Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Guest blogger Brad Sholtz (LP Camp)

EH Lake Placid Camp 2012 I’ve had the fortune of participating in this camp 3 times previously, so I had an idea what to expect, but I also knew Hods would throw in a few things to keep it fresh. I wasn’t disappointed, and for those who’ve attended an EH camp you know what I’m talking about. First thing of note that was different this year is that we did a lot more swimming than years past. Every day but Saturday started with a 1 hr swim in mirror lake. The great part about the swim is that you’re on your own. Personally I rarely do any drill practice in open water, I just swim. So since this was camp I felt obligated to practice some of those drills that we all forget about especially once race season starts! So everyday I did a lot of drill, swim, drilling, and really tried to focus on form. I’ve been lucky enough to get into the Xterra Championship in Maui so EH had me bring my mountain bike this year. And am I glad I did! I had no idea how much time could be spent there exploring all the different trails. Having ridden the ironman course many times, EH had me go out mountain biking with Kenny. If you know Kenny, you know there’s not much he takes seriously, but a big exception is his mountain biking!! Holy shit did I learn a lot. I took my skill level from what I would say was a 1 all the way to probably a 3 or 4. Not to say that I didn’t leave a lot of sweat and quite a bit of blood on the trails, but man was it fun. In the 3.5 hrs we rode the first day I totally lost count of how many times I fell, and every time I did I looked to see if Kenny was laughing, but he never was. Now I’m pretty sure he and Hods had a big laugh telling my stories afterward! Probably the most memorable part was this one section that was a little above my skill level. Ken and I stopped before it and talked thru how to attack it, then he rode it and showed me. I tried it unsuccessfully, then walked bike up to Kenny where he promptly said “go do it again”... and a second time, and a third time..... He says it ONLY took me 7 tries, but I’m pretty sure it was more like 33! I really wasn’t laughing, but I sure was having a good time! We had a blast and came home with great big smiles, while the rest of the group had a grueling lap of the bike course in 88 degree heat. There is a pretty cool loop with some little hills on a trail called Henry’s Woods which is close to the hotel and I think we ran it pretty much everyday at some point. Even running it 3 or 4 times it never got boring. The coolest run was the day we climbed, crawled and jumped our way to the lookout. Its amazing how difficult it can be just to basically being walking up a mountain. I think I sucked about half the O2 from the atmosphere. On the day I was given MVP(although there really were much more impressive performances that were much more deserving than mine. Although my award was more out of pity I think!) was the day we were to ride the full course and then run an hour. The first loop is typically the easier of the two, and as Mike and I came over the top of Papa Bear and headed into town my rear shifter stripped. All I had was big and small ring. That second loop was gonna be a bitch! I stopped at the hotel for advice from Hods to see if he thought I should try the course with only 2 gears. He said my day was done. I didn’t want to except that so I told him I’d be right back. I showed up with my mountain bike. He said “ don’t tell me you’re gonna try and ride the course on that”! And in my thick head I really was gonna try it. Hods instead had me ride to whiteface and climb it on the mountain bike, then work my way home on the course. I lost count of how many people shook their heads and gave me big smiles as I rode past them. I’m sure they were thinking “what an idiot”, maybe they were right.... But I was having fun and that’s what its really about, right? The coolest part was when I was actually in a pace line coming home on my mountain bike and a girl rode up next to me and said “NICE”. As she rode away Kerri asked me “do you know who that was?” That was Kaitlin Snow the pro. So I got recognized by a pro!! Wooo Hoooo! although probably not for a good reason ;) So we all got home and went for our brick run. Day is supposed to be complete, right?? I can’t remember who said it first, me or Kenny, but we said lets go mountain bike! And out we went for another 1.5 hrs of playtime. Practicing skills and climbing, and more laughing and falling for me..... but no blood! So I don’t think I worked nearly as hard as the rest of the group, but I know I had more fun. Kenny and I got home 10 min before dinner, scrubbed off the mud and went for Ubu’s. Although I didn’t achieve what I had initially set out to do, I did have a great day and enjoyed every minute. The last dinner of camp is always the funniest. Everyone has laid it out there and achieved what they came to do, so the stories and jokes really start to roll. And just in case we may have been short on entertainment, Baker showed up. So between Molson, Kenny, EH, and Baker it was difficult to eat! I am oh so sad that another camp is in the books, but even more happy to have been a part of EH Lake Placid 2012. Thank you to Kenny, Big Rocks and especially Hods! Another lifetime memory.

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