February 8th, 2014
We are have been in Soich now for 3 days and things are starting to settle into rhythm at the Olympic village. It wasn’t too tough of a travel day to get here since we had a USOC charter flight direct from Munich, but the team processing always takes a lot of time and energy… although it is a hell of a time.
here Brian Gregg gets fitted for his closing ceremonies outfit. We spend about 3 hours going from station to stating picking up gear with everything from watches, boots, and everyday training clothing from BJ and Nike.
It didn’t take us long to get from sochi to the endurance village although hauling bags was a bit of a hassle. It’s not typical for us to have to fly with all of our skis and wax supplies to one race venue so we definitely has a lot of gear. There are still a few bags that haven’t made their way to us up here in the mountain villages but nothing too important.
For the past three days we have been settling in to our apartment style diggs. Hoff, EBJ, Simi, and I are in a condo style until that is not too far of a walk to the dinning hall. In general the villages are a lot bigger than you might expect and it can take a long time to walk from one place to another. there are primarily biathlon and nordic skiers in this village so it’s great to see a lot of familiar faces.
The sun has been out every day and the skiing conditions have been epic. It’s actually making everyone a little bit nurvous since it’s been so nice without any races happening. The snow and fog is bound to come but we’ve been enjoying the amazing skiing while it lasts.
The xc and biathlon venues are separate here in Sochi and they are both massive with their own networks of cool trails. We got to experience these trails for the first time last year and they are tough and technical just as they should be for the Games. The sprint hill, which I’ve been training on a lot, is still a big climb but the grade is perfect and it’s been feeling great in training.
one thing thats always a sure bet at the Olympics is that it takes a long time to get anywhere. lots of shuttles and riding in buses, so it helps to be patient and just have a good time. Going to need some of that this evening when we go down to the opening ceremonies. lets get this party started
January 28th, 2014
The past 5 days has in many ways felt like the calm before the storm. the Olympic storm which is definitely the most exciting two weeks of your life but require you to be prepared both physically and mentally for the roller coaster ride that Sochi will bring.
We have been pretty isolated here the past 5 days which is something the coaches were planning on when we organized our training camp here. There have been very few distractions from training and resting, trying to soak up all the sun and altitude we can.
since this is one of the highest places to ski in central Europe there are a lot of other national teams around on the trails. Our hotel is located on an alpine hill which makes is very peaceful and secluded at night but it makes going into town or getting off the mountain a bit tough. I think it’s pretty rad though because in order to get to where our cars and vans are parked we get to ski down half the alpine slope. in the morning when there are fresh couderoy tracks it’s epic.
the girls and Eric Flora head down the mountain to go do strength at the gym in the closest town.
For me the training has been going great the past 6 days trying to get in some easy skiing at this high altitude but also traveling down lower to the ski stadium to do intervals. The guys and I hammered out some level4 4 minute intervals the other day focusing on hard V1 skiing which is exactly what I’ll need during the sprint in Sochi. Basically everything we’ve been doing the past weeks has been preparing for one or two races in Russia.
Now that the training is basically over it’s time to cut everything back and get ready to race in Sochi. We call this a taper, but basically from here on out we will only be doing short workouts, lot’s of speed, and a few intervals to make sure the body is feeling 100 percent. We will travel to Toblach on wednesday and race the last world cup races before driving to Munich for team processing. I will just be racing the sprint this weekend and it’s going to be a fast one. A little bit different than what to expect in Sochi but still great practice and training for the weeks to come.
January 21st, 2014
The reports of awful snow in Poland had our expectations pretty low going into the World Cup weekend but the races actually ended up being pretty sweet and as always the Polish fans were rowdy and energetic. There was very little natural snow there and a very small snow making operation so organizers were forced to hand shovel snow from the woods and lay it down on the track. It wasn’t great for testing the day before the races but once Saturday came the grooming had packed the dirty snow down into a great course. a little bit narrow yeah… but still perfect for some fun racing.
Saturday’s sprint was the same course I raced here in Poland back in 2001 when I did my first Word Junior trip. Back then it was my first time representing the US in a ski race and I remember being super nervous for the first sprint. Literally 14 years later it’s really funny to come back and race the same sprint in the same town, not a whole lot has change. In fact I finished 6th in the sprint back in 2001 and unfortunately due to a solid crash, finished 6th again this year in the World Cup. That was a super frustrating crash for me because I felt like I had a podium in the bag, but as usual I was being a little bit too crazy trying to pass on the corners.
