There was no rest for the weary on day 7 at the USST camp in Bend, Oregon. The scheduled event for the morning was a team time trial consisting of two person teams, each person racing two, 5 kilometer legs.
“It was a fairly open-ended workout, and it was really fun,” said U.S. Ski Team coach Matt Whitcomb, who noted that because some athletes were feeling “a little beat up from the camp”, they opted to only do one of the legs instead of both.
“The goal of the event was to do something a little less serious than we have in the past, and to do something a little more team-oriented.”
Eleven men and four women competed in the time trial, a mix of National Team, Development team, and guest athletes from teams such as Craftsbury Green and Sun Valley.
Although the Canadian National Team is in Bend as well, they opted out of the time trial format.
“They wanted to do intervals,” explained USST Head Coach Chris Grover. “They felt like they weren’t quite as far, maybe, as we were into the training season – they weren’t ready for a time trial.”
Unfortunately the snow conditions changed for the worse yesterday, and the athletes experienced some heavy, wet snow on the track. Until now the weather in Bend has been cool, with a mix of rain and snow. “The weather hasn’t been great,” admitted Whitcomb, “but the skiing has been fast and firm.. . and then all of a sudden we’re in deep slop on the course.”
Simi Hamilton didn’t seem to mind the slow conditions, however, even commenting, “It was a really good opportunity to be able to go hard the whole time.. . . stuff you don’t really ski in too often, but nonetheless it’s really good to be able to know how to ski in those conditions.”
Whitcomb listed Hamilton as one of several athletes who felt especially sharp yesterday, along with Andy Newell and Liz Stephen. Whitcomb said Stephen’s energy was “refreshing to see,” since she has recently come back from a winter of overtraining and then a recent injury.
Hamilton didn’t want to read too much into the time trial.
“I think for May – no matter how you feel – it isn’t really reflective much of anything, but it’s nice to at least be feeling healthy and my legs were feeling pretty good.”
Hamilton also liked the workout in that, having to ski hard for a lap and rest during your partner’s round before jumping back in for a second hard lap, it made for good practice in recovering between events.
“It was an interesting format. I think it’s really good to do that occasionally – it kind of teaches your body how to deal with a pretty large amount of lactate all of a sudden.”
The athletes had their lactate taken after their second and final lap, and Hamilton said there were a number of athletes who had lactates above 10 mmol/L, “a good number,” he noted, “especially after an event that is longer than 10 minutes – it’s good to be able to work that hard for that long.”
With just two days left of camp, Hamilton says the opportunity to ski with his peers and push each other through workouts has made for a successful camp.
“It’s been a good eight days here so far and I think we’ve all made a lot of gains – we’ve had a lot of really valuable time on snow and done a lot of cool stuff.”
Meanwhile, Kris Freeman was testing a new type of continuous glucose monitor by performing a 30 km duathlon time trial by himself, pausing every 5 km so that Grover could collect data.
Grover was cautiously excited about the results of Freeman’s time trial. “It was quite good. He had really stable glucose levels during the whole race and really good energy the whole time.”
Grover explained that they would have to perform numerous other trials on the device in similar events this spring and summer before they were confident in its ability to correspond well with what Freeman would see from a normal glucose monitor.
(There will be no results posted for this time trial, due to the informal nature of the event.)