Friday, October 29, 2010
We've kept busy with some of our staple workouts as well: 200m intervals on the bike path, steep uphill double poling, and rollerski speed/agility mixed into general strength, among other sessions. Tim and I have both seen a lot of improvements in technique and overall fitness, and we're pretty excited about how the team looks right now. Tomorrow we're off to North Haven for the Lobster Roll time trial - it'll be helpful to see the team in a race situation. Should be a great day.
Our camera is broken, so no recent photos, but here are a couple pictures from the Bigelows hike from Kaitlynn:
Also a shot from the top of Spencer's favorite rollerski hill in New Zealand:
Friday, October 22, 2010
Still jealous of the fall training camp the rest of the team had, I decided to take advantage of my ridiculously relaxed reading period. From my last day of classes I have two weeks before my first exam. Then I have another two weeks before my next exam. After that I have a mere two days before my last exam. There are a lot of 3-5 day hiking tracks in New Zealand and I figured that one of these would be a pretty awesome place for an OD run. Here are some photos I took along the way.
The run was a blast with nice trails and gentle rolling terrain. All up it was 26 miles over 5 hours. I had a blast and was really happy how I was able to cruise for a long ways, even with a backpack.
Monday, October 18, 2010
I just got back from spring break…in September…. And I can honestly say I had the best week of my life. This is mostly due to my newest obsession: SCUBA diving. After getting certified back in August, I have become absolutely addicted. The first three days of my spring break, I lived on a boat on the
It gets better. After dinner, we would do a night dive, which is possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever done. It’s a weird feeling, being suspended in the middle of the pitch-black Pacific Ocean with only a torch, but I felt oddly safe, since there’s nothing on the reef that attacks without provocation, unlike things on land—like serial killers or hormonal teenagers—and I don’t consider myself much of a wildlife provoker. Each night dive, our resident divemaster said we were allowed two fish kills. Basically, some of the predatory fish, namely the Red Bass, are wicked smart and have learned to hunt by torchlight. So if we found a particularly ugly little fish and were in a killing mood, we could just shine our torch on them, and a Red Bass would gobble them up. Don’t fret vegetarians/vegans, I was never in much of a killing mood nor did I find any exceptionally ugly fish, so my record’s clear. The best part of night dives was when we turned our torches off, leaving us in pitch black. Any movement in the water was followed by bursts of bioluminescence, like hundreds of tiny fireflies were underwater with us. We looked like fairies with pixie dust shooting out of our flippers. I'm not a 5-year old, I swear. Needless to say, the Great Barrier Reef is incredible.
Despite all the wonderful things about this country, like its reefs, it has its risks and its major downfalls. It’s true what they say about
The people who live here could also be considered life threatening. First of all, they’re terrible TERRIBLE drivers. I experience a near miss pretty much every day. Then, after they almost run me over, they force me to jump off dangerous things into more dangerous things. Like a thread swing—not a rope swing—attached to a really high tree over a croc-infested river. “No worries mate,” the Aussies say, “they’re only baby crocs in this river” (because that makes sense…). Baby crocs could still take off a hefty portion of a leg, if I had to gander a guess. Tip of the day: When defending yourself against a croc, go for the eyes; it’s their weakness. There are also plenty of cliffs and rocks and pirate ships and top sails that I’ve been forced to jump off of. All the while, copious amounts of non-alcoholic beverages have been forced down my throat. I daresay I’ll be lucky to return home in one piece with fully functioning organs. We must forgive them though, for 20% of Aussies descend from British convicts.
My Australian experience has also made me appreciate some of the simpler things in life, aside from my general sense of security, most of which are food related.
1) Free ketchup. Most restaurants make you pay for ketchup, and most of the time it’s around $1. Absurd? I know Nathan will say YES. Also, it’s not ketchup; it’s tomato sauce.
3) Single sex bathrooms. Alas, I’ll be sharing a bathroom with Chris and Spencer next semester, but even the latter will be cleaner than a 17yr old Aussie boy.
4) Now, I don’t eat pop tarts on a regular basis—in fact I think my last one was from my high school’s vending machine, but pop tarts cost $14 here. That is ridiculous.
5) Cereal at every meal. They have some delicious cereal here, and I would much rather eat delicious cereal than mystery meat slop. Unfortunately, cereal is around $8 a box, so they can’t afford to let me eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Hence the PB&J situation.
6) Dunkin Donuts. The first thing I’m buying when I return is an ice coffee and a chocolate glaze donut. ‘nough said.
Unfortunately, the list goes on and on, but I don’t want to bore you with complaints. Let’s just say, I’ll be happy to be back in the US of A in 6 weeks, where ketchup and jam flow freely, and where I’ll be greeted by the open arms of my two families: my parental unit and my Nordic ski team.
Also, ancient coral knows what’s up. Just like the ancient Egyptians.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Fall Break began at the end of the week, and we went straight into training camp mode. We stayed on campus for the weekend. On Saturday, most of the team did some hard bounding intervals at Lost Valley with Tim, but a few of us (Rainer, James, Wilson, Riley, and myself) opted for a 5k trail race in Cumberland, the Craig Cup. We found ourselves severely limited by a lack of leg speed, but put up respectable results nonetheless. That afternoon, the team did a short technique session and an easy recovery rollerski. Sunday's workout was an OD skate rollerski through the Pownal/New Gloucester area ending at Pineland - a great route that we haven't visited in a while. As if everyone wasn't already tired enough from all of this excitement, we headed up to Western Maine for a long run/hike in the Bigelows on Monday and another OD rollerski (classic) on the Long Falls Dam Rd on Tuesday. On the hike, we had 3 different groups using slightly different routes, covering 14-18.5 miles and multiple peaks on one of the most rugged mountain ranges in New England. The views of Flagstaff Lake and the Carrabassett Valley were fantastic. I've never been up on the Bigelow Range with clear skies - absolutely stunning. For the rollerski, Long Falls Dam Rd was its usual placid self. Even better, the pavement was in good shape, the weather was perfect, and the fall colors were still out in force.
We were lucky to have wonderful hospitality for the trip from the James family, who hosted the girls and made a great dinner for the whole team, and the Whiton family, who generously let the boys use their camp. Special thanks also to Mike and Louise Gilmore for hosting their very exhausted son-in-law. All in all, a great trip, and hopefully a sign of good things to come! I'll try to get some photos up soon, and perhaps a more detailed account of camp from one of the athletes.
500m Erg Test
Bike Path Time Trial
Women - Skate
Women - Classic
Men - Skate
Men - Classic