At the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center a banner in the foyer greets patrons:
The US Olympic Committee wish America’s best continued success as you challenge yourself to be the World’s best.
Remember always that â€œthe will to win is nothing without the will to prepare.â€
With this mission in mind, the U.S. challenged themselves and teammates in a thirteen day training camp in Lake Placid. For the fourth consecutive year the US team has chosen Upstate New York as its fourth, and final, training camp. â€œLake Placid is a fall tradition,â€ says National Team Coach Justin Wadsworth. â€œIt’s an ideal situation here. Everyone is really dialed in. The terrain is perfect for training. The athletes know exactly what to expect — they know the roads they’re rollerskiing, the hills their bounding. They come right in and get the work done.â€
The author and Andrew Newell charging up the final climb it the A-Final RS Classic Sprint. Some juniors joined in. Others watched. Thoughts from the Green Mountain Valley School athletes on training alongside the national team:
â€œSkiing with them is to see how far you can take skiing. It’s, like, whoa.â€
â€œYou get to see how big a part of your life skiing is… and how good one can become through hard work.â€
â€œThe amount of power, the way you ski, how easy you make it look to ski so fast and powerful.â€
(Photo by Justin Beckwith)
â€œPlacid’s been an incredible. It’s a very open atmosphere here. That’s the truth for sure,â€ says Chamberlain. â€œThe US Team coaches are more than willing to help out; not just me, but everybody around.
â€œChambo’s back,â€ was a refrain heard more than once. The man himself agreed. â€œHands down, this has been the best summer I’ve ever had. Testing and time trials, everything all show that I’ve taken a step forward with my fitness.
â€œI’ve tweaked my plans — nothing much really. But it all adds up. The biggest, though, is how comfortable I’ve gotten in living in the â€˜County.’â€ The county in question is Aroostook County and the town of Caribou in Northern Maine.
After Lake Placid, the National Team has three weeks back home before lighting off to Northern Scandinavia November 9th. Six days later the team will race in a two-comp series opener in Munio, Finland. The next weekend the World Cup begins in Gallivare, Sweden. With Cook, Koos, Freeman and Newell on the World Cup, the US will race the relay. â€œThe game plan at camps has been to train at a higher intensity at camps. We’re one month away from the World Cup opener. The focus of the athletes has been consummate to the task at hand.â€
Not to be outdone, Lindsey Dehlin is getting stronger and staying fresher in the weight room this season. â€œI’m training more hours and doing 50% more intensity. I’ve backed off in the weight room and yet I’m seeing gains here too,â€ says Dehlin. My strength plan takes 1 hour, max, twice a week. It’s very structured. I have a lot of confidence in it.â€
Following the October camp the Continental Cup team heads home before reconvening in Park City on November 13th for seven days of acute altitude training. After that they head on the November pilgrimage to West Yellowstone. The younger athletes will be following the race circuit from West to Bozeman, Solider Hallow, and then Whistler. Still, according to Conti Coach Matt Whitcomb, the focus rests on training and preparation. â€œWe’re still thinking very much long term, long picture with the younger individuals. This winter is hardly make-or-break for any one of them. When appropriate, we’ll move them up to the World Cup. The next step after this one is high performance at the Olympics and World Championships.â€
That’s not to say the younger athletes don’t have more quote worthy aspirations themselves. â€œI’m heading to altitude pretty soon to build up some red blood cells. Then I can’t wait to hit the Supertour Tour,â€ says Lindsay Williams. â€œAfter a couple American races it’s off to Canada — and, yeah, I don’t know WHERE we’re going in Canada. I’m just sure I’m going. And I’m sure we’re going to kick some ass.â€
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