In the ski world, May 1 is seen as a very special day; the start of the new training year! It’s such a special day that Fasterskier.com dedicated an entire article to it. May is the time for reflecting on the past year, acting on goals set for the coming year, and getting back in to the groove of training. Much of the GRP Biathlon team had a similar month to me, so I am going to chronicle that below. After a few days in Craftsbury, the month kicked off in earnest with a training camp in Bend, Oregon, followed by a quick trip to Columbus, Ohio (not great ski training there!), then home again to Craftsbury.
May 1: GRP friend/training partner/Estonian biathlete Johanna made a jaunt to Craftsbury for a few days. We went on a lovely hike up local favorite Mount Elmore, which got the training year started on a fun note in classic Vermont style.
May 5: Next up, I, along with Alex, Emily, Susan, Clare, Mike, met Kelsey and Liz, and many other USBA teammates in Bend, Oregon for almost two weeks of crust cruising, technique work, and mountain biking. We are all part of the National Team in one way or another (except Liz who just wanted some fun early season on-snow time), as either athletes, or in the case of recent GRP alum Mike, a National Team coach. I had never been to Bend but had heard lots about this place, making my expectations quite high-and they were definitely met and even exceeded! Bend did not disappoint with plenty of sunshines and seemingly endless skiing and biking.
“Crust cruise” is a somewhat ambiguous phrase and I think holds different meanings depending on what part of the country you are from. To me, a born and raised Vermonter, it traditionally meant darting through trees and perhaps a snow covered corn field in late winter or early spring. Out West, it is a whole other beast! We skied in the Broken Top Mountain area, and other than enduring a rather rough snowmobile trail for a few kilometers, we had untouched wide open expanses of varying terrain, including steep uphills, fast and fun downhills, and gently rolling flats. It was amazing and took adventure skiing to a whole new level!
In addition to adventure crust skis, we did a lot of technique with coaches Armin and Mike.
Most afternoons we went mountain biking. Again, the Vermonter’s conception is much different than the Western reality! The mountain biking in Bend was fast and flowy and really fun! Mountain bike is also a blast in the east, just different. I was impressed by all the people out on the trails, from young to old and everyone in between. One day a group of around 20 kids zipped by us, which was pretty neat.
Bend is also notorious for its tacos, just ask Ollie. One evening we went out for tacos and here is a picture to prove it.
Bend wasn’t all play and adventure! We did some porch TRX strength sessions-and what could be better than getting stronger and being outside?
May 16: After Bend, many of us hopped on a plane for Columbus, Ohio. What were a bunch of skiers doing going to Ohio? Crossfit! Concept 2 hosted a biathlon event at the Rogue Invitational Crossfit Competition, a competition where elite Crossfitters from around the world were vying for spots for the Crossfit Games. Here, current and former GRP biathletes were the Range Officers and several Concept 2 staff members were the technical masterminds behind this operation. We got the opportunity to teach top level Crossfit athletes how to shoot an air rifle, many who had never held any sort of gun before. We were amazed at just how appreciative and eager to learn all of the athletes were.
We were teaching/coaching on Friday and Saturday morning but also had some time to check out the other events that were happening before our event on Sunday.
On Sunday’s “race day,” we were range officers and our job was to load magazines, record hits and misses for the live stream, and reset targets. It was a rather high stress position, as lots of money was on the line for the winners, but it was really cool! You can check out the livestream here, starting around 35:00.
May 20: Then it was back to Vermont! Here are some photos of the second half of the month.
Gardening season is in full swing!
Spring time marks the return of the summer Tuesday Night Race series. This weekly event takes place late May-late August and has 5k run and 5k and 10k bike options and has seen nearly 100 racers before! It is a super fun community event that gets the community and Outdoor Center guests and campers out on the trails.
Community Fitness is a GRP-led fitness class that has a great group of regular attendees. It was awesome to get back to this crew after a few weeks away. I am constantly amazed at the improvements that these community members make on a weekly basis!
Training resumed as soon as we hit the ground in Craftsbury.
Community and youth involvement is a big part of being on the GRP and we get to bike with a bunch of different school and kid groups through the spring, summer, and fall. Watching these kids get stronger, braver, and faster is awesome and inspiring and definitely encourages me to try to do the same!
And now it’s on to June, where the training ramps up, the black flies get replaced by mosquitos, and we get faster and stronger!