Tuesday, May 17, 2016

LNR Girlz Camp: Adventure Weekend

The Loppet Nordic Competition Team has been training hard for over a month already but this past weekend marked our first camp of the year. After years of chasing the National Team to training camps and spending lots of time away from home I have decided to approach this season a bit differently. I am spending the majority of my spring and summer sleeping in my own bed and spending as much time as possible at work at the Boys and Girls Club and training with my home club LNR. So far this decision has been working great!

Loppet Nordic Racing has been the top club at Junior Nationals for the past 3 years. There is no doubt that we have huge numbers of participants but we also have some of the hardest working athletes I have ever worked and trained with. Head Coach Piotr Bednarski has done a fantastic job raising the bar and fostering the right attitudes about what it takes to be a cross country ski racer. This past weekend was no exception to this as we embarked on the longest adventure of Amanda, Abby, Ingrid, Keely, Kiera and Claire's career's as well as my own. We trained a lot but we trained smart. The goal was to push our limits, push our comfort zones and create an amazing bond between teammates. Mission accomplished. I am extremely proud of this group of ladies for not only being top athletes but for also being top students. Every single one of them are headed to college next fall and everyone of them will continue to race for their school's ski tea. This means a lot to me and I am really looking forward to following their future careers.

Our camp was up in Hayward, WI and we were lucky to be able to stay at the Jackson's home on the Tiger Cat Flowage. Our first workout included 3 of us running while the other athletes paddled kayaks over to the starting point for the following day's kayak. When we got home half the group prepared dinner and we sat down for a delicious meal together while discussing the upcoming logistics for our adventure. After the other half of the group cleaned up dinner we did an intense core session before heading to bed early.

Lahti and Daria were ready for dinner too!
Keely's delicious pesto broccoli and chicken.
Dinner together.
Core work with Lahti (he gave up early)
The next morning we woke up early to get in a good breakfast and get organized for an entire day outside. It was 31 degrees and snowing so we had to pack smart and efficiently. We dressed in layers and had a change of clothes for each transition. We prepared lots of snacks and called ahead to the River's Eatery in Cable and placed our orders so that they would be ready after our rollerski 4.5 hours in.
Giant pot of oatmeal and Claire making eggs.

We had fun making delicious and healthy food to fuel us all day long. Greek yogurt parfaits made by Abby and me.
All the girls got two pairs of Fits Socks for the adventure and they were pretty psyched! Amanda with a big smile putting on her warm wool socks.

Keely and Kiera are incredible riders and offered their expertise and support for those of us newbies!

The crew ready to depart.
 The adventure began with a 2.5 hour gravel ride on our Mountain Bikes. I have actually only been biking once in Hayward before and it was a last minute race where I borrowed Keely Jackson's bike. To finally get the chance to check out the endless possibilities was a blast. We cruised many of the back roads that criss cross the Birkie Trail and we even climbed up Fire Tower Hill to the High Point on the Birkie Trail.
Biking with snow all around.

Keeley our fearless leader! Thanks to her we never got lost and we nailed our route times.
Everyone after conquering Fire Tower Hill.
We made it to Cable after 2.5 hours and quickly changed and put on our classic rollerski gear. We then classic skied for two hours out to Lake Owen Drive and back. The terrain and pavement in the Hayward/ Cable area is hard to beat. Lots of rolling terrain and hardly any traffic. A huge Thank You to Bert Jackson for not only allowing us to stay at her home but for also being our support car! Bert drove to cable so that we could stash our bikes and grab our ski gear and warm clothes.

Ready to ski.
The conversations were great and there were plenty of jokes and riddles to solve the whole way.
After 4.5 hours we were tired and hungry but everyone was having a blast. We rolled into the River's Eatery as they were pulling out the last of our Pizzas and bringing over our salads. Owners Mick and Beth have been huge supporters of the cross country skiing and biking community over the past decade and it was fun to visit with them and share or epic adventure. The pizzas were amazing!!!

Everyone ready to dive in but waiting for a photo first.
 Once we inhaled our lunch we quickly changed and jumped back on the bikes. Kiera, Keely's little sister just had shoulder surgery so she sat out the second bike and drove the car to our next transition at the Rudd's cabin on the Tiger Cat Flowage. Since Kiera drove it meant that Bert could use her bike and join us for the next 3 hours on the single track from Cable.

Crossing by the OO cabin.
I am pretty new to mountain biking but I like to try everything I can. My log riding was going pretty well until is wasn't. Thankfully the leaves were soft and cushy.
At the Rudd's Cabin we once again changed, ate and headed down to the water for our final leg. The kayak's were ready and waiting thanks to the crew who paddled them over the day before. We had three doubles and one single. I have never kayaked before but had an absolute blast despite my tiredness.We paddled for another 1.5 hours until we reached the Jackson's house over 11 hours after our adventure started and after 9 hours of L-1 training.

Ready to paddle and getting a little bit giddy.
The weather was cold but the day was perfect.

I was definitely in my happy place.
Making it home was a huge accomplishment for all of us. We were tired, hungry but most of all happy. We had great conversations and many firsts and we motivated and encouraged each other the entire way. We got home showered, made dinner and went to bed very quickly.

The weekend was only partway over and the next morning we were up and at it again. To replenish the absurd number of calories we burned the day before we decided to make crepes complete with whipped cream for breakfast. Everyone was feeling good and we discussed the workout for the day.

Awesome teamwork making a incredible breakfast spread.

We headed out to Upper A to do a L-3 Skate workout. The weather was perfect and everyone was ready to tackle the day again.
Psyched to be skiing.

Giving final instructions about how to approach the intervals and how we were going to get every one's lactates too.

Working together to make everyone faster.
 The workout went great and I was able to get my intervals in while supporting the other girls with theirs. I have gotten very good at testing lactates and can handle quite a few simultaneously now. I am very grateful to be surrounded by such an awesome and hardworking group. I am excited about my upcoming season but even more excited about their futures as cross country skiers and citizens of our country,
Sums up the camp pretty well.

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