Former biathlete, current coach….all round nordic enthusiast!

An elite athlete competing in the sport of biathlon: nordic ski racing combined with marksmanship

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Utah Training Camp: Round 6

This year's Utah camp has been pretty great so far. It's my sixth time here for a biathlon camp and as always, it's been productive and fun. Mother Nature has given us a wide variety of weather although it has yet to snow below 10,000 feet. We've been here about two and half weeks now and while I do enjoy the hot fall days that always greet us here, I am looking forward to some rainy, damp weather when we get back to Maine (although I'm sure if I were there right now I'd already be sick of it from the looks of their current weather pattern).

Hail during the first weekend we were out here. It's just like Maine can be….sunny once minute and then all of a sudden you're in Mordor with black clouds and ice balls raining down on you. 

Training has been very productive and enjoyable, even during our first weekend when we had the wettest Utah weather I've experienced in my six years of coming here! We're staying in Park City so the options are pretty great: mountain biking trails that double as awesome running terrain, paved paths (and quiet neighborhood roads) perfect for roller skiing, a fancy gym/spa within running distance of our rental house, and lots of vertical terrain just begging to be climbed.

Our cute little rental home here in Park City.

The map of trails in the area…there are hundreds of miles of trail, both paved and unpaved. This map looks simple enough and it's accurate but the distances are deceiving. Kelsey and I have had more than one adventure turn into more than we'd planned….more on that later. 

We have three days left before we head east on Sunday and the plan is to ski our to Mirror Lake (a long, gradual classic roller ski) tomorrow with a recovery run/hike in the afternoon. There's a particular aspen grove that's just changed colors in the last couple of days and is calling my name so I'll probably head up there for my afternoon workout. Friday morning we'll join the national team women for some kind of time trial effort/test. I have yet to decipher what that'll entail. Friday afternoon we might try to find some mountain bikes so we can hit the trails at least once while we're here. I brought my bike shoes but they haven't left my duffel yet. Saturday's plan is up in the air but will either be a two-person time trial (Kelsey and I) or a mountain biking adventure with the women's national team.

In the mean time, here are some pictures with more stories about what we've been up to!

Awesome terrain for exploratory runs. This afternoon adventure was supposed to be an hour and half but some misjudging of the map led to a 2:10 finish and two (VERY) hot and tired athletes. 

Kelsey was psyched to see her (self-proclaimed) spirit animal during our run. Within two minutes of seeing this bull we came upon a HUGE elk right off the bike trail we were running on. 

More fun running. 

At the end of our first week we hiked Timpanogos, an 11,000 foot+ mountain that separates the Heber Valley from Provo and Salt Lake City. We had a really perfect day and the views were incredible throughout the hike. 

Kelsey with the outskirts of Provo in the distance. 

The shelter at the top. It was super windy and much colder up top than we anticipated. I'm used to getting weird looks when we go on big adventures with little more than a drink belt or camel back. This hike was similar with most other hikers carrying large backpacks, but when we got near the top and the wind whipped up, I started wishing we were the ones with the backpacks carrying wind-block jackets, hats, and gloves. It definitely took at least thirty or forty-five minutes on the way down before I got full feeling and dexterity back in my hands. 

Seth looking east. The gully on the left edge is where the trail we hiked came up. 

Seth, just down from the peak, taking in the view while hiding from the cold wind. 

Kelsey and I, happy to be done climbing. 

Looking along the trail toward the top….the peak hut is on that very flat ridge at the upper-left. 

Chubby fingers at high altitude. Couldn't have gotten those rings off if I'd needed to. 

This shelter was in the bowl we hiked through on our way up. 

The peak hut is on that ridge!

Heading down again. 

Last week (our second week here) Kelsey and I did an OD (over distance) classic ski that ended with the climb up Guardsman Pass above Park City. We had pretty clear weather for most of our ski but when we got up high it started to SNOW! 
Happy to be done climbing switchbacks and even happier with the falling snowflakes that you can't see in this picture. 

Looking out into the snowy clouds and bright aspens at the top of Guardsman. 

Another highlight of this camp was the day I got my new Alpina roller ski boots. As you can see, my old pair have had about enough of roller ski combos. When I approach the mat to shoot prone I drag my boots, especially the right one, on the pavement, hence the hole clear through the right forefoot. Unfortunately my broken toe (I broke my little toe on my right foot back in August and it's still unhappy with most of my training) doesn't like the newer boots because they're not broken in yet so I'm still using the old boots a lot. 

Spare time fun….Seth definitely looks like he's having fun. 

Kelsey cooked us fish for dinner one evening. We've also made good use of our well-equipted kitchen for some baking. Pumpkin everything! And some flour-less banana muffins and energy bombs of course. 

Taking advantage of down time to try some new crochet stitches. This stitch and hat looked really cool but it was really stiff so I took it apart and started anew. 

Lots of mule deer around here. This one seemed pretty accustomed to people being on the trails. 

Lift above Park City. 

They grow really large thistle flowers out here….

Last Saturday Kelsey and I set out to repeat a run/hike I did solo last year. I didn't remember it being very strenuous so we decided to make it longer. Unfortunately longer meant LONG….by our best estimations and map-reading skills it was 19 miles. Not such a big deal if you're looking for a long run, but we were also planning on some running races being put on by the North Face the following day. 

Kelsey hiking up to the Mid-Mountain Trail. We started north of the Canyons Resort, hiked up to Mid-Mountain and then followed it south to Park City Resort. The light blue line on the map below was our route. 

Kelsey with some lime green aspens. 

Kelsey jumped this snake and took off before I realized what was going on. She hates snakes and wouldn't come closer for me to get a picture. 

Trailside snack break. 

Finally within sight of Park City again. 

I did the 10k distance at the North Face races…this was the course. It was mostly uphill (counter clockwise) until the aid station at the upper left. I managed to stay in the top five until the top but got passed by some very speedy downhill runners in the switchbacks on the way down. 

Took first in my age group, 6th for women and 14th overall. Not a bad first 10k. 

I've seen my share of shoe trees (which they also have here in Park City) but this was my first hat fence. 

The park fields just behind our neighborhood. 

Stay tuned for one more update from Utah…it might wait till I get back to Maine, but I promise more pictures and a summary of our last three days of training. 

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