There are some things that are universal in camps, regardless of what kind of camps they are – wake up early and do something hard.
In high school, I went to band camp, and we were woken up early with the sound of a trumpet playing reverie, which was followed by “room inspection” – where basically someone would come into our room, and anything in plain sight (i.e. tooth brush, comb, etc.) had to be in “squad formation” – or 4 things lined up in some sort of band formation. You got demerits if something was setting out not in a group of 4 in a band formation (i.e. pinwheel, diagonal, etc); I can’t remember what our punishment was, but whatever it was, I know you didn’t want demerits. After room inspection, we did morning calisthenics, and then had to march to breakfast.
Now that I am an adult and at track camp, we do not have daily room inspection, and instead have to use our alarm clocks to arise for 6am boot camp.
Boot camp is just like what it sounds like. Jump on stuff, do push ups, swing stuff around, do burpees, run up inclines, do burpees, jump up more stuff, do burpees, plank til you drop, and get awesome things yelled at you like “if it ain’t rainin’, it ain’t trainin’.” In addition to the motivation cheers, in the 3 weeks we had boot camp, we probably heard “Eye of the Tiger” no less than 20 times. Needless to say, I loved it.
Boot camp was run by our awesome instructor Jerry Martinez. Here is a picture of him at age 5.
The real reason boot camp started at 6am is because they don’t want the other (i.e real) athletes who use the gym at the OTC to see us, as it was probably pretty amusing. I swear to god that the first week of boot camp they had hidden cameras on us. Cyclists sometimes aren’t the most coordinate bunch, so I was thinking they were making a bloopers video of us that was going to played to the Olympic theme music. I thought this would come on the last day of camp for our “team activity” and we’d all have a good laugh at us tripping over stuff or dropping balls on our heads. But that video never came. Yet.
The gym is stil at 6am
After boot camp, we ate, and then got mind games played on us by a sports psychologist. Next we quickly changed and headed over to the velodrome from track practice.
Track practice medeley
I have to say, Andy Sparks has impressive vocal chord strength. After we finished efforts, sometimes he’d disappear into the building next to the track, where I swear to god he must be doing some sort of super secret larynx therapy.
Track practice was followed by lunch, and then we got ready for afternoon fun, which either included a road ride (not so hard), a time trial up a hill (hard), or watt bike testing (really hard!).
Now, these watt bikes are super high tech, especially when they hook sensors to you. However, one of the watt bikes has a saddle circa 1982 that was probably $5 at the good will. Needless to say, the biggest race of the day was to the watt bike room – to get to the bike with the mediocre saddle. I won that race on test 1, and lost on test2. That was the most miserable 45 minutes of the whole camp. For test 3, I got to watt bike testing 30 minutes early to claim the good saddle.
Neal Henderson ran the watt bike testing. This guy’s eyes really light up by the two words ‘data analysis.’
After the afternoon workout, we had dinner, and were asleep by 9pm to do it again the next day. Going to bed at 9pm can sometimes prove challenging, because sometimes people like to stay up late making noise in the dormitory hallways. It didn’t take me many days to gain the confidence to go outside and tell people to be quiet. I didn’t have my contacts in, so I couldn’t see faces the 10 year old taekwondo boys were making on me.
Kim Geist was my roommate at camp. If you don’t know Kim, sucks to be you! She is super funny and can out breakfast anyone. If fact, if there was a carbohydrate eating contest, I’d seriously put my money on her. Having Kim Geist as a roommate is awesome because a) she makes me go to bed at 9pm every night, despite the noise little punks in the hallway are making; b) she lets me take all the drawer space; c) she brings a humidifier, and d) she at least pretends not be get mad at me when I get all chatty cathy on her, blabbing nonsense, and distracting her from work. Honestly, I don’t really contribute much as a roommate, but I at least tell myself she appreciates my babble so I don’t feel like it is a one-sided friendship. When Kim was gone for 4 days and I had my own room, all I did was mope around and talk about how I couldn’t wait for Kim to come back….Jessi and Kim thought I was crazy.
Sometimes there are some weird things at the Olympic Training Center. For instance, sometimes they have theme days. This was medieval pig roast day.
So, our first camp ran from July 15-25, and the second from August 1-10. I stayed at the OTC between the camps, and solicited mail. It worked. I got 11 letters!!!! (Extra exclamation points because real mail is fun!)
When you get mail, they put your name on this white board. Seeing your name in dry erase marker is even better than the aol “you’ve got mail!” jingle I’d get so excited to hear when I first got email!
Here is a picture of all the awesome mail I got. I attempted to arrange it pretty.
If you missed writing me, there is still time. I will be back at the OTC August 21-September 5, and October 1-15. Letters can be sent here:
Olympic Training Center Beth Newell Resident Athlete, Cycling 1 Olympic Plaza Colorado Springs, CO 80909
And I will send you an awesome postcard back!
Well, I guess that is a wrap up from camp. A lot of good things happened at camp. We got tougher. We got faster. We bonded. And now my biceps are now seriously intimidating!
Here is me on the last day of camp. I am a bit tuckered out.