Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fall 2014 Training Video

As exams wind down, here's a video of our training from the past few months.  Here's hoping that next semester is as successful as this one!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The December Grind

The last couple weeks of the semester are always tough - early darkness, variable weather, peak schoolwork, and the cumulative fatigue from months of training make this a very challenging time to stay healthy and mentally focused.  This year has been no exception.  In particular, the weather has been outrageous.  We came home from camp to find some nice snow on the ground, but a little ice followed by days of rain has left us with a mess - ice, sand, and standing water everywhere.  Definitely some of the toughest training conditions I've seen in a long time.  Still, we've made the best of it and have done some good workouts since camp.

Race pace intervals on the athletic fields...

 ...partly facilitated by some human-powered grooming.

 Surprisingly good skiing in the woods around Farley after a surprise snowfall dropped a couple inches on top of our ice sheet.

 Nice conditions at the Quarry Road Opener in Waterville.

Things took a steep dive this week with several days of rain, but we've held it together with some running, erging, agility/power work indoors, and, of course, a little yoga.

The only real low point of the week came in the Maine vs. Vermont 3-on-3 basketball showdown.  Maine won handily on the strength of red-hot outside shooting - a mark of shame on the entire state of Vermont.  Hopefully, a rematch is in the works....

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanksgiving Camp 2014

Thanksgiving Camp 2014 was fantastic.  We had five days of good skiing - plenty of snow on the 2.5k artificial loop and good rock skiing on the rest of the system that got better throughout the week.  We did a ton of easy skiing and a ton of technique work - lots of filming and trailside analysis every day.  I feel like every single skier made good progress, and we had several breakthroughs - some small, some big.  There was good energy throughout the camp - lots of laughter and foolishness to go along with great enthusiasm and focus.  In my opinion, things couldn't have gone much better - perhaps the best camp we've ever had.  Since any Bowdoin Nordic fan knows that our camps are all about the food, here's a quick rundown of the dinners:  beef & veggie stir fry w/ lo mein noodles, strawberry-spinach salad w/ feta, & carrot cake w/ cream cheese frosting; 2) veggie fried rice w/ chicken & tofu, cabbage salad w/ peanut sauce, caramel covered brownies; 3) lasagna (beef, veggie, & veggie alfredo), strawberry-spinach salad w/ goat cheese, & ice cream/cookie cake.  Here are a few other quick highlights:

- a men's falsetto Taylor Swift medly
- something called "monkeyball" (I still haven't figured out what this is)
- amazing Thanksgiving dinner featuring Jake's ginger gravy
- parking lot speedball vs. UMPI
- Polasky ball on hallowed ground - the site of the original PB game
- time trial with several other EISA teams (men; women)
- the plethora of gold stars amassed by August
- a long adventure ski on our last morning that was much longer than we bargained for...

Overall, a great, great camp.  May the rest of the season go just as well.

Here are some photos, some courtesy of Shelby & Rachel:

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sand Ski Video

Here's a short video of our sand skiing intervals from last weekend:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Coastal Adventures

Last week's weather was absolutely foul - dark skies and near-constant rain for several days in a row.  Cold fall rain is never pleasant, but this last round was particularly tough to take - a malaise seemed to hang over everything.  I was pretty proud of the team for powering through with good spirits and positive energy.  Still, we were all ready for some blue skies by the end of the week, so a gorgeous weekend with a couple of unusual workouts was a nice change of pace.  On Saturday, we went out to Morse Mountain for some sand skiing - jog in with gear, change to skis and hammer out some intervals, and jog back out - perfect.
We tested sand skiing once last year and found that it felt surprisingly real, so this time we did a real workout - 6-8x2 min intervals at VO2max pace.  The damp sand allows just enough glide for it to feel like skiing, but it's the kind of slow grind you'd get on a steep hill - not great for easy distance or speed work, but perfect for short, hard intervals to build aerobic fitness.

As usual, a few hardy folks jumped in the ocean after the workout, and a good time was had by all.  A very productive session, and spirits were high - we'll definitely do this again this fall.

The next day we tried something completely new for Bowdoin Nordic - a combination rollerski/paddling workout.  I've always been a big fan of paddling as ski training - the movements are similar to poling, and I've seen a lot of skiers come back to campus with great upper body fitness after a summer of kayaking or canoeing.  So this year we finally decided to give it a try.  After a peaceful ski on the back roads of Brunswick, the crew rolled into the Merepoint boat launch.  Sarah gave some quick advice for maximizing the training value of paddling and the skiers loaded up and headed off into the placid waters of Middle Bay.

