Tale by Kikkan Randall and many photos inside...
Getting ready for an Olympics close to home is a big advantage... and we're using it!
Today my fellow US Ski teammers and I traveled out to the 2010 Olympic cross-country venue, Whistler Olympic Park (becoming affectionately known as WOP), for a team sprint simulation on skate roller skis.
Unfortunately the ski trails are not fully accessible by roller skis, so the coaches improvised and we held the time trial on the access road leading up to the biathlon stadium. Every time we lined up for the start, we passed the giant stone inukshuk, reminding us that in just under 530 days, we'll be here competing for Olympic glory.
To make best use of the high quality athletes that are here training together we ran the "team sprint" with phantom teammates. That meant racing each round together and instead of tagging off to a real teammate, we just used our lap times as the recovery period. This kept the group tightly bunched, and the pace high.
To simulate a full race day, we contested both a semi-final and a final with a 45 min break in between. The women's course was about 1400m long and took right around 3:10 at the fastest, while the men raced a 1600m course in about the same time. Split times and post-round lactates were taken to see how our bodies responded to the race effort.
It was hard!! The course started off flat, carried up two solid V2 pitches, curved around a round-about and then sailed back down to a fast finish line. Every lap we tried to improve times and by the end our bodies were boiling with lactate. There were even a couple crashes and broken poles, this was the real deal!
Overall it was a great workout: a challenging test for our fitness, a very focused arena to test out technique ideas and strategies, and a chance for the coaches to watch us in action. The benefits of such a training session are huge. When you are giving your best, and your teammates are doing the same right along side you, some how you can find an extra gear. That extra gear we need to win Olympic medals!
The Whistler training camp continues on for another six days. Stay tuned for more updates!
-- Kikkan Randall (www.kikkan.com)
Photos below of the Whistler Bungee Jump (160 foot), a team sprint workout (2x3x3mins all out) and our visit to the Olympic Village:
Andy Newell was a One Man Wrecking Crew.
High stoke after the dive.
Stoke high hammering on the Olympic trails too.
Kikkan Randall strong as ever if not stronger.
Yeah, that's something to think about...
but not for long.
Here is a sort of a jump as well... going All Out.
Andy Facteau, team PT, walking the plank.
Visiting the Olympic Village.
Newell gets the low down.
Laid out back flip.
Filleted out side flip.
The hammer: Is Down.
Athletes from the MWSC, APU, SVSEF, Canadians, Dartmouth, USST...
Oh, hell yeah!