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Wild Rumpus Sports
 

Living high week 3

Week 3 of training has been a lot of fun getting settled out here in Park City and easing into a daily training routine. I’m not sure I would actually call it easy since my strength coach Tschana has been just kicking my ass in the gym so it’s been an extremely sore week. The first few hard strength sessions of the training year always seem to make you super sore, but here in Park City it takes it to another level since Tschana is right with me for each session watching every exercise critiquing teaching and pushing me though every rep. It’s definitely the most productive way to lift but also the most intense. I find it extremely helpful especially during a hard core session to have someone standing right over you making sure you don’t slack on any exercise.

In addition to the tough COE strength workouts we’ve had a few great outdoor adventures despite the rough weather. Its been pretty cold and cloudy here in PC with the accessional snow or rain shower but as with most western states the weather can change super quickly so it’s all about taking advantage of the good windows. I was able to make it out for a few great roller skis with the Hoff and Liz who are both in town, but a lot of the training was done with just Erika and I. It’s fun to take advantage of a mellow schedule and setting your own training hours for a few days before camp starts.

IMG_1974We went on a few high altitude adventures up on Guardsman pass. I was determined to run to this cool lake I had been to before.

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we found a little bit of snow along the way. Actually a lot more snow than I thought was going to be there which made for some slow going and trail blazing.

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And although Erika had her doubts in me we found the ‘cool’ alpine lake but it was all frozen over still.

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views from the top

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lots of green and cool trees toward the bottom of our trek.

This weekend I’ve been keeping training pretty relaxed since we will start the training camp on Monday with back to back max tests on the treadmill. some folks don’t like maxing out on the treadmill but I have to say I don’t mind it and find the whole scientific side of testing pretty interesting. At the very least when you’re skiing on a treadmill it feel like you’re hailing ass which is kind of fun no matter what. In addition to the max tests we will have our normal blood, hemoglobin, and strength tests to see what kind of shape we are in to start the training year.

So I think today will be spent chilling and possibly fishing depending on if we can find the weather window. Looking forward to getting back together with my USST teammates after a long break, we’re such a tight team and spend so much time together throughout the year its a lot like a big family reunion for our first camp of the summer with everything from by team BBQ’s and of course lots of meetings!

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Week 2 VT-PC

 

 

 

 

 

The first few weeks of training are all about getting back into the routine of working out every day, and getting organized to tackle another long summer of tough workouts and long days. For me the first few few weeks of training require getting extremely sore at least a few times a week as I start to check off the first long run, bike, or hard lift of the season. It really is a great time of year for a skier and really feels like you can start over with a clean slate and a new training plan.

For the past week I have been easing back into training while hanging out at home in VT.  After a few busy weeks of running around if definitely felt good to stay put at home. We were lucky enough to have some absolutely epic weather for week 2 of training which made it easy to get out the door for some roller skis sessions and road rides.
IMG_1917warm weather also allowed for the perfect opportunity for some spring cleaning at the cabin.

Down ‘south’ near Shaftsbury and the NY boarder you can really see the difference in elevation with how green everything was. I made it out for a few beautiful easy roller ski workouts near home. Some athletes really dread getting back on the roller skis but I actually don’t mind it at all and sometimes look forward to the hot sunny skis out in farm country.

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Spring hit hard and fast this year in VT

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great views of green rolling hills during an easy roller ski on Thursday

Saxton made his way over from Dartmouth for a few days to take advantage of the perfect spring training. Spring time runs in VT can always be a bit of an adventure mixed with mud and snow. On this day we tried to run up the back side of Stratton on the AT and had about an hour slippery snow running.

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Stratton Mt. School spring break was over so it was cool to be able to link up with the kids on a few workouts. Even if it’s just having a big group around for a lifting session in the gym it makes training a lot more fun for me. Hiking and skiing stratton is still my favorite spring training session so it was a must to get out with the team one last time to ski the mountain.

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There were a lot of grass and dirt patches but it was still worth hiking up with the ski. The Fischer Jibskates are alive and well here at stratton I think I saw a least 5 kids with them!

