Thursday marked the final day of the first training camp of the summer for the Central Cross-Country Ski Association (CXC). Based out of Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota, the camp consisted of 10 days of training at various locations ranging across the St. Croix Valley. With previous head coach Bryan Fish around for the first week before moving on to his new position with the US Ski Team (USST), the camp also functioned as a sort of transitional period between coaching staffs. “I sat back and observed a fair amount the first few days to get a read on people — figure out who was who and where they needed help” said CXC’s new head coach, Jason Cork in an email to FasterSkier. “Having Fish the first week was really helpful for Gus [Kaeding, new Elite Development coach] and I — after he headed out to Park City, we got handed the reins a little.” This was the first time the entire 2011 team was together, although the marathon team was unfortunately not present. Much of this first camp consisted of figuring out goals and plans for the coming year. Workouts followed a fairly basic schedule, including some Level 3 intervals, strength sessions, technique drills, and a track workout. Athletes also did a VOmax test at Wild River Fitness in Osceola, Wisconsin. A primary focus of these ten days was to get a good idea of goals and fitness level at this point in the year, so tests were particularly emphasized. On top of VOmax testing, the team did a lactate test to get an idea of where they should be during distance and intensity training. A special highlight of the trip, according to Cork, was an afternoon of playing (a.k.a. training) with a local youth program.
Many of the athletes were also working together for the first time over these past ten days. Commenting on team dynamics in this early stage, Cork said “It looks like it’s going to be a really good mix of people this year. It’s a fairly small team, but we’ve got everything from people who graduated high school last weekend [Jessie Diggins] to people who’ve been to World Championships and the Vancouver Olympics [Garrott Kuzzy and Caitlin Compton]. Everyone seems to work together really well and get along, which is always nice to see when you’re planning on traveling so often during the season.” Diggins, a St. Croix Valley native, added, “everybody contributes something different to the team. There’s a really wide range of people.”
Coaches are currently working on individualized training plans for team members to follow. Now that the June camp is over, athletes will return home for a few weeks of individual training before reconvening for another camp in Hayward, Wisconsin on July 5.