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CXC Team joins US Ski Team at Lake Placid

Thu, Nov  1, 2007 - By Bryan Fish

The CXC Team joined in on the US Ski Team for the October camp at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York. Other Olympic Development programs and a handful of top junior athletes also participated in the camp, making this camp a unique opportunity to train with other top skiers prior to the ski season.

Andre Watt and Matt Liebsch on a distance skate

Andre Watt and Matt Liebsch on a distance skate

Training volumes and training load is presently high, so our goal is to limit travel, focus on individual goals and training with urgency and maximize recovery. However, the opportunity to work alongside other organizations, clubs and programs from throughout the US presents a unique opportunity. The interaction of coaches and athletes, alike, and sharing training and technique concepts assists in evolving Nordic skiing in the US.

Finish of the Whiteface Mountain Rollerski Race

Finish of the Whiteface Mountain Rollerski Race

Inevitably dryland training during the fall months can mentally wear on the most focused of athletes as one anxiously anticipates real skiing – skiing on well groomed, firm set, white tracks versus black asphalt with the only hint of a track being the double yellow lines.

Third, the facilities at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid have all the necessary amenities. The dryland training in the High Peak Adirondack region is excellent. Equally important is the atmosphere the Olympic Training Center possesses. There is an Olympic enthusiasm everywhere you look. It’s uplifting to sit in the dining hall and have the lugers, freestyle aerialists or ski jumpers plug their camcorders into the fifty inch televisions and watch their daily work-outs including awesome speeds, big air and potentially debilitating crashes.

Kristina Owen, Johanna Winters, Garrott Kuzzy & Brian Gregg doing skate intervals

Kristina Owen, Johanna Winters, Garrott Kuzzy & Brian Gregg doing skate intervals

These reasons made it worth our effort to compromise staying in the Midwest and instead travel half way across the country to Lake Placid, NY during a vital training time.

CXC TEAM CAMP GOALS

There was a balance between group workouts and individual team sessions. Our goal was to train on steeper and longer ascents in some of our threshold and higher intensity sessions, so many of these efforts were done on our own. Another area we focused on was increasing the speed of our athletes. Sprinting is not necessarily a Team strength, so our goal was to integrate some of our speed sessions with athletes and teams that are stronger in this area. Third, our goal was to learn from other skiers by skiing behind technically efficient skiers to improve our own technique. The opportunity to ski with better competition is one of the best methods, if not THE BEST method to improve. Video is after the fact. Skiing behind someone provides an excellent opportunity to make infinite adjustments to technique and tempo then and there. It is important to be able to recognize good technique, but it’s most important for a skier to understand THE FEEL of what is most efficient for that individual skier.

Garrott Kuzzy on a distance Double Pole Rollerski

Garrott Kuzzy on a distance Double Pole Rollerski

WEEK ONE

Our first week was rigorous. It included three intensity sessions including 5.5 – 7 minute uphill threshold skate intervals on approximately an eleven percent grade, 3-4 minute race pace classic rollerski intervals on an equally steep grade and skate sprint intervals. The grade our the first two interval sessions required me to drive the athletes down every time and drive the van back up in second gear. The van brakes definitely got a workout along with the athletes. The skate sprint intervals were chaos. All the groups participated in this event, so the roadway was overtaken with packs of high-paced skate skiers. The rain and wet leaves provided another challenge, but no spills and no broken equipment. We also had three strength sessions in the first week. Two of them were in the weight room and the other was a poling work out. The week culminated with a three to five hour jog and hike into the High Peaks of the Adirondacks.

WEEK TWO

Our volume for week two was between thirteen to sixteen hours versus the eighteen to twenty-two hours the previous week. Monday is always a day off for us. The athletes took full advantage. We maintained three intensity sessions, but decreased the number of distance and strength sessions. We followed our camp goal by doing a threshold ski-walking workout up Whiteface Mountain. Whiteface is the only alpine hill in the East that can hold a FIS downhill event, so the goal of the men was to ski walk to the top by the end of their interval sets. I lactate tested them on their second interval to ensure they were true to pace and let them go.

The second intensity workout was with all groups in a massive race pace uphill double pole interval session.

Participants in the Whiteface Mountain Rollerski Race

Participants in the Whiteface Mountain Rollerski Race

 

The last intensity effort was a five mile uphill skate time trial that climbed more than three thousand vertical feet. This road was closed for inspection, so I decided to road bike up it the afternoon before. It was evident that there wouldn’t be rest on this time trial, for it appeared to be a steady eight percent grade for at least the first mile. It was a consistent ride to thirty-eight hundred feet above sea level and then I hit the cloud line.

The foliage was ice covered and the winds were intensifying. The grade was steepest between two and three miles. I suspect nine to ten percent grade. It flattened to four to six percent grade between 3.5 to 4.25 miles with a strong tail wind of at least twenty-five miles in hour. The roadway at that point was spotted with black ice. The road turned and was right into the wind the last three-quarters of a mile. The winds were greatest on top and the roadway was covered in ice. I ended up walking my bike down the top portion due to the hill winds and ice.

Johanna Winters & Kristina Owen descending Mt Marcy

Johanna Winters & Kristina Owen descending Mt Marcy

I didn’t see how we could race this the next day, but the skies cleared the next morning and melted off the black ice. The ice remained on the trees and other vegetation. This left incredible scenery for racers and spectators alike. The wind directions were identical to the day prior, but significantly less. None the less, it was a huge advantage to catch a draft the last three-quarters of a mile. Results and more pictures can be viewed at www.nysef.org & www.teamtoday.org. We ended camp with another jog and hike into the Adirondacks. We headed up Mt Marcy as we ran into snow. A couple of the guys made it to the top. Check out Brian Gregg’s website at http://xcskilife.com/ to view a great photograph of the summit of Mt. Marcy.

Think Snow!

Bryan Fish
CXC Team Head Coach