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did a little hiking with the ‘Old Guys’ Sver, Matt, and Pat

On Friday I packed up most of my summer training gear and jumped a flight to Park City. It’s my plan to spend the next month or so training out here both to spend time with Erika and also since our first USST training camp will begin here next week. But it’s always a lot of fun to be in PC during a non camp atmosphere so I’m really glad I got the chance to come train here for 10 days before camp starts.

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First day was a little cold, rainy, snowy

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But since then the training has been great. Erika and I have done some roller skiing down at Soldier Hollow and gone on some sweet runs. I have to admit the running around here is one of the highlights of PC life. I’ll spend the next week mixing up the training with some rolling and biking and training with whoever is in town… like the Hoff. this is also a great time to check in with all the staff at the COE and start to plan out strength plans and get some hands on sessions with out strength coach Tschana. Stay tuned for PC updates as we jump into the first camp of the year!

 

 

 

 

The Vacation Blog

Well it’s May 1st and it’s officially time to get back to being a cross country skier… But it’s important to think back on the last two weeks of spring shenanigans and be grateful for our downtime before we jump back on the roller skis.

Like I mentioned in my last blog the springtime skiing in VT was unbelievable. I tried to get in as many skiing days as I could before heading out of town, everything from xc skiing up at Prospect, tromping around the backcountry, and even bringing it back to my roots.  Hitting jump at Stratton.

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I ended up breaking my pole going off the second time so for the rest of the day I had to ‘no pole’ it. I guess thats the price you pay for jumping with triacs on. It was a lot of fun to shoot some video and photos and just goof off on the mountain for an afternoon, it totally brings me back to my high school days when the SMS guys and myself would spend literally every nice sunny afternoon of the springtime up on the mountain.

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the pipe was pretty melted out but it was still good enough for a hit or two.

It seems like as soon as the temperature starts rising my springtime thoughts definitely turn to surfing and getting in the ocean.  A lot of people ask me how a VT guy got so into surfing but it’s something I’ve been interested in for a really long time and got started pretty young surfing around NJ and New England. Some of my Uncles were lifeguards on the Shore and having a connection to the ocean and looking up to lifeguards and all around watermen has always been in my blood. I got my first board when I was 12 and basically would spend all day long in the water. By the time I got my license is when the real semi annual surf trips started happening and the search for waves went to the next level.

Although central America is typically my destination of choice for the spring this year Erika and I went to central California instead and I was stoked we did. As much as it’s appealing to surf in 85 degree water Costa Rica is just too damn hot most of the time so a Cali spring break was a chilly… or should I say refreshing change of pace.

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there are so many cool surf destinations on the US that are worth checking out before flying abroad.

We were lucky enough to get hooked up by Erika’s family and had an awesome place to stay right on the beach in Aptos. Aptos is just south of Seacliff beach where you can see the sunken cement ship off the peer. Thats where all the birds hang out apparently.

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Beach front living at its best. It felt like the sand came right into the living room. One of the coolest parts of being so close to the ocean was watching all the sea life swim by, we saw tons of dolphins, some whales, seals, and sea otters. We were close enough to the water that if you saw a pod of dolphins swimming up the coast you could paddle out on a surfboard or kayak and make it out in the water in time to hang out with them. pretty rad

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beautiful sand… Even these days I get beyond stoked to hang out at the beach. something about the salty air and the hunt for waves

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some of the first mornings were were there we woke up to some heavy fog and clouds. sometimes it would burn off and other times it wouldn’t. I guess thats pretty common for central California that time of year. But when it finally did burn off it was beautiful and the temperature was perfect for hangout out on the beach. here’s a look at Capitola, a small village down the road with some super colorful beach front cottages.

