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Green Racing Project Blog

BKL Camp Week

4.Jul.2017 by Hallie Grossman

Last week, Caitlin wrote a post about a typical “week in the life” of a GRP athlete in June. This post is similar, but with a twist: a week in the life during BKL camp (a recovery/ easy week for some of the biathletes and a bigger volume week for the skiers).

Twice every summer, the junior coaches put together two Bill Koch League day camps for kids 8-12 and the GRP gets to help throughout the week. Last week, 18 eager BKL’ers, some part of our regular crew and some from further away, descended on the Center for five days of fun and training.

Monday

Camp begins at 9am sharp, with name games and ice breakers. Kids then broke into two groups, one heading to the local roads for rollerskiing and the others staying at the Center for some agility practice via an obstacle course. Because kids like competition, there was a competition for the “best cheerer” as part of the obstacle course. Throughout the week most workouts and activities ended with a healthy dose of water time. Kids don’t seem to care whether it’s hot or cold- the water’s always fun!

Playing “World Cup.” Apparently it’s, “everyone’s favorite game.”

Tuesday

Descending Elmore

Hike day! The crew headed to Mt. Elmore for some fire tower views and slippery rock scrambling. The morning concluded with swimming and lunching at Lake Elmore, which was unfortunately cut a bit short because of imminent thunderstorms.The afternoon drew out everyone’s hand-foot coordination skills, with a slightly rainy kickball tournament.

Despite BKL camp being in full swing, the GRP athletes were still engaged in training weeks of varying volumes and other work projects. The weekly Tuesday Night Race (this week at Hosmer Point) still went off without a hitch.

Tuesday Night Race dip at Hosmer Point. It’s wonderful to see the community come together on a weekly basis for this event.

Wednesday

Wednesday morning gave kids an opportunity to shred the mountain bike trails. These kids are speedy! While the campers were biking, some of the GRP did a skate speed rollerski workout. In the afternoon, the group was split in two: half canoeing and half doing biathlon.

Amelia showing us how it’s done on the range, while wearing an awesome pink skort.

Though I have not done a lot of biathlon with the BKLers, it is really cool watching them shoot. They are all supportive of each other and offer bits of  encouragement and suggestions. They do a great job parroting coaches’ snippets of advice to their peers (and I’ve noticed the same thing with mountain biking skills), which shows that kids really are listening and taking in what you say.

Wild strawberries make any uphill journey sweeter.

Thursday

Orienteering in the morning (while some of the GRP did rollerski intervals) then in the afternoon, the groups flipflopped, giving everyone the chance to canoe and do biathlon over the two days.

Rain drops didn’t deter anyone from a spirited relay race.

Friday

Adventure race day! Before the race began, I did a 2k on the skierg as part of our testing regime which happens throughout the summer and fall. With the 2k complete by 9am, it was on to the races!

Here’s a smattering of pictures from the adventure race. I won’t go in to much detail because I don’t want to give any of our secrets away! But know that there was a lot of smiles and planning/ plotting and water involved.

“We are a human conveyer belt”

Lava lava everywhere

Alex working on sight alignment with a camper

Cooperation is key here

Then…pizza!

Rope swinging then make-your-own pizza is a BKL camp tradition. Kids get creative with pizzas of all sorts, including crowd favorites of pesto and sausage then some lesser known treasures like simply garlic and olive oil. This year,  many of us learned what “mochi” are and a few campers got really in to making mini pizzas.

Mini pizzas for days

Hungry kids devouring their creations

Smores!

 

The campers wrapped up their week with a lip sync competition, which is pretty hilarious with a group of 8-12 who have some very different opinions on singing and dancing.

Some were in to the signing. And some were not.

Though the camp was done, the training week wasn’t quite over…

Saturday brought an OD rollerski/ run workout with a roll from East Craftsbury to Lake Willoughby then run over Mt. Pisgah for most.

Rollerskis can take you a long way…(Caitlin Patterson’s camera/ Pepa’ picture taking).

 

 

Mid-June training life in Craftsbury

28.Jun.2017 by Caitlin Patterson

Last week was a fairly standard summer training week in Craftsbury for the GRP, but that’s not to say it’s boring or without unexpected (and expected) challenges. For most of the summer, we follow a cycle of two hard weeks then an easier week. Last week was the first of two, so we’re heading into another similar-if-a-little-harder week of training. A look at last week:

Monday –

Pre-workout: wake-up, stretch, put on my puddle boots and go let the chickens out of their coop. Then breakfast, tea and maybe toast, maybe eggs, maybe oatmeal.

Morning workout: 2.5 hour skate rollerski followed by a few minutes of jogging to stretch out. It was hot and humid, so the jog took the form of running to a creek nearby so that I could swim.

