Tuesday, November 13, 2018

November Less-Rain

November is turning out to be slightly less rainy than October, but we're at no risk of drying out any time soon.  That hasn't stopped us from crushing some good workouts as we move toward Thanksgiving Camp.  Some highlights:

- A first-time workout for Bowdoin Nordic:  classic roll to Reid State Park finished with a run on the beach.  The sun was out for the first time in days, the pavement was perfect, and the scenery was gorgeous - a perfect day.  We'll definitely make this an annual session.

- A rollerski skills workout around Farley and Watson.  Not the most exciting scenery, but with a short loop we were able to stay in constant contact with the skiers and give everyone some good individual feedback.  Now that we're into short days and early darkness, on-campus workouts like this are a productive way to use our limited daylight.

- Skate roll intervals in Woolwich - quiet roads, good pavement, and nice rolling terrain made for a fast and competitive workout.

- Another Bowdoin Nordic first - Thursday game day was football under the lights!  Turns out that nordic skiers are not very good at football (except for Renae, who appears to be related to Tom Brady).  Fun times, anyway.

- Hitting the weights and getting huge.

- And another batch of sand skiing intervals.  No such thing as too many trips to the beach!  People were really locked in this round - one of our most productive sand ski sessions ever.

One more week of good hard training before Quebec.  Looks like there's plenty of snow up there - can't wait!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Maine Event and More

Last weekend we attended the Maine Event, a fun agility challenge hosted by NENSA at Pineland - so great to have a NENSA rollerski event come to Maine!  The course featured three different wooden ramp-type rollers along with the usual slalom, grass skiing, figure 8s, etc - fun stuff and a real skills challenge that showed us a lot about everyone's strengths and weaknesses.  The dire forecast kept the numbers down, unfortunately, but even so the Maine teams showed up in force - lots of Colby, Bates, and Gould skiers joined us, along with a couple local skiers from Freeport.  It was pretty fun to watch everyone learning and improving as the morning went on - as they figured out how to ski the rollers you could see body position change as confidence grew.  The rain held off long enough for everyone to get several practice runs and a good clean qualifying round.  Our women crushed it - Renae 2nd, Perrin 3rd, and Gabby 4th.  Men were solid as well, with Noah G 6th and Elliot 7th.  Good showing by the first-years!  The heats were set up bracket-style, with skiers going head to head starting on opposite sides of the loop - a super cool idea that ended up being a bit too time-consuming once the cold rain started up.  With the course getting slick and the skiers starting to freeze, we all huddled and decided to cut the event short - a few rounds of heats heavily compressed, with the qualifier serving as the final results.  It was kind of a bummer that we couldn't stick to the original format, but everyone still got in a great morning of skill work and competition.  Thanks to NENSA and Pineland for hosting a fun event!

We got up to a lot of other good stuff in the second half of October:  mystery intervals at Pineland, a couple visits to the quiet back roads of Woolwich, a pair of fast and high-quality workouts on the bike path, some good hard hill repeats up the water tower hill in Topsham, and lots more.  We're just now wrapping up our favorite recovery week, the annual Most Boring Week Ever - short and simple workouts close to campus as the daylight gets shorter and shorter.  Daylight Savings on Sunday, so next week it'll be time to shift to the earlier practice schedule.  We're trying an experimental new practice schedule that should make it easier for everyone to get to practice.  Hope it works out - we'll find out soon!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

First Couple Weeks

Time's been flying by since we wrapped up tryouts two weeks ago.  After a couple good training days, we hosted the Phil Soule 5k for Homecoming Weekend.  This is always a hectic day, and it's extra exciting when it happens during Fall Break, since we have to bolt out of town right after the race to get Fall Camp started.  Fortunately, the race went pretty smoothly - 70+ runners competed in a light rain, and a good time was had by all.  After a quick brunch we took off for Northfield, MA, where Leslie had been able to set us up with a couple cabins (her own and a neighbor's).  We shook out the legs with a good hard bounding workout at Northfield Mountain before settling into the cabins for a delicious chili dinner.

Next morning we ran/hiked all over Pisgah State Park across the border in New Hampshire, a beautiful expanse in a corner of the state we never pass through.  That afternoon we completed the triple play with a nice roll in Vermont, ending on one of the best rollerski roads any of us have ever seen (Huckle Hill Road in Vernon).  Fall colors were amazing against the overcast skies, and we finished a hard day of training happy.

That evening we cooked a nice pasta dinner and spent some quality time learning interesting stuff about each other, playing games, and toasting marshmallows around a bonfire.  We left Northfield the next morning and stopped on the way home to check out one of Gabby's favorite training routes, the classic CSU rollerski in Littleton, a winding series of country-ish roads through small towns and farmland.  All in all, a pleasant little camp with three days of quality training.

Since then, we've been settling into our regular fall training routine with some old and new favorites:  30/90s on Ridge Rd, rollerboard, pool running, Marty sprints, Wolfe's Neck roll/run, and of course a little sand skiing.  It's a small crew these days, with 6 juniors abroad - that feels odd sometimes, but it makes for a nice compact training group out on the roads and trails.  Health and energy has been good for the most part, and the skiers look fit and technically sharp - so far so good!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Morse Mountain TT

Tryouts concluded yesterday with the Morse Mountain uphill run test.  Although it's not a perfect test (too short, too rolling), I love it anyway.  We've been doing it since 2008, so we have lots of data, and I love data.  It's also a beautiful spot for a time trial - nothing's better than celebrating the end of tryouts with a jog down to the beach and a quick dip in the ocean.  We had plenty to celebrate this year - several PRs, including a new team record for Renae!  The only negative was that we were missing 3 of the women due to various health issues.  Still, a good solid day to wrap up a great set of tests.

