Posts Tagged ‘Lake Placid’

Spring is the time for recovery, summer is the time to put in the work, fall is for fine tuning and winter is racing. People are often surprised when we tell them that we do the bulk of our training hours in the summer months. We build a solid foundation of aerobic fitness and strength with long hours of rollerskiing, running, biking, hiking, and lifting. We work hard and we keep it fun.

For over five years, I have spent my summers split between training in Lake Placid, New York with the National Biathlon Team and in Craftsbury, Vermont with the Green Racing Project, my home ski club and a place I love dearly. Since they are only three and a half hours apart I can go back and forth often during the year.

Training with the National Team
IMG_1139.JPGExploring the New York Adirondack mountains early summer with the team and Andrea

IMG_1145.JPGNormally we travel to Bend, Oregon in May to get in some skiing but we stayed east this year due to lack of snow. Instead we did a road biking camp near Middlebury

IMG_1149.JPGLunch break, post bike ride

IMG_1171.PNGOne major benefit of Lake Placid is training at a shooting range attached to a rollerski loop

Training with the Craftsbury Green Racing Project

IMG_1168.PNGAlright, maybe we should rollerski longer if we have this much energy post workout

IMG_1170.PNGHelping out with an introductory kids’ biathlon camp

IMG_1155.JPGOn the road in Greensboro

IMG_1157.JPGDoes anybody else out there still love animal crackers?

IMG_1165.JPGWe normally shoot only biathlon rifles, but for 4th of July celebrations Craftsbury biathletes have a tradition of cross training by shooting a wider variety of rifles, shot guns and pistols.

Adventures Elsewhere

June was a busy month for weddings. Two former Craftsbury teammates got married in Wisconsin and two former biathlon teammates got married in Idaho. (Congrats to the happy couples!) Hannah and I spent a week in Idaho doing a high volume block of training between the weddings. Many thanks to Mikey Sinnott and his family, the Sun Valley ski team, and the folks at Elephant’s Perch for welcoming us!

IMG_1167.JPGSkiing with the Sun Valley team

IMG_0008.JPGEveryone told us Sun Valley’s wildflowers were the best they’d seen in years. I might have been so distracted that I flipped over the handlebars. Twice. (credits for these last pics: Hannah)

IMG_0001.JPGTime in the mountains is good for the soul

IMG_0016.JPGHan and I on the summit of Hyndman Peak


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It is a very exciting time to be a biathlete now. The Olympics have started and the US fields one of the strongest teams in our history.  For those of us not in Vancouver, our race season is in full swing back east.  Last weekend we took a short road trip to the Ethan Allen Biathlon Range in Jericho, Vermont for a couple of NorAm races and this past weekend, Lake Placid hosted two more.  The Lake Placid NorAm is one of my favorite times of the year to be in Lake Placid because all the visiting biathletes liven up the Olympic Training Center (OTC) dorms.  These past two weekends of races served as the qualifiers for U-26 World Championships, which will be held  in Estonia in a couple weeks.  As I write, the U-26 team still hasn’t been announced, but hopefully it will be soon because the team leaves 10 days from now.

Coach Jimmy Upham and event organizer, Rick Costanza, working on the range at the start of the Lake Placid NorAms

Andrea Mayo, a competitor from Maine Winter Sports Center, shows some style before the race

Immediately after the Lake Placid NorAms, Tracy (left) flew out to Vancouver to cheer on her twin sister Lanny. BethAnn, Kat and I helped her decorate a banner to bring.

My roommate Kat Howe entertains herself in the dorms by doing lots of crafts projects. Lately she's taken to sewing and selling headbands.

My prize for winning the Craftsbury Marathon a couple weeks ago was one gallon of pure Vermont maple syrup.  Although I love maple syrup, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to use the entire gallon by myself.  I already had a large stockpile of it from Cornell’s maple research farm across road where I occasionally volunteer.  As an aside, the staff there jokingly call me the”Vermont Spy” because they have become obsessed with surpassing Vermont in state syrup production and they are afraid I’ll give away their strategy and trade secrets.  In the expert opinion of the Vermont Spy, Vermont has no reason to feel threatened by New York.  I’ll continue to keep a watchful eye on them,  just in case they try some funny business.

I decided to use some of my maple syrup to make sugar on snow to serve during the OTC’s Opening Ceremonies celebration.  In case you aren’t familiar with sugar on snow, it involves heating up maple syrup until it has a taffy consistency and drizzling it over a pan full of snow.  Once it cools for a minute it can be peeled off  and eaten with a fork.  Several of the OTC resident athletes and staff had never heard of sugar on snow before and I had to explain it to them, but the visiting Canadian biathletes knew exactly what I was talking about.  When I told them it was ready, they made a beeline for the cafeteria.  We spent the rest of the evening on a sugar high watching the Opening Ceremonies on TV.

Sugar on snow!

Alex Dumond, a Canadian biathlete visiting for the NorAms, bragged about how much maple syrup he eats every day for breakfast. Egged on by his friends, he bites into a little more maple than he can handle.

