Once again, June Lake Camp was a blast. 17 campers from Truckee, North Tahoe, South Tahoe, and Mammoth joined the fun this year for four days of training in the scenic Eastern Sierra. Coaches Lea McKinstry, Martin Benes, and Nancy Fiddler were assisted by volunteer Bryce Tiernan to lead the camp participants through a variety of dryland workouts. Coaches and athletes were fueled by Mike McElravey’s delicious camp grub, enhanced with a bountiful array of parent provided baked goods.
Thursday was dedicated to travel to the Oh Ridge campground, setting up camp, introductions, swimming, and going for a group run. The weather was hot and dry, but the lake provided some cool relief before and after the run.
Campers woke up to bounding and ski walking intervals at June Mountain Friday morning. Depending on the age group, the workout was 3-5×4 minutes with some moose hoofs blended in for the older athletes. The effort level was impressive all around. It was plenty warm enough for a swim after the workout, then campers spent the afternoon reading, playing games and taking driveway naps in the shade. Late in the afternoon, everyone piled into the van and cars to drive down to Long Valley for classic roller skiing. After some technique drills, the different groups were turned loose for a double pole distance workout. It was back to camp for another swim, then pasta night.
Saturday was the long workout, with two groups going to Tioga Pass for some peak bagging. One group, headed by Lea and Bryce made it up 13,050 ft. Mt. Dana for some big views of the Yosemite backcountry and the Mono Lake area. The other group accomplished a double summit day with Martin and Nancy. Starting at Tioga Pass, they traversed above Dana Meadows and climbed Mt. Gibbs first. After descending 1,500 feet to the saddle, the group then ascended Mt. Dana. With thunder rumbling to the south and to the north, it was a quick summit tag before descending 3,000 ft back to Tioga Pass. Fortunately, the descent was sweetened with some fun glissading. The deal was further sweetened with trips by both groups to the Mono Cone. Marathon games of Frisbee, Uno and Apples to Apples took up any leftover energy that evening.
Everyone was slowing down by Sunday morning, but the spirit was still there for one more roller ski workout. The three training groups rallied for some skate drills, then some easy distance out on the Benton Crossing Road, with the older boys V2ing all the way up Watterson. To top off the morning, Martin led the group in a grueling strength workout at the ballfields. For most of the group, it was 18 minutes of just hanging on. The rain clouds gathered and forced a hasty retreat back to camp just as campers and coaches were gasping out the last repetitions.
June Lake Camp is about training hard, making friends, having fun, and learning. Everyone went away with some good hours, great memories and a renewed personal commitment to the great sport of cross country skiing. This camp was a success because of the great coaching, positive attitudes and efforts by the athletes, and the energy that a large group of good people creates. It was a fantastic opportunity for kids from all different schools to work and play hard together.