Renae 6:28
Gabby 7:04
Perrin 8:01
Noah E 5:48
Ian 5:54
Elliot 6:08
Sean 6:09
Noah G 6:09
Russell 6:11

Tomorrow we'll get going on a couple days of regular training and then Fall Camp!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018


I'm always excited to start the season, but this year it's been like waiting for Christmas - so glad we're finally underway!  We started up with a fitness testing day on Sunday and then our first official practice day yesterday (ie, more fitness testing).  On Sunday our test was a 2x3k skate/classic rollerski time trial on Penny Road.  Elliot scorched it for the men and Renae posted the top women's time, with Gabby close behind.  This was my first time seeing everyone ski since March, and I was super stoked to see that people have made some noticeable technique improvements - off to a great start!

Name SK CL Total
Elliot 7:59 8:23 16:22
Sean 8:09 9:03 17:12
Ian 8:33 9:09 17:42
Noah G 8:21 9:48 18:09
Russell 9:24 9:11 18:35
Noah E 9:15 9:33 18:48
Renae 9:58 10:15 20:13
Gabby 10:02 10:22 20:24
Perrin 11:16 10:50 22:06
Triana 11:40 11:28 23:08

Monday was everyone's favorite - the 2k erg test.  Elliot edged out Sean on the men's side, and Gabby posted a nice PR for the top women's time, not far ahead of Mary.  Mary's test was a classic example of a silver lining - she's been out with a knee injury for the last couple weeks, but she's obviously been using her training time well!
Women Time
Gabby 8:24.8
Mary 8:31.8
Perrin 8:40.5
Renae 8:47.7
Men Time
Elliot 7:07.7
Sean 7:09.7
Noah E 7:20.3
Ian 7:20.6
Russell 7:34.3
Noah G 7:37.8
Our agility test was rained out this morning, sadly, but we had a nice on-foot session with all kinds of good stuff - agility, coordination, elasticity, and a little spenst.  Good solid general strength workout this afternoon - looking forward to the big finish at Morse Mountain tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Abroad Updates

We have an unusually large number of people abroad this fall.  It's sad and lonely without them, of course, but we're happy that they're all off having great adventures.  I've gotten a couple updates so far - here's a quick overview of who's where and what they're doing:

Orion is in a small city in China - sadly, I've forgotten the name.  As far as we know he hasn't been chased by any rabid bats lately, so that's an improvement over Montana.

Luca is in Switzerland - again, I can't remember the town.  I am a very provincial New Englander and can't be expected to remember complicated things like the names of foreign cities.  He's living with a very kind host family and is really stretching his comfort zone by trying lots of new foods - he proudly reports that he's eaten everything he's been served so far.  Studying abroad really does contribute to personal growth!

Christian is in Bergen, Norway.  He's finding all the good training, including a rollerski workout at Holmenkollen.  Last I heard he had just come back from a weekend field trip of clambering over glaciers.  Rad.

Cirque is in Cape Town, South Africa.  He's studying hard and doing a lot of surfing.  I am very concerned about shark attacks but so far so good.  He's found some great trails overlooking the city - here's a photo of the view:

Fiona and Lily are both studying in Grenoble, France.  Fiona flew over a bit early and met up with long lost ski friends Ellie and Hannah (Miller) for some hiking in Switzerland.  Here are a few photos:

Apparently Hannah is British now.  All I know about Lily so far is that she got lost on their first trail running workout, so she's clearly feeling right at home.  But she brought an exergenie, so fake gold star for her!

I'm definitely noticing a void with all these big personalities overseas.  It's going to be strange once we start team practices without them.  But I'm super excited that they're having these great experiences - can't wait to hear their stories!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Summer Recap

Fall 2018 is underway - students are back and classes have started!  It's been fun catching up with the skiers and hearing about their summer experiences.  Here's a quick rundown of some cool things our people did this summer:

- Sara manipulated fruit fly DNA in a lab on campus
- Russell built and tested medical micro devices at Michigan Tech
- Fiona taught summer school for homeless children in Portland
- Noah led mountain bike trips and worked events at Galena Lodge
- Lily did her canoe thing in the Ontario wilderness
- Ian worked as a qualitative analysis intern at LL Bean (most Ian quote ever:  "Didn't sleep much last night because too excited for intern BBQ.")
- Gabby, Elliot, and Christian attended the Eastern REG camp, where they did some quality training and crushed the fitness testing.  On the strength of these efforts and last season's results, Gabby and Elliot were two of just 14 juniors nominated to the National Elite Group - outstanding!
- And, of course, everyone had all kinds of unique training adventures in interesting places around the country.

I'm really proud of our skiers for the way they balance training with so many other fun and worthwhile endeavors.  The best part of coaching Bowdoin Nordic is working with all of these talented and interesting people - so glad to have them back!