This one needs to be dated to differentiate it from all the other years. The Utah camp really has become an annualized trip. This year the camp made for nice little extension of summer. Of all training conditions, the cold rain of fall in northern Maine is the best to avoid like the plague. The timing of this years camp wasn't the most convenient in all regards. It pretty much forced me out of potential hunting opportunities. Conversely it made for some great training opportunities. I always leave these focused camps with something gained to work on before the next one ramps up. The 2014 Utah survival camp was no exception.
To be fair the three week suffer cycle started a week before flying left for a couple of time zones. Unlike the other years this Utah camp was a little earlier than usual. Last year after three weeks we were back home for November training. This time, it has only been two weeks and we're not even in mid October yet. That's where the summer extension comes from. It was fall when I left the county. Which is something to appreciate for plenty of obvious reasons if you've ever spent some time in the east (right) this time of year. The deal with training out here is that it's close to perfect all the time. Blue skies and dry across the board. It's been around or just below freezing every morning. By the time we start the core part of the morning session it's all 60s with a t-shirt. It feels even better when you remember what it's like trying to load clips when your hands are so cold and wet that you have to mash the fifth round in with your knuckle because your thumb is too numb. Yeah. Those days will make you appreciate nice weather. When I retire what ever I move onto will have no weather grounded limitations.
Travel wasn't too bad. My flight actually made it as planned. Which is seemingly unusual these days. Unfortunately the ride to our house in Midway didn't go planned. The other coaches and athletes were delayed. The coaches didn't make in till after the rental agency closed. It took some shenanigans to procure the rental car before 1:30 AM. Everything after 12 in the morning is blur. I remember waking up occasionally when the coaches needed to know where I parked the rental. I guess it was nice to be able to just close my eyes at the SLC airport and open them to our place in Midway. After finding a bed to sleep in at three in the morning I decided that skate combos at 8:30 were not going to happen.
Once travel was out of the way is back to the grind. The second round of trials were not at Soldier Hollow this year. With no pending races there was no excuse to not train at full bore. With out any classic roller skis or bike it was down to skating, double pole, running, and the few weight room stops. The problem with this came down to how much running my legs could take. It wasn't easy, but I was able to make it out with any serious injuries. A four plus hour run / hike with a hefty amount of downhill running will demolish your legs. Skating and biking will make your legs tired, Running will make them sore and tired. I planned my massages accordingly. That coupled with some good stretching was enough to make the difference. Energy levels always have a different pacing at altitude. With all the eggs, spinach, iron supplements, and wild game consumed in the past month there was no excuse for lack of iron to hold me back. The first week was the hardest. The dead feeling in my legs on the first Thursday suggested that there was no chance of making it through this camp alive. Sure enough Friday was slightly easier. With Sunday off Monday was much better. By the time we were doing easy skate combos on Wednesday I felt considerable better that I had six days prior. Altitude is strange like that. With one more day to go I'm somewhere in the middle. Tired from training and feeling better with acclimatization.
There wasn't much for long workouts. No one got lost or hit by a train. Shooting has also been fairly repetitive and boring. There were few wake up call sessions. Shooting at altitude tends to add a new element. It's hard to switch up the pattern and take that extra breath after the first shot. Still things are heading in the right direction. When I look back on it there was never a terrible shooting day. A couple of them were great and the rest were mediocre but never abysmal. Consistency in shooting is more precious than gold. If you can shoot at a high level on a consistent bases you're at least bound to do well in the overall.
Aside from the roller loop in Soldier Hollow continuing it's downward spiral in quality it's not so bad out here. I managed to get in one meal of some real Mexican food. Goose season may have taken the blunt end of the camp timing but for the first time in years I'll be home for Halloween. So at least there is that for non business related events to look forward to. Before that however, is the second round of December team trials back in Jericho, VT. Let's see if I can make the most of the time spent home leading up to those races.