October 21, 2012 (Canmore, AB) - It’s been a busy last month and a half and when things are busy they tend to rip along at a good clip. Things are getting real in real hurry is what I’m trying to say. In a scant 17 days I will be on a plane heading over to Scandinavia to begin yet another year of racing the skinny skis.
I know I probably state this every single year, but I swear this training season went by the fastest-ever. I can still remember sitting in Candlestick Park, the 4,000km backcountry ski roadtrip and that Hawaiian breeze like it was yesterday when in reality it was 6 long months ago.
I’m wordy enough, so I’ll save the nostalgia and move on to the goods. A few days ago I returned home to Canmore from our last altitude camp down in Park City, UT.
How did it go? It was phenomenal, thanks for asking. Seriously, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a better place to train between 2,100-3,000m above the sea for dry land training anywhere in the world (as a cross-country skier of course). It’s so beautiful and inspirational that most workouts seemed to go by in mere seconds instead of the 4-5 hours of work.
The colors this season as well were an added bonus – the mosaic that greeted us everyday on the roadsides twisting through the Wasatch Mountains or trailside high on the ridges were magnificent. That’s right – magnificent –I could think of no other adjective to use when describing that explosion of color.
What was also magnificent and seems to be a standard deal in late September/early October is the weather. Everyday is a blue blazer – sunny, cloudless, inviting. It’s just so enticing to get head out the door to bang out long, lung searing workouts when that sun is shining down – almost makes the incessant smack and verbal diarrhea that Mr. Harvey exudes during all training sessions bearable (kidding buddy – I’m just as bad – but the sentence was too beautiful to edit out, haha).
This season we were joined by the entire Senior Development Team – so we were quite the crew – 11 men together (with Dasha joining the men’s program as well for the camp) training most sessions all together. We all get along super well and have a fantastic time together – so to have the opportunity to share in the smiles and pain with such great friends is pretty sweet.
I was really happy to have the big crew with us in Park City and a highlight was showing some of the youngsters (I can say that – I’m almost 30!!) what Park City and area has to offer was cool (there were a few dudes down there that had never been down to the Canadian National Team autumn staple). The training, trails, roads, and canyons – everything is worth sharing that’s for sure!
When not training the scene is pretty chilled out – expect if we’re playing children’s board games (this year’s edition is “Settlers of Catan” which has replaced Monopoly) or if it’s NFL Sunday (of the 11 men down there, 9 of us play Fantasy football against each other. Yes – we are total dorks, so there’s no need to point that out. We’re well aware).
Most of you have read enough athletes’ blogs to know that when we’re not training most of the time we are sleeping, eating, getting therapy or chilling out. It’s an interesting existence if you live it – one I’ve fully embraced obviously – but it doesn’t make for great mind-blowing blog updates, so I’ll leave that as is.
That said, some semantics for the Jamie Coatsworths out there: We trained roughly 20hrs a week with the normal longer sessions mixed in with strength and interval training. From my point of view everyone came out of the camp looking great and feeling good – which is a success in itself as training at altitude (as it’s well documented) can be a bit tricky and/or risky. Again, our men’s and women’s teams train separately – so our staff down there working with the men – Justin, Louis, Stef, Jodi, Charles, and our therapists extraordinaire – Scott, Wolfman, and Anne – did an excellent job – so biggest thanks!
Directly from Park City I traveled East to Ontario to spend some days with my mom on the shores of the stunning Lake Superior. It was so good to connect with family and I miss most – if not all traditional family holidays – so we made up for it by having a wonderful Thanksgiving (albeit late) together, had a great hike down in Minnesota, and enjoying the Ontario autumn together. I most certainly give so much thanks to my fantastic family for their love and support. Ok, ok, I know I promised no fluffy-woffy or nostalgia – I digress.
Now, I’m back in Canmore. They’ve (the Canmore Nordic Centre) laid out the snow – laying out the same 1.8km of snow they saved from last winter – and I’ve been skiing on “Frozen Thunder” a bit while maintaining my normal dryland training. I’m feeling pretty good coming out of the camp and I am most certainly excited to get over to Europe again to get things revved up – that’s what all the hard work is for.
For some fun, here’s what I’ve been listening to these days on heavy rotation (in my opinion these are just beauty albums). Check em’ out if you’re in need of some new/great tunes. I’m a total old-school “full album” appreciator/listener/dork – so these few new albums have made a big impression.
– Grizzly Bear’s latest: Shields. Words cannot describe how boss this album is
– Band of Horses – Garage Rock. A little more country feeling, but some real gems on the album – no question.
– Cat Power’s Sun. Whoooaaaaa. Amazing. Even after epic amounts of listening, the song “Nothin but time” gives me goosebumps.
– Santogold – Master of my make believe. Sure, a bit fluffy – but you got to listen to some fun, energizing stuff sometimes right?
On the book shelf – (now read and literally on the bookshelf after the Park City camp) were:
– The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
– The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton/Daniel Coyle (Scary. Sad. Jeez, cycling is both beautiful and a mess).
– The last 4 editions of the New Yorker. Always amazing reading
– The Walrus (magazine).
– And now I’m reading “Hemingway’s Boat Everything he loved in life and lost 1934-1961 by Paul Hendrickson. A bit repetitive at times, but interesting nonetheless. Hemingway is QUITE the guy, but we knew that already.
Also, if you’re interested at all in the US election, check this interesting read in Vanity Fair by Michael Lewis. Great read HERE.
Cools! Keep that stick on the ice,