Thursday, August 27, 2015

Norway Summer Camp

It's unclear what the exact number of spectators was for our final roller ski race in Norway, but I've heard guesses that range from 30,000 to 50,000 people. Yesterday we got an email from the race organizer that said 50% of all TV viewers in Norway chose to watch that final race. This is cross country skiing we're talking about. Actually, it's not even cross country skiing, it's off season roller ski races and half of the nation's TV viewers chose to tune into it on their Saturday afternoon. I'll talk about the training and roller ski racing in a minute, but personally, the biggest take away for me was how much of an eye opening experience this camp was. So thank you to the Toppidrettsveka organizers for including us and making this trip possible.

Posing with our "We Love Aure" signs on our off day fishing excursion
The number of spectators was not the only eye opening thing about this camp. The respect we encountered while training was something I had never experienced before. I'm a big advocate for safety while roller skiing. It bothers me when people don't wear helmets and I try to wear bright clothing whenever possible. Cars are generally a lot bigger than we are, so I try my hardest not to get in their way, but on the roads in Norway, the traffic catered to our needs. They didn't expect us to pull over when they passed. If they honked, it was a honk of approval instead of frustration, and when they decided to slow down and follow us for awhile, it was because they were genuinely curious and excited about what we were doing.
Skate speeds with the girls (Matt Whitcomb photo)

Distance double pole ski (Matt Whticomb photo)

Cooling down from speeds with Jessie (Noah photo)

Practicing transitions before the races (Matt Whitcomb photo)
The final take away from this camp was the reminder that Norwegians are fast. Really fast. We did quite well as a team in the races. I think each person had some highs and some lows, but we came away with two podiums, several top 10s, and a lot of strong solid race efforts. The highlights for me were the classic sprint where I ended up 5th, and the final 15k classic pursuit, where I was able to ski with a big pack for the majority of the race. We did four races in three days that consisted of a 5k uphill running race, a classic sprint, a 15k skiathlon, and a 15k classic pursuit. This was probably the most racing I've ever done in such a condensed period of time. It's easy to fall into a more laid back routine of summer training, and I think it was really beneficial to put on a race bib and do some races against a World Cup caliber field. We came away from the camp knowing what our strengths are, and more importantly what our weaknesses are and we're left with just under three months to work on them before the World Cup season begins.
Jumping for joy after some bog running with Kik and Jess

Scouting for fishies with Jessie

Liz on the podium for the uphill run!

The USST gals on top of the mtn after the uphill run (Matt Whitcomb photo)

Thumbs up after my classic sprint (Caitlin photo)

Oh! One more highlight was racing to the line with Petter Northug in the uphill run. I didn't realize it was him at the time, but Matt captured this moment and it's probably one of my biggest achievements to date :)

Brown cheese!

Racing with Jessie in downtown Trondheim

A group run in Trondheim led by Conor Bolger after the races

Goodbye Norway! (Simi photo)
Now it's time for a week of recovery. I'll be spending this week in Colorado with Simi before heading back to VT for September. I'm looking forward to some mountain adventures and a lot of resting. That's all for now!
Taking Jenny and James' kitten for a little bike ride 
Running under some smoky, but still beautiful Colorado skies 

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