Volume Blocks Done!

Volume blocks are done!  Booyah!  I successfully completed my fourth volume block of the training season last week.  It was 3 weeks in length and completed entirely in training camp setting at altitude in Park City, Utah.  This was the second big alignment camp of the year with all of Canada’s training centers and national team in attendance.  The long training hours went by much quicker with good company!
Speaking of good company, we found a "ninja" obstacle course on top of a nearby mountain.  Of course, being competitive athletes we made a competition of it, timing ourselves to see who could cleanly traverse the course quickest. Bob, pictured above, used his lengthy reach to be crowned "Ninja Warrior Champion".  Andy, pictured below, and myself finished with nearly the same best time of day as runners up.

My favourite sessions were the 4+ hour distance workouts.  These distance days were really well set up for the athletes, as they are every year at this camp.  The area around Salt Lake City and Park City boast a wide selection of canyon roads and mountain top trails perfect for these long training sessions.  The general idea is we start at a lower altitude and climb.  Most days we finished around 3000m and our biggest ascent saw us hit a max elevation of 3570m!  The coaches provided commendable roadside support, which allowed us to easily change modalities between roller-skiing and running.  Over the span of the camp I completed 5 of these challenging 4+ hour sessions.

Some of the guys on our last 4+ hour training day of the camp
(From L to R: Devon, Graeme, Alex, Bob, Ivan)
My heart rate and altitude graph from our biggest ascent on a 4+ hour session.  We skate roller-skied up Mirror Lake Highway then threw on the running shoes and hiked up Bald Mountain.  My legs were feeling it hiking up the mountain at 3500m after a 3+ hour ski. 
Overall the camp went super well for me.  After having such a rough go in PC last year (crashed roller-skiing, nearly breaking my thumb and contracted a bad head cold), I was determined to make this year’s camp a resounding success.  Job done.

In the final week of the camp our group did a skate roller-ski prologue and distance TT at Soldier Hollow.  It was the first time I had a chance to compare my race speed with the national team guys in a while, so it was positive to see I was right in the mix.  I finished 2nd to Alex Harvey (by 1 tenth of a second…so close…#hand timing… haha) in the prologue and 5th place, 33 seconds behind the winner, again Alex, in the distance TT.  The other positive takeaway is I had some energy and speed at the tail end of a hard training camp, meaning my body handled the training load well.

Pushing up the big climb during our distance TT at Soldier Hollow with my team-mate, Andy, close behind.
Photo Credit: Alexis Dumas
I’m happily recovering in Kenora, enjoying a visit with Britt.  This is my last chance to recoup before the racing season begins so I’m drinking in the beauty of the fall colours surrounding Lake of the Woods and taking it easy.

Table's set!  Britt and I cooked up a turkey and enjoyed a thanksgiving dinner at her Kenora apartment with friends.
We got out for an evening paddle on Lake of the Woods with Britt's cousin, Julia (photo cred), and were treated to a beauty sunset on the water.