Kris is back in Whistler - this time with the whole USST. This is Kris’s second intensity camp of the year - the July camp being the first. The program this time is similar, but volume is reduced a little bit, and he’ll take advantage of the presence of the sprint team for some high speed head to head action. Today was day 2 of the camp, and the first big effort of the camp - a classic sprint time trial.
Rollerski races are always a question of comparative ski speed, and today’s race underscored that rule as strongly as any race I’ve seen. Most of the USST guys are on Marwe classic skis. Kris’s Marwe classic skis seem to be quite fast, and he only keeps them around for team time trials. However, for this one Kris decided to borrow Noah Hoffman’s Marwe classic skis. As it turns out, Noah’s skis are quite slow. Kris qualified fifth, behind Koos, Newell, Dan Roycroft and Pat O’Brien. OK - if you pay attention to North American ski racing then you might know who Dan Roycroft is - after all he’s been to World Championships and Olympics for Canada. But Pat O’Brien? You’d have to be paying attention to Eastern Collegiate racing to pick-up on that name. Dan is a very accomplished skier, but not much of a sprinter, and so he was using Kris’s quite fast Marwes. Pat was on quite fast skis as well. I’m kind of enjoying these italicized quites.
After watching Kris push slow skis around the qualifying lap, and then watching him lose contact with the other four guys in the A group during the first head to head heat, we relented and had Kris and Dan switch skis. This put Kris at the front of the pack, and Dan about 20 seconds off his previous lap time. As I said, those skis of Noah’s were (here it comes) quite slow.
For the final two heats Kris was in the race. In the nominal semi-final he lead from the start and tried to drop the rest of the guys. Koos and Newell have seen this before on the World Cup and it didn’t both those guys too much. They just tucked in behind, let Kris beat himself up, and came around at the end. In the final Kris made the tactical adjustment - followed the sprinters, and came around at the end to claim the last of the four efforts.
All in all it was a very satisfactory start to the camp. Kris is quite rested, coming off some down time which was in the schedule to make room for his diabetes speech at the Democratic National Convention. The volume will stay very low (quite low) for the rest of this week. There is a sprint relay coming up on Thursday, the hillclimb test on Saturday, and the 30K pursuit on Monday. Then, as long as everything goes OK through all of that, Kris will jump into the double-pole interval session with the sprinters on Tuesday. And he’s got a couple of days of testing in Utah immediately following that. So - yeah - the workload will be high enough, and Kris will be holding his volume quite low this week. The real tests of his progress will come at the end of the week with the hillclimb and the 30K.