Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fall Training & Olympic Trials Warm-up

September and October passed quickly. As the real racing gets close the remaining fall weeks always seem to fly by faster and faster. After returning to Lake Placid from Alaska I spent a couple weeks training in the east. The weather was unseasonably good considering how nasty things can get in the east starting in September. I was more than happy to only have to deal with rain a time or two. At the end of September I headed west to get ready for the final dry-land National Team Camp in Utah at the 2002 Olympic venue, Soldier Hollow. Soldier Hollow is an hour from Utah in the Heber Valley. Since that area is high desert the the weather is typically fantastic - cool at night and sunny and mid 50's during the day. Perfect training weather as far as I'm concerned. Kind of reminds me of summers spent training in Alaska except for a lot less moisture. The four weeks I spent in UT were a great last opportunity to train with the A Team. We spent hours training on the paved roller-ski trails at Soldier Hollow and also did a fair amount of training in the surrounding Wasatch Mountains. See the pictures below.
The Wasatch Mts. in beautiful Utah

Soldier Hollow, Heber City, UT - site of the 2002 Winter Olympics
Training day.

Team skis ready for snow.
During the camp we had two competitions. The first was a 10K sprint race and the second a 20K individual. In the 10K I had a nearly perfect day, shooting clean for the first time in my career and finishing second behind Tim Burke, the top US Biathlete. That was a fantastic result and gives me confidence going into the Olympic season. In the 20K I again had great skiing and shot very well putting me in 5th place overall.
Clean shooting in the sprint race.

Rewards of a two-hour uphill ski!

After finishing the camp at the end of October I made a brief stop off in Boise, ID before heading back east for a few more weeks of training on my own. While eastern weather in September is always iffy, November weather is typically nasty. Usually we see rain and snow mixed on several days and daily precipitation is almost a given. I'm not sure what was going on, but of the three weeks I was in Placid training we saw temps in the mid 40's and 50's and only one day of rain. That's no fun for the locals because they want snow to come early, but dry, cool weather was a gift as far as we biathletes are concerned. We'd prefer to have great roller-skiing than have to deal with the in-between mess that happens when snow comes but doesn't stick. Needless to say, training was great and I was able to get in a solid block of volume training before heading to Canmore, Alberta to get on snow for the first time.

No comments: