Summer Training (7/24/13)

BY JON LUJAN

Me and coach Chris Tatsuno
Looking down from the top of Mt. Hood

Hiking along Salmon River in Oregon
Clowning around!

Wow, it’s already the end of July! This summer seems to be flying by. As most of you already know I have been working hard on my strength and conditioning at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. With that being said I was able to spend the Fourth of July with my family at my brother’s house in Littleton — that is, after I did my morning workout! It is one of my favorite holidays as it celebrates our great and mighty country.

I do have to give a shout-out to my dentist because she came in the 5th of July for emergency tooth repair for my front tooth. I slipped while trying to hug a buddy the previous night and something hit my front tooth and knocked the veneer off. If you are ever looking for a dentist in Denver, I highly recommend Dr. Stephanie Karlin — she rocks! Thanks again for coming in on your holiday and taking care of my tooth!

I thought I would focus this blog on the effort we take to get prepared for the upcoming season and our summer camp at Mt. Hood. For those of you younger athletes that want to know where champions are made, it isn’t during the winter race season as some of you may think. It is the time we put into our dryland training and summer skiing that makes the best skiers in the world better.

Since May I have been dedicating much of my time to the weight room, cardio sessions, stretching and even yoga. I spend on the average four to five hours per day on these endeavors. Even on my “recovery” days I find myself going on a bike ride, playing golf or helping my brother working on his “honey do” lists at his house.

On July 7, we flew out to Mt. Hood, Ore. to get some skiing in. We spent 10 total days on snow and had three training blocks. Most people would think that since we are at the national team level that we hopped right into gate training. Well, my friends, this is not the case; we spent the first three days of Block 1 just doing drills. That’s right — three whole days of nothing but drills. I can’t begin to tell you how important drills are to ski racing. I do the same warm-up drills every morning no matter if it’s a training day or a race day. I find that it helps me get loose and feel centered on my skis, and it’s also a good way to test my equipment to see if there might be a problem with my edges, my base, bindings, boots or something else. On race day it lets me see how my race skis are going to act on the snow conditions that day. If I don’t like the setup I can talk with my tuner and we can make an adjustment. If I didn’t take those drill runs, I would never know if there was a problem.

Block 2 we started in another progression of brushes the first day, hero gates and full gates the second day and a full-length slalom course the third day. We probably ran anywhere from 20-25 runs per day in a span of three hours. Needless to say it was a fairly exhausting training block, then on top of that we also had our dryland program to complete after our hill time ended.

Block 3 was spent doing four straight days of GS, starting again with brushes, then hero gates, sectioned full gates and then 1/3-length GS courses for the last two days. We would have run longer courses but the snow at Mt. Hood only allowed us to train on the upper sections of Palmer.

For these three blocks I was also testing and tweaking equipment. I was able to get some great footbeds custom made by Bob Olsen at Mt. Hood Alpine Racing Center. Thanks Bob! I love how responsive my boots are after your handy work.

During this whole time we had a chance to bond as a team as well. I shared a condo with Ralph Green and Jamie Stanton so we had several great nightly discussions about tactics, techniques and mental preparation. It was really a great camp and I honestly feel super prepared to go into the world cup race season, which actually begins next month in New Zealand and Australia.

Wish my team luck next month as we begin to seek qualifications for Sochi. Thanks for all of your support for our team and myself! Go Team USA!!!

Don't forget to follow my journey on Twitter: @JonnyVolcano44, or Facebook: Jon Lujan Adaptive Alpine Skier.