Mid-day, I spent several hours preparing information and finishing calculations on an energy project for our upcoming dining hall renovation at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center.

Afternoon workout: 1.5 hour run on the dirt roads with teammates Ben, Adam, and U23 training partner Lewis. We GRPers are really enjoying the company of our 3 summer training partners this year – Kelsey Dickinson, Lewis Nottison, and Adam Luban. Read more about these three athletes here: http://www.craftsbury.com/general/about-the-center/news/detail/1857/

Hey chickens, good morning.

Tuesday –

Morning strength circuit orchestrated by coach Pepa. A HARD one, with lots of jumps and several arms exercises right in a row. We do 4-6 rounds of our circuit, and during the first round, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it past 3-4 at most. But… strangely enough most of us felt better throughout, and made it through 6.

Mid-day meeting about the dining hall project with the architect and various other staff at the Outdoor Center.

Afternoon, run including the Craftsbury Outdoor Center Tuesday night 5k race at “tempo” which is a medium-hard pace. I expected it would be a struggle to run fast on the trails after our morning’s circuit, but my legs actually felt good and I had fun cruising the single-track trails during the race.

Kelsey and Matt Moody in a recent Tuesday Night Race

Wednesday –

Morning classic rollerski, 2.5 hours including 3×6 speeds of about 10-15 seconds. These kinds of speeds are a good opportunity to work on tempo and power, and we go as fast as we can possibly manage on the terrain of choice. Successful session with a few good technique modifications, and we always have the opportunity after our workout to review video that Pepa takes during the speeds, which is very helpful.

Adam and Ben out on the roads near Greensboro

Classic rollerski after a sprinkle of rain

Afternoon – coaching, riding, and taking photos at the first “Bike Club” of the summer season. 40 kids signed up for this year’s bike club, an organized once-a-week program at Craftsbury coached by ski coaches and GRP athletes. We’ll be splitting into groups roughly based on experience to learn skills, share tricks, and ride the single-track.

So many excited Bike Club kids!

Thursday –

Our morning workout consisted of uphill running-with-poles intervals on a dirt road gradual climb near the Craftsbury village. After a 30+ minute warm up, we ran up the hill 4-6 times, taking 9-10 minutes each time. Our coaches drive us back down the hill in between intervals, otherwise the rest would take too long. This was a particularly nice workout because while it’s ski specific with the poles, I also felt like it was good practice for my legs and the upcoming running races I’ll be competing in.

Mid-day several of us headed to the garden fields for a little post-lunch hoeing of weeds and mulching (applying thick layers of hay) between rows of squash and melons.

Afternoon Crossfit strength workout with fantastic coach Cady from Green Mountain Crossfit. Cady ran us through a warm-up circuit/stretching for a few minutes, and then we launched into a ladder of deadlifts, 5-5-3-3-2-2-2 reps, working up to our 2 rep maximum weight for the last set. The final challenge of the strength session was 11 minutes of dead lifts (at a lighter weight), hand stand push ups (or normal push-ups) and box jumps. Recipe for soreness tomorrow!

Friday –

The morning was rainy, but Kelsey, Hallie and I ventured over to Belvidere Mountain about 30′ drive away for a run/hike with poles. We saw the fire tower looming above from the summit, if not much else, and enjoyed splashing through puddles on the trail for 2.5 hours.

In the afternoon, with continued rain showers looming, I opted for a 30′ skierg followed by 40 minutes of assorted core strength, arm/shoulder strength, and balance exercises. If you think it sounds hard to fill 40 minutes with core strength, (no heavy lifting, not really any weights) think again and follow your closest nordic skier into the gym. Between banded exercises, variations on sit-ups, variations of planks, balancing and hopping on blue balance disks, it’s not hard at all to fill the time, especially with friends and music.

Saturday –

Time for a morning OD – skate rollerskiing for 3:45 through the rolling green hills around Lowell, Troy, and other such small towns north of Craftsbury. It was a scenic day of skiing, and we passed countless barns and cow fields. I did get caught off guard by a tar snake – that’s a light-hearted term for those slimey strips of tar they use to repair road cracks – which took me down and resulted in a little road rash, but the shock of falling passed quickly and it wasn’t a bad scrape at all.

The men’s crew passing a stack of hay bales. Thanks Pepa for snapping these next few photos on my camera!

The women’s group behind a tractor. Don’t worry, we weren’t actually tailgating it, it had just pulled out and soon outpaced us.

Right to left: Ben, Mike, Adam M, Lewis, Adam L

Afternoon strength – 20′ running to warm up, a few minutes of mobility and core strength, and then lifting. Several of our go-to exercises are such things as back squats, dead lifts, pull ups, bench press, dips, and beyond, typically around 4 sets of each exercise with medium weight. Strength really truly can make you feel better, like this afternoon, when I came into the gym a little sleepy and grumpy but left it tired in a different, better way, but also feeling happier.

