Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Storm Week and Lobster Roll

Traditionally we call the last week before the end of Daylight Savings "The Most Boring Week Ever."  It's a mostly tongue-in-cheek way of describing our very easy recovery week - we do short simple workouts close to campus to make the most of the fading daylight.  This year we had a little extra excitement in the form of a fierce windstorm that ripped through northern New England - downed trees and power outages everywhere.

Roads and trails everywhere were blocked by fallen trees - a good week to keep it simple and stay close to campus.  We did a couple speed sessions, easy runs, a short track workout, and our first basketball session of the year!  Our team is always pretty bad at basketball - this year's group is no exception.  I'd like to think that we made some good progress on our skills, though - hope so, because everyone knows that you can't be a truly great skier without being at least somewhat good at basketball.

We finished off the week with a nice adventure - a trip to North Haven Island for the Lobster Roll skate rollerski race.  This is always a fun time - a unique Maine experience and a great chance to mix it up with some tough competition.  Renae scorched the course to take 2nd; Sean led the men in 8th, with Ian right on his heels in 9th.  Good solid day overall despite some nagging health issues troubling a few of our skiers.  Thanks to Andy Shepard and OSI for organizing the event!

Place Name Team Finish Time
1 Foss Kerker Colby 37:56
1 Parker McDonald Bates 37:56
3 Zane Fields Colby 38:49
4 Ian Liphart Colby 39:00
5 Caleb Streinz OSI 39:28
6 Gabe Forest Colby 39:30
6 Connor Gray Bates 39:30
8 Sean Cork Bowdoin 39:35
9 Ian Culnane Bowdoin 39:47
10 Anders Hanson Colby 40:08
11 Noah Eckstein Bowdoin 40:31
12 Ben Keener Bates 40:38
13 Jason Bartley UMPI 40:40
14 Mark Young Colby 40:43
15 Ben Theyerl Colby 40:51
16 Carter Hall Colby 41:11
17 Jake Adicoff Bowdoin 41:28
18 Nino Mazella UMPI 41:33
19 Connor Hyrnuk UMPI 41:34
20 Russell O'Brien Bowdoin 41:38
21 Sam Sinkler Colby 41:46
22 Graham Houtsma Bates 41:49
23 Sam Shaheen Bowdoin 41:50
23 Andrew Egger Colby 41:50
25 Carter Ros Bates 42:04
26 Luca DeAngelis Bowdoin 42:09
27 Forrest Hamilton Bates 42:41
28 Elliot Ketchel Bowdoin 43:13
29 Addie Sinkler Colby 43:22
30 Christian Gostout Bowdoin 43:28
31 Brad Ravenelle Bates 45:11
Place Name Team Finish Time
1 Kaelyn Woods Bates 45:18
2 Renae Anderson Bowdoin 45:50
3 Kirsten Miller Colby 46:34
4 Claire Waichler Colby 46:49
5 Annika Martell Colby 46:53
6 Lilly Naimie Colby 47:01
7 Skylar Tupper Colby 47:08
8 Madeline Rieders Colby 47:13
9 Talia Seltzer Colby 47:18
10 Meg Yoder Colby 47:22
11 Abbee Streinz OSI 47:40
12 Lily Johnston Bowdoin 47:49
13 Fiona Ahearne Bowdoin 47:58
14 Hannah Rieders Bates 48:26
15 Gabby Vandendries Bowdoin 49:06
16 Marin Colletta Colby 49:36
17 Samantha Pierce Bates 49:37
18 Zoe McKinney Bates 49:52
19 Annie Blakslee Bates 52:39
20 Vivian Hawkinson Colby 52:40
21 Rachel Zafren Bowdoin 53:10
22 Valentina Annunziata UMPI 53:11
23 Julia Lazzaroni Colby 56:47
24 Leinani Farnsworth UMPI 61:48

Monday, October 23, 2017

Split Squad Weekend

Two different directions for the team this weekend.  Ian took a group up to Fort Kent for our 2nd annual County Camp.  They did a 10k skate time trial with UMPI and a couple OSI athletes - good tough competition.  Sean was our fastest guy in 2nd place overall, and Rachel won the women's race - small but comptitive!  They rounded out the week with lots of good skiing on the 10th Mountain Division rollerski loop and some biathlon training - second time this fall we've practiced our shooting skills!  Walt Shepard would be proud.  Nice training weekend at a great venue - thanks to Seth Hubbard of OSI for hosting the team and Tim Whiton of UMPI for setting up the time trial!