Most people who have gone on ‘vacation’ with me can be easily mislead by the word. to a lot of people vacation means kicking back and relaxing, but with me it tends to mean ‘surf training camp regimen’ and for better or worse everything tends to revolve around the waves. I guess I get in the zone. One of the big reasons I wanted to go to the Santa Cruz area is because it’s home to some of the most consistent and good surf spots in California. One of the big spots is Steamer Lane which is a point break just out of town that can handle some pretty big swell. Protected by the wind it stays pretty glassy most days. Surfing is no joke in this area, right next door is a surfing museum and brands like Santa Cruz and O’neal call this area home along with countless professional surfers.  So there can be some decent crowds in the water and even bigger crowds on the cliffs watching the surfers most days. I was expecting a little bit of localisms but was stoked and surprised with how friendly most surfers were and happy to have an outsider in the lineup with them, which made for one of the most fun surf sessions I’ve ever had at Steamer Lane.

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to get into the water at the Lane you have to wait for a set to crash into the cliffs… then send it off a 15 foot drop.

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was able to get a few shots with the GoPro during some sessions! To get most of these shots you have to paddle for the wave holding the GoPro in your mouth, the drop it into your hands to take a few shots or capture video. easier said than done.

One thing that makes me happy beyond words is enjoying the water and having a fun surf session with your buddies. The waves don’t have to be epic but as long as they’re shredable, it’s sunny,  and you are out there with you friends it’s as good as it gets. Thats why I was fired up when Erika started taking an interest in surfing last year and although she’s a beginner she has picked it up really fast. Being able to share the fun of surfing with her during vacation was the highlight for me.

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Making old new by re waxing this beauty Patagonia board we found at the house.

The water was cool, around 56 degrees, but with a 3/2 wetsuit it was perfect and with booties on you could surf all day. A lot of the areas have kelp growing in the water which helps keep the surf nice and glassy. Also makes it so seala and other fun water animals come floating by right next to you while you’re waiting on a wave.

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On this smaller day we were having a great time surfing the Hook which offered up some long rides and fun surfing conditions. Everyone in the lineup including a lot of locals were not preturbed at all to have a beginner out in the water. Guys were encouraging Erika to paddle for waves and helping her out it was really cool to see.  My experience is that as long as you’re respectful to the people who live there and try to follow the rules of the water everyone gets along.

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some beaches were sandy, some had cliffs, others massive rocks like this beach here just north of Big Sur.

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Aside from the tasty waves the main reason we were in Central California was because Erika’s sister and friend were running the Big Sur marathon. This Marathon is one of the toughest road races because of how much climbing is involved and how windy it can be right next to the coast. But it also draws in a lot of runners because of how beautiful it is. Nat and Emma ran a great race and completed the challenge raising money for breast cancer in the process!

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we snuck onto course and joined Natalie for a few miles. the marathon follows highway 1 and there are some epic views along the way as long as you don’t mind hills. I was impressed that Nat and Emma were able to fly right in and complete the marathon just two days later. It was a highlight of the trip hanging out with them and Erika’s family and enjoying some beach time with them after the marathon.

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taking a break from surfing we ventured into the red woods on a few cool runs. I think this was Erika’s favorite adventure of the trip.

Now that I’m back home I have to say I’m a little sore from all the surfing but definitely ready to jump into being a skier again. When I’m in the surfing zone I have to admit the last thing I’m thinking about is ski racing or ski training so it’s definitely a break. Who knows maybe someday I’ll live by the ocean and actually be able to surf every day totally emerged in the scene but until then I have a lot more ski training left in me. For the next week I’ll be easing back into training here in Vermont before flying out to Utah for a few weeks of altitude training!

 

 

Spring Timin’ update

Since the races wrapped up in Sun Valley the typical spring chaos that tends to ensue has been in full effect .  The feeling I get at the end of a long race season isn’t always the same, sometimes I’m really ready to hang em up for the summer and other times I feel like I could keep on racing for another month or so. This year it was more of the latter since my strength and fitness felt like they were starting to come around and since World Champs I was having fun racing out the last world cups and super tour races in Sun Valley. I started feeling pretty sick the day before the 50k which was a real bummer since thats one of my favorite ways to close out the season. What I thought was just a normal cold though turned into one of the worst sicknesses I’ve had in years with a ganrly soar throat lasting more than a week and lots of hacking. I tried not to let the sickness slow us down while my teammates, Erika, and myself jumped into a few weeks of springtime freedom.

