The pirate’s code is simple: “All those that fall behind, get left behind.” Pretty simple.
Training in Alaska is often like that. Swap the boats for rollerskis and the pirate crew for a bunch of Nordic skiers and you’re on the right track. But instead of this being a negative issue if I get dropped, and I have to fend for myself, I actually love it. It makes me work hard.
For so long I have trained solo in Australia. Easily 90% of my training is by myself. Intervals or distance, I’m out there chugging along alone. Last year I began training with BSF in the States and I’ve been lucky enough to be training with people since. Having a team or group to train with is awesome for a multitude of reasons. It’s more social and fun. On a day when I’m feeling terrible I can sit at the back and get dragged along, but I’m still forced to work hard. I can look at what the fast or powerful guys do when they train and try to mimic that. It forces me to train full hours because there will always be someone watching that clock like a hawk making sure we get the full time! When it’s terrible weather, we all suffer together.
This summer training with APU has been an amazing learning curve for me. I’m challenged daily in many aspects of training and most often it is just the pace. These guys charge hard and the pace never eases. At the start of a workout it’s standard that one or two of the guys will be feeling fresh so they are at the front of the pack, pushing the pace, making everyone work. No one wants to be dropped from the beginning so everyone keeps up. After 30 or 40 minutes those few at the front might get tired, others will move up and suddenly the pace surges again. All those who fall behind get left behind. Sessions often go on like this for two or three hours but the great thing is that it just conditions me to never let go of the group nor ever let up on the gas.
The code seems to apply to everything, if I need to have a drink break that’s totally fine, but I better drink on the go. If I stop to unbuckle my water belt and have a drink or a snack I better be prepared to sprint to catch up because unless everyone slows, no one slows. If I’m roller skiing and there is a big hill or obstacles, keep up. Recently on a double pole session we came off a hill with a lot of speed and there is a bridge with a 10cm lip up to it. If I caught a wheel it would be game over instantly but instead of slowing, everyone just hit it at full speed and was expected to jump over the lip and keep poling away.
Often in the pack the distance guys are pushing it but then when it comes to speeds the sprinting lads come to the front and charge away, dropping the hammer for the allotted time of the speed. It’s all a great experience to see how it’s done. All of these guys have a national podium or two under their belt so it’s great to learn from them.
Every now an then I get the small chance to put the hurt back on the boys which is good but it’s probably few and far between.
Apart from doing lots of great quality training Lauren and I are still finding time to go on adventures and get out into the amazing wilderness. We recently drove 2 hours south to a coastal town to fish, camp and hike. It was a lot of fun. The weather has been spectacular and made life in Alaska so much nicer and more enjoyable than I could’ve ever imagined!
Sadly I don’t have many photos of the crew training but lets be honest, if I stopped I’d get dropped!
Train hard, rest easy, live for the moment. I know I am.