Training week, complete! 23 hours, 130 miles covered, only a few drops of blood.

On Sunday, an easy day off from training, I spent the morning with a mix of weeding the berry patch and writing emails and crossing other computer-related to-do items off my list.  After lunch at the Outdoor Center, most of us from the GRP and a bunch of coaches and Craftsbury junior/BKL skiers drove to Sterling College for an afternoon of trail work. It was a few hours well-spent digging in the mud, finding rocks with a crew of Craftsbury kids to use for drainage features, carrying and rearranging logs, building boardwalks, and taking a few photos to capture the process. In the evening, Susan, Liz, Kelsey, Kait and I ventured out to Stowe to enjoy a bluegrass concert through Music in the Meadow at Trapp Family Lodge, a great end to a busy week!

Part of the trail crew. Our total numbers were at least 3 times this many but most of them were elsewhere when I took this picture.

Anna and Audrey (COC ski coaches) getting in their afternoon workout in the woods!

Tools for the trails

A group of Craftsbury BKL skiers helping with the drainage projects, and building a jump

Drainage

Lewis and Adam working on the boardwalks

What’s that pig looking at? Nothing strange to see here at all. (Ski speeds on the grass a few weeks ago.)

 

On Burnout, and Bye for Now

25.Apr.2017 by Heather Mooney

As long as I can remember making conscious decisions in my life, skiing has defined it. I loved it more than anything else, prioritized school and the rest of my life around it. It defined my friends, my high school and college choices. I know I’m incredibly lucky to have gotten to make those choices in the first place, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Until now, my biggest #firstworldproblem fear was burning out of skiing. I was scared that one day this thing that I felt so much a part of my character and my life, might not matter to me. And here I am, on paper “burnt out” of skiing. I ended my season in February, and don’t plan to start training for next season on May 1. As someone who used to live for race days, I now couldn’t bear the thought of bringing myself to another start line. The day after that last race in Ishpeming, I made it through one hour of our two-plus hour distance workout, and hated every minute of it, and hated myself for hating skiing on a beautiful day.

Somewhere in the years of training logs and excel sheets, a switch flipped. An infinite passion and excitement for all the details of the process gave way to an external force, driven by the numbers, results, the terms other people were operating on, not my own.  I lost touch with myself.  I didn’t know why I was doing it, and that became crippling. What used to be the thing I looked most forward to every day, training, was the one thing I couldn’t wait to have behind me. And as I slipped further and further, I looked farther and farther from outside of me to solve it. And as I struggled more and more, it only compounded itself, to the point where I don’t even know what the connection is anymore.

That’s really scary to me, not knowing. Yes, skiing is only a sport, but it’s the sport I’ve chosen to build so much of my life around. To think I’ve grown out of it, or don’t care about it any more, feels like I’m negating part of myself.  Maybe that’s part of growing up. Maybe I’ve changed. Maybe I haven’t.

I think skiing is still a part of me. But I have a lot of work to do to find where it begins, and why.  I hope it brings me back to being an elite racer, because that is what I’ve valued for so much of my life. But I have to give myself the opportunity to be okay with that not wanting to make the Olympics. That’s the only way I’ll be able to see where my heart wants to go with it. Then, when I see the why, whether it’s pursuing world cup starts, or graduate school, or designing trail maps I’ll be able to do it from my whole heart.  When I’m there, the hard things will be fun again.

In my parting, I’m immensely grateful to all off the Craftsbury community. To everyone who has shared an interesting conversation, supported me when I was down, pushed me in intervals, picked me up off the pavement (literally), offered a friendly smile, thank you. If there’s a place that’s an example of skiing mattering beyond our enjoyment of it, it’s here. I feel so lucky to have gotten to be a brief part of it. Thanks for making it so hard to leave.

Once a monkey always a monkey.

Biathlon Season Review

15.Mar.2017 by Alex Howe

I don’t post enough, I’ll be the first one to admit that. But, here it is. The whole season.

We started our winter season with a GRP pre-trials training camp in Canmore, Alberta.  Canmore is an awesome place to start the season because they do an amazing job preparing an early season loop.

Team training in Canmore.

The training center in Canmore saves snow all summer, then in early November they spread it on one of their smaller loops including the biathlon range. Teams from all over North America head out to take advantage of getting on some early snow before the racing season starts.

Emily training in Canmore.

We got in some good training with a bunch of volume and several good interval sessions. The last weekend of our camp we raced in the NORAM Cup, which is a great way to work out all the kinks and remember what racing feels like.

