Tuesday, July 24, 2012

LP vs The County

       As if you didn't see this one coming. When people ask me where I'm at or off two there are three categories of answers I can reply with. One is "the county", one is "Placid" and the other should be called the random category. The last one ranges anywhere from Utah to Ostersund, Sweden to Siberia. LP and home life deserve there own designation because I spend enough time there to wish I wasn't there as much. Both have there advantages and disadvantages over the other. This is just an idea of what some of those differences are in my experience.
The top of White Face
       First off, we have to consider transportation. This is something to minimize. The two locations are actually equal, provided I'm only in LP for less than ten days. I consider the eight plus hour drive through Canada part of LP's average weekly driving time. If I'm in Placid for a few weeks at a time the winner is clear. From May 1st to mid June this year I used less than half a tank of gas while the car was parked in the OTC athlete parking lot. The county can't hold a candle to that stat. When you live in Stockholm going anywhere means driving for 20 minutes at the least. The NHC in Presque Isle is about 37 minutes. The 10th mountain lodge in Fort Kent is approximately 35 minutes. I know this because I've made the trip one too many times. I've said before, while I like being in other places, I don't like the process of getting there. Lake Placid has what I need crammed into biking distance of where I sleep.
        Speaking of sleep; nothing can compete with having a single. When I'm home I have a room to myself and I can here the rain on the roof. Conversely when I'm at the OTC I occasionally have to put on head phones and listen to recorded rain hitting a roof to drown out the sound of snoring and cars passing by. Need I elaborate more?
         The food situation is always a critical factor. This is a close and could swing both ways. I don't have to wait, pay, or cook for myself at the OTC. It's fashionable to hate OTC food. I think it taste just fine, and even if it isn't gourmet who am I to complain? If you're one of the athletes that has eaten here only to complain about the oatmeal consistency than I suggest you get over yourself. On the other hand we have home life food. The down side to eating at the OTC is that there is no privacy. I like sit down and enjoy my meals by myself. Instead I find myself in a packed cafeteria watching sports or breaking news I couldn't care less about. A breakfast in the county means going outside to pick some rhubarb to go with my cereal and local eggs. All in a house to myself. What a gem those days are... Obviously, home food is not free or readily prepared, but it's worth the effort in the end. All things considered it's a draw.
This could be anywhere in northern Maine
         Training circumstances is also a close one. Lake Placid has a sheltered range about two minutes from the OTC. FK and PI have an open range about 35 minutes from the house... Seriously I despise driving! In Fort Kent's defense they do have a professionally built roller loop. One with functional pavement that Utah's loop couldn't hold a candle to. The pseudo roller loop in LP goes through a parking lot. It's a straight down hill for 90 seconds followed by a three minute climb into the four point range. We actually have to have someone standing at the top of one of the hills to manage traffic for us while were training. Off loop rollerskiing goes to LP though because there are super nice roads around the Adirondack region. Not just for long distance roller skiing but for up hill time trials and the like. LP has it all. This also applies to road biking. I would have to give the county the upper hand for mt biking though. We have the IMBA trails at the NHC, plus the never ending logging roads that I personally love biking on. By the way, anyone have a cycle cross bike they want to sell? The county has virtually no hiking! LP has the Adirondacks! There are plentiful and enjoyable to hike! I could go on, but both places have there ups and downs for  any form of training... except hiking that is.
Top of Cascade.
        The last factor I want to compare is the fun factor. If not for the fun factor I wouldn't be doing this sport. That said I think it's pretty important. All of my old friends are back home and I always enjoy hanging out with them. If you grew up in the county you know how make it a fun place to be. If you're foreign, it might help to make some friends. Which really isn't hard to do, but still... I have to mention that the average weekend on main street in Placid is even or more exciting than the busiest weekend in the county. Those tourist towns are always putting something on. Half the time it seems like Lowell's band is playing somewhere. These days, the teammates back home seem to be more busy than ever. I'm training a little less than 800 hours this year and have written about how busy I am, and yet still I will make time for a bonfire if the others are up for it. The national team in LP will get a bonfire going on a Wednesday even if we have an intensity session the next day! Then again, the OTC (aka: Olympic day care Center) dorm life will still find a way to wear thin on you. In conclusion I would say county life is more relaxing, but Placid life is just simply more exciting.
Sometimes random can mean Croatia. 
        Aroostook county has endless fields and wood roads that make for the best crust skiing known to man kind in the spring! Lake Placid has some of the oldest mountains in the world! I can;t wait to get back home after the races in Jericho later on in August. Even if it only for a week. But I can't help but appreciate the  conveniences and things to do here in upstate New York. For a biathlete, both are down right nice places to be. And for the record the next answer you get for the random category will be Ruhpolding, Germany. 

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