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After spending a few days in Sun Valley Erika and I drove back up to Bozeman and had a few days to chill out at her house. With the snow melting fast we took advantage of a 60+ degree day up on Bridger Bowl. Although sections of the mountain were closed because of lack of snow there was absolutely nobody out on a weekday and we had some empty chairlifts and runs to ourselves.

One of our big ‘to Do’s’ for the spring was to make it back to Boston to attend the YES fundraiser. YES is a really cool organization supported by skiers such as Ted Ligety and the T2 foundation and they help bring outdoor activities like skiing to inner city youth in the Boston area. We were able to meet a bunch of the kids and hand out certificated for those who tried xc skiing during the winter. Than night we attended a really cool YES fundraising dinner where Erika accepted the community outreach award on behalf of the SMST2 team.

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BOSTON

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Erika and I at the YES fundraiser

After the fundraiser our eastern ‘spring break’ really began and we had a few days to see the city and visit with Erika’s sister who lives in the Beacon Hill area. We made it out for a run by the water and spent some time cruising the streets. It was one of our first runs of the year and as most of you know it can make you pretty sore to pound the pavement after a long winter, so we tried to keep it under 1 hour.

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Erika and I have a unique running style we were revealing to the many joggers getting ready for the Boston marathon.

We heard the New England aquarium was pretty cool to check out so we put our tourist shoes on and made the trip. Most were pretty excited to see the penguins.. I really liked the seals, they were so happy and laid back… I think we had a connection.

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there was an 85 year old turtle there that weighed 500 lbs!

After our two days in Boston we drove back to Vermont for phase 2 of Eastern Spring break which consisted of hitting up the local sugaring parties, driving muddy back roads of Vermont, and since the weather is still so wintery… skiing a lot.

IMG_1770We picked up a friend of ours from Luxembourg in Boston and brought him back to VT for the week so he could check it out. Kari is a world cup skier from Luxembourg and is spending some time in the US for vacation. I felt bad that the weather was so cold and nasty but we tried to take advantage of it by going xc skiing, backcountry skiing, and alpine.

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Erika on our Easter Morning backcountry ski up and down Peru Peak. I’ve never seen so much snow in this area during April. Stratton is staying open at least a week longer than normal and we will be able to ski here will into May.

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Kari and I up on Stratton for an Alpine day. it was crazy that it started snowing and we couldn’t believe how cold and icy the snow was. Not your typical spring break. It was one of Erika’s goals to do all the different kinds of skiing we could, which included the famous snowmobile trail skiing of southern VT. I just so happen to get a text from Beckwith the day before explaining how he and Brie where skiing a large chunk of the Catamount trail for their honeymoon adventure. We joined up with them at Grout pond and skied a 15k section point to point.

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Up at Prospect Mt. XC on April 11th. still groomed tracks and full coverage

The plan for the next week or so is to hang out here in Vermont and enjoy some down time. It’s easy to be too active this time of year since the skiing is still so good, but I’ll do my best to relax. It’s been a while since I really had much time at home so I’m looking forward to it. This is the first spring in a while where I haven’t gone down to central America for a surf trip. I’m definitely craving the warm water and big waves but this is also a fun change of pace. It can’t be a ‘spring break’ without any surfing though so Erika and I are heading out to California later in the month for a week of surfing adventure! gotta love April

 

 

World Championships!

The 2015 Falun World Championships have come to an end after two weeks of what I think was ski racing at it’s absolute best. Across the board the majority of athletes I talk to think these championship were some of the most fun to participate in because of the cool race courses, awesome stadium layout with tons of fans, and general smooth organization on behalf of Falun2015. It’s cool how Falun has a ‘small town’ feel but was also big enough to host a major championships and since the ski jumps and the xc venue were right next to one another it was a super convenient for spectators to access the racing action and pack the stands. I think almost every day sold out even standing room tickets!

