Returning to Squamish from Europe in May was a bit of a mixed blessing. Of course it was tough to leave the fantasy land of full time training and racing – Colin coined it ‘Post-Cham Depression’ – but on the other hand, the summer was getting going in BC and there were quite a few things on my list that I wanted to do when I got home.
May and June were a nice combination of a couple of ski missions and an early return to running in the alpine due to the low snowpack. It was easy to ride my fitness from Europe and keep racking up volume.
July rolled around with an increase in time spent at school and the loss of some of the fitness gained. In summer, I am rarely ‘training’ according to a plan but going by feel. This allows for quite a bit of variety but not for the ideal periodization schedule. I believe this is the best as usually by fall, I am motivated to buckle down and follow a schedule. This season was no exception and mid-July I took a break, first climbing in the Tantalus Range, and then home in MN on the lake.
Returning from my downtime was the hardest part of the season so far. August was my lowest volume month and I am having a hard time keeping up with previous year’s training. Several early September races however have helped motivate me to maintain a schedule.
The first week of September, I raced the brand new Whistler Valley to Peak event – a ~mostly~ uphill race to the top of Whistler Peak. At just over 2hrs over 20k, it is still a little long and runnable to truly suit me. I put in a good effort and was leading the race with a minute to the finish when calf cramps literally stopped me in my tracks. The runnable but uphill nature of the course hit me in a way that I had never experienced. I had to stop briefly and lost my lead, coming in second.
This weekend I raced the Grouse Mountain Grind Challenge. It’s a quick (~29min) ascent of the ~800m Grouse Grind trail. Last year I was third so I was hoping to improve on that a little bit. Unfortunately a few more fast guys showed up as well. While I knocked off a good chunk of time from my result last year, I was just off the podium in 4th. Nick did well and managed to get on the podium in 3rd. Geoff Kabush showed up and demonstrated that one of the best mountain bikers in the world is also pretty good at running uphill!
It was fun however and it’s good to see that even though this is my least fit time of the year, my fitness is improving over last year. Cardiovascular fitness is in a good place, now it is just about getting leg strength up to speed and putting it all together for downhill skiing! I’m looking forward to working more this season on strength with JF Plouffe here in Squamish. I’m hoping that some gym time will pay dividends on steep descents!