The following article was originally published on FasterSkier on October 15, 2008. It was written by CXC (Central Cross Country Skiing) athletes Kristina Owen and Heather Zimmerman. Roughly contemporary photos have been added for this reprinting; the pictures that originally appeared with this article are no longer available.
The piece is simultaneously from very much another era, yet also completely timeless. On the one hand, “Caitlin Compton” now has a different last name; Jessie Diggins, who had recently turned 17, would go on to do things even more impressive than win the junior division of the Climb to the Castle rollerski race; the article’s authors last competed in FIS races in 2011 (Owen) and 2009 (Zimmerman). On the other hand, in October 2008 skiers enjoyed the fall foliage, did hard doublepole efforts, and benefited from having athletes from multiple clubs together in one place for head-to-head competition. A quick perusal of social media shows that New England fall colors are still a thing, and that athletes from multiple clubs (including that obscure junior, Jessie Diggins) still come together in Lake Placid for fall training. 13 years later, some seasonal rhythms of American skiing remain very much the same.
CXC Elite Team – Lake Placid Training Camp Report
The CXC Elite Team recently completed a two week monthly camp in Lake Placid, NY. We stayed and trained at the Olympic Training Center, which provided an ideal environment to make huge gains in both fitness and technique.
The weather was excellent for the first couple days: chilly, but clear skies. “The only problem with the weather was that is was cool enough that none of the boys took off their shirts,” Caitlin Compton mentioned with a smile. After a few days of such perfect training weather, the team’s luck broke and it started raining; beautiful miserable cold rain. The training continued as planned, but between workouts the hallways were filled with the smells of damp and drying athletic apparel.
One of the team’s favorite workouts at this annual camp is an over-distance run in Adirondack Park. We are able to take advantage of great trails up mountains with gorgeous panoramic views. This year the men’s team made it to the summit of Mt. Colden, but disaster struck on the way down. Matt Liebsch, Midwest born and bred, was unused to the speed on the steep rocky descent. He went down hard with a nasty ankle sprain. His teammates carried him out, but the injury was camp ending and he returned to the Midwest for recovery.
Leaves in the Lake Placid region were in their peak foliage and so was the CXC Elite Team’s performance during the second week. The highlight came at the culmination of the camp, with the Whiteface rollerski race. However, there was a lot of work to be done, both intensity and volume, before the race arrived.
The workload wasn’t the only thing increasing during the second week of camp. The Olympic Training Center was overtaken by Nordic athletes. CXC Elite was joined by their Junior Development Program athletes and coaches, as well as the Sun Valley team, the USST, various NENSA athletes, and some of the region’s collegiate racers. CXC Elite Team was able to frequently take advantage of the large athlete gathering, as all the groups came together for some of the workouts. The best example of this was a hard double pole workout up a long gradual hill. The men did two sets of 3×4 minutes, with a ten minute break between sets, while the women concentrated their efforts to 3 1/2 minutes. It was a great workout and the added numbers definitely helped in ramping up the intensity!
The camp was also notably included the first competition of the year between CXC and their friendly rivals, Sun Valley. Last year Sun Valley pulled out a narrow victory in overall points. This year CXC was off to a good lead, with a win in an inter-team soccer match. The competition was fierce, but CXC’s greater numbers this year gave them the edge to pull off the victory.
CXC Team continued to utilize the hilly terrain in the area, traveling to Whiteface Mountain for a ski walking workout on the lower trails. Some of the team returned to the mountain later in the week for an evening hike, lured in by the fresh snow that covered the top.
Our second week contained not only some good intensity efforts but also a lot of volume. By Sunday most of the team had completed at least three ODs. All the mileage made us feel as though we had really gotten to know the Lake Placid area!
The camp ended with a grand finale, the Whiteface Mountain rollerski race! After testing ourselves on the area’s hills for the previous two weeks, what better way to finish up than a five mile, steep uphill race. Of coarse, mother nature decided to throw a few additional hurdles in our path before we began. The top of the toll road was too icy for skiing so the race was moved slightly down the hill. However, despite the alterations, the course still proved to be plenty challenging! Despite being tired, CXC athletes turned in some impressive results. Caitlin Compton led the way, winning the women’s race. CXC Junior Devo Program Jessie Diggins had a very impressive showing as well, placing 5th overall and winning the junior category. On the men’s side Garrott Kuzzy led the charge with a notable 4th place finish, followed closely by Brian Gregg in 6th.
Sufficiently exhausted by this final effort the team departed Lake Placid. This was the team’s final two week dryland training camp. Athletes will now have the next four weeks at home before leaving for West Yellowstone, early snow, and the beginning of the Supertour circuit!
We will be ready!!
“Central Cross Country Skiing Announces CXC Elite Team For The 2008-2009 Season,” FasterSkier, June 2008
Gavin Kentch is a lifelong Alaskan. He skis with the Alaska Pacific University Masters team in Anchorage, plays with his two adorable daughters, and occasionally works as a solo attorney. He has a cat named Marit. He was probably on snow this year before you were.