U.S. cross-country training at Whistler camp


Nearly the entire roster of U.S. cross-country World Cup and Continental Cup team athletes have opened an 11-day, on-snow camp in Whistler. The athletes will train and run time trials on courses in the Callaghan Valley, the venue for the cross-country events for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
    U.S. sprint coach Chris Grover said the goals for this camp are two-pronged. On the snow, he said the coaches want to work on fixing some technique flaws within the group. Secondly, simply getting a large group of athletes in one place to train together and, more importantly, push one another is vitally important, he said.
   
NEARLY THE entire roster of U.S. cross-country World Cup and Continental Cup team athletes have opened an 11-day, on-snow camp in Whistler that began May 1. The athletes will train and run time trials on courses in the Callaghan Valley, the venue for the cross-country events for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
    Weather permitting, U.S. sprint coach Chris Grover said the team plans to ski in the morning and run dryland exercises in the afternoon. With an elevation of a little over 2,000 feet, any springtime rain showers could quickly turn Callaghan Valley’s groomed trails into a slushy mess.
    “It’ll be interesting to see if it’s breezy at all at night,” Grover said. “We’ll be getting up early trying to get as cold a snow as possible.”
    This camp is the first of two the team will hold at Whistler this off-season. The second is scheduled for September and may be focused more on the sprint athletes.
    Grover said the goals for this camp are two-pronged. On the snow, he said the coaches want to work on fixing some technique flaws within the group. Secondly, simply getting a large group of athletes in one place to train together and, more importantly, push one another is vitally important, he said.
    “I think in the past we’ve gotten so individualized in our training that we haven’t created enough in-camp opportunities for the athletes to push each other on a daily basis,” he said. “And for that reason we’re having more camps than we’ve had in the past so they can have head-to-head competition through time trials. And beyond that, [give them] more opportunities within the camp to be doing the same training on a given morning or afternoon.”
    Off the snow, Grover said this camp is part of an ongoing process for the athletes and coaching staff to get as familiar as possible with the Olympic venue and build what he termed a “home course advantage” for 2010. That means familiarizing themselves with lodging and dining options, and workout facilities.
    “Even though we’re not technically Canadian, it’s close enough for us and within a time zone where some of our athletes live already; and it’s one or two time zones away from where a bunch of our athletes are,” Grover said. “So we’re really trying to push, and that means going up there to train as much as we can. Get that process started and try to make it feel like home a little bit.”
    One athlete not attending this camp is Kikkan Randall, who continues to recover from surgery to combat a blood clot in her lower body. Randall said she hopes to begin light endurance training later this month but she will be taking blood thinning medication likely through at least October.
    “We from the coaching staff have not been thinking of her health from an athletic standpoint but just trying to get her back to a healthy state standpoint,” Grover said. “That said, we’ve just completed our budgeting and we’ve included her in everything that we’re doing with the exception of some of these first camps. So we’re assuming she’ll get back to normal. But our thoughts have been more like, ‘how do we get her out of the hospital, get her healthy and feeling good and get the point where she can even think about starting to train again.’ ”

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