Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wow, where have I been?

So my lack of bloging is not because life has been dull. There’s just been lots going on.

After Christmas I headed to New Brunswick for a quick trip to visit my parents. It was great to be back home and with family. I got to visit some high school friends too as well as getting together with the Hadleys for some xc skiing. Fun times all round!

In the end my trip felt too short, but while away our landlords decided to sell their house within the next 1.5 months so Keith and I had some house hunting to do. We felt done with renting and moving so the appeal of buying was big. Not exactly the time of year I wanted to be moving, but there was some time pressure.

Being a full time athlete came in really handy for finding a house quickly and getting all the paperwork done…not so handy in getting approved for a mortgage, but hey.

The 6th house I looked at was the winner, a cute little bungalow that did not rest atop a hill. Not an easy feat in hilly Kamloops. Feb 15th was our possession date and Keith and I were loosing sleep with the excitement of being home owners and suddenly having some property with potential. So the National team training camp chedule for Feb 4-10nwas a perfectly timed distraction.

National team camp

Keith and I headed to Victoria the first weekend in February. The road conditions sucked, but we got to Victoria safely Friday night. After two great mtb rides on Saturday and Sunday we were tired, but smiling. It was great to get in some mtb miles on my new Orbea. It’s a great bike and everyday I was feeling more and more like a mtb rider again. Keith was also loving the fitness crossover from skiing. He flew home Sunday night and I stayed in Victoria for the week.

The camp was based around Heat acclimation. I know I know, February, Heat acclimation? I had some serious doubts too, but if it is a training tool we might use to prep for Beijing…and I want to be prepping for Beijing, then I want to know what it’s all about.

For 6 days me, Kiara, Erinne and Alex were to ride a trainer in 34-36 degree heat. Our sweat loss, HR, core temperature and watts were monitored as we rode for about 1.5hrs. It is amazing how easy you have to ride in order to keep your core temperature between 38.5 and 40 degrees. You have about 30 minutes to get up to 38.5 degrees and then you settle into a HR that will keep core temp constant. In the beginning I pushed too hard and had to stop pedalling to bring temp down. My hr just didn’t want to drop. I was pushing something like 85 watts! By day 6 I could ride comfortably at 140-160 watts. Big difference!

The idea was to see how each of us reacts to heat on an individual basis. How long do we need to do heat work to be ready to race in the heat, what cooling techniques might benefit us and personally how can I adapt my training to account for the stress of heat. Even though the heat workouts were not physically hard, my legs would not clear and it tuckered me out for other stuff. All good to know if you’re going to try to incorporate it into Olympic prep. Personally I’m thinking Kamloops heat will do the trick, but I will now be able to approach heat adaptation with more understanding.

Aside from the heat training the rest of the camp was pretty casual. Monday to Wednesday was horrid weather. Wet, cold and even some snow. So sweating in 35 degrees was kinda nice. I got out for an extremely wet little mtb technique session with my coach Dan Proulx in the afternoon. Look out I might be able to actually sprint sometime in the not tooooo distant future!

Wednesday, Kiara and I headed out for a fast little rip on the mtb trails. It is so much fun to ride fast & hard with another chick!

Thursday we did a killer road ride for me. Just the peninsula in some good headwinds, but then we did 2 x10-12 minute climbs with Erinne Willock pushing the pace. She’s leaving for Australia to race a world cup in a week so was packing good form. I could see what it must be like to have exercise induced asthma, but could stick with her to the top which was a nice confidence boost for someone transferring over from skis. We were all pretty fried and IRRITABLE for the heat session that afternoon.

Friday was heat and recovery. Saturday Kiara, Trish, Alison and I headed out for a mellow mtb ride followed by out last day of heat training. Wow what a difference 6 days of heat makes.

Sunday was my favourite day. Kiara and I got up early to fit in a 5hr ride before hotel check out. We hit pretty much every hill Victoria has to offer heading first out towards Sooke and then, back a rolling road called Ross durance where we attacked each other on every roller. We finished the workout out with a solid climb up the backside of Willis point.

The coquihalla had been closed for 4 days so I headed back the number 1 dodging pot holes all the way.

Now 5 days to pack up the house and move into a new one!

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