We at FasterSkier are excited to welcome Torin Koos as a contributing author. This account of US Ski Team’s summer training in Park City is the first of Torin’s articles about life as an elite racer.
Altitude training uniquely stresses the body. Less oxygenated air naturally raises hemoglobin and hematocrit values. One’s oxygen transport system improves, but at a price. Recovery takes longer. Training too ambitiously at high altitude for a week could push one over the edge, taking literally months to regain form. Near daily the national team takes blood samples while training, running them through a portable lactate analyzer. In a minute’s time I can find out if I’m training hard enough to improve but not too hard to chance my health. Today I’m at 1.7 mmols of lactate per liter of blood, low enough that my liver, kidneys and skeletal muscles easily clear â€˜junk’ out from muscle tissue and blood. The harder you go, the higher one’s lactate value. In comparison, Matt Harriman probably runs the last half lap of a 3000 meter steeplechase with his legs soaked in 15 mmols of lactate.
By the end of the workout and on the ride back home, hunger replaces fatigue. Just as a pregnant woman might desire artichoke hearts, pickled herring, or smoked oysters, I listen to my body and heed its requests, however strange. This afternoon its two quarts of orange juice, nectarines, Snickers bars. Occasionally inquiries about my diet arise. More often than not people seem surprised I do not live on nuts and berries, fruits and vegetables alone. When hot enough, the furnace will burn anything, even a Heidleburger triple heli burgers or pints of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream.
Five hours later, I’m out the door again. A run and strength session awaits. I tell myself over and over â€˜the skier is born in the summer.’ But that, my friends, is a story for another time. Until then keep dreaming Big.
Torin Koos is a member of the National A Team for the U.S.S.A. A World Cup, World Championship and Olympic competitor, Koos brings this experience to the FasterSkier sportscasting arena for the 2003/2004 season.
Home Ski Club:Â Leavenworth Winter Sports Club