For the past two weeks I have been at the Ethan Allen Firing range in Jericho Vermont for the annual August biathlon camp. The focus of the camp was on rollerski combination training. (Rollerskiing and shooting.)
The Ethan Allen firing range is located on a military base. Living on an army base is one of the more interesting things I get to do over the course of the training year. Waking up at 5 am to Marines practicing takedown drills and singing army songs at full volume is not uncommon. General Dynamics (they make stuff that turns big, heavy, seemingly bullet proof things into little pieces) has a test range in Jericho. During training every 10-30min you here a warning siren followed by what sounds like a giant potato cannon. That sound is hundreds of rounds being shot out of a massive revolving barrel machine gun. Artillery and small arms fire is also a common sound.
We stayed in Army barracks for the entire camp. I'll attach some pictures of the barracks later on, but the consist of a large room with a concrete floor with rows of bunk beds. You sleep on the bottom and all your stuff gets thrown on the top bunk. Some athletes had to double up this year, but I was able to keep an entire bunk for myself for the duration of the camp. Week 1 of the camp was with the Junior National Team coached by Vladimir Chervenka. I had a few strong sessions at the beginning of the week, but when the races rolled around I was very tired and could not ski fast. This was definitely disappointing, but I'm not to worried about August rollerski races.
For those interested here is a list of things to do when not training in Jericho. You'll notice that1-3 all involve going off-base. There are other methods of time killing, but these 6 are the most popular.
1. Go to Burlington
2. Go and get Internet
3. Go to the super sweet country store
4. Go swimming
5. Watch a movie on a laptop
During the second week of the Jericho training camp I was training with MWSC and National B team coach Gary Colliander. It became very very hot this week. (actually it's been hot everywhere in the East) Hot enough that I could see the sweat coming off my body when I rollerskied. The very high humidity didn't help either. Around midpoint of the second week of camp life at the barracks began to get very old.The training in Jericho is excellent, but he lifestyle leaves a lot to be desired. The highlight of the second week in Jericho was our visit to the Simulation Center. The simulation center is a system owned by the National Guard that simulates combat situations. it's like playing a really big video game except you use actual weapons (M16, M9 pistol, full auto squad automatic) that are attached to compressed air so they kick just like the real thing. They also function the same way. You must reload, bolt, switch off the safety turn on automatic settings etc. Needless to say this was a lot of fun. For the record Addie Byrne (US Junior National Team/MN Biathlon) is an excellent machine gunner.
I am now back in Fort Kent in full-on recovery/time killing mode. Jericho is the unofficial end of summer training for me. I head back to Minnesota on the 21st. When I get home I have a few days before I leave again for a volume running camp. It will be great o see my family and friends again. I am planning on continuing to blog about my training and racing for the rest of the year so stay tuned.