Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fall Camp Update

I'm only two days away from finishing one of the toughest blocks of training I can remember and I couldn't be happier with how things have gone.

Last week we moved houses to a place closer to the training venue. It's not quite the palace from the first week, but it's really comfortable. We've got a really friendly barn cat that sits at the back door, several horses that are all too eager to take carrots or apple cores off our hands, and one group of about 15 deer that walks by the house every morning and evening. The two pictures below were taken from the house - and yes, that is snow you're seeing in the second picture. We woke two different mornings last week to a couple of inches on the ground. It melted pretty fast both times, but it was just enough to get us psyched about getting on snow next month in Canada.
Last week was a solid 18 hours of training that included lot of speed work and two time trials. I raced against a few juniors on Wednesday in a 12.5K pursuit and shot well enough to win. Saturday was a 15K mass start time trial with the National Team and National Guard athletes. We raced five laps of a really challenging course and had to deal with gusty wind conditions. I led for the whole of the first lap, but skied too hard and was subsequently sucking wind when I came in to shoot the first stage. From there, things went south. I ended up missing 11 of 20 targets (one more than National Team member Jeremy Teela), which unfortunately had me in the penalty loop for a long time. Despite missing lots of targets, the time trial was a great learning experience and goes down as a success in my book. I'm making positive progress as long as I can learn from every time trial and race and I'm confident things are going to come together during the race season.

The picture below was taken on the range at Soldier Hollow one morning last week before all the snow melted off. Winter isn't far away!
This week has been great so far. We're all getting tired and starting to feel the strain of nearly three weeks of training, but thoughts of racing next month are helping us stay focused. Today we did one of the toughest workouts I can remember that consisted of 12 uphill intervals that we skied as hard as possible. I got to ski with National Team member Tim Burke, which was a great opportunity to mimic some of his technique. I've been working with the coaches on some new skating techniques and trying to match one of the fastest biathletes in the world stride for stride is one of the best ways to learn. I got dropped a few times, but I was able to hang more often than not, so I'm stoked.

I took the picture below while on a run on the hillsides above Soldier Hollow, the Olympic complex, where we do most of our training. In the foreground is the stadium and barely visible on the hillside are the trails. What a fantastic place to train.

Tomorrow is an easy day and then Saturday is one last hard interval set that will wrap up the camp. I'm headed to Boise, ID on Sunday with Sara and her parents to spend a few days and then I'll fly back to Lake Placid where I'll spend about a week training and getting packed up in preparation for traveling to Calgary for our first on-snow camp and the first set of North American Cup races. The races aren't that far away and I'm getting antsy to get things rolling.

1 comment:

Jean said...

I like your blog Zach! It's always fun to find out what you and Sara are up to. Have fun in Boise.