brief summer update

Lenny ValjasNovember 10, 2011
This update is way over due. I am going to start bliggidy bloggin more often now that the races are about to begin.
It’s been a really good summer for me. I was able to get in some high quality training, in places that I had never been before. Training with the World Cup Team for the first time was amazing. Alex, Devon, and Ivan are incredible athletes; I am trying to soak up all the helpful advice that they give me.
First, though I took a month off and my summer started off with a little bit of fun in the sun.  I spent two windy weeks in Maui windsurfing. This was my first time in Hawaii, and I LOVED it. I rented a beauty of a car while I was there. Let me tell you, it’s not your usual rental car that’s for sure. Before leaving Toronto, the owner of the rental car company left me a voicemail saying “Aloha, the car will be waiting for you in the parking lot just outside of Arrivals. It’s a grey Nissan Sentra, and the keys are in the ignition.” The man wasn’t kidding; I found the car at the end of the parking lot ready to rock.
I contemplated waiting in Maui for an additional 4 weeks until our team training camp, but then I remembered that I am a Cross Country skier not a windsurfer.  
Our first team training camp of the summer was held in Bend, Or. This place was really cool, we stayed in amazing rental houses in the warm desert climate, and skiing was only a 25-minute drive away. This camp was a perfect time for Justin to help me dial in my technique, it was time to get rid of my old bad habits. The US national team was training in Bend at the same time as us. It was good to meet the new members of the team and do some intensity workouts together. 
After the Bend camp, it was time for the first ever Hawaii training camp. The training was absolutely amazing. We pounded out two weeks of really quality training. Most of our training was done climbing the hot and steep roads of the Haleakala Volcano. This is a big hill, its 38 miles of steady climbing. 4 hours of biking/rollerskiing/running still left us short of the summit. We had a couple easier days during the camp, so we all went to catch some Hawaiian Waves. I am sure that the whole team would agree with me, saying that this was the best camp ever. We then flew straight to Canmore to finish off the second half of the training block.
I spent the next couple weeks training on my own. I spent 6 days fishing in Alaska with my teammate Dave Greer, and then made my way home for some RR by the lake.
Before I got too settled down at home, it was time for the New Zealand man camp and the NZ Winter Games races. Skiing was amazing at the snow farm this year. Almost everyday was sunny. We were able to put in some long hard training days.

During my time at home, I had the privilege to go and help out at the SOD training camp at Hardwood Ski and Bike. Hardwood is the ski centre where it all began for me, they were the ones who taught me how to ski! I was really excited to help coach, talk, and train with the 120+ kids that came out to the camp.  

The final training camps were held in Park City, Canmore, and Whistler. The first three weeks were at altitude with lots of hours, and the week in Whistler was a low altitude intensity camp. I was feeling pretty tired after all the altitude training that I didn’t perform all that well in Whistler. It was all part of the plan to be tired in Whistler and enjoy a nice easy week after to recover.
The final three weeks I spent in Quebec preparing for the Fall World Cups in Scandinavia.
This was a super brief rundown of how my summer went, I will keep you updated regularly now with news from Europe.

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