The rest of us stayed home and did a time trial of our own - 10k skate at Lewis Hill Road on a bright sunny day.  Renae looked sharp and V2ed up just about everything - really nice high energy skiing and the fastest women's time.  Another bright spot was watching Lily hanging onto Ellie for the whole race after being passed around the 3k mark.  It's invaluable for experience and confidence when a skier can find the strength to stay with a faster racer and I absolutely love seeing it.  The only two men, Cirque and Luca, both battled hard, with Cirque slightly ahead at the finish.  Great to see these two guys coming back into form after injuries and illness compromised their seasons last year.  Really nice skiing overall.

A few members of the at-home group rounded out the weekend with a quick overnight trip to the Bigelow Preserve - a little camping on the shores of Flagstaff Lake and a nice hike up Avery Peak on Sunday.  Good times to wrap up a good week of training.  Now we just need to get a few people rested and healthy to get this team at full strength!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Homecoming Weekend

Good training over Homecoming!  We started off the weekend with a nice late afternoon ski on Lewis Hill Road, one of our favorite rollerski haunts - nice rolling roads through rural country - just right for some no-pole skiing and V2.

Next morning we loaded up and drove out to Phippsburg for some sand skiing!  We did our usual run with gear up over Morse Mountain and down to the beach, and after that it was all business - 4x6 minutes of tough sand ski intervals.  There's no way to make sand skiing not tough - every stride is like going up a steep hill - so this is always a challenging but fun and unique workout.  It was great to take in some gorgeous coastal scenery and also work on technique - kick is almost as unrealistic as rollerskiing, but it feels a little more real due to the longer skis and sliding instead of rolling.

After some rock decorating that evening, we were ready for the 12th Annual Phil Soule Phlail.  A light rain didn't keep the racers away - over 100 people registered, and our student turnout was the best it's been in years.  The team did a great job of keeping things running smoothly, and the event went beautifully!  Another great event in honor of one of Bowdoin's legendary figures.

Our first 2 weeks of training together have been pretty crazy - tryouts, Fall Camp, and then the Phlail.  Now things are finally settling down - although we have plenty of other adventures coming up, we should at least be able to get into a slightly more regular routine.  Can't wait to hit up our favorite training venues in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fall Camp 2017

This year's Fall Break camp was a milestone - first time ever that we've ventured out of Maine for this camp.  Maine has so many gorgeous sights and amazing training venues that we normally like to keep it in state, but this year we had a great opportunity to try something new - the Ethan Allen Biathlon Club set us up with lodging in the barracks of the military base in Jericho, Vermont.  The base has a biathlon range and a rollerski track, and of course it's right next to a host of mountains, so this was too good to pass up.  We stopped at Quechee Gorge for a little trail run on the drive west after classes - nice landmark that most of us hadn't seen before.  Next morning most of our skiers competed in a 10k classic rollerski race hosted by EABC and Mansfield Nordic.  A few other college teams and a bunch of fast juniors were there, so it was a great chance to challenge ourselves against tough competition.  For me, the eyeball test is the best way to make sense of a rollerski race - we didn't put up any show stopping results, but I was really happy with how the team looked overall - good energy and snappy skiing.  It was a good solid effort and also a useful reminder of how many fast skiers there are in our league!  Definitely a good way to get everyone focused on the big task ahead.

After lunch the folks at EABC generously offered a free biathlon clinic and a mini-race, and several of our skiers jumped in.  It turns out that we have a wide range of shooting ability on the team, but overall our skiers were pretty good!  Gabby and Lily in particular showed good aptitude, and Ellie was an absolute natural - 8 of 10 in the race!  Pretty sure US Biathlon is going to be recruiting her when she graduates.  Despite impressive shooting performances by several people, we all got a harsh reminder that sometimes raw power trumps finesse - little Ian powered to victory despite shooting a mere 3 of 10.  Hats off to fast skiing, if not skill.  We finished off the day with an easy skate ski and a little technique work for the non-biathletes - a long but productive day.

