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Archive for June, 2010

On the compost shed and balance

19.Jun.2010 by Hannah Dreissigacker

I’ve been back in Craftsbury for almost two weeks now, and let me tell you, its nice to be done with classes and back to the “real world”.  Haha, I’m laughing as I write that since I realize that this not at all the real world by most people’s standards.  But it does feel good to do some work thats actually constructive and to get back in to summer training.

That said, I’m still trying to figure out the right balance of training, working and rest.  I think that I may have been a little over-enthusiastic in my first week back here, and its been catching up with me these last few days.  Part of the “problem” is that I’m really excited about how the new compost shed is shaping up, and I just keep wanting to help with it.  I’m embarrassed to admit that just an hour or two of hammering nails and carrying boards around really tuckers me out.  Its a tough balance to strike–how much construction work can I do after a morning workout, and still feel decent for the next day’s intervals?  Though I guess that if this is the most of my worries, things are going pretty well!

A little more on the compost shed:  I spent a while last summer planning a compost system for the Center with help from Tom Gilbert at the Highfields Institute, a composting center in Hardwick. This spring, Brian Gluck took charge of the project and made a real construction plan, and now its really starting to take shape!  Hopefully in a couple more weeks we’ll be able to start collecting food scraps from the dining hall!

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don't the flower's make it look nice?

Hill-bouncing

16.Jun.2010 by Chelsea Little

All the photos I took of hill-bouncing today are about to be rendered completely archaic, because, Pepa and Sheldon tell me, video of the workout is about to “go viral”. Oh goody! Everyone can see how tired I am at the end of each interval and how I’m barely making any forward progress at all!

But, there’s a few shots that you won’t be able to find on the video. Here’s a nice one of the train heading up the hill from the side – it’s green green green in Craftsbury thanks to all the rain we’ve been getting:

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And, I have photographic evidence of Pepa dancing to the Basshunter music she was blasting out of her car. Let’s just say Pepa really enjoys this workout.

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The 100 (plus 44) Mile Wilderness

15.Jun.2010 by Lauren Jacobs

There are many reasons people decide to hike parts of or all of the Appalachian Trail. I met people that were out to prove they were physically capable of the challenge, others that decided to thru-hike now because they couldn’t find a job, and at least one that was hiking to lose weight for an up-coming high school reunion. My friend Bob and I took this trip to cross something off our respective “life lists”: hiking the 100 Mile Wilderness, which goes from Abol Bridge to Monson on the AT in Maine. We made the trip longer by starting at Katahdin and continuing on past Monson to the town of Caratunk, on the shores of the Kennebec River.

We started our hike on June 1 and came out of the woods 10 days and 144 miles later. There was plenty of rain but we still had an amazing time. You know it’s a great trip when it can rain almost every day and you still love it. Here are a few photos and stories from the adventure…

Approaching the Knife Edge on our way up Katahdin.

Approaching the Knife Edge on our way up Katahdin.

The night before we started, Bob and I camped on the northeast side of Katahdin and we planned to hike up and over the mountain, carrying all our stuff, to our next campsite. The only approach to the summit from that side was via the Knife Edge, an incredibly narrow one-mile section of trail with 1,000 foot vertical drop-offs on either side. Ranger Bill of Roaring Brook Campground was not a fan of our plan to carry our gear over this trail. They had just spent 3 days searching for a lost and injured hiker and all of the Baxter rangers were a bit on edge. So Ranger Bill, in his infinite kindness, offered to shuttle our stuff over to the other side of the mountain. We thanked him profusely before we set off and even more so after we experienced the Knife Edge first hand. For those that have hiked Mahoosuc Notch, the so-called “most difficult mile of the AT,” let me tell you that if the Knife Edge were part of the AT it would undoubtedly take that honor.

At the top of Maine on the peak of Katahdin. Too bad we didn't get any views.

At the top of Maine on the peak of Katahdin. Too bad we didn't get any views.

A photo of me (holding a photo of my Mom taken in the same location) taken in front of the 13 foot-tall cairn that makes Katahdin unofficially exactly 1 mile high.

A photo of me (holding a photo of my Mom taken in the same location) taken in front of the 13 foot-tall cairn that makes Katahdin unofficially exactly 1 mile high.