Watching the Opening Ceremonies from the cafeteria of the Lake Placid OTC

On Saturday afternoon, Lake Placid celebrated the start of the Olympics and the 30 year anniversary of Miracle on Ice with a town festival.   On the ice oval in the center of town they built a mini hockey rink, luge run, ski jumping hill, curling rink, and paintball biathlon range.  Hundreds of kids showed up with their families to try the various sports and they all were given race bibs to wear.  I wandered over with a couple teammates to check out the scene and help out with the paintball.

Four of the original torchbearers from the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics relit the town's official Olympic torch, as well as a smaller one shown here on the speed skating oval.

I must admit that an Olympic Training Center is not an easy place to live leading up to the Olympics.  The only residents left here are those who didn’t qualify and every time we see an Olympic logo (they are plastered all over the OTC walls) or hear the Olympics come up in conversation, we are reminded of what we missed. However, now that the  Olympics have begun, the disappointment is forgotten and replaced  by excitement as we sit glued to the TV cheering on Team USA.  I’m very proud of fellow OTC resident and Vermonter Hannah Kearney who dominated the moguls.  Yesterday the biathletes struggled with some nasty weather, but Jeremy Teela proved just how much depth the team has by posting the highest ever American finish (9th) while favored Tim Burke struggled in the sloppy new snow.  The day before, Sara Studebaker qualified for biathlon pursuit in her first ever Olympic race with a 45th place.   As my roommate Kat and I watched Johnny Spillane’s sprint finish in Nordic Combined, we jumped to our feet, yelling at the TV and jumping up and down.  It was history in the making- not only a silver medal, but also 2 other Americans in the top 10.   As I write, we are only two and a half days into the competitions with plenty more excitement to come.

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The snow is starting to fly as I reflect on the past several months.  All and all, it was a great summer.  I spent about half my time in residence at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY doing a lot of rollerskiing and shooting.  The rest of my time was split between national team training camps, home (Barton, Vermont), and a vacation to Colorado.  Here’s the summary in a nutshell:


Our team traveled to Fort Kent, Maine for our first major training camp.  For those of you not familiar with Fort Kent, it is a small isolated town at the northern end of “The County” (Aroostock County) in Maine, within a stone’s throw of New Brunswick.  It rained almost every day of the camp, but we still had a blast.  We found plenty of entertainment when we weren’t busy training.

Bed Race_Women

"Interval training" with the National Team, i.e. celebrating Acadian culture by participating in a "bed race" in Madawaska, Maine. I am on the left, BethAnn Chamberlain is on the right, Annelies Cook is sporting the PJs, and the Barnes twins are pushing in the rear. Photo: Gary Coliander


Post-workout visit to a swimming hole in Fort Kent, Maine. Photo: Gary Coliander


During the summers of my college years, I worked at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory near Crested Butte, Colorado doing ecology research.  I missed the lab, the mountains, and the people, and I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to take a mental break from the training lifestyle, so I took a vacation to Colorado.  While I was there, I worked for a Dartmouth professor that I’d had doing stream research.  Among other things, we did a lot of electrofishing (catching fish by stunning them with a mild electric shock) and measured and tagged them so that they could later be recaptured to determine growth rates.   I also fit in as much hiking as I possibly could.


The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory sits on the sit of an old mining village at the base of Gothic Mountain.


Helping set up a nutrient addition experiment to study the diatom Didymosphenia geminata or "rock snot" in Colorado's East River.


Staying in open bay barracks for our 2 week training camp at the Jericho, VT army base proved to be an exercise in adaptability and good team bonding.  We survived the heat and moved on to Bethel, Maine for a week to play in the White Mountains.  I made it home at the end of the month in time to bike in the Echo Lake Road Race.  Of all the years I’ve participated, I’ve never seen it so muddy.  It was quite a challenge trying to navigate a sloppy dirt road on a road bike.


Waiting in line while Gary Coliander dumps a pitcher of icy water on teammate Laura Spector during a brutally hot and humid interval session at Jericho. Photo: Sara Studebaker

Animals (15)

Spending some time at home with my parents and the animals.


Fall is a beautiful season in the Adirondacks.  However I struggle at this time of year, especially with rollerskiing.  We spend a lot of time doing circles on our hilly rollerski loop here at Lake Placid.  I start to dream of gliding over the snow instead of over the pavement.  During one of our low volume training weeks, I traveled to New Hampshire and took part in a timberframing course at Moosilauke Ravine Lodge.  I joined fellow Dartmouth alums and students in building a new house for the Lodge crew to live in.


The rollerski loop in Lake Placid features a difficult uphill approach to the shooting range (under the roof on the left). In the background are the Olympic ski jumps.


Fall training at the Lake Placid practice range.


Learning to timberframe: Here is the partially finished crew quarters that I helped build at Moosilauke Ravine Lodge (Warren, New Hampshire).


The October Utah training camp is one of my favorites of the year.  I love long rollerskis up canyons, hiking along sage-covered ridges, and basking in the western sun.  The last major rollerski time trials of the year happen here.

Utah (11)

These are the "matched" rollerskis that we race on for time trials. They are calibrated to all be the same speed so the race is fair.


Competing in a time trial at Soldier's Hollow in Heber, Utah. Photo: Zach Hall

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