The coaching staff consisted of Head Coach Ben Husaby (MBSEF), Brenna Knowles (MBSEF), Chris (Flash) Clark (Methow Valley), TJ Owens, and Janice Sibilia (JLS Sports).
This was JLS Sports 7th trip out to Trout Lake and each year I think I say this, but it just gets better. The training was tough, (but the campers all came through with flying colors); the group of skiers was talented and willing to work hard and the coaches were well versed in the ideas they wanted to get across.
In a slightly different approach than past years, our contingent of athletes stayed at a local campground, so advance preparation was key to making it an easy week logistically.
Kristen “Fitty” Fitzsimmons and dad Gene (of Taco Stand notoriety), provided great food and all the work that goes into pulling together a weeks worth of meals for 40 hungry athletes and coaches.
Consistent training was the goal, much like any other camp; however the specific focus of the coaches in terms of what is address for technique and training, is what really sets this camp apart.
Down time during camp is just as important as training time especially with two tough sessions each day. So after time spent in the famous Trout Lake swimming hole complete with bridge jump, and a great dinner, the evening movies on the outdoor theatre (TV) finished off the day in a relaxing manner.
Fire on the mountain.
Trout Lake is on fire right now. 9900 acres were burning and only 5% contained as we left Bend to make the drive to Trout Lake. After being in daily contact with the fire rangers, Ben was confident that the camp could proceed without interference from the fire or its smoke. Thanks to the knowledgable rangers and the continuing westerly wind, he was right.
Camp started off with a bang. Because of the fire one of our normal roller ski roads was closed, so upon arrival to our campground, the coaches scouted out new roads to do our first training session. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or in our case the campground, tent city went up, the food court was established and we familiarized ourselves with the lay of the land.
The fire in Trout Lake, or more specifically on Mt Adams is pretty amazing. Reports tout it as being the biggest fire in over 2 decades. By the time we left for home 50% of the fire had been contained and luckily the residents of the town were largely unaffected.
The school where we normally do our strength workouts was turned into a huge fire camp for the firefighters-There tents and equipment everywhere and the helicopters could be seen coming and going with water buckets in tow. It is an amazing site.
Now, back to training…The first day's skate session set the tone for the camp. Ben and I took the boys over to a little town 8 miles from Trout Lake called BZ corner where they ascended a climb of a similar distance. The first time up the climb, skiers did no pole skating focusing on keeping the pelvis and back nicely rounded into the â€˜C' position; getting the most from ankle and knee flexion and learning how to push off with a snappy motion from the hip.
The second lap was V1 with poles, incorporating the same technical movements. It was a long workout for the first session but a rewarding one as many improvements were seen over the course of 2 hours. The girls did a similar skate session led by Brenna Knowles and TJ Owens.
Thursday was epic for the boy's group- starting with a 2 hour morning Double pole ski from camp and finishing up the mountain at Mosquito Lake. Every time I come back here I am reminded of just how great the roller skiing is. Not many places in the country have this combination of perfect pavement, virtually no traffic and a variety of climbs that snake their way up the mountains, with spectacular views at the top. It is roller ski heaven. The girls did a similar workout and worked on DP technique while skiing.
That afternoon the boys, led by Chris (Flash) Clark and Ben, took to Rock hopping through the stream to gain access to the Sleeping Beauty Trail. This is a steep trail that winds single track through the woods, and tops out with a spectacular view at the summit of Mt Hood, Mt Adams and Mt Rainier.
The following day's agenda called for a skate session. This time another of our popular mountain logging roads was used which sported incredible views of Mt Adams as we neared the top two hours later. Seeing the smoke from the fire which seemed miniscule from where we were, and knowing how many acres it actually encompassed, really gave us a perspective on just how large this mountain is.
The focus for the morning was to work on keeping the hips forward and making sure that skiers were using their legs fully- both in terms of equal push off, and with enough of a load that they are truly simulating what it will feel like on snow. This is one of the best things about this camp from a coaches perspective….The staff at Trout Lake chooses things to work on that will make the most difference to a skier once they are on snow. Since roller skiing is not exactly the same as snow skiing, we have to make it as similar as possible when we are summer training. Simulating these differences makes the transition much more effective and faster once the skier is back on the white stuff.
That afternoon, the girls had their chance at the adventure run, and what an adventure it was! It was a short but excitement filled excursion with Brenna Knowles leading the way as we followed the handwritten map the other coaches had given us. We were to follow the river and do some rock hopping, then “Go past the camp that you will see, come out of the river and head up the mountain to get back to the main road”- these direction would take on much more meaning as the afternoon progressed. The rock hopping included several stretches of a stronger current and before we knew it some of us were chest deep (or more!) in cold fast running water. With team work and the help of several branches, we crossed the river several times, rescued some of our smaller camp teammates ( including me) from being swept downstream and had a blast getting totally wet, muddy and at times a little nervous!
By now we had come upon some tent sightings and assumed that we were passing the camp so it was out of the river for the group and time to start bush wacking back to the main road. We spotted a dirt path and immediately jumped at the chance to take the easy way out, so to speak. However, only 50 yards up the hill and we had our first warning that we had entered a place we probably shouldn't be. A pit bull/mutt came to greet us and was making it clear that we were not welcome. A yell from the crowd to run (Not good advice by the way), prompted two from our group to split one way down the trail and the rest of the group went back the way we came landing at the river's edge. We waited here for few moments for the other two girls to pop back out of the woods so we could figure out what our Plan B was. Just then, dogs began pouring out of the woods ( or at least it seemed like it. There really were only 4 more). A rug rat Chihuahua, who was probably the one to watch the most carefully, a pit bull puppy, the puppy's Pit Bull adult look-a-like and another mutt who looked more than willing to show us his A Game. These dogs were guarding something – It was beginning to feel a little like the seen of a Hollywood movie. After what seemed like an eternity, a guy with long hair and ratty clothes finally came out of the woods to call the dogs off, and was successful except for the pit bull puppy who wanted more than anything to play with our group.
By this time our group was all together again and we quickly went back into the river to make our way further downstream- much further. There were no more encounters like the first one and we made our way back up to the road and our 2 mile jog to the van.
While we were relieved to be away from camp, later on it turns out that the general opinion was this was the highlight “workout” of the week for both the boys and the girls groups!
Classic was the focus of Saturday's morning workout. Another of the abundant roller ski roads in Trout Lake has been the site of the annual camp Time Trial. This is a test of both double pole strength and aerobic fitness as the first half of the course is dead flat, followed by a right hand turn which ascends sharply up the mountain for the second half. t is painful, and a solid test of technique and fitness but not overly long so a good hard effort can be maintained for all of the ability levels. And it's a good test for the skiers to compare from year to year.
Saturday afternoon's strength and power workout was really tough. Everyone hung in there though and put in a great effort. There was no slacking for this group.
Sunday's traditional hike up Mt Adams was readjusted to accommodate the closed trail access. Instead we accessed it through the North side via the Pacific Crest Trail. This was nice trail for running and bombing around on the snow fields and we got as high as we could on Mt Adams before turning back and heading for home…
Once again the camp was a success and we are looking forward to heading back there next summer.
Note: You won't find many pictures of roller-skiing or strength or bounding workouts here. This is an active camp for the coaches meaning we are along side the athletes while they are training, which means no time for pictures! But here are some that you might find interesting…