A game of “follow the leader”.

*Although this blog is a little past due, I wanted to give a little recap on the U.S. Ski Team training camp out in Park City two weeks ago during my study break.

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Post intervals (Matt).

Some of my biggest role models in skiing are my teammates. One of the most incredible things for me is not only do I have teammates that are some the fastest skiers in the world, but teammates who love to pass their wisdom on to the “guppies” (aka the young skiers on the team, aka the D Team, aka people like me). So this camp, I decided to play a little game called “follow the leader” to learn as much as I could from every single one of my teammates. With teammates ranging from 18 to 33 years of age, there is an incredible amount to learn especially from the senior athletes who have been doing this sport for a very long time and have experienced it all, from junior racing to the Olympics.

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Introducing the “Guppies”! (Erika)
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The “Guppies” take 2 ❤  (Jessie)

How does this game work? Well, you might have guessed, you follow the leader do what they do. Every workout I would follow a few different skiers and match up with their tempo, technique, and style to learn how they ski. For me, following different skiers allows me to play around with the different styles and find what I think works best for me. During speeds or intervals, it is especially fun because you can work together with athletes and play around with the best way to take a corner, or when to change gears given a section of terrain in order to see which is the fastest.

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Double Pole intervals Day #2 (Bryan)
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Distance ski/run combo (Liz Arky).
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Distance ski/run combo (Pat). 
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Sometimes I even played the leader (…until I polled myself between the legs and face planted :o) (Bryan Fish).
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Following my fellow “Guppies”, KO and Hannah (Bryan).

One of my favorite workouts during camp was the skate sprint simulation. Earlier in the week we had done skate speeds and I was struggling with my technique and tempo. A few days later, Jason Cork (one of our coaches) recommended I try to slow down to go faster. By not trying to rush the motions, ironically, you can actually end up going faster by slowing down your tempo. During the sprint simulation, I had the opportunity to race against Jessie, Ida and Kikkan who are some of the speediest women out there. Every round, I tried to follow them and before I knew it, I had adopted their slower and powerful tempo. Just by following, I had made progress on what I was trying to work on earlier in the week.

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Heat #3: Kikkan, Jessie, Ida, me (Matt).
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Heat #2: Jessie, Ida, Anne, me (Matt).
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Following Anne (Matt).
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Heat #1: Jessie, Kikkan, Ida, me (Matt).

We spend a lot of hours outside running or rollerskiing, which allows for a lot of time to talk. We catch up with one another, talk about the current gossip, but more importantly, we talk about our experiences and training philosophies. I am always interested to hear the various stories athletes have to share and what they have learned from them. On a rollerski with Hannah (one of the D Teamers) and Kikkan, the most senior athlete on the team and new mom, Hannah and were firing questions away and Kikkan loved to answer all of our questions. I think one of the reasons the women’s team is so strong right now is because we have strong role models who love to help the younger, upcoming skiers, and I think that is truly an incredible thing!

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Skiing and chatting with Kikkan…guess who is the professional? (Grover).
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Anne and I cruising along on a ski (Sadie).
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Ski/run combo summit photo (Matt).
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And during long workouts we cheer on our teammates as well (Pat).
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…and goof off (Pat).
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Failed jumping photo on a run with Hannah and Jessie (Matt).
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Why is stoked? I sure am! (Sadie).

I am very glad I made the decision to miss school for the training camp because this training camp is exactly what I needed. Physically, I reminded my body how to go really hard, I started to turn on my racing gear, and I learned which areas in technique I want to focus and improve on during this last training block before the season begins. Mentally, it was refreshing to be back in the camp environment (which tends to make me happy), I am more motivated, and I am more confident because I responded really well during camp and felt good.

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Finish of the on of the sprint heats (Fish).
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One happy camper (don’t ask about the sharpie writing…Dartmouth tradition).
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Coffee for the homework grind between workouts.
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Tea quote nailed it when I was doing homework.
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Homework at airport stops.
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When Lauren, Abby and I do homework=explosion. 

With 1.5 weeks left of school, I am sprinting through finals and towards the start race season and snow! Check back in two weeks for the kick off of race season!

-JKern

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