Alaskan Day

Yesterday I finished a camp on Eagle Glacier and tomorrow I’m flying back to Utah, but today I had the opportunity to take advantage of the Alaskan summer. I’m staying here in Anchorage with my friend Reese Hanneman, and he showed me what it’s like to be a local. We took his big, rugged truck into the mountains north of the city (into what’s known as “the valley”).

Anchorage Shooting 002 (1024x683)

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Eagle Glacier 2014

I just flew off the Eagle Glacier above Girdwood, Alaska. My teammates and I were on the glacier for a week for a joint camp between the U.S. Ski Team (USST) cross country men and the Alaska Pacific University (APU) men’s team.

This is going to be a long post. Believe it or not (and you probably won’t if you make it all the way through this post) but I actually deleted a ton of photos. I’m not used to blogging about an entire week, and I took pictures as if I was blogging daily. Because of it’s length, this post might also be a bit discombobulated. My apologies.

Before departing for the glacier we filled up on some delicious greasy food at Taco King, an Alaskan specialty that we hit up three times during our week dry-land training in Anchorage.

Eagle Glacier 001 (1024x683)

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Glacier Update

It’s been a day of hurry up and wait. We were told to be ready to head to the helipad in Girdwood, Alaska to fly to the Eagle Glacier at 8:15 this morning. However, we got an e-mail at 8 O’clock that said it was snowing on the glacier. The new departure was set for noon. At 11:45 we got an e-mail that said the weather was still bad. The departure time from Anchorage was pushed to 4 p.m. The latest time is now 4:45 for a 6 O’clock flight. We have our fingers crossed. (Eventually we will make the decision to hike in if it doesn’t appear that we’ll be able to fly.)

I took advantage of the time this morning to go out for an hour and a half roller ski double pole session. I skied up Campbell Airstrip Road on the hills above the city.

Double Pole 002 (1024x683)

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Full Team Party at Kikkan’s

This is my second blog post in four hours. I think that might be a record.

The women’s joint U.S. Ski Team and Alaska Pacific University (APU) camp is a week ahead of the men’s edition. They concluded their two week camp and flew off the Eagle Glacier today. We are half way through our camp and will fly onto the glacier tomorrow. We took advantage of the one night of overlap by having a full group get together at my teammate Kikkan Randall’s house.

Kikkan's Party 004 (1024x683)

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Skate Threshold Intervals

This morning’s workout here at the U.S. Ski Team and Alaska Pacific University (APU) camp in Anchorage, Alaska was a skate roller ski threshold (level 3, a sustainable pace) interval session. Like most of the sessions this week, the format was one that the APU skiers do often. We warmed up for thirty minutes then started the intervals on the east side of the access road to Kincaid Park. The first interval was into the park on the bike path that parallels the road. The second interval was the same route in reverse, only this time we skied on the road. We then turned around and did it again, doing a total of seven intervals.

The intervals going into the park had a net gain of altitude. They took us between eight and nine minutes. On the way back we were skiing the course in about six and a half minutes. Also, we finished the return intervals with a short race; when we reached three hundred meters to go we sprinted for the finish line. We had a big group of guys pushing each other. It was a really productive workout.

During the session I felt that I was working hard, but my heart rate was right where I wanted it to be for threshold training. The course was pretty flat, and since we were able to work together, we were covering ground very fast. According to my Timex GPS Heart Rate monitor, our average speed for our fastest interval into the park was 2:23 per kilometer and our fastest average speed coming out of the park was 1:50 per kilometer. Those speeds are extremely fast, faster than we would ever be able to race in the winter (because skiing on snow is slower than roller skiing). To me, it’s great news that I was not only able to hang with the group at those speeds, but do so comfortably. In the past I have struggled when the speed gets faster than 2:30 per kilometer, but I’ve been working hard to improve my high speed skating and it seems to be paying off. Today’s session gives me confidence that my technique training is working.

You can seen all of the data from my Timex watch, including the elevation profile of each interval, a graph of the speed and of my heart rate, here. Also, here is some great video of the session from head U.S. Ski Team coach Chris Grover:

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