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The sprint race was first on the schedule, which I think is always kind of fun to start out the championships with your big event. Conditions all week were kind of soft because of high temperatures which forced the organizers to close the courses before each race… which meant no testing of skis or course inspection before you start. It’s always a little crazy skiing a sprint qualifier on a course you haven’t been able to check out since you have no idea how soft or fast the corners are going to be, but it worked out great. The closed course made the tracks a lot more firm for the heats and it turned out to be perfect sprinting conditions.

I felt great in qualification posting the 10th fastest time

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The heats could have gone a bit better, I feel like I’m definitely skiing at a top 10 in the world level, but just couldn’t make it happen in the stadium. So it was a bummer not to make it into the semi’s but I’m happy I’m finally feeling strong and fast so I have to be happy with that.

 

World Champs have a unique feel because although you have been looking forward to a specific race the entire year and focusing on competing well there, it’s over before you know it. Since there is basically a major medal event each day things move so quickly and focus shifts from one race to the next instantly. I think in general the mens team didn’t ski to our potential on sprint day so we were fired up to have a better result during the sprint relay. As always the relay was a super exciting race and although it’s always a major leg burner it’s also one of the most fun events to compete in. Simi and I skied a clean race without any major mistakes in the semifinals and in the finals continued to stay out of the carnage and finished with a 7th on the day.

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I think it’s safe to say that people will be talking about the women’s 10k skate race for a long time. To me it’s not worth talking about whether it was a fair race or not, but what is important to see is that it was a challenging day for everyone in the field and instead of being discouraged or distracted our girls team jumped on the opportunity and stayed focused. I think there were a lot of skiers who deserved medals that day because of their performances and the two medals that were won by Jessie and Caitlin that day are truly celebrated and shared by the entire group… it was a historic day for our team and US skiing.

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JP… a tired wax tech from working so hard. All medals at the worlds are celebrated as a team and as a team wide achievement.

Although I’m typically a distance relay guy I haven’t done many distance races in the past month because of health, hives, and injuries so just competing in the sprint events was my plan for these championships. It was awesome this year because we were able to bring one of the biggest teams we’ve ever had at a championships with a number of capable distance skiers. For for two days during the women’s and mens relays I was on cheering duty… it as pretty cool to make it out on course especially up in the woods by the Morderbaken where the real fans hang out. My parents were also in Falun for the championships so it was a fun chance to hang out with them.

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There were so many people lining the course up the big hills it was a crazy atmosphere…. like a wave of sound when the racers went by.

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This can energize you like nothing else but also be overwhelming if you are not used to it. I though some of our world Champ newcomers to the team did and awesome job, but Kyle and Rosie stepped it up.

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Rosie B skiing up the Morderbaken

It was awesome having my parents and as well as the Stephen’s and Caldwells in town for the champs. They all rented a house together outside of town and we were able to make it over there a few times for a happy break form hotel life.

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Made it over to Mora for a ski with Mom and dad.

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It was really cool to ski some new trails and check out the Vasa marathon track for a few k’s

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Playing tourists for a day with my parents was a good break from the championships.. sometimes it’s good to see something other than ski trails.

It’s safe to say these championships will be something we never forget. The US ski team is truly starting to make it’s mark on the international stage. The media interest in our team grows each year and it was funny… I kept on having reporters come up to me and ask “do you guys really only have 3 wax techs” . this is obviously an exaggeration but we are in many ways an underdog going up against some of these larger skiing nations. Many teams have twice the amount of staff we do but we make it with grit and determination.. which is definitely catching the eye of the rest of the world. even without reaching my goals in my individual races it was a pleasure being in Falun and being part of the team… I’ll be back in medal contention soon and our team is surely going to grow and improve by the next word championships in Lahti 2017!

thanks to the many people who volunteer their time ( and a lot of it) to make it possible for us to have success.

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Davos to Sweden

We just finished up our pre World Champs training camp in Davos and as always life at the Kulm didn’t disappoint. We spent the past 10 days getting in some great skiing in some snowy conditions and enjoy a short break from World Cup racing.