Next morning was our traditional Fall Camp hike/run.  We always try to make this into a point-to-point, just to make it a bit more of an adventure - this year, we chose to run up the north side of Camel's Hump on the Long Trail and back down on the west side.  It was a weirdly tropical day -super humid and mild - and the rain started up right about the time we started running.  Camel's Hump is a pretty big mountain with a long gradual approach - between this and the rain we figured it would take a long while, but the team ripped through the ascent in remarkably little time.  The top of the mountain was in thick clouds - not much to see but white - but it was still a special feeling to be up there on this bizarre misty day, and everyone was in a goofy happy mood.  The rain really started up on the way down, turning the trail into a creek - we all gave up on keeping our shoes the least bit dry and just bombed down it.  The girls put on a remarkable a capella concert featuring rain-related songs and we ended the workout in style.  Of course the sun came out minutes later - a bit late, but we grabbed some food on the way home and enjoyed some dry-out time.

We got more rain for our final day at camp.  It took a bit of an effort to get fired up for a long rollerski, but our skiers are pretty hardy.  Within a few minutes everyone was good and wet and enjoying themselves.  Thanks to the magic of a loop, coaches saw the skiers several times throughout the morning, and we were able to do a ton of good technique work.  Normally we don't get this level of thorough technique work done until Thanksgiving Camp, so I was pretty overjoyed.  Must get a rollerski loop built at Bowdoin!  It was an unexpectedly great workout, and a nice cap to a very productive camp.

Now we're back on campus, squeezing in a lift and a nice trail run today before break is over.  In our first few days together the team has done great work, and I'm super stoked - it's going to be a great fall!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

First Week!

We're back!  First week is in the books - strong showing by the team in tryouts.  We did something new for our rollerski time trial - 4x1k uphill repeats (2 skate, 2 classic).  The goal was to minimize ski speed differences by doing the time trial entirely uphill - since we're not blessed with any super long hills around here, we had to settle for repeats instead of one continuous effort.  The new format definitely seemed pretty sprinter-friendly but still gave us a pretty good feel for how people are skiing.  Elliot and Renae announced their presence with decisive wins.

Elliot 9:13
Jake 9:41
Ian 9:48
Sean 9:55
Sam 9:56
Christian 10:15
Cirque 10:32
Marshal 10:48
Orion 11:04

Renae 11:52
Sara 12:01
Gabby 12:34
Mary 13:00
Fiona 13:00
Lily 13:15
Ellie 13:32
Rachel 13:46
Aine 16:46
We were lucky to have one of the all-time Bowdoin Nordic greats, Mac Groves '17, helping out at the time trial - we definitely could not have pulled off this logistically challenging day without him!
Next up was the dreaded 2000m test.  This one is pretty nasty, but I love seeing our skiers pour everything into it while the rest of the team cheers them on - super intense and a great team atmosphere.  It's also a good chance to get back into coach-on-race-day mode - by the end of the last test my throat was raw and I felt like I'd done a massive core workout from all the yelling.  Lily and Jake burned it up with the top times of the day.

Lily 8:25
Fiona 08:29.4
Renae 08:49.4
Sara 08:49.5
Gabby 08:50.8
Ellie 08:52.8
Mary 09:08.6
Rachel 09:13.8

Jake 07:00.2
Sean 07:04.9
Orion 07:07.6
Elliot 07:12.6
Ian 07:15.4
Cirque 07:16.8
Noah 07:18.6
Christian 07:20.1
Sam 07:32.6
We took it a little easier on the next day, with some speed/agility in the morning and general strength in the afternoon - blistering times on the agility course from Elliot and Sara.

Name 1 2 3 Best 2
Elliot 39 38 38 76
Ian 39 39 39 78
Christian 40 39 42 79
Russell 40 41 40 80
Jake 41 41 40 81
Sara 41 41 40 81
Sean 42 41 41 82
Cirque 42 42 41 83
Noah 43 43 44 86
Orion 43 43 43 86
Sam 45 45 45 90
Renae 47 48 46 93
Gabby 48 47 46 93
Fiona 50 49 48 97
Lily 49 49 48 97
Mary 50 49 49 98
Rachel 55 51 47 98
Ellie 53 51 52 103

Last was the traditional Morse Mountain time trial.  New kids once again set the pace, with Noah winning for men and Renae setting a new record for women!  The old women's record was an outrageously fast time set by Lucy Skinner '16.  I thought it would stand for years - guess I was wrong.