"Where is the 100 Mile Wilderness?" "That way." Leaving the last paved road for the next 100 miles.

"Where is the 100 Mile Wilderness?" "That way!" Leaving the last paved road for the next 100 miles.

After three days of rain we were really psyched to get to Antler’s Tentsite while the sun was shining. The site was perched in a beautiful red-pine grove on the shores of Lower Jo-Mary Lake. Perfect for swimming and relaxing in the sun.

This was the view I had from my sunbathing location.

This was the view I had from my sunbathing location.

It doesn't matter how well your boots are broken in, you will still get blisters.

It doesn't matter how well your boots are broken in, you will still get blisters.

Somewhere in the seemingly never-ending Barren-Chairback Range.

Somewhere in the seemingly never-ending Barren-Chairback Range.

We had sun again for our day of crossing the Chairback Range. This was, for me, the most mentally taxing day of the entire trip. Even though the sun was shining and the views were incredible, I felt disoriented the whole day because we could never figure out which one of the million peaks we were on top of. (Okay, okay, there aren’t exactly a million peaks in this mountain range, but we did hike almost 18 miles that day.) At the top of one mountain you’d think “Great! Only one more climb until the lean-to!” Then 4 hours later we’re still climbing…

I was still smiling at this point. Luckily there weren't any photos taken of me 5 hours later.

I was still smiling at this point. Luckily there weren't any photos taken of me 5 hours later.

We arrived at Cloud Pond lean-to, just north of Barren Mountain, very tired and, at least in my case, very grumpy. However, we were greeted at the lean-to by a father and his two grown sons that had just hiked up there with everything but the kitchen sink. They had steaks. Steaks! And when they saw how tired and hungry we were, they gave us some. That was the best steak I have ever, and probably will ever, eat. Their kindness will never be forgotten.

We conquered Barren Mountain. This is heading down the other side.

We conquered Barren Mountain. This is heading down the other side.

View of the Maine woods from Barren Ledges. We often found ourselves hoping outloud that views like this never go away.

View of the Maine woods from Barren Ledges. We frequently found ourselves hoping out loud that views like this never go away.

The not-very-appropriately named "Little" Wilson Falls. This is one of the largest waterfalls on the entire AT.

The not-very-appropriately named "Little" Wilson Falls. This is one of the largest waterfalls on the entire AT.

The sign warning Nobos (north-bound hikers) about the 100 Mile Wilderness.

The sign warning Nobos (north-bound hikers) of the dangers ahead.

What happened right before this photo was snapped: Bob said, "Well, we officially made it out of the 100 Mile Wilderness." I said, "Don't say it yet! Not until our feet are on pavement." A few seconds pass...and I was so excited that I made the poor decision to walk through, instead of around, a giant muddy section of the trail. The nasty mud went up and over my boot, thus prompting me to have to turn around and go rinse it off in a nearby stream. Oh, the irony...

What happened right before this photo was snapped: Bob said, "Well, we officially made it out of the 100 Mile Wilderness." I said, "Don't say it yet! Not until our feet are on pavement." A few seconds pass...and I was so excited that I made the poor decision to walk through, instead of around, a giant muddy section of the trail. The nasty mud went up and over my boot, thus prompting me to have to turn around and go rinse it off in a nearby stream. Oh, the irony...

Success! An exuberant Bob at the end of the 100 Mile Wilderness.

Success! An exuberant Bob at the end of the 100 Mile Wilderness.

We hitched a ride to the town of Monson and gorged ourselves on an all-you-can-eat breakfast at a wonderful hiker’s hostel called Shaw’s. For the low price of $7, I consumed hash browns, 2 eggs, 2 sausages, 2 pieces of bacon, 3 pieces of French toast, and multiple cups of coffee. We ate everything put in front of us without batting an eye. It was amazing.

After breakfast, we made quick stops at the general store and the post office, then Donna from Shaw’s gave us a lift back out to the trail. Bob and I sat down to put on our boots, looked at each other, and said “Really? We’re going to keep hiking?” Needless to say, getting back out on the trail was a bit anticlimactic. But we decided to keep going, it was a sunny day after all.