 

After the Canmore camp, the team traveled to Grand Rapids, Minnesota for trials. Coach Sam found us an awesome house on the lake just south of town and we settled in for some cold temperatures (which I have heard is pretty common out there). I had also heard plenty of stories about racing at Mt. Itasca, and let me tell you, they are all true.

Mass start at Mt. Itasca.

It is cold. Fleet supply is awesome. It is cold. There is a staircase on the course. It is cold. And you do change into your ski boots in a trailer.

All bundled up racing in Mt. Itasca.

Mother nature did not disappoint. It was cold. We ended up racing 3 of the 4 races that were scheduled because there was a forecasted high somewhere near -6 with wind chills around -18. The rest of the days we dealt with near zero temperatures, a little wind, and frozen fingers and toes. In the evenings we would jog to the end of the road with our down jackets on, quickly turn around, and sprint home. At the end of the week we were all very excited to be heading home to warmer weather and the holidays!

 

Shortly after the holiday break (which is one day according to Pepa), Emily, Hallie, and I left for the IBU Cup in Italy. The first weekend was being held up the valley from the tiny town of Martell.

View from the hotel in Martell.

The town is in the Sudtirol area of northern Italy, located just west of Bolzano. It is a narrow valley with hillside farms covering the steep walls on both sides. The farms are mostly small dairy farms, with a couple apple and strawberry growers mixed in. Each farm had a main barn connected to the house, with the livestock living under the hay mow. Even with the limited amount of sun that reached the valley each day, I was very excited to be surrounded by farms.

Biathlon range and stadium in Martell.

The venue was a 15 minute drive up the valley from our hotel, situated with the range against one side of the valley and a small ribbon of snow winding around through brown fields. Luckily the venue has snow making capabilities! The range had a river flowing through between the shooting points and the targets, and because it was at the end of the valley had some pretty strong winds that seemed to blow the whole time we were there.

Above the town of Martell, Italy.

The IBU Cup is very different from racing in North America, which was the only biathlon racing I had done up to that point. There are rigid guidelines of what you can wear, how many stickers you can have on your rifle, how big those stickers can be, and who can get into the ‘family club’ for free food. Racing at the IBU Cup has some major differences as well. There are far more racers, everyone is fast, everyone shoots fast, and everyone shoots well.

 

After getting rid of the butterflies in Martell, I traveled with the team to Arber, Germany. Bodenmais, the town we stayed in, is located in the Bavarian Forest in southeastern Germany.

Emily racing in Arber, Germany.

The venue was the first place where we raced on only natural snow, and it was snowy and windy the week we spent there. We were supposed to do an individual and a mixed relay, but due to gusting winds they canceled the relay.

Then we turned around and headed back to Italy for a week of training in Toblach. Right as we drove in we were excited to find that the skiing world cup was happening right there in town. We stopped by and got to see Ida, and watch the finals. Toblach is an amazing skiing town. They had almost no natural snow, but continuously were spreading man-made snow on 40+ kilometers of trail. There were ski trails through bare fields that went from town to town, covering miles of empty cow pastures in the process.

Watching the IBU World Cup in Antholz, Italy.

Once we were all well rested and had gotten some good training hours in, we packed up and took the long drive north to Poland for the Open European Championships. Duszniki, Poland is a spa town and attracts tourists from around the world. The town burns predominantly coal as a source of heat, which was a smell I had never really experienced before (Not a good smell). It also has one of the most well put together venues I have ever been to.

Racing the pursuit in Duszniki.

Everything from their wax rooms, to the course and range seemed new and well maintained.  We did another individual, a sprint, a pursuit, and a mixed relay.

After a fun week with lots of racing, we headed south to Slovakia for the last weekend of IBU races during the trip. Osrblie is a very small town that had a cluster of houses and a venue resembling a smaller version of Soldier Hollow.

Emily racing the pursuit in Osrblie, Slovakia.

Five weeks after we left, we arrived back home with more racing on the schedule. We had our next sets of trials in Jericho, and the following week in Lake Placid. Emily, Hallie, and myself qualified for two more weekends of racing in Finland and Estonia.

Kontiolahti, Finland was our first stop, just north of the city of Joensuu. Then venue is set on a plateau above a large lake. The race trails descend down off the edge of the plateau toward the lake before looping around and climbing several steep “walls” back into the range.

Kontiolahti stadium and range.

Emily racing up the “wall” in the pursuit.

Once we had climbed enough steep hills, we traveled south with all the other teams to Otepaa, Estonia for the last weekend of racing for the season. We finished the IBU season off with two relay races and two sprint races.

Otepaa, Estonia stadium.

Biathlon is a totally different game in Europe. Its amazing, frustrating, fast, and very accurate. I can’t wait to get back to training so next year I can get back over there and keep going toe to toe with those fast Euros!