Last weekend was spent exploring Stowe, Vermont and surrounding areas thanks to Coach Kelly with Track Cat Fitness. This experience was beyond my wildest expectations! It was challenging, beautiful, full of laughs, and loads of fun!
We arrived in Stowe around 3 pm and unloaded All. The. Gear! It was SO amazing to get to meet Coach Kelly in person and I am so grateful that we all had the opportunity to stay at her house…this allowed for bonding among the athletes that were at camp! After everyone arrived, we had an amazing home cooked meal and Coach Kelly talked bike handling skills + bike technology.
We had all of the gear loaded and ready to roll out at 7 am for a long ride followed by a short swim. The Iron Hippie and I had a 5 hour ride and it was FULL of climbing! These views…we have NOTHING like them in Iowa and while it was challenging, it was absolutely stunning! I set new power and heart rate thresholds climbing up Smuggler’s Notch and the descent was just as spectacular! The sag support during this training camp was the best ever! Nick (Coach Kelly’s husband), Dave (Coach Kelly’s father), and Dianne (Coach Kelly’s mother) went above and beyond to make this training camp experience like none other! As athletes, we saw sag support roughly every 3-5 miles. The Iron Hippie and I got lost three times on the ride, but were quickly tracked down by our sag support and set straight on the course again. When we got to the top of Smuggler’s Notch, we had some lunch food, regrouped, and set off for the descent. Instead of ending where we started, the Iron Hippie and I set off for route 12 to add a couple of hours of ride time. At 2 pm, Nick met us and picked us up to take us to the pond for some open water swim skills practice.
After almost 80 miles of riding LOTS of hills, we hopped in the lake for some skills work! We practiced fast swim starts, swimming without goggles, and getting beat up by others while swimming.
When we arrived back at Coach Kelly’s house, everyone unloaded all the gear, showered, and re-fueled with an amazing home cooked pasta dinner thanks to Dave and Dianne’s spectacular cooking, we called it a night and slept peacefully after a full day of exercise!
We were ready to roll out for a long endurance swim followed by a shorter (yet equally as challenging) bike ride by 7 am. We arrived at the Waterbury Reservoir, donned our wetsuits and hopped into the water blanketed with a dense layer of fog.
After the swim, we changed clothes, refueled, and loaded up to head to the start of the App Gap climbing day.
When we got to the start of the ride, we had a few mechanical issues that needed to be tended to…2 bikes had flat tires that needed to be changed.
We were all ready to roll out and I noticed something rubbing on my bike…it was the derailleur. Nick tried to make some adjustments, but the problem was bigger than his scope, so we loaded Mojo onto the back of one of the sag vehicles and Nick drove Mojo and me to Fit Werks in Waitsfield, Vermont to have them take a look at the derailleur. I’m so grateful for their flexibility in getting me in right away, putting a new derailleur on Mojo, adding a link to her chain, and making sure she shifts well before getting dropped off with the rest of our group to ride up App Gap. Nick dropped Mojo and me off at the base of App Gap and Mojo and I began our climb STRAIGHT UP right out of the gate! Immediately after I started, I realized my bike technology wasn’t working…no power, no cadence, no speed, no distance, no heart rate…basically I just had the time it took me to ride the 5 miles up App Gap from where Nick dropped us off. I was bummed that I didn’t have any stats for this ride as I felt it was much harder than Friday’s ride and really wanted stats, but was glad I was able to ride on RPE. If my bike technology doesn’t work on race day, I know I can successfully finish the bike by listening to my body.
With the steepness of this terrain and the less than ideal road conditions I opted to not descend this road. I didn’t want to risk anything being only 3 weeks out from race day. A few of the campers rode down App Gap and then we all met at a coffee shop to regroup and head back to Coach Kelly’s house.
After unloading all the gear, showering, and dinner, we were lucky to have Carol do an educational session on orthopedic medicine.
We followed this up with s’mores by the campfire before heading to bed.
We woke up with the sun, ate some breakfast, and headed out for our last long run before race day! We ran 2.5 hours along the trail through Stowe along the river. It was a beautiful morning for a run!
We met up with the rest of the campers at the local coffee shop and then headed back to Coach Kelly’s to pack up and continue on our NE adventures!