So it’s been a minute... oops! This fall sure has flown by and I can’t believe I’m already back on snow. Last time I checked in I was just returning from an on-snow camp in Oberhof, GER and now I’m checking in from a pre-season camp in Canmore, CAN. Don’t worry there was plenty of rollerskiing in the middle there. We had two other SMS T2 team camps this fall; one was a mini camp in Lake Placid while the other was a two week trip to Park City.
The remainder of September was packed with some pretty solid intensity training. Getting into the morning training routine, followed by work in the afternoon and an evening training session made the weeks fly by. However, I was sure to get in a few last fun adventures before it was time to get really serious.
In early October my teammates and I flew to Park City, UT for an altitude camp. Altitude is an intimidating place for me but I’ve been challenging myself to improve this weakness and visit the high mountains somewhat frequently. I was grateful for the opportunity to jump in with the national team during this two week camp - we packed in plenty of intervals, speeds and time trials.
I was feeling a little anxious about the time trials as I’m still not super comfortable with pacing at altitude. I somehow managed to flood my legs in the first 400 meters of the skate sprint which made it tricky to rebound for the rounds, but this was a great learning experience! Meanwhile, in the 10k classic time trial I wanted to start off a little more conservative. I’ve had my fair share of blowing up at altitude and once you go over that line I know it’s near impossible to come back. This strategy seemed to have worked okay for me as I was able to carry good energy throughout the entire 10 kilometers, but maybe had a little too much left in the tank at the end. Another good opportunity to practice for racing at altitude.
Despite some of the photos, Park City threw in some curve ball weather days with snow falling early in the camp and making it difficult to rollerski. Although, it was exciting to see some of that white stuff fall in October and got me thinking of the race season. Alas, I needed to rest and recover after a hard two weeks at altitude. At the end of camp I made a quick trip home to Minnesota to see friends, jump in a rollerski clinic with Gear West and spend quality time with my family.
Returning to Vermont after almost a month away was nice, although I seemed to have just missed peak foliage season (one of my favorite parts about living in Vermont). Stick season came fast but we made the most of it with some fun time trials, last few days of mountain biking, and a team fundraiser!
After a few more weeks embracing stick season I started looking at the upcoming forecast, keeping my fingers crossed that I would see a snowflake icon. Sadly, the weather was not looking great in Vermont or the Midwest and I started getting antsy to find snow. With races happening the first weekend in December I wanted to make sure I was prepared to be in the best position possible to perform well. My teammate, Lina Sutro, and I talked to Coach Pat and made some pretty quick travel arrangements to head up to Canmore, Alberta where there is currently a reliable 3k track of man-made snow.
Despite this being such a last minute decision, I really think Lina and I nailed it! Although we missed quite a few other American teams who had been training here earlier in the month, we arrived just after a fresh snowstorm. We are now switching between skiing in town on the 3k track and driving one hour north to Lake Louise for over 30k of freshly groomed natural snow. We're halfway through our week-long training camp up here and getting ready to kick off the racing season back in the Midwest!
Susan Sonnesyn Brooks
11/22/2021 02:41:37 pm
Love your blogs, Alayna. Your outlook, your honesty, your enthusiasm!!!
11/22/2021 05:15:55 pm
What a difference a year makes. Without covid there seems to be so much positive energy. Will you be starting the season in Europe?
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Professional skier, traveling the world, exploring the culture, racing my heart out.