On top of all this history for me here in Poland Sunday’s distance race was my 100th world cup start! so it was really fun to have my parents here and be able to score points in the distance race. after the 15k I was able to watch the women’s race with them which was fun. here are a few pics…
liz had an awesome race finishing 6th
most hotels in Poland have a disco. why? because polish people like to party. We were one of the only teams that stayed sunday night after the race so we basically had the hotel to ourselves. We set up the projector so we could watch the Patriots game.
it was a long 9 hour drive to Italy yesterday but for sure worth it when you get to experience this for the next 9 days.
the view from our room
great Italian eats… we get the classic 4 course 1 hour dinner here. not my favorite but ok every once and a while
Bomber skiing in the sunshine
January 14th, 2014
We were supposed to be driving to Poland this morning but instead the team and I have decided to stay here and continue to train in Nove Mesto. Although conditions aren’t great here there is still snow making with a 2.2k loop which is good enough for getting it done for the next few days. We are staying right next to the stadium which means we can just walk out to skiing which was great during the races as long as you don’t mind the sounds and lights from the stadium blasting through your window.
they held biathlon world champs here last year so the stadium was rebuild and the atmosphere here is pretty kick ass. During the races on the weekend the stands were almost full and we were racing underneath the lights which is always fun.
I was feeling fast on Saturday for the individual sprint didn’t make it happen going over the bridge into the stadium which was a bummer. It’s always frustrating when you can qualify fast and are feeling strong but don’t advance through the quarter finals which is what happened on saturday.
I felt good again on Sunday for the sprint relay and Simi and I were able to make it to the finals placing 5th, our best team sprint result of the season so far. Sprint relays are a really exciting event for us and is one that the US had done really well in. The action never stops in a sprint relay so for an athlete you always need to be focused and ready to react to the pack. I love that kind of racing and although they are really painful, team sprints are a lot of fun.
We were all a little bit tired after two days of hard sprint racing so it has been nice to relax here in CZE for the past tow days. Yesterday was sunny so I got in a longer classic ski on the 2.2k… tried not to get too bored over two hours. Today is a rest day for me before starting up with some intensity tomorrow to get ready for the next world cups in Poland this weekend.
it’s not super exciting here at Hotel Ski.. but at least they have a cat.
the town here is not very big but there are some cool old buildings…
The 2.2k look is actually really good skiing, but I would definitely like to see more snow on the ground
Since the World Champs for biathlon were here last season they have some of the most epic wax rooms on tour here. Great ventilation for the techs and lots of space in this 2 room unit. Our waxers were pretty stoked to say the least .
On thursday we will jump in the van and make the short drive over to Poland. My parents are here from VT visiting for these two weekend and watching the races which is awesome, and coach Gus is going to be in the house so it’s looking to be a fun weekend.
January 8th, 2014
today is our last mooring in switzerland and I realized I hadn’t put up a blog in a while. For the past 5 days we have been training back here in Davos at our home base Hotel Kulm. It definitely feels like I’ve been putting in a lot of time here this year which has been nice but it’s not all for relaxation. One of the reasons we keep returning to Davos so much this year is to get in those valuable days at altitude leading up to preparing for the Games.
After returning here from the 4 races at the Tour I’ve been putting in a little bit more training than normal, starting to look ahead to the Olympics. With the start of the games only about a month away this is a great time to start boosting the fitness. So this week in Davos I was able to put in a few longer workouts along with the normal intervals.
we have had one day of rain and wet snow but since then the skiing has been amazing and perfect for getting in some training. Grover and Patrick are here with sophie, Ida, simi, and I so it’s been fun to head out with them for some skis and get away from the competition zone for a week.
yesterday we drove down to Klosters and skied on some new trails down there that I hadn’t been on. it started off as a long gradual clim in the shadows next to a river. but after about a half hour it opened up into some big fields with sun and sweet views.
snowy trees and bomber tracks make for a good time. the Davos sun doesn’t hurt either. For the past two days we’ve been sitting out on the deck a little bit after lunch to soak it up. Today we are leaving for a week and a half in eastern Europe with races in Czech republic and Poland. I’m pretty stoked to get two back to back sprint weekends on the world cup and get back to battling all the real sprinters since we haven’t seen them since before the tour. But expectations are not high for the weather.
Sophie checks the Pow….
This week is also going to be pretty fun because my parents are heading over to watch the races both in Czech and Poland. I haven’t seen them since November so it will be cool to have them around for back to back sprint weekends.
now it’s time to load up the van and start a fish hour drive to Nove Mesto. … hopefully everything goes smoothly!
