Skiing? In the summer? Like with those rollie-thingies?
If I had a penny for every time that someone started this conversation with me.… well I wouldn’t be rich, but I could definitely afford to upgrade my whole rollerski fleet. But the truth is it’s a valid question. As a winter sports athlete who grew up with a love of snow and mountains, I often find myself questioning what exactly I’m doing in the middle of a hot, humid Vermont summer day out on my rollerskis trying not to get run over by a tractor AND somehow nailing perfect technique for the video camera hanging out of the van window (excuse my run-one sentence). Call it nordic confusion.
But the truth is that like most of the GRP skier’s summer workouts, training during the months of July and August is just putting hay in the barn. It might not be the most exciting time of year, and at times it feels like the work load is both challenging and never-ending, but it is useful. By the time fall and winter roll around, we’re going to want to draw on our reserves of endurance and strength. Every skier has heard it a hundred times: skiers are made in the summer.
So back to rollersking- we all know that it’s necessary for training, but it just doesn’t quite measure up to real snow skiing. I haven’t met too many nordic skiers who LOVE rollerskiing, but since we have to do it in order to be fast come winter time, we’re constantly looking for ways to keep it from getting stale. So how exactly do we escape insanity and burnout when those long days of over-distance happen to coincide with the hottest, most humid dog days of summer? Read on! (there are pictures too, I promise).
Ok, first, find your training buddy. Do you have your training buddy?
In case you somehow missed the Pixar craze of the early 2000’s and don’t know my reference, please watch this:
And then, just for good measure, go watch the rest of the movie because it’s a classic. Remember: rip it, roll it, punch it!
Okay, back to training partners! Not only do teammates get you out of the bed for morning training with their smoothie-making, bacon-frying, coffee-grinding dawn-patrol breakfast routine, but they make training a thousand times more fun. We have a good vibe on our team that seems to bounce between genuine encouragement, having fun pushing our limits, and giving each other a hard time.
Good teammates are there to push you out of your comfort zone when you need it. You can learn a lot by following someone and imitating their technique, and chances are they can learn something from following you too. Then again, teammates are also there for those days when you feel like you got run over by a tractor before the first 30 minutes of the workout are over. Everyone has those days! (Yes, everyone). The key is to get over it with good humor and a little motivation from a friend, and then to take the rest you need so you can get back at it.
Ladies crew during a skate/double pole pursuit OD back in June
A beautiful Vermont day for a rollerski!
The Sprinter + treats+ coca-cola = happy skiers
200m sprints on the Morrisville track were really fun with this crew!
Obligatory back of the van selfie (us-ie?) post Willoughby/Pisgah OD
Mix it up!
We’re really lucky in Craftsbury to have great access to training- miles upon miles of dirt roads and trails, nearby pavement, and several ponds for swimming, rowing, or kayaking. But after putting in some volume weeks, we slowly but surely burn through the possible training options, which means it’s time to switch it up and go seek out new roads! Last week we did a great point-to-point double pole from Eden to Smuggler’s Notch. Another fun OD from earlier this summer was rollerskiing out to Lake Willoughby by Barton, then hoofing it up Mt. Pisgah. We’re also lucky to be close enough to Stowe to make workouts there a possibility, and the mountain running in that area is great with scenic views of Mansfield.
The path less traveled by. Classic New England scrambling over rocks, roots, and wet soil!
View from Mt. Pisgah overlook, definitely a hidden gem in the NEK
Susan, Caitlin, and I did a new (for me) bike loop around Willoughby during our big volume week
Do activities that aren’t training! (gasp)
Which interestingly enough, leads to my second point, which is: talk about something besides training! All the nordorks out there like to talk VO2 max and lactate thresholds and how their heart rate monitor calculates recovery time (guilty!), but I’m becoming more and more convinced that recovery time has as much of a mental component as physical. That’s why it’s important to give your mind a rest from training too. Talk technique, and then for goodness sake, talk about something else!
One of the reasons why I like the training environment at Craftsbury is that we get the opportunity to develop other interests through our work contributions to the Center. It gives us a chance to get outside ourselves as athletes, and focus on how we can help out with the Center in other ways. Whether it’s growing local produce, taking care of the farm animals, coaching juniors, building trails, or planning and promoting events at the Center, we’re always busy with something in between training sessions.
Baby tomatoes in the greenhouse, they must have grown at least 4x this size since I took this photo.
Gordo and Pete have put in a lot of work on mountain bike signage, and I’ve joined for a few stenciling/spray paint sessions.
This is an old picture, because the signs are now out and about on the mountain bike trails. Exciting stuff!
A new project this summer has been scuba diving with the milfoil management team in Big Hosmer Pond. In case you don’t live by a lake or know northeastern Vermont, the short story is that milfoil is an invasive aquatic weed that grows in the bottom of the pond (Big Hosmer) that Craftsbury uses for rowing training. If the milfoil gets too out of hand it will clog the waterway and rowing, boating, swimming, etc will become nearly impossible. The scuba diving team here hand-pulls the milfoil from the bottom of the lake and tries to alleviate the problem. It’s a tough battle of divers versus a very prodigious weed, but we’re trying our best. I didn’t really think that I would be using my SCUBA certification to go underwater weeding in Vermont, but hey, life will surprise you like that! It’s also nice to feel like I’m making a small difference for the environment in our little section of the world.
Coming to the surface with a full bag of milfoil in tow.
And last but not least, kick back!
Off days are great for relaxation and recovery, so I always try to make the most of them. When I think of Vermont summers I think of riding in the backs of trucks, launching off rope swings, and picking berries wherever they pop up! This summer we also celebrated 4th of July, have stepped up our Saturday afternoon lawn games, and watched enough World Cup soccer to get us through the next 4 years (maybe). The pictures pretty much sum it up:
Our favorite little swimming hole in Stowe
If that isn’t patriotism ladies and gents, I’m not sure what is!
Lawn games Craftsbury style
Yeah, sunset shots are cliché, but this post-dinner view of Big Hosmer really never gets old..
Thanks for reading! Summer is a great time to be a skier, and the Greenies will be up in Craftsbury enjoying the Northeast Kingdom life and training hard all summer long.