InterviewsNewsInterview With Andrew Johnson and Carl Swenson

FasterSkierJune 10, 2005

This article originally appeared on Visit Team Today to find out how you can support the US Ski Team athletes.

This spring has brought quite a few changes to two U.S. Ski Team racers. Carl Swenson has been studying for the LSAT in anticipation of going to Law School next fall. Andrew Johnson punctured his foot with a small stick while driving a golf cart and the wound became infected prompting emergency surgery and a course of heavy antibiotics. He has a pickline — an IV line — running from his arm up his shoulder and down near his heart. His foot has also been in a soft-cast and he has been on crutches for several weeks.

Last week AJ trained 19 hours. 15 of which were totally stationary. Carl also took the LSAT — closing the first chapter of his pending law career.

Here is an interview with these two athletes that took place here in Park City, UT.

PV (Pete Vordenberg) — AJ (Andrew Johnson), 19 hours is a good week of training for anyone. To do 15 of it all stationary is impressive. What were you doing for training?

AJ — I did a lot of general and core strength. I also did a lot of exer-genie and elastic pull-cord training. I can get my hr into level 4 on the exer-genie. I can go plenty hard with that. I can go harder on that than I can biking with 1.5 legs (he pedals a stationary bike with both legs but applies only half pressure with his hurt leg).

PV — What about the other four hours?

AJ — The remaining 4 hours were done mtn biking on pavement (to cushion the bumps) and one session out on trail skates (a big wheeled, all-terrain rollerski like contraption that you use your regular shoes in — very comfortable and they have a nice breaking system). It was only the past few days I have been able to venture out much — though I did do some longer outings on my crutches — up to an hour (that didn’t count toward his training — though it was exhausting).

AJ and the trail skates.

PV — Carl, you just got your new USST ID. The date says it expires June 30, 06.

CS (Carl Swenson) — That is my expiration date.

PV — Is that for real?

CS — That’s what it says.

PV — So that’s for real?

CS — Yeah.

PV — What’s next then?

CS — I want to work for Andy Newell at his surf camp (this camp doesn’t actually exist — but it would be cool if it did) or go to law school — probably a combination of something like that.

PV — (Carl has been studying for the LSAT.) Carl how many hours a day did you spend studying?

CS — 3 or 4 hours a day — it is more like practice than studying since the test is mostly reading comp, analytical and logical reasoning (Carl has a political philosophy degree). I did a maximum of 4 hours a day — about the same as good volume of training. I also trained about 20 hours a week.

PV — What are you doing this year for training? You’re not racing mtn bikes professionally this year so what then?

CS — I’m doing what I did last year starting in July — rollerskiing 3 to 4 times a week, cycling 3 to 4 times a week and 3 to 4 strength sessions a week.

PV — How are you doing your intensity?

CS — Perfectly.

PV — OK.

CS — I do it by terrain on both mtn, road bikes and rollerskis. I’m not getting killer at all — probably mostly level 3 touching level 4 on occasion (fartlek style).

PV – How do you feel this year?

CS — Good the last two weeks. Strong as I’ve ever been rollerskiing — I can go over 2 hours rollerskiing and not feel tired in my muscles. I have not biked over 3 hrs, which is a change, and that feels good — it is easy to feel good biking for such a short time.

PV — Three hours is a short time?

CS — Yeah, relative to what I used to do — what a typical cyclist does.

PV — What is your longest ride ever?

CS – The Boulder to Breckenridge race — that was long — over 6 hours. I’ve never ridden more than 8.

AJ — I’ve ridden longer than Carl — 9 and a half hours — mostly level 2 and 3 chasing Nathan Schultz and Erik Stange around the white rim in southern Utah (over 100 miles of mtn biking in one day). Stange pushed the pace early and when Stange died Nathan wanted to punish him. Stange had to literally go to the hospital. We went hard the whole way.

[Note: After riding 100+ miles, AJ was a little blown out as well (as were all the riders), and apparently his memory of the events that immediately followed the ride is a little foggy. It was actually Schultz who went to get an IV, not Stange. <]

PV — Carl, how old are you anyway.

CS — I’m 35.

PV — That’s young for a human, DeZolt was best in his 40’s. You just not into racing beyond this year?

CS — I’m just more interested in doing something new. Ideally if I was immortal I would keep coming back to skiing every few years and try something new.

PV — If you could have changed anything…

CS — I’d love to have as many runs at it as possible. I would have to try everything before I could say I wish I’d done it a specific way.
I like that I got in as much as I did — got to race NCAA, Mtn bikes, Olympics…

PV — Did you start in the Bill Koch league?

CS — My first race was a NASTAR XC event at Mt. Bachelor in Bend — I got a bronze or silver (these are handicapped races) I was about 10 years old.

PV — AJ, you’re big into Bill Koch league.

AJ — Big time. I skipped right through lollipop category. I skied J5 for three years. My sister skied lollipop and beat all the boys — they were all so pissed. She was by far the best but she didn’t really like it.

PV — A long debate ensues between Carl and AJ about the J5 age group and birthdays — but bottom line seems to be that AJ won the Bill Koch new England championship 3 times — not counting relays and Carl didn’t even ski Bill Koch league — at least not enough to carry weight in this argument.

PV — Carl are you more or less driven knowing that you’re going to do something different next year?

CS — The same right now. I respond more to what is happening now, what will happen this season, than I am to looking at the season in a long-term sense. My motivation is the same as ever.

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