Everyone’s approach to a pre championship training camp is a little bit different, for me I spent the first few days working on some easy distance training while adjusting to the altitude. It’s funny how even just a few days of logging some increased hours of distance training during the middle of a busy season can help boost your fitness.

After a few longer days of training I switched over to working on some hard intensity. Each athlete has their won individual formula for a successful peak leading up to World Camps. For me it was time to focus on some hard intervals getting in a few Vo2max style sessions and going to the gym frequently to work on some explosive strength. Since injuring my neck in Otepaa I’ve had a hard time working on fast speed and intervals and was frustrated with trying to race with a sore neck in Russia. It was perfect to be able to get PT work done every day while in Davos and get rid of the neck pain so I could get the most out of these hard intervals. I’m happy to say that everything has come around and this is the best I’ve felt all season.

Because of the busy training schedule the days just flew by… after a solid week of building up it was time to cut back the training again and begin a taper. It felt like it snowed almost every day during our time in Switzerland which made for some powdery training sessions but the grooming in Davos is epic so I seemed to work out. We spent most of our harder training days ripping around the race trails which are primarily cold and in the shade. but it was awesome to venture out on some tours up some of the valleys when we didn’t have intervals on the schedule.

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skiing selfie. Thinking about starting a new style of wearing the drink belt in front.

Once we start to cut back our training everyone on the team had a little bit more free time on our hands so it became a priority to make it out of the Kulm every once and a while and hit the town. As aways we had a few great visits to the local coffee shops and even got hooked up by our local buddies with some free tickets to the Davos Vs. Zurich hockey game. It’s a fairly small arena but the fans make up for it and there is a seriously rowdy group of local HCD fans that are singing and yelling the entire time.

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When we got there the arena was packed so I’m not sure how we score some sweet spots close to the ice.. I think Erik was just ducking past security as usual.

We even made it out of the hotel for dinner one night. It’s always tough to miss out on the amazing Kulm food but it was rad to hang out with our local friends at their apparent and cook up some Mexican. We also introduced them to the excitements of watching US skiing thanks to the new live feed from Faster skier. It was actually really cool and we had a blast cheering on everyone racing in the US. I was obviously glued to the TV watching Erika race!

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Who ever though we’d be watching super tours on a big screen??

 

Having just arrived in Sweden yesterday my pre Words taper is in full effect and we are getting fired up to race the world cup here in Ostersund before driving over to Falun for the Championships. I’ve never races here in Ostersund since it’s been a long time since the nordic world cup was here but from looking at the courses it’s going to be awesome. The sprint course especially is super cool and the trail actually goes up the stands next to the spectators. I think it’s going to definitely be something worth checking out on TV. I think it will be pretty fun to race here this weekend and just having 4 days in between the race here and the Worlds Sprint things will be happening quickly. Sweden has always been one of my favorite countries to race in so I’m looking forward to lighting it up!

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The Stadium in Ostersund Sweden

 

 

 

 

do svidaniya Russia!

 

 

We saw a little but of everything during this trip to Russia from highs to lows both on the race track and in sub zero temperatures. In general it was an outstanding weekend of top performances from our ladies squad and as always it was an exciting adventure filled with things out of the ordinary so… here are a few pics.
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the trip to Rybinsk started with a 6 hour bus ride from Moscow. The roads are a lil bit bumpy in some parts and our rickety bus didn’t go much faster than 40 miles per hour, but we were able to spread out and enjoy the bumps and just roll with it. We watched a few movies and kicked back but at the end of the day it was a wicked long travel day. I couldn’t believe we made it the whole 6 hour trip with only one roadside pit stop.

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we made it to the race venue just in time for a very late dinner. We race and stay right next to the ski trails staying in cabins and eating in the restaurant with the rest of the skiers. Although the food might be little bit different you have to give them an A for effort and most things are pretty dialed when it comes to racing over here.  I did take down a little chicken liver on a few nights but nothing too wild.

We woke up our first day to temperatures around -25 c. Which for us is below the legal racing limit but we headed out for an easy training day and did our best to prepare for the upcoming races.