Renae 6:35
Sara 6:51
Fiona 7:09
Gabby 7:15
Lily 7:20
Mary 7:35
Ellie 7:41
Noah 5:43
Sam 5:45
Christian 5:47
Orion 5:50
Jake 5:55
Russell 6:00
Luca 6:01
Ian 6:02
Cirque 6:07
Sean 6:08
Elliot 6:18

Even after all that testing we can't slow down - Fall Camp is already upon us!  We're headed to Jericho, VT, tomorrow for three days of training at the Ethan Allen Biathlon Range.  I'm thrilled with how the team performed in testing, especially the women, and I can't wait to start working with them at camp!  Great start to the season.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Graduation 2017

The Class of 2017 graduated last weekend - sad and sweet as always.  Mac and Hannah have been mainstays on our team for the last four years - it's hard to think of two people who have played such a significant role in shaping Bowdoin Nordic.  These guys have epitomized everything a Bowdoin athlete should be - they've worked hard and enjoyed great success in school and on the ski trails, and they've done it all with a fun-loving, team-first spirit.  I couldn't have asked for any more than they've given the ski program these last few years.  Now they're off to new adventures - Hannah is headed to Switzerland on a Fulbright Scholarship to continue her geological research, and Mac is going to teach chemistry and coach skiing at the Dublin School in New Hampshire.  Congratulations Hannah and Mac!

Thanks for Meg Groves for these great photos!

Friday, May 12, 2017

2017 Thoughts

Every spring I write a post about things we learned from the previous season.  Here are a few thoughts from 2017:

Klister application – Working with Ian has been really good for my klister skills.  Ian is an old-school New Englander – very frugal.  This is apparent in his ultra-thin klister applications.  I’m a big “thin to win” guy with hardwax, but for some reason I tend to go a bit thicker with klister.  It turns out that the Ian method is vastly superior – the thinner application often provides enough kick by itself, and naturally it’s much faster.  And if it turns out that we need more kick, it’s way easier to make adjustments when you’re working on top of a thin layer.  Clever coaches already knew this, of course, but no one ever accused me of being clever.  Can’t believe it took me 17 years to figure this out.

Strength vs stability – For years I’ve been a big proponent of bodyweight strength training, or calisthenics, and I still am.  Calisthenics require a lot of stability, and each exercise activates a wide range of muscles.  If you’re not able to use all those little stabilizing muscles to lock down your joints, it doesn’t matter how strong the prime movers are – you’re leaking energy with each stroke, and you’re not skiing fast.  Having said that, I’ll admit that calisthenics aren’t as efficient as weight training when it comes to building pure strength in the prime movers.  I think I’m ready to stop trying to accomplish both goals within a single calisthenics-based workout.  I’m never going to be willing to spend a lot of our limited training time in the weight room, but I can talk myself into a few focused weight sessions supplemented with small frequent doses of stability training.  If I can plan this out right, we could actually open up more time for endurance and/or ski-specific training while still addressing our strength/stability needs effectively.

No-pole skiing – Everyone knows that no-pole skiing is one of the best ways to improve technique.  It’s also great for improving muscular endurance in the legs.  As we do more and more double pole training and get stronger and stronger in our upper bodies, it becomes more apparent that not all of our skiers have adequate fitness in their lower bodies.  If we focus on no-pole training even half as much as we’ve been focusing on double pole training, we’ll make big gains here.

Non-carnival skiers – We went from 13 skiers last year to 18 this year – our biggest team in years.  Big numbers means that some people don’t get to race in some carnivals.  This can be mentally tough for the skiers who are staying home – it can be hard to stay motivated for training and get excited to ski in non-carnival races.  A lack of engagement in some skiers is going to affect the whole team, so this is not a great situation.  It looks like the team will be getting even bigger next year, so we need to be thoughtful about how we manage the non-carnival group as the season goes on – establishing clear expectations, finding (or creating) good race opportunities and committing to them ahead of time, and holding people accountable for continuing to train and race outside the carnival scene.

So those are a few of my thoughts as I’m writing summer training plans and looking ahead to next season.  Meanwhile, the skiers are hard at work preparing for exams – almost done with the school year!  The sun is finally shining, the leaves are coming out, and campus is looking beautiful – looking forward to ending this fine year with a couple weeks of fine weather.