Mammoth Lakes – Week 1

Ahhh fall. That can only mean one thing for the boys of Black Jack, high altitude training camp in Mammoth Lakes, California. If last year was any indication, it would be a lot of big workouts and heavy hours.

Our journey began right at home in quaint Rossland, where we ventured forth by bicycle on a long excursion to Mammoth Lakes. We biked 80km, had a dip in a lake, then drove the rest. Let’s be frank, it’s a long way and we spent a lot of time team bonding in the van. We kept ourselves busy with intriguing podcasts, books, and JENGA! Which is great, until Julien comes and knocks it over. To break up the monotony, we did take a wild roller ski in eastern Oregon where there was far too much straight road and sage brush for ones sanity. Half an hour of threshold with a hurricane-esque headwind made for what seemed like a age and a half, seeing us only make it about 8km in that time.

The following day, we did a run near Truckee. Enthused by the landscape, we had a great time rock hopping along the trails. Afterwards, we had time to kill before we picked up our Northern teammate for the camp, Knute Johnsgaard, so we went to Lake Tahoe. Practicing our (lack thereof) surf skills, we hit up some white capped waves and vastly didn’t improve our in water frisbee game. Unfortunately all good things come to a close, and so we toweled off and head for the casino ridden Reno to pick up Knute. An excellent addition to an already strong group. Also tagging along, we have Rossland native from the Callaghan Valley training centre, Geoffrey Richards.

Upon arriving at the gem of a mountain town itself, we did the anticipated long workouts, some surpassing five hours, and putting in a lot of kilometres into some already worn down ski wheels.  The amazing local roads climbing up to the Minaret Summit, Twin Lakes, the scenic route up from the 395, Benton, and Crowley Lake have been the location of solid rollerski work.  The highlight so far was a 5 hour day culminating at the top of Duck Lake (3300m) after 2 hours of rollerskiing. Also notable, we had all shown improvements in our overall strength at the gym, although Geoffrey, who is an avid rock climber, out did us on the hang board.

After five days of 4-5 hour training days, we heading to lower altitude to redneck Bishop. Bishop is said to only have an average of 137mm of rain per year and of course our one night down there chose to make sure it surpassed the average. Good thing skin and tents are waterproof. The following morning, the sky had a smug “I got you good” look to it with blue skies as far as the eye could see. As consolation, it even offered a sterling view of some snow capped mountains! We proceeded to blast our lungs with the pain of intensity leading to only 3 of us crying.

Our current state of affairs is back up at the condo at 2500m, chugging milk, and chucking more hours in the log.



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One thought on “Mammoth Lakes – Week 1

  1. Colin, you have such a bright, cheerful voice, and your writing style is superb. Always a treat to read your blog updates! Thanks for keeping us up to date, looking forward to more!

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