December 24th, 2013
Although we were only in Italy for the past 3 days i have to say it felt a lot longer than that. We make our travel plans very early on in the year before we have any idea of snow conditions here in the World Cup. Here are on the US team we try to save money whenever we can but unfortunately that means leaving and arriving at venues at less than ideal times. So instead of staying in Davos for an extra day we loaded up the vans and drove to a snowless Asiago.
it’s about a 5 hour drive over 3 mountain passes from Switzerland to Asiago on some very curvy roads. Once you drive off the mountains on the Swiss side we are greeted with the classic sights of Italy.
We weren’t too stoked to drive to Asiago on Wednesday because it meant a full day of being stuck in the hotel with no skiing. Lack of snow made it impossible to ski while they got the race course ready for the weekend which can make for some boring days around the hotel.
when your room looks like this sometimes you just gotta get outside. It’s a good thing Asiago was a pretty cool town which made our thursday bit more exciting. We walked around the shops in town and checked out a WW1 war memorial that was just down the road from our hotel. It was a massive structure to remember to 50,000 soldiers that had died here.
to say the least I was pretty stoked to get racing on friday and was really looking forward to a fast, curvy, double pole sprint. Some of my best world cups have come on double pole sprints and I always have a lot of fun racing in conditions like that. On race day the tracks were soft which made the poling tough but there was still a big mix of doublepolers and striders throughout the morning.
The massive disappointment for the day was in the QF heat when the front of my binding came up somewhere in the first half of the lap. As we came down around a corner the snow was a lot deeper causing my ski pull off and actually fly off course. I couldn’t believe it when it was happening…. I was so stoked to start hammering and make it to the final it was a very frustrating moment. Skis can fly off if the binding isn’t pressed down all the way at the start of the race, which can sometimes happen in slushy conditions. Another skier could have also bumped my binding lifting it up somewhere during the race as well. It’s hard not to dwell on frustrating days like that but as a sprinting moving on is very important. There are always going to be crashes and mistakes out there, but in an event like sprinting they happen much more often unfortunately. I really wanted to score some much needed points on Saturday and take a shot at the podium but couldn’t, so I’m very frustrated but I’m just more fired up for the next races.
Ida had some great results during the weekend posting a top 10 in the individual and both teams skiing well in the women’s final. In this pic Sadie and Ida stride it out next to the Finns who went on to win the day.
On sunday afternoon once the races were over we were muddy, wet, tired and ready to get back to Davos. We made a quick stop for some Italian pizza before jumping in the vans and making the mountainous drive back to the Kulm. With the Tour de ski scheduled to start in Germany next weekend we don’t have much of a break this Christmas. We will be training and relaxing in Davos for the next 2 days before driving to Oberhof on Thursday.
There are a few other athletes in town who are also away from home for Christmas this year. This is not such a big deal for some of the Americans and Canadians who have done this many years but a few of the Norwegians in town this was their first time being away from home. We organized a christmas party with a funny gift exchange… the kind where you steal each others presents. it was a great night to get everyone together.
happy holidays…. Tour de ski here we come
December 12th, 2013
We have been in Davos for the past two days after spending an awesome week in Lillehammer. This was my first time racing in town in Lillehammer and it was exciting to see the new courses and ski in that stadium especially after watching so many Olympic tapes from back in the day. When I was little you had to order xc ski races on VHS tape and my parents would buy them for me so we could watch guys like Bjoern Daehle race it out in Lillehammer.
The new courses are super tough but also kind of rolling…. Like a really hard roller coaster with long climbs and fast decants. For the first few days in Lillehammer we enjoyed staying at a sweet Radisson hotel with great food and skiing in the sunshine.
Since the race trails were a little tough for training a lot of the world cup skiers were making trips up to the tourist trails outside of town. Bird, Hoff, and I had a great ski on the Birkenbiner trails.
The distance races went off on saturday with another amazing performance by Sadie jumping into the top 10 again. She’s had a pretty kick ass start to the season and is classic skiing like a boss.
I was fired up to jump into the first relay of the season. Last year I had a lot of fun leading off the relay for the guys whenever possible. I’m still confident in my ability to scramble but Sunday’s race didn’t go as well for the US men. It definitely wasn’t the best weather I’ve ever raced in and for some reason I really froze myself again and couldn’t feel my hands or arms. Not a great feeling while you’re trying to hammer.
Even though our really didn’t go as well as planned it always a pick up to see our women race so well. They where in the hunt for the podium the entire race and held on to 3rd place scoring their second ever relay world cup podium!
