Ed. Note—Each month, blog editor Chris Bagg checks in with whatever random thoughts have been bouncing around in his head over the past four weeks. This week, we reprise the second Wattie Ink./CBCG training camp, just held over the Memorial Day weekend in Bend, Oregon, one of the brand's spiritual homes.
Camp is complete! It's Wednesday evening, and I'm sitting in Wattie's kitchen, still recovering from the past week of training, cooking, and coaching. Our second Wattie Ink. training camp of the year kicked off last Friday, and we didn't take our foot off the gas pedal until yesterday afternoon, when our tired campers climbed out of Bend's amazing pool for the last time. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Our Bend Camp complements our Tucson Dream Camp (mark your calendars for next March, by the way), providing five days of incredible training in the places that the Wattie Ink. pros prepare for races.
Everyone arrived Friday afternoon and we headed immediately for the pool for threshold testing and videotaping (every camper gets a one-to-one video analysis at our camps). I'm really lucky to have Molly Balfe, another one of our amazing coaches, to run the swim sessions, and she took 22 campers through our testing protocol.
From the pool we returned to Base Camp, one of the four houses we rent every year for campers, and walked out the door for a series of hill repeats I called "Six Rocks and Two Buckets." It's basically a ripoff of an old Arthur Lydiard workout, where you don't only run uphill hard; you run uphill for 2-300 meters, and then keep running hard where the incline levels out. You get a little recovery jog at the top of the hill, and then also run fast DOWN the hill. It's a workout that stimulates everything good about running hill repeats, but also lets you practice running hard on flats and on slight declines, forcing you into good form. It's a tough workout, and when we headed in for our first dinner (an HJ favorite: Mac and Cheese with Bacon), people were pleasantly worked.
Day two saw us tackle a Bend classic: The Crooked River Highway, featured last week in our post about the Prineville loop. It's 100 miles of awesome, and everyone returned home for transition runs between 15 minutes and an hour. We wore our camp-specific Wattie Ink. custom kits, another feature of all the camps we run. That evening local star Jesse Thomas visited us to talk about the intersection of his training life and business life, and he even brought some boxes of Picky Bars for dessert.
From there, things become a bit of a blur. Sunday brought a tempo trail run near Bend's legendary mountain biking network, recovery spins, and a return to the pool to give our new threshold paces a shot. On Monday we rode up and around Mount Bachelor, the snow-covered volcano that looms above the town. Runs off happened again, but a little shorter and slower than Saturday. Yesterday, our final day of camp, we headed out to Sisemore Road, where HJ does most of her long runs these days. It traverses the now-dry Tumalo Reservoir, the Three Sisters mountains hovering in the background. Not finished yet, we headed back to the pool for some open water practice, which is always one of the most fun sessions of camp.
Every year I say "this was the best camp yet," and I hope I get to keep saying that year in and year out. A huge thanks to Wattie for supporting this camp and making it possible, and also to all of our campers for continuing to support us by attending! I also couldn't do it without Molly, our soigneur extraordinaire Kurt Marion, and my wife and partner in crime, Amy VT. Our Bend camp takes place every Memorial Day weekend, so mark your calendars now!