Pepa Miloucheva graduated from Bulgarian Sport University in 1993 with a Masters degree in Physical Education and Sport Science. A member of the Bulgarian National Ski Orienteering team from 1983 to 1995, she was the 1994 Ski Orienteering World Champion. Pepa came to Craftsbury, Vermont, 22 years ago and helped start the Craftsbury Nordic Ski Club at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center with then-ski director John Brodhead and a few local parents and their kids. Four of those kids have since gone on to race in the Olympics in Nordic skiing and Biathlon. Pepa is now the ski coach of Craftsbury’s Green Racing Project, a development program for Nordic skiers, biathletes and rowers.
When did you first hear the name Concept2 or try one of our products?
When I came to Craftsbury 22 years ago. I was helping with the sculling camps, where Concept2 oars and rowing ergs were being used.
Do you remember your first workout on a Concept2 machine?
Yes, I stood a rowing erg on end to see what it would be like to use as a lat-pull machine or to double pole on it. It worked OK, but was hard to stabilize and had a chain instead of a rope back then. The return of the handle was too shaky.
Which Concept2 products do you use? Why have you chosen those products? How do they enhance your training?
The SkiErg. It is great for training and for testing skiers. I also do physiological testing with the rowers of the Green Racing Project, and this is done on the RowErg.
How do you incorporate Concept2 equipment into your programming?
I have my athletes use it a lot for speed workouts, as part of their warm up for strength workouts, and for physiological testing.
What types of athletes do you primarily work with?
Cross country skiers who are already members of the US National Team, or working to get there.
What’s your favorite/go-to workout?
On the SkiErg my favorite workout is 4/6 x 1k for intervals. For testing, we use 1k, 2k and 5k at different times of the year.
We’d love to hear a quick story that involves Concept2 equipment–a motivational, funny, or learning moment.
Probably the time when Dick (Dreissigacker) changed the rowing machine handle with a U-shaped handle and stood up a couple of ergs in the boathouse. So we started using the rowing erg for double poling before the SkiErg was built. (Editorial Note: Pepa coached all three of Dick Dreissigacker and Judy Geer’s children, so she had a close up view of the development of the SkiErg.)
What one piece of advice would you give to someone hopping on Concept2 equipment for the first time?
Learn the right technique before trying to go hard.
What trainers or athletes do you look up to?
No one in particular. I admire all coaches that work hard and try to better themselves all the time.
What or who inspires you to keep going?
Being around the athletes, seeing them working hard to get better and being a part of that process.