Central Cross Country Ski Association recently concluded a week of testing, training, and technique work at Cresthill Resort in Hayward, WI. Participants included the 12 CXC Elite Team members, 11 Junior Development Group athletes, 4 Regional Elite qualified juniors, 23 members of the qualified State Development Group and 10 juniors and seniors that petitioned in to the camp. Also attending were 8 coaches participating in the 3 day Coaches Education program. Coaching staff included US Ski Team coaches Pete Vordenberg and Matt Whitcomb along with CXC staff members Bryan Fish, Bill Pierce, Yuri Gusev, Scott and Kay Wilson, Everett Myers, and Sarah Willis.
Following are daily reports from Junior Development Group athletes:
Wednesday by Molly Burger: Today, was one of the best days of the REG camp this year because it included a killer strength test, crazy sprint race, and lots of Coop's pizza. We started out the morning with our usual warm-up jog and stretching. After second breakfast, most of the juniors went down and watched the CXC Elite team do their strength testing. It was inspiring to watch the senior athletes hard work pay off as some of them pumped out over 30 pull-ups and 60 dips. It got me really excited to do my own strength test, and has inspired me and many of the other juniors to work harder in the weight room and during specific strength training the rest of the year.
After lunch, followed by some swimming and napping, all the athletes went out for technique pointers during an easy skate rollerski in small groups with the coaches. When we returned, everyone participated in the first annual Road Rash Sprint to test our speed and agility. The Vordenberg designed course started up the small hill on Cresthill Resort's driveway. We had to jump off into the steep ditch at the crest and run on our skis around a pylon. The course then led through a very tight v-board slalom course back down the hill with a duck under a limbo bar and stretch for the finish. Posting top finishes for the men were Luke Gesior in second and Andrew Tilman in first. Tilman won with an amazing flying leap into the ditch and around the garbage can. Getting second place in the ladies was Libby Ellis, who was having a great final round until she took a nasty crash, but still finished the course. Melanie Hoffman won the women's side with a quick, clean run. The winners were presented with U.S. ski team caps by Pete Vordenberg. USST coach Matt Whitcomb also participated with his usual energy and commitment (see photo).
After the caps were awarded and we all showered (well most), the entire camp headed into Hayward for a delicious dinner of pizza donated by Coop's Pizza Parlor; thanks Craig!
Thursday, by Libby Ellis: Around 10:30 am on Thursday the parking lot at the Birkie Trail at Cty Rd 00 was swarming with more than 50 enthusiastic adolescents and a few mosquitoes. These adolescents aren't your typical rowdy, noisy, disrespectful teenagers; these were the select few who came to train with the US Ski Team coaches as well as the CXC coaches at the R.E.G camp. Thursday morning’s workout was bounding and pole walking, led by Pete Vordenberg. After a small follow-the-leader type run in the parking lot these not so typical teens were led off into the ups and downs of the Birkie trail to a sizable hill at the base of which they dropped their poles and water bottles and formed three lines. Athletes proceeded to do various bounding exercises including “bunny hops”, one legged jumps, skate hops, and of course bounding with and without poles while the coaches watched and critiqued, sometimes pulling someone aside for more detailed help. The process slowly progressed from going up about 10 strides to using the whole hill, all the while trying to stay relaxed and focused on technique. After about an hour of very successful bounding things wrapped up and the group was led back to the parking lot where the workout ended.
The bounding workout was really a great opportunity for everyone because all the coaches and athletes could work together (including the CXC Elite Team) as opposed to the skiing workouts where everyone was divided into groups and assigned to just one coach. Being able to work with any of the coaches was phenomenal; they all had a wealth of knowledge and a different view on the way a certain person skis which is really important, and to top it off they remembered names. The dedication given to this workout, athletes as well as coaches, was awesome. Everyone was very concentrated and drank up as much information from Pete as they could get even though the mosquitoes were everywhere at once. Side talk was minimal and the positive energy was infectious. All in all it was a job well done by everyone.
Friday, by Erik Fagerstrom: It was an early morning start on Independence Day as athletes prepared for the infamous 5km skate time trial up County Road 00 from Seeley to the Birkie Tail. There was plenty of nervousness as the athletes saw the course on the drive in and during the short warm-up. The course is said to be pretty difficult as it is mostly up hill. It starts out as a long flat until you hit the first hill; I believe it’s the longest on the course. Followed by a flat section and a longer gradual downhill that leads into the steepest hill on the course. The â€œwallâ€ can be quite difficult as it is just before half-way point and is of quite a steep grade. After the wall the athletes have some rollers and long gradual downhills until they hit the final twisting climb up to the 00 Birkie trailhead. There were some great results from both the CXC Elite athletes as well as junior athletes. Garrott Kuzzy and Maria Stuber took home top finishes overall while junior athletes Jessie Diggins and Doug Debold finished at the top of their fields. It was a fun event and I think everyone received some inspiration and motivation from Matt Whitcomb’s motivational audio/visual presentation the night before.
After a cool down there was some downtime at a nearby park to go swimming, stretch, eat watermelon and Clif bars, and relax before heading into Cable to take part in the Fourth of July parade. All 60 athletes and coaches were wearing their matching CXC t-shirts that were given to them at the camp. Overall it was a good time. The athletes skied slowly around the two CXC vans for an hour and a half level 1 ski, giving little kids high-fives, chatting up the adults and handing out CXC brochures. There was plenty of support from the parade watchers and I think many were impressed with Garrott Kuzzy and Brian Gregg’s synchronized V2 display. Following the parade it was time to head back to Cresthill where the junior athletes packed, cleaned, and headed for home while the CXC Elite Team hunkered down for a second week of group training and testing. It was a great way to end a fantastic week. I believe everyone had a good time and leaned a lot from skiing with coaches during technique sessions, learning from the nightly presentations, and living the life of a competitive ski racer.