After a a nice break from racing I am back to training and it feels really good. All winter I long for my home and some time to feel settled. But every spring is different and in the Adirondacks it is probably the toughest and most dreary time of year. I find myself wanting to travel and go places that are warm and sunny which conflicts with that same need to stop traveling and be homey. I found myself feeling less settled despite wanting so badly to just be home and I expect part of it is just the let down of all the excitement of travel and big races. It’s an interesting irony and one I often face in the spring.
We started training off differently this year and I made my first trip to Bend, Oregon for an on snow camp. What a cool place! I’ve always heard so much about it, but really had no idea what to expect. My preconceptions about Bend were completely off, but the area made much more sense to me once I got to see if. As a town, Bend is trendy and hip with a lot of nice bars, shops, and restaurants. It has a high dessert climate, so the days are sunny and the nights are cool and most of the vegetation is open forest of ponderosa pines and scrub brush. It is also situated right on a big Bend in the Deschutes river so there are tons of different activities you can do. Down in town where we stayed, there was no snow and it was pretty warm. But you drive up to Mt. Bachelor with a change of about 2,500 ft and all of a sudden there are feet and feet of snow! Apparently all the nice rain that comes from the Pacific hits the mountain and drops everything as we were to find out later in our stay. This snow lasts for a long time, even as the temperatures are in the 60’s and 70’s just because there is so much of it.
Every morning we would get up early and head to the Mountain around 7:15 because our chances of having rock hard snow would increase exponentially the earlier we were up. The first few days, the sun would warm everything up by the time 10 am hit and it the conditions would be pretty soft and slow. By the end of the camp, some colder rainer weather came in and we would head up the Mountain to mid-February conditions. I will say that it made me happy to come home and find that summer had magically arrived in the Adirondacks.
What was so nice about the Bend camp, is that we put in a lot of hours on snow and got to practice all the things that we want to try and remember through the summer of rollerskiing. Plus, we could pack it in without being worried that we were getting tired and had to recover for racing. The U.S. ski team was also training there along with a bunch of other clubs so it made for a carnival atmosphere at the main junction where everyone would dump their jackets and water as each day got warmer. It was such a sweet treat to have the chance to catch up with old friends.
Later on, in the afternoon we would rest up and then go for some adventures down in the warmth of town. I was super pumped about the Mt. Biking. I am no awesome Mt. Biker, but the trails in town were so fun! It was definitely hero Mt. Biking. You could probably go on them with a cruiser bike and manage. All the trails are these awesome switch backs up down and all around and many of them are not very technical which makes them really accessible to all abilities of bikers. So fun!
The best part of my trip, however was the random and chance encounter with one of my older sister’s best friends. I know you might wonder why this would be so cool and I’m not sure if I can even explain it. During this time of the year, Bend has an annual Pole Pedal Paddle race that is totally huge and awesome. I happened to be skiing back to the lodge after our training when a racer passed by me and I recognized her as someone I knew. I yelled out to her and then as soon as I got to the car, called my older sister for her number and found out that she had already dialed in. For some reason, this chance encounter made both of us so excited. It was like meeting a family member completely unexpectedly in a European city or something. It was such a treat to spend time with someone who feels like an older sister and I think for her, it just made her feel connected to my sister via myself. I keep coming back to this meeting of friends as one of the most positive parts of my job and it is honestly one of the things that keeps me going when times are tough.