Mammoth Lakes California

Mammoth Lakes

At the end of September, with fall in full swing in the Kootenays, the older athletes on the Black Jack squad made their way down to Mammoth Lakes California for some high altitude, volume and breaks from long summers of working to have the necessary funds for racing this year.

It was a rather lengthy drive down there, approximately 18 hours of driving give or a take a few pee stops. To break it up, we did some roller skiing and cycling along the way, exploring the dismally boring flats of Eastern Oregon and its seemingly infinite sagebrush. Once making it to Mammoth though, the scenery was rather spectacular. Resting at about 2500m with access to well over 3000, there were hundreds, nay several sites over which one could express awe.

WP_20131009_007Every three or four days however, we hopped down to classic hickville of America, Bishop for lower altitude sleeping. This offset allowed for gruelling intensity and sprint work, which is all fun and games until someone runs into a barbed wire fence.

For one of our long runs, we were shown a nifty trail along a creek bed by local and 1988 and 1992 US Olympian Nancy Fiddler. She relayed some of her tales with the US National team of the time and what racing was like when skate was still fairly new at the time. During the trip, she also wrote an article on Faster Skier highlighting our coach Dave Wood.

Some of our long runs ended up being slightly longer than planned because of our lacking knowledge of the imperial system. What we had hoped would be 12km was actually 12 miles (19.6km). Small mishaps aside, there were many highlights to the trip including hitting over 60km/h on roller skis, circling many sparkling mountain lakes, and the “true California experience” of almost 10cm of snow one morning.

‘Twas quite an adventure having all said and done. The race season seems to be creeping ever so close now and we can’t wait to hit snow.




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