Monday, September 28, 2015

LP Part Two

        For only have one week to work with, the amount of progress in Lake Placid was plenty sufficient. The goal with every training camp is utilized any opportunities that you might not have access to otherwise. In this case, it was mostly having that head to head style competition and an overabundance of coach feedback. An extra week would have been great. Nevertheless, after a few very hard sessions crammed into a seven day period the confidence is better than it was before I left.

        The idea was to push a lot of hard sessions into a short period of time. The reason having a lot to do with exercise phys. The exact kind of test we did were chosen because they are the same ones we did a year ago. Giving the coaches and athletes some results to work with. The last benefit is the fact that we would all be doing this at the same time.
          When it comes to shooting, this extremely beneficial. Dryfiring in you pajamas and doing a time trial in the cold rain may actually look very similar mechanically, but mentally it's much more different. Having a chance to shoot in a situation that creates the pressure and stress of an important race is always worth your time. For my week in LP this was a couple of afternoon shooting test and couple of morning time trials.
          Physically the time was just as demanding. With only 15 hours total it shouldn't be anything out of the question. Still, the week ended with an almost 40 minute continuous uphill race. This was after three time trials, a short race pace effort session, and three strength sessions. Not to mention the easy distance sandwiched between it all. I mentioned the first two time trials in my last update. The third one was XC roller ski race on the well known Bear Cub road. The conditions were a little better than our previous test on the road. As a result most of the team was about a minute faster. Still, I like to think we're just that much better now, but who knows.
       As for the last day, this was the so called "C2C" race. The Climb to the Castle put on by NYSEF has become a staple in the annual US ski and biathlon fall calendar. There is actually no obligation to show up. The only gain you have is the satisfaction of completing a very hard workout and knowing how good you are at long sustained uphill efforts. Long story short, the 2015 C2C was a success. It could have been a little better and lot worse. I learned that in the awkward V1 or V2 (similar to 1st gear or 2nd gear in standard vehicle) technique delima, V1 is the choice for me. Compared to the other athletes V1 felt like a recovery, but without losing any ground. I also learned that if you know know you're going to be racing in a cloud, the darkest set of lenses you own are not the optimum choice of accessories. While I'm at it, make sure you know the course well enough. I wished I had attacked a little bit earlier. On the other hand, with the way the last 100 meters panned out I'm not sure what effect that would have had. I was in the back of the lead group of five. After drafting for about 35 minutes I was fresh enough to go for it. Unfortunately I'm not much of a sprinter and should have made a move earlier. In this case, Tim lost a pole tip and was out of full sprinting capability. This opened up a window for me. I wasn't able to out sprint Patrick Caldwell to the line, but was able to secure a second place for a second year in a row.
        Good results or not the week was a success. I drove back with some new information to work with and solid week of training under my belt. This harder intensity block of training will give the top end gear the update it needs just in time for the next round of races in Jericho, VT. Shooting wise, standing was dependable as always. The prone grouping is equally as solid when the focus is spot on. The conclusion between the coaches and I was to just simply keep reinforcing a well focused shot again and again. I really do like the flow of living and training in Lake Placid, but it's also nice to be in the county this time of year. From here, it is still unknown what the the full fall plans are, but in the meantime all I can do is make the most out of every training session.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

LP Week Half Way Point

        The summer felt a little strange without any significant amount of time in Lake Placid. Now that the summer is gradually starting to transition into fall I can atleast say I had a week in Lake Placid.  It isn't  much, but some of the training we have been doing has made it feel similar to slow motion. Training wise this is just another high intensity week. With the lower amount of time spent training I don't have as many excuses to not update the blog. It's Thursday and our last critical session is on Sunday. So far the US team has done one shooting test, and two time trials.

         The first time trial was your average four stage rollerski biathlon race. Standing was solid, with 90% shooting and about 25 to 27 second range times. Prone was 60% with mostly low misses. Aside from the drive over I was coming off of a brief rest period. The recovery was intact, but the overall spring in my legs wasn't. Ski speed was decent, with some good transitions and improved technique. Overall the time trial wasn't that great, or all that bad. If anything it was closer to the great side.

        We did a precision test in the following afternoon. I'm pretty certain I set my PR. The 30x30 test has up to 600 possible points. It's 30 shots prone and 30 shots standing. Shooting better than 500 requires some skill. I scored 486. It's nice to beat your own record, but even still, I was in the middle compared to the rest of the team.  Precision shooting has never been my specialty. One ten ring after another would certainly feel nice, but the real limiting factor only needs five eight rings (three in standing) in row in under 34 seconds to affect the real goals.

        That was Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday morning brought us to the Whiteface Alpine hill for everyone's favorite session. This is the part of the week that makes it feel longer than just a week. It's amazing how much suffering you can cram into a sub 14 minute effort. The trick is to find a incline continuously steep and just start running. The real high, or low rather, point of the time trial for me wasn't posting a slower time than last year, but the fact that I took a wrong turn. Yeah, I know, it's not the first time I've pulled this move. For the record, I wasn't the only one who found that particular part of the trail questionable. There's no point in making excuses, but I would like to push for a marker cone or two next year. The result was slower than last year, but I'm not overly concerned about my third attempt at a running race in September. The effect and effort was evident with a solid max heart rate of 201; not bad for a 28 year old.

          We have another shooting test this afternoon. It's referred to as the "French test." Naturally we all call it french toast because it sounds more exciting. On Friday we have a mini biathlon TT followed shortly by a XC TT on the road. Saturday will have a much more relaxed two and a half hour hike. Sunday is the last and longest day of the camp. Not unlike last year at this time, it's the Climb to the Castle race. We're looking at about 40  minutes of rollerskiing uphill. The best part is when it's over and you don't have to do it anymore... Strangely enough, not doing the sufferfest when you know you could have is still the less desirable option.
        The goal for the seven day period is work in the upper race zones and log some head to head experience. These periods required the least amount of time, but the most amount of focus and quality. Taking the best advantage of this training opportunity may not directly reflect my results this winter, but will instead directly benefit them.

         Here are some pictures that have little to nothing to do with the update. If nothing else they are mildly entertaining.
Just new vehicle things. 
Oh look what happened. All this for one carrot.

It took a few hours for the bleeding to give up. Good! Now I have less thumb to carry.

And here we have the one week later shot.