12 more miles of hiking that day burned off the calories we had consumed at breakfast and about 4:30 pm Bob and I both experienced a serious bonk. There was a river to ford and after sitting down to take off our boots we could barely muster the energy to get up again. We were done. So instead of continuing on to the next lean-to 6 miles away, we spent a lovely afternoon lying in the sun by the river. When we woke to another cloudy, rainy day the next morning we decided it was time to head home.

Bob diligently writing in a lean-to register.

Bob diligently writing in a lean-to register just before climbing Moxie Bald Mtn.

On our last day we hiked up and over Moxie Bald, navigated around a large beaver pond that some very industrious beavers made right over the trail, and ended up on the Troutdale Road on Lake Moxie. We said goodbye to the AT and headed back to Caratunk.

On our last day we hiked up and over Moxie Bald, navigated around a large beaver pond that some very industrious beavers made right over the trail, and ended up on the Troutdale Road on the shores of Lake Moxie. We said goodbye to the AT and headed back to Caratunk.

It’s true that we didn’t quite make it all the way to Caratunk (it was another 12 miles from Lake Moxie), but that minor detail didn’t matter. The trip was a resounding success and one we will never forget. If I ever have grandchildren, I’m sure I’ll tell them stories about how one time grammy hiked 1,000 miles through the Maine woods carrying a month’s worth of gear on her back all while fending off rabid moose and ferocious bears. Until next time…SOBO!

Bend Camp, a retrospective

6.Jun.2010 by Ollie Burruss

Pepa, this one’s for you …

Matt, Tim, and I just finished up a two week camp in Bend, Oregon, where we got to do some skiing on snow with the USST, Sun Valley, the MOD team,  the Canadian national team, and many more.  The conditions were pretty great considering it was late May through early June.  Zero skis were the ticket the first week – Bachelor received a few inches of fresh powder each night and the mornings were mostly clear and cool.  The second week it started raining, which softened things up, but no one could really complain because it was snow in May.

Our mandate for the camp was to work on efficiency on snow, so in the weeks prior to leaving Pepa drilled us on the various technique changes we needed to make.  Getting to work on striding on snow after a few weeks on rollerskis was particularly advantageous for me.  I felt like my classic skiing came along quite well over the course of the camp.

The scene in Bend is pretty much an endurance athlete’s dream.  Great singletrack, a host of mountains to explore within a half hour’s drive, and [allegedly] gorgeous weather.  After skiing at Bachelor every morning, we’d set out to explore the trails around Bend (or the weight room at Central Oregon Community College) in the afternoon.  In the evenings we’d watch movies, sample the fantastic local beer, and generally relax.  We even got to take Chase Hammond out for his 21st birthday.

Huge thanks go out to the Hammond family for putting us up for two weeks, Kristy Aserlind for hosting us in Portland, Matt Whitcomb, Chris Grover, and Travis Jones for being so accommodating and inviting us to join in various workouts, and the Fereday brothers for being great training partners.  Below are a few pictures from early in the camp.

Briggs on day 1

Getting equipment ready

Briggs in the natural half-pipe

Briggs in the natural half-pipe

Burruss on day 1

Big smile

On the way home from Bend, Tim and I made a stop in Trout Lake, Washington to see Tim’s buddy Spencer Paxson ride in the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic.  XC Oregon skiers Brayton Osgood and Marshall Greene gave us a ride up the day of the road race in Trout Lake – both those guys are ripping up the amateur race at the MHCC.  Marshall is currently first on GC for the Cat 4s and Brayton is in 7th for the Cat 3s.  Tim’s buddy had a rough day, but was able to rally and put in a good time trial the next day in Hood River, Oregon.  Spencer is a pro mountain biker who hops in road races as a Cat 2, which means he has to race with the pros (which has its drawbacks, particularly on days when everything’s not going perfectly).  Spencer’s family hosted us (along with a bunch of other cyclists) on Thursday night and then we caught a ride to Portland the next day.

All things considered, Bend Camp was a total success.  The weather was decent, the workouts were fantastic, and fun was had by all.  I’m definitely headed back next year.

UPDATE: check out Andy Newell’s blog for a quick clip of Timmy doing L3 intervals with the USST.