Testing, Bend, F&F and PPP! (bonus points if you know what all those letters stand for…)

By May 22, 2012 No Comments

Right now I’m hammering away at the keyboard in the corner of a coffee shop in Bend, Oregon. I just finished my amazing 3rd cup of coffee so I keep typing too fast and making typos and having to backtrack, but the enthusiasm is making up for lost time. Now that I think about it, that’s kind of how I race too…technique gets a little sloppy but if there’s a lot of energy there, it works out in the end!

However, I can’t say that for too much longer. I’m getting to the point where I need to really focus on my technique, and make some strides this spring and summer (yes, that dumb pun actually WAS intended). And the snow here in Bend is perfect for working on kicking klister skis! The team is staying in these sweet houses we had last year, and every morning we drive up to Mt. Bachelor and ski till the snow gets too soft. In the afternoon we get to train in town, so we’re doing strength, running, mountain biking, or racing the PPP.

Wait...what..is going on with that dude/woman/baby's costume? Seriously people, that's the most creative thing I've ever seen. (Whitcomb photo)

What’s the PPP, you ask? Oh, only the WORLD CHAMPIONSHPS OF THE WORLD!!!! There’s nothing like taking a fun spring race too seriously and getting the whole team psyched up weeks beforehand. The Pole, Pedal Paddle race here in Bend is actually a pretty huge deal though – and a logistical nightmare! There’s 6 legs: alpine, nordic (about 6 km), downhill road biking (a crazy-fast 40min), running (5 mi), kayak (about 15 min up and down the river) and a 800m sprint. Needless to say, you need a lot of equipment and a lot of knowlege of different sports to compete. The USST partnered with Rebound Fitness and entered 4 teams: a men’s relay, Freeman as an individual, and 2 women’s relay teams of 3 each (Kikkan, Sadie and me, and Liz, Ida and Holly). On my team Kikk took the alpine and bike legs, Sadie did the nordic and sprint, and I did back-to-back run and kayak. It was the most painful transition of my life – I could feel my legs cramping while I kayaked and my feet kept curling around the pedals because I went straight from a 5mi run to sitting down! But it was such a fun event and we all won our categories. See, I told you we’d take that race too seriously.

Noah and Simi SPRINTING that boat into the water! (Whitcomb photo)

Group shot! (Liz Stephen photo)

We also got to do a Fast and Female event here in Bend, which was super fun, as always. It was great to see the girls so excited and using great teamwork skills for every challenge we threw at them that day. It was also fun to see their faces during the inspirational talks; I never get tired of hearing Chandra and Kikkan tell about what motivates them and it’s so fun to see what I’m feeling on the faces of all these teenage girls ready to go out and make big goals of their own. There were goal worksheets passed out and a couple girls decided right then and there that they’d go for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. Hearing that totally made my day, because it can be scary to make such a big goal and (eek!) announce it out loud. But it’s also the best thing you can ever do for yourself. Speaking of goals, I’m in the process of finishing up mine for the upcoming year, and I’ll be putting them up in a blog shortly.

Getting those goals written out! (Liz Stephen photo)

But one goal that I will share right now is that I’ll be working on strength more seriously this year! Not that I haven’t taken gym time seriously in the past, but being strong doesn’t do me any good if I can’t figure out how to effectively use that strength while kicking or pushing off during intervals.

I got a comment online about this photo saying something along the lines of "Keep trying sweetheart, it'll happen someday". I hapen to feel the same way! (Whitcomb photo)

And the testing we do a couple times a year at the Center of Excellence in Park City really keeps us in line! This year before Bend camp I made a short stop in PC and did 10 tests while I was there…which left me really, really tired but left the coaches really, really informed. We did 5 treadmill tests: a near-max classic, a near-max skate, a max classic, a max double-pole test, and an altitude test on skate wheels. We tested mobility, strength, double-poling power, hemoglobin mass, blood panels and body comp. All those tests usually make me feel a little bit like a lab rat, but this year was a little bit better, maybe because I wasn’t as concerned with the test results since it’s only spring.

Kikkan and I in-between strength tests (Whitcomb photo)

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