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Chilly early morning walk to breakfast

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Just like most places in the far north when it’s clear it can get damn cold. especially here in Rybinsk since the rails are right next to the Volga river humidity is high and the wind can get ripping.

When it’s -25 most of the time we don’t do any super hard training to protect the lungs so we went out for an easy classic ski and it was actually really nice with pretty speedy snow and some sunshine.

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Frosty first ski in Rybinsk

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Luckily things warmed up a bit for the 3 days of races and the typical massive crowds of Russia came out to brave the cold. Here the stands are just filling up but just outside the gates there are tons of venders and ‘tailgaters’ enjoying the XC skiing scene eating and dancing with strange Disney World type mascots. There were many highlights of the weekend including Liz getting her first career podium with a 2nd place in the skate race. Jessie scoring two top 5’s, and all the girls pretty much kicking ass all weekend. In addition Erik scored his first spirt points on Saturday.

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Beautiful spot here in Rybinsk… as long as you don’t mind the cold

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I’ve always had a great time traveling around Russia and look forward to the next time we come back. There are so many old buildings and a lot of history in the country…. and I like checking out some of the crazy vehicles they have over here.

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One of the many old chapels we pass through the small towns between Moscow and Rybinsk.

Tomorrow morning we will have an early morning exit from Russia flying on a charter flight to Munich where we will load up our rental vans again and drive to Davos. The team and I will have our pre World Champs training camp in Davos for the next two weeks and I’m looking forward to forgetting about some of these less than stellar world cup results getting healed up and healthy and focusing on the big show in Falun!

 

 

Fightin’ the Hives

The Tour de Ski is officially behind us and unfortunately for me it couldn’t have come too soon. It’s safe to say that the past 1o days have been some of the hardest for me as an athlete struggling with both on-course disasters and my health. With that being said there were still many highlight of the week which can’t be ignored especially seeing Liz battle her way to a 5th place overall finish. We were beyond stoked to see her crush the classic mass start sage 6 and then to turn around and hammer up another placing in the hill climb was unreal! We were all yelling at the TV here in Ramsau and it really was an epic ski on her part. So proud of her.

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Sophie, Sadie, Ida, Simi and I traveled to Ramsau after the races in Toblach since we were planning on skipping the last 2 stages, and Ramsau seemed like a great place to train for 5 days before having to fly out of Munich. We’ve been spending the last 4 days resting, re-organizing, and getting in a little bit of training. Ramsau and the Dachstein area really is one of the most beautiful places we travel to and we’ve been staying here a lot over the years so in a lot of ways it feels like a perfect place to re-group after the Tour.

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I’ve been pretty discrete about my heath and allergy problems over the past month or so but after this past string of races it’s kind of hard to not tackle the topic.  I haven’t talked about it much because there are a lot of unknowns many of which we are trying to figure out while we have time off from the World Cup. For me it is a very frustrating situation because for the most part I feel great but for the first period of the world cup have been struggling with two things. First, continuing to get hives on my body on a daily basis, and second having a hard time accessing my aerobic capacity while racing. Basically not being able to get my heart rate even close to where my max should be.

This is something I’ve been struggling with for a long time and have talked with doctors and allergists about it at serious length but it still continues to be a bit of a mystery. I go months and months without getting any allergic reactions or hives but then they will appear and not go away for months on end as well.  So needless to say it’s a tough thing to test for. Aside from really watching what I eat and using special soaps etc.. there’s not a while lot else to do.

So the main obstacle that my coaches and I have been wrestling with for the past few months is if fatigue is causing the hives or if the hives are causing the fatigue. Haha classic chicken and the egg situation. So while trying not to get too discouraged I’ve been trying out a lot of different options for the past few weeks from extreme resting, to new allergy medications, and everything in between. This past week in Ramsau has been kind of a last big push to get to the bottom of it with a combination of very low training volume and some new medications.

