily and Hallie on the range. Note the junior boys in the mix!

img_2803

Boys all matching in Craft

img_2811

And the girls too!

The race organizers were nice enough to make a non- Slovenian podium and even gave us “diplomas” instead of medals!

img_2150

Emily was third both days and first non-Slovenian

img_3447

In the mass start, Ethan was third overall and the second non-Slovenian.

 

img_2816

Post race coffee…

img_3372

..and ice cream!

 

 

Tuesday Night Race Series

30.Aug.2016 by Hallie Grossman

Last week marked the conclusion of the annual Tuesday Night Race series, a weekly summer tradition at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center (COC). This year brought record turnout to the event- some weeks we had more than eighty participants! Both a bike and run options were offered each week, on alternating single track courses. Most weeks the races were held at the COC, but Hosmer Point hosted three times for added variety. All of the courses were approximately 5k, though newcomers to the races were often surprised when their times were a bit slower on the single track than they expected. The races attracted a diverse crowd, ranging from Craftsbury junior skiers, GRP’ers, staff, and locals, as well as campers and general guests.

Throughout the year, results were tabulated to create a complex points system, which named year end winners in six categories: mens and womens run, mens and womens 5k bike, and mens and womens 10k bike. At the end of the series, these champions received an entry to the Craftsbury marathon, held in February each year. Age group winners were awarded a plethora of baked goods at the concluding pizza party.

IMG_1072

The series started off with a bang!

IMG_1076

Participants of all ages got to run together. Here we have 80 year old George and elementary schooler Adelina.

IMG_1787

Friendship: biking together, smiling together, posing for pictures together.

IMG_1795

Emlyn put together a summer of speedy races to take home the mens 5k run title.

IMG_1512

Guest Sammy and junior athlete Sy hammer to the finish line.

IMG_1518

Craftsbury junior Jack shows how to properly display a number on a bicycle.

IMG_1442

Axel on the speedy Hosmer Point course.

IMG_1789

Computer whiz Liz, race organizer Kait, and number caller Ben.

IMG_1808

Pizza party for all after the last race!

 

Summer Training Photo Update

21.Jul.2016 by Liz Guiney

Liz here- with a little photo update from our first few months of training in Craftsbury.

I can’t tell you how often I get the question- “what do skiers do in the summer?” And the answer is mostly, what do we not do? Summer is when the bulk of our training occurs, because laying down a solid strength and endurance base now helps us to support the intensity work we do in the fall, and then make it through the long race season. Although rollerskiing is probably the most important ski specific work we do, we also switch it up with a large amount of cross training on foot, on road and mountain bikes, and even on the water, with rowing. We also spend quite a bit of time in the gym whether doing CrossFit, circuits, or more traditional strength work. With this variety of workouts available, summer training is rarely boring.

Summer training has been going really well in Craftsbury, and I think everyone is feeling motivated and confident in the work we’ve done so far. Whether hitting the roads for long rolling skis, surviving “Threshold Thursday” (50-70 minutes of L3 work in the morning followed by afternoon CrossFit OUCH), or pushing the volume on OD (overdistance) days, we’re keeping things interesting while relying on the basic principles of supercompensation- train hard, rest, recover, repeat!

Leaving the house for the first threshold workout of the year

Leaving the house for the first threshold workout of the year

 

An early rollerski in East Hardwick, VT

An early rollerski in East Hardwick, VT

 

Most of the team has been doing some shooting practice this summer, and occasionally things get very busy on the range

Most of the team has been doing some shooting practice this summer, and occasionally things get very busy on the range

 

A little early garden work on a cold June afternoon- thanks to Skida for keeping us warm and fashionable!

A little early garden work on a cold June afternoon- thanks to Skida for keeping us warm and fashionable!

 

There are a few new things at Craftsbury this summer, the first of which has been Monday mountain bike club. The GRP is helping out with coaching for this rambunctious group of 30 middle schoolers who come every week for an hour and a half to rip around the trails. The group has a wide range of skill levels, from first timers to very experienced kids, so it’s been fun for us to work with all of them to improve.

A big ole pile of bikes getting ready to go

A big ole pile of bikes getting ready to go

 

Instructions from coach Ollie, who has been instrumental in getting the club off the ground this summer!

Instructions from coach Ollie, who has been instrumental in getting the club off the ground this summer

Another change this summer has been the introduction of a U23 training group in Craftsbury. We have four college skiers joining us for the summer- 3 male eastern college skiers, and 1 female western skier/biathlete. They train alongside us for most sessions, and it’s been great to have their new energy and enthusiasm. Can’t wait to see how they do this season!

A very full van en route to rollerski practice- with the arrival of the U23’s our training group is big, but most days, still manageable

A very full van en route to rollerski practice- with the arrival of the U23’s our training group is big, but most days, still manageable

 

Sweaty, crowded gym circuits

Sweaty, crowded gym circuits

We’ll leave you with a few more training photos, and hopefully will be better about updating the blog in the future so that we can get you some more recent photos.

Ida and Kait get airborne during jump skate speeds

Ida and Kait get airborne during jump skate speeds

 

The GRP women trying very hard to improve our leg speed at the track in Morrisville

The GRP women trying very hard to improve our leg speed at the track in Morrisville

 

Drafting the group at the beginning of an OD ski/run. Don’t worry, we never take up this much of the road unless part of the group is passing

Drafting the group at the beginning of an OD ski/run. Don’t worry, we never take up this much of the road unless part of the group is passing

 

Matching and exploring new roads for a skate roll through Eden, Montgomery, and Jay

Matching and exploring new roads for a skate roll through Eden, Montgomery, and Jay

 

Threshold Thursday part 1- double pole intervals in East Hardwick, 5-6 times up a ~1 mile section of road

Threshold Thursday part 1- double pole intervals in East Hardwick, 5-6 times up a ~1 mile section of road

 

Threshold Thursday part 2- running with poles on Cemetery Hill, 5-7 times up a 10 min hill

Threshold Thursday part 2- running with poles on Cemetery Hill, 5-7 times up a 10 min hill

 

Biathlete Alex Howe taking his rifle to the paved trails in Jericho, VT, prepping for upcoming biathlon trials race in August

Biathlete Alex Howe taking his rifle to the paved trails in Jericho, VT, prepping for upcoming biathlon trials race in August

You may recognize a few of these photos from our Instagram page, but if you don’t follow us and would like more consistent photo updates, check us out on Facebook (Craftsbury Green Racing Project) or Insta (@greenracingproject)! Thanks for reading!