Wrapping up the Bike Trip
That's it for the week in Courchevel, France and Summer Europe Camp number one. Our coaches did an awesome job transitioning the jump camp into the biking to make a really productive trip. The extra company from the donors this last week was especially great. And, not to mention, the support from these five guys will make the rest of our season financially possible.
We rode everyday in France, Monday through Saturday. I haven't really crunched the numbers, but I know I put in around 400 miles and 40,000 vertical feet of climbing in those six days. The donors all put in some impressive days as well. Sometimes I think they forget that we're training to be world-class athletes and we're still hurting on these rides.
The highlight of the week was definitely riding to and watching the Tour riders on Alpe d'Huez. Most of my team, two of the donors and I rode from our hotel over three passes to the stage, then spent four hours up on the mountain getting the Tour experience. (Fortunately we had vans and didn't have to ride back).
Almost every cyclist will tell you that Alpe d'Huez is the most iconic of climbs in all of bike racing (for its 21 hairpin turns as much as anything). This year, they paved a connector road over the top, so the riders could ride up it, then down the backside and right back up for an unprecedented double ascent. Even on this steep climb, the riders go by fast. Getting to see them a second time made it all that much better. And watching the pain on these sometimes super-human faces was also extremely satisfying. Trust me, the sprinters were not having any fun.
Another highlight was hopping in the local time trial up Montee Courchevel with Brett, Michael, Taylor and "Tenacious D" (Dave Strong). They run this race weekly throughout the summer, six Euros and you get to race up the windy road, 17.5km and 1200 meters of vertical climb. The French can't resist cheering on a cyclist, so we actually had some crowds pushing us on along the way. Taylor and I suprised the Frenchies a bit by finishing 1, 2. Taylor especially dominated, beating me by 2 minutes, whereas I only got the next guy by a few seconds. This guy, we learned driving down, has dual citizenship and is the national road race champion of Mauritius, a tiny island off of Madagascar. I can now say I beat a world champion on a bike, but I'm not sure that tiny African island nations have too much competition when it comes to cycling.
We finished in the pouring rain and were happy to have our coaches at the top with a van. Sometimes cool-downs can be done without.
Tomorrow it's back to home. Springer Tournee's next week, time for some quick recovery... and maybe a little rollerskiing.
Rolling through France
After arriving in Courchevel on Sunday afternoon, we finished off the jump camp Monday and Tuesday with two quality sessions on the HS132. Speaking for the team, I can say that we had a really fun and productive week of jumping with 7 sessions on three different hills. Marc kept us focused and busy with all kinds of new approaches to jump training. We spent a lot of time trying different warmups to activate the muscles, focused on imagery and concentration training, and testing some new equipment. It's great to see the direct result of our efforts on the hill.
Now, we've transitioned into the biking part of the trip. We've already done two 100 plus kilometer rides in the afternoons after jumping, and we have many more K's ahead.
There are lot of cool aspects of this trip (being in France, watching the Tour, epic climbs and descents) but the fundraising element makes it really special. This year, we have five NNF supporters who are here to get to know the team, watch us jump, and do all the same rides that we do. The contribution from these five guys is a huge part of what makes the rest of our season possible. I'm immensely grateful for their support. Plus, it's just fun to have them around and get to know our supporters. It's also sweet to have former NC Olympians Carl Van Loan and Jed Hinkley along to guide the group and provide the support that we all need as a big group knocking out huge rides in foreign territory.
Again, a big shout out to the NNF and Olympian Tours for making this trip possible!
More to come soon! And watch for us tomorrow, the 18th, on L'Alpe d'Huez, screaming at the Tour de France riders as they do an unprecedented double ascent of the climb in one epic stage.
This is my first time to Hinterzarten, and I have nothing but good things to say about this little village in Southwestern Germany. We flew over Monday night, drove the short trip up from Zurich, and have already got in some sweet training. The jumps are good, there's a nice gym nearby, we've found some sweet roads to ride, and the hotels great.
4th in the Boat
I'm back from another successful 4th of July week in Steamboat Springs. This makes it 7 years straight that I've been in Steamboat for this week, starting from the first national junior camp that Bill Demong put on way-back-when.
We kicked off the week with the usual Fish Creek time trial. It's a great way to measure our fitness over the years, mostly uphill and we finish close to 1000 feet above the start. I knew I had a good race, but surprised myself a bit by putting down the fastest time of our team. Now, a July 1st, time trial is of little consequence, but I'm still pretty excited to be able to show that kind of fitness. And, being teammates with Bill Demong, Todd Lodwick, Taylor Fletcher and Bryan Fletcher, it's usually not that often that I'm leading the crew.
That afternoon we (the Ski Team, led by Bill), put on a quick technique session for the younger nordic combiners. Drills can be fun! Check out the video clip below from my Dad of Spencer and I going through the Super-G section.
The 4th of July downtown sprint race was as exciting as always. I didn't jump quite far enough to be in a position to contend, but I still enjoyed the fast pace race and moved up to finish 6th. Todd Lodwick won the jumping and held off Bill and Taylor's sprint. I'm not sure Todd's in the best shape of his life right now, but when it comes to sprinting on rollerskis, nobody is as fast.
After the rollerski race we competed in a fun elimination long-standing competition. I didn't have the magic that I usually have jumping in Steamboat and was eliminated early, but enjoyed spectating some long jumps. The long-standing champ, aka brother Ben Loomis, rose to the occasion again to take the win. 12 year old Decker Dean, from Steamboat, was second, after a week of consistently throwing down long jumps. Watch out for him.
Rope swinging action below. Tyler, Spencer and I cooled off here before a big 4th of July dinner at the Andrews. I think we're pretty graceful but my former-diver sister might disagree.
Tomorrow morning, after 3 whole nights at home, we head off to Germany and France! We'll be focusing on jumping in Hinterzarten, Germany, and then mostly riding our bikes in Courchevel, France. Look for us along stages 18 and 19 on the le Tour. More to come soon!
Where am I?