MT LASSEN CAMP by Ben Grasseschi

Ever tried to swim 1/2 mile across a chilly lake after doing 30x30scd uphill bounding intervals? Ever tried to swim that 1/2 mile with a greased watermelon that you passed hand over hand for a 1/2 mile prior. Ever eaten fresh killed chipmunk? Ever built a custom bike frame? Ever played in a World Cup soccer game? Ever Classic roller-skied, double pole only, for 2.5hr, on a hot day? Ever swam in Lake Almanor? Ever hiked to the top of Mt Lassen; the youngest volcano in North America? Ever climbed into the ‘bellybutton’? Ever Skate roller-skied a 10km Uphill Time Trial that was 4/10ths of a mile longer than you thought it should have been? Ever sailed a sunfish sailboat? Ever sailed a catamaran? Ever hiked to the top of North Caribou Peak? Do you even know where it is? Ever chopped wood and carried water?

Yep; all this, and more, well; except maybe the catamaran sailing, happened at the Far West Mt Lassen Camp Aug 11-15, 2010.

11 campers from FW joined 19 campers from PNSA, and 5 coaches, for an adventure packed, volume challenging, and intense 5 days on the east flank of Mt Lassen; just three hours north of Truckee.

We camped at Silver Lake where we shared an old Forest Service cabin, campfires, swimming holes, watermelon salad, cribbage, bananagrams, roasted chipmunk, camaraderie, chicken pesto, old skool pump well water, campsite 4 and 6, chopping wood, pretzels, red vines, bumpy and dusty dirt roads, summit vistas, training ideas, stacking wood, swedish fish, hill bounding poles, Lady Gaga 578 times, flip flops, jokes, fishing, and tall tales (likely one and the same).

Did we do any workouts? Yes. A first day easy run/hike that was supposed to be an hour turned into 2hrs. A 5km and 10km uphill Skate rollerski Time Trial that was longer than everyone thought tho it was less than 10km. A swim in Lake Almanor and lunch cooled everyone off. A World Cup soccer match between Far West/East/Midwest and Pacific Northwest. PNSA scored the tying goal in stoppage time (damn the referee!) and the game ended 2-2. Anyone up for a 1.5hr to 2.5hr Classic rollerski? Double Pole only? OK then, let’s “git er dun”! How about some ski walking technique? Ok, let’s do some bounding too? Oh, to bound one must go hard! Is this supposed to be an interval workout? No, but it was when you can’t back down. Do another one for good measure. How about climbing to the top of Mt Lassen? At 10,457 feet it stands alone between the northern Sierras and Mt Shasta- which we could see from the top. Why not make it as difficult and far of a hike as possible? One group did that while the other summitted quickly and then went climbing. And why not top off the week’s training with another intensity session; this time a bunch of (15-30) 30scd on, 30scd off, hillbound/moosehoofs, with poles, uphill. Ahh.., that’ll git ‘er dun fer shure! But wait, why not grease up a watermelon and run it down to the lake and then swim across it to see who really is tougher. Far West is of course! All that agility training we have been doing paid off!

If all this sounds like fun to you, get motivated now; we will do it again next year.