Without any time to dwell on results the world cup always keeps moving. We had an early wake up at 5 in the morning on Monday for a bus ride to Oslo and a flight to Zurich. It was great to get back to Davos and stay at one of our European ‘homes’ the Hotel Kulm. It such a relief to come back to a familiar hotel with familiar faces and enjoy the good food and sunshine of Davos. Even on our first day we were hanging out on the deck in the sun and skiing on the perfect hard tracks down in town.
a little water break during an easy ski on Monday. There isn’t a ton of skiing groomed here but the race tracks are in great shape and although the big valleys aren’t groomed there is still a decent about on easy skiing to glide on.
December 2nd, 2013
It’s always dark and always cold… and this year it was no different. Despite having another less than stellar opening world cup weekend for some reason I still love Finland and will always like skiing in Kuusamo even after the frost bite heals up. In the past this has been my worst world cup weekend of the year so I’m not discouraged after the first weekend, if anything fired up for whats to come.
This year the snow was falling heavily the first few days we were in town and as we got closer to race weekend the temp really dropped. It made for some really epic skiing conditions with clod hard tracks and straight forward waxing for the races.
It’s a kuusamo tradition to hit up one of the only attractions in town, the disco blowing. The resort of Ruka is pretty isolated but there are still a few happening spots. In the past we have gone toe to toe with the Canadians in a bowling comp. this year we split up into two American teams, I was by far the worst bowler scoring just a few more points than Diggins through the legs rolling technique.
my feeling i that if you are really good at bowling… you were probably a nerdy kid growing up.
it was interesting starting the year off with a mini tour. In the past there has been one world cup weekend before the Ruka Tripple but this year the first race of the season was the classic sprinting hammer fest. The course here is very straight forward with not too many tactics involved other that hammering the straight steep hill into the stadium. On race day I felt pretty decent on the uphill but didn’t have it all together on the other parts of the course. I think I left just a little too much ground to make up on the big climb and couldn’t close the gape in time, missing out on lucky loser.
For me the highlight of the weekend was watching a few of my teammates have breakthrough performances. First being Sadie who blazed to a 3rd place qualification in the sprint and a top 10 finish in the 5k classic. The other was the Hoff rocking the fastest time of the day on the ski pursuit and finishing the tour in an immersive 9th position. Throughout the weekend we had an awesome time hanging out with one another and enjoying time back on the road. We tend to have a lot of birthdays on the road this time of year and mine always falls during the Kuusamo weekend. My teammates made it a great day
We left Kuusamo this morning in the cold darkness and jumped on a plane with a bunch of other ski teams and headed for Oslo. From there we drove a few hours to a very historical place for cross country skiing, Lillehammer! I’ve only even been here once before and have never races in town on the Olympic trails so I’m really looking forward to this week. It also doesn’t hurt that we are staying in an epic hotel with amazing food. After racing two distance races this past weekend my plan for the week will be to get in some sprint training and skip the first race of the weekend, the 15k classic, and prepare for the relay on sunday. Stoked to race in front of all these fans.
November 19th, 2013
Most of the team had a very smooth travel over to Oslo on Friday and most of the bag arrived, which can be very race considering how many we have. The last few days at home are always interesting trying to figure out how to fit everything I’m going to need for the next 5 month in one duffle bag. I did have to fly with 2 ski backs back over to Euro and as it turns out so did most of the other members of the team. It’s pretty discouraging when we show up in Norway on the first day of the winter and we can barely fit all of our gear in the cargo van…. I mean we are literally maxed out, and considering we tend to accumulate junk throughout the winter we might need to get reactive.
Here Oleg tries to fit every last ski into the cargo van. He was super proud of the ski rack he custom built for the van this year but it ended up breaking on the way to Beito. maybe too many skis?
For the past 3 days we have been training here in Beito and getting used to the time change. There are 5k’s of trails groomed here and the conditions are great despite a few rocks here and there. We’ve been lucky to have sun most days which makes adjusting to the time zone a little bit easier, and it’s also been great that it hasn’t been too cold.
Early morning walk to the ski stadium. We are staying in apartments that are just a 5-10 min walk to the ski trails.
since this is basically the only skiing available in Norway right now there are a ton of skiers on the track… especially on the weekend when we had to ski around the track battling with several hounded junior skiers who make the drive from the surrounding towns. But now that the weekend is over the trail are much better with just us the Norwegian national team and a few other nations getting in some training before the weekend races.
today the skiing was the best it’s been with super hard packed fast skiing. a lot of us were doing our first intervals of the trip. Sophie all smiles as usual