October 20, 2012

Homeward Bound!

I am extremely lucky to have grown up in Park City. It is truly an amazing place and somewhere I hope to return to in the near future. One of perks of Park City is that it is the home of USSA meaning there is always one US Ski Team camp that takes place there. The past few years, Park City has been the location for October Camp. The idea is that by training at high altitude for a couple weeks, our red blood cell count will creep up allowing us to come back to sea level and train at a higher pace and intensity. We also get the chance to practice adjusting to high altitude, something we will have to do many times during the race season. I have never been one to have trouble at altitude after growing up in Park City, but now that I am in my 6th year training at sea level, I do notice the thin air for a couple of days. 

I headed south a few days early to enjoy some time with Patrick. We hit the mountain bike trails and I got to show Patrick some of the new trails that were built this summer. There is the hundred of miles of single track in Park City and the possibilities are endless. It gets better and better every summer too!!!

After climbing 3000' all on single track, we finally made it!

Patrick checking out the downhill bike park at the Canyons

Everyone's favorite part of coming to PC is getting to eat Mexican food!
Before the camp started I participated in another Fast and Female event. The Park City event is awesome because they get ambassadors from all types of winter sports and all the dryland stations feature different sports. I hope we inspired all these girls to keep pursuing sport and living healthy lives!
The whole crew, lots of pink and glitter!
My high school coach's daughter participated with some of her teammates! 

Another perk of Park City is that there are tons of awesome canyons to ski up that provide lots of uphill skiing and some nice views to go with!

Starting up Emigration Canyon

Reaching the top of Emigration

Me leading my APU teammates 
Sadie and I

Still some fall colors around

And now up East Canyon 
On the struggle bus trying to make it to the top

Almost there!

Looking down East Canyon

Finally at the top! We climbed somewhere over 3500'

The beautiful mountains I call home. Thanks to Rob Whitney for all the pictures from our big canyon ski.

We definitely deserved another big Mexican feast!
The US Ski Team has a massive training center they call the "Center of Excellence" in Park City. The first floor is all the athlete amenities and the upper floors are all the offices for the coaches and administrators of USSA. The place is awesome, but may be harder to get into than Fort Knox. They have very strict rules for who can and cannot train there. This is extremely unfortunate for the community and for the promotion of ski sports. I am lucky (?) enough to be an alumni of the U.S. Ski team so I am on occasion let into the building. One of the goals of the sports science staff is to get more data on elite skiers, as a result, they had a handful of us club skiers go through some of the physical testing required of US Ski Team athletes. Having been on the team in the past, I had been through all the testing before, but hadn't done a lick of testing since being dropped from the team. The specific protocol was different than before, but the jist of it the same. Ski on the treadmill while it rises 1 degree every minute until you fall off...
My APU teammate looking strong. 
 They measure your max VO2, which basically means the amount of oxygen you can take in per unit weight of your body. This is an important measurement in all endurance sports and much of training is designed to increase this number as more oxygen uptake means happier muscles that can fire more and faster times. Generally, one would test in the spring and fall to see if they are becoming more efficient and more fit. I didn't have the opportunity to do that but hopefully I will be able to learn some things from looking back at my tests from years back and tests in the future. We also did a body composition test (every girls fav...) and a hemoglobin mass test. Hemoglobin is what carries oxygen from the lungs to the muscles and one of the effects of altitude is an increase in hemoglobin because of the fewer oxygen molecules. Knowing how long it takes for your body to increase the mass is important for knowing how long it takes your body to properly acclimate. High hemoglobin can result from certain doping regimens as well so it is often something they test for in all athletes prior to big competitions. If your hemoglobin is high, you may be asked to sit out the races until it drops to a natural level (and accused of doping) so it is important to know if you are one of those with naturally high hemoglobin. 

It was a great 2 week camp hanging out and training with some of my best friends while enjoying Mom's wonderful home cooked meals and the comfort of my own bed! I was very sad to be leaving, but extremely thankful I landed to clear skies in Anchorage!
As we flew in, we flew right past Eagle Glacier. It is the large flatter area of the photo. 
Alyeska in the foreground and Eagle Glacier in the back ground. Unfortunately, my phone isn't quite good enough to capture Denali but it was glowing pink and looking magnificent.

Just one more month til racing! Praying for snow every night!