 The crew paddled along the shoreline and back for about an hour.  It was a perfect day for exploring the coast - the bay was calm and the sun was out.  The quality of the workout wasn't quite what I'd hoped, due to the constant steering adjustments required in a canoe, but it was a nice, restorative session after a long dark week.  Overall, a great weekend on the coast of Maine!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hannah in Svalbard

Hannah Marshall is continuing the Bowdoin Nordic tradition of studying abroad in Svalbard.  Here's an email she sent the team recently:

Hello ski team!

Life here in Svalbard has been pretty amazing! I can't believe that I've been here for over 2 months! When I first arrived we had 24 hours of sunlight and no snow in sight, except for the two glaciers right behind the barracks where we live. By the end of August the sun set for the first time, and now we've lost 20 minutes of sunlight every day, so the sun will rise for the last time at the end of the week! Then we have a short twilight period before the dark season truly starts! AHHHH!!

But dark season has it advantages: it is getting colder, so there is snow and plenty of skiing opportunities! It snowed for the first time in August and I was on skis a few times throughout September. Hiking up to the glacier to ski can be an adventure, because even if there is no snow in town it can be a white out up there, and me and friend got a little lost a few times. 

On Friday there was finally enough snow in town for me to ski to school for the first time which really speeds up the usual 30 minute walking commute! I managed to ski to school twice this week, but now it has heated up to a balmy 0 degrees Celsius and is raining, so no skiing for a little while!

And darkness also means we can finally see the Northern Lights! They were particularly beautiful this weekend – I’ve attached a sweet picture my friend Sam took sitting on the roof of our barrack.

But I promise I do do things other than go hiking and skiing and watch the Northern Lights. I'm taking 2 arctic geology courses for my EOS major at Bowdoin. One focuses on quaternary glacial geology of Svalbard and the other on marine geology. We did some awesome field work for both classes. On our first field trip we camped out in front of a glacier and I saw my first polar bear!! It was hanging out on an island in the fjord, but luckily never got too close. But they've been having problems with polar bears coming into to town, and just the other day they had to tranquilize a bear that wouldn't leave and fly him to another island! Other than my one polar bear, I've also seen many seals, walruses, and tons of reindeer. So that's pretty nifty. For marine geology we went on a weeklong cruise where we circumnavigated Spitsbergen, the biggest island in Svalbard (and where I had the adventure of trying to train in the tiny weight room rocking back and forth at the bottom of the boat). 

I hope that life back at Bowdoin is splendid and fall training is off to a great start! I miss you guys so keep in touch!  Can't wait to see you all again (or for the first time in the case of some of the freshmen...) in January!!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fall Camp 2014

We left Bowdoin for Fall Camp 2014 on a bright October day.  Fueled by a stop at Georgio's Donuts in Auburn, we soon arrived at the base of the Sunday River alpine area.  We dodged crazed downhill mountain bikers and rambunctious 8-year-olds as we bounded up the mountain (keeping our heart rates at threshold, of course).  The mountain road proved longer than our workout - only a hardy few reached the highest chairlift, and only Captain DeAngelis summitted whichever peak we were climbing (always hard to tell at Sunday River).  Post-workout, Shelby led us to the Letter S swimming hole, a lovely picnic spot with a vast expanse of smooth, round rocks that were equally perfect for napping or collecting as Phlail prizes.  Afterward, we did a little technique work and a short recovery ski on pristine pavement out to the iconic Sunday River covered bridge.  The boys cooked up a bunch of ham/veggie burgers for dinner, and that was our day.

Waking at a leisurely hour the next day, we headed to Grafton Notch for a long run/hike through the mountains.  The boys parked at the base of Old Speck and immediately began their assault on the imposing mound of granite.  After a brief interlude on the fire tower atop the peak and a high-speed descent, they split up into several small groups, tackling Table Rock, West Baldpate, or (in the case of Tyler and Jackson), both West and East Baldpate.  Meanwhile, the women had fearlessly continued through the notch in search of the Appalachian Trail route up the north side of the Baldpates.  With Sarah at the helm and Shelby navigating, they soon found themselves in New Hampshire, far from their desired destination.  Apparently, Hannah Miller was not involved in the route-finding; however, given her past track record it seems logical to conclude that her very presence was enough to throw the group off course.  Undeterred, they returned to the notch and enjoyed a lovely jaunt up both Baldpates.  The afternoon was highlighted by napping, rock varnishing, and a series of spirited table tennis competitions dominated by Jackson.  After a top-quality meal of burritos courtesy of the ladies, another fine day had come to an end.

We finished off our camp with a nice long rollerski from Locke Mills to Rumford along the Androscoggin River (much thanks to Gould coach Jeremy Nellis for the route).  Pavement was nice (mostly), traffic was minimal (mostly), and the skiers glided down the road as gracefully as clouds floating on a summer breeze.  After a brief post-ski picnic in the parking lot of a local church, we were speeding home through the scenic byways of central Maine - another successful fall camp in the books!