Anne Hart checks in from the last few days of Park City camp.
After a satisfying set of three tacos from the delectable Tarahumara near Soldier Hollow, I’m ready to give a recap of the last three days of racing. These races were tough- after two 20+ hour weeks, we had a mini tour style race thrown at us. Three days of high quality, high intensity, and bib-on racing has left everyone with little energy, but a lot of motivation, determination and excitement for the upcoming season.
Day one brought a full skate sprint simulation. For a lot of people this was the first real lung burn of the year. The entire day took 3.5 hours (everyone completed four rounds- so even if you got last in your heat you kept on moving), and my average heart rate during that time was 142 beats per minute (which is pretty high). Sprint days are exhausting- they are a series of warming up, going as hard as you can (or using tactics to minimize difficulty), cooling down, and doing the whole thing four times. SMS T2 had a great day with wins for both the men and women, and everyone learned a thing or two about patience, tactics, and the importance of finishing speed.
Day two- 12 K classic mass start. With three times up the dreaded Hermodes hill (a really big hill that just never really seems to end), pacing was the name of the game. Skiing in a big pack of men/women is a good lesson in the importance of drafting and following, and also a really good opportunity to pick up technique cues from some of the experts. Again SMS T2 had a great day, and we only lost a little skin (Andy took a little tumble over the top of a hill, but our thoughts go out to the Green Team’s Heather Mooney who took a fall down the big hill and went from 30 m.p.h to 0 m.p.h in about a second).
And finally, we all snapped on our skate boots for the last day of the tour- a skate pursuit. For me, this was going to be the hardest day. I’ve been working a lot on skating, and was excited to put some new technique and fitness gains to the test. I in fact accomplished my life goal of leading the world’s best hill climber Liz Stephen up the big hill, but paid the price as my heart rate reached 203 beats per minute and my legs totally flooded. I pulled myself together, and made it to the end despite the second lap being a bit of a blur. Again, everyone learned a lot of about tactics, technique, and to-do lists for the remainder of the prep season (only one month until the first races!).
One more strength session, some serious speed packing, and everyone is looking forward to some serious recovery!