Well it happened again - I've procrastinated for far too long before posting an update. I won't bog you down with too lengthy of a recap but I've had a busy and productive few months. Hopefully you've been following me on Instagram or Twitter for more frequent updates.
With the exception of a couple backcountry skiing hut trips and recent trip to NY, I've been in Park City for most of the spring. After a long winter on the road, being in the same place for a while isn't all bad. Now we're finally less than a week away from starting summer jumping. We usually start jumping around the end of May/ beginning of June; this year we decided to dedicate more time to preparing off the hill, with flexibility, speed, agility and imitation work in the gym. Additionally, we'll finish our volume training block this week, and then back off the cross country hours right in time to start jumping. This week is our biggest week of the year in terms of XC distance training. Although it can be challenging, that also means more time out adventuring and being outdoors: running, roller skiing, road riding and mountain biking.
Our whole team, including freshly-retired-Billy and my brother, flew out to New York last week for a bike trip with one of our sponsors, Basin Holdings. I mentioned first meeting some of the Basin team in my last post, way back in March, when they came out here for a corporate retreat. This time, we joined them for a day riding for the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), in the inaugural Ride to Conquer Cancer. It was cool to participate in the CRI ride, where many of the participants where way out of their element riding 64 challenging miles, and to be part of an event that raised almost $2 million. The ride started in Younkers, near the Bronx, and after navigating busy city streets, we made our way into the countryside, past stunning estates in Greenwhich, CT and back into beautiful rolling hills in New York.
After Day 1, the Basin/ USA NC team continued into the Hudson Valley. We spent a night on a farm owned by Basin's founder, John Fitzgibbons, then road back across Connecticut towards the coast of Rhode Island. In RI, we were treated with coastal views, lighthouses, swimming in the Atlantic and a lunch at the New York Yacht Club.
It was a fast and furious five days. Although the riding wasn't quite the same as our previous bike trips in the Alps of France, it was one of the coolest trips I've been on. We had an awesome crew, ranging from really strong triathletes to some relative newbies to long road rides. With the help of a strong support team everyone was able to ride farther and faster than they might have thought. In contrast to a typical training camp, where extracurricular activities usually still revolve around skiing (as in watching EuroSport TV while foam rolling and taking turns waxing skis), we stayed busy with out-of-the-ordinary activities off the bike. At the farm, we got our testosterone pumping with a (controlled and safe) target shooting practice, lead by two Delta Force veterans, and an evening farm tour on ATV's and dirt-bikes. We ate from the siblings of grazing cattle and pigs around the farm, which surprised me, as I mistakenly didn't expect the "farm" to actually be just that, a working farm.
Early on our last morning in Rhode Island, we searched for striper bass off the nearby reef. Although we failed to find any fish, the bumpy wave riding and the views from the boat made the excursion worthwhile. We were more successful body surfing the waves that afternoon - happy to get a little time in the ocean while we could. (In this case, by we I mean just the young guys, Ben B, Jasper, Ben L and myself - no one else seemed too anxious to get in the water).
John and the Basin team took great care of us and kept the days' schedules packed. By the end of the trip, we were all in need of a little more sleep and recovery time. I continue to amaze at the productivity of these guys, and their ability to somehow stay impressively fit around the demands of full-time jobs and families.
For some great shots from the trip, see the gallery below, credit to Mike Waterman and Spencer Livingston. The last six are my shots. Click for large photos and captions.
After the trip, we had a few days to rest our saddle areas and spend more time running and roller skiing before the annual Sundance Sufferfest. The race, for those who don't know, is organized by the sports science department at USSA and open to anyone within the organization... and yes, we're still included whether or not we're officially on the team. This year was bigger than ever, with almost 60 starters going out on course over the span of 40 minutes based on a handicapping system.
It's all uphill, which tends to favor skinny-but-fit people like Nordic skiers, rather than anaerobic alpine and freestyle athletes. My team and I all started towards the back, as usual. And, as usual, most of our team made it pretty close to the front, with Taylor being the fastest, but the winner came from the middle of the field. Although I don't take too much stock in my racing shape this time of year, I was happy to put down a considerably faster effort than last year, and surprised to see that I passed about 45 people on the way up. As much as my teammates and I want to win, we know that they don't really want the fastest winning, otherwise there's no point in the handicapping.
A big thanks to Sundance Resort is in order. Not only do they let us crowd their road, but they reward our efforts with a killer brunch at a steep discount. The legendary post-race meal might actually have more to do with the event's growth than anything else.
That's all for now. Gotta rest up for intervals tomorrow. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for another post in the next couple weeks!
Where am I?