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Not racing to your potential can be one of the most heart braking things for a skier

So for the past few days I’ve been trying to relax and stay positive taking it one day at a time with very short skis and even some walks. Very strange I know…. I’ve never been much of a walker but apparently its good for you, and makes sense that if you can’t train… might as well walk. I tend to get bored out there though and will find myself going on adventures in the woods instead.

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Night walking in snow storms

I’ve been feeling great during training and every day activities, which has kind of been the case all season long so I’m trying to stay optimistic knowing that when we iron out this situation results are not far away. As it is now Ik now I can compete at a world cup level sprinting, and even do pretty well, but just competing is not the goal and I want sort this out in order to be in medal contention shape by the World Championships.

On Wednesday we will travel to Otepaa Estonia for the next stop of the World Cup. We have a classic sprint and a sprint relay scheduled for the weekend. Even under the current circumstances I’m really excited to get back to racing on the world cup and hopefully with a little but more punch assuming a week of low training and medications can help fight the hives. I was told that vitamin D can help a lot so Sadie and I have been doing our best with that as well.

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healing powers of the sun in Austria

Today we will be driving to Munich for the night before flying to Tallin tomorrow. I hear the snow conditions are good both in Otepaa and Rybinsk so the two big sprint weekends are going to be fun. Hives or no hives… I’ll still be on the start line ready to give it my all.

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Home for X-Mas!

When I heard the news that FIS had changed and relocated last weeks races to Davos not to mention substituted in a Skate sprint, I have to admit I wasn’t too stoked. It had aways been my plan to skip the last weekend of World Cups before Christmas and travel home for some family time. After running through every possible scenario to stay in Davos and race the second Skate sprint I decided to stick with the travel plan and miss out on some valuable world cups points and continue flying home to VT on December 16th.

Looking back it was a tough decision for sure… It’s never fun to think about a world cup sprint going on without you, especially on a course you know you can compete well on… but at the end of the day for me it was totally worth it and I’l glad I stuck with the plan to head home for a break.

After a long travel day I made it back in to Albany and Home to Shaftsbury just in time to crash for a good nights sleep. I think it’s always prefect heading back to the US because there’s no jet lag!.. I always wake up in the mornings fired up and ready to go. Erika met me in VT having just flown in from Bozeman and we were ready to have a fun Christmas vacation together. We were both pleasantly surprised by how much snow was in the North East, all the trees were covered and all the ski areas were up an running. Especially after spending a bit of time in warm snowless central Europe I was excited for a wintery Christmas, and even more excited to actually spend some time with Erika during the winter which can be a pretty rare occurrence.

We didn’t waste any time and loaded up the truck the next morning to drive the 5 hours north to Rangeley Maine where my parents have a cabin. This was only maybe my second time ever being at the cabin in Rangeley so it was a new experience for me and Erika and we got to ski, snowshoe, and do all kinds of other winter activities. In general snowshoeing is pretty boring I have to say.. but not when you do it at night tracking animals!IMG_1592

Our first day in Maine the snow just started dumping. some of the biggest snowflakes I’ve ever seen. Made for some sketchy driving but it was fun to get ‘snowed in’ at a cozy cabin.

Since I’m usually in Europe for Christmas this year seemed a lot more festive than usual, listening to a lot of Christmas music, decorating the house, eating Christmas cookies and just getting into the stuff we usually miss out on.

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After a few days of skiing in Maine we made our way back to VT and over to Middlebury for the Eastern Cup opening races. I had caught a little bit of a the second day home but it was still part of our plan be there supporting the local nordic scene so we made the trip. I was pretty funny to be back at the Eastern Cups after so many years but really fun to catch up with the everyone and represent SMS in the races.

 

 

IMG_1617We were lucky enough to get some epic weather… and have an epic place to stay over at the Marstons house. It made me realize how great Vermont can be in the winter!

Erika and I jumped in some of the races at Rikert which was a perfect way to get some hard skiing in. After two days in Middlebury we drove the rest of the way back to Stratton in time to hit the gym and make it to some local Christmas parties. Although I had been back in the US for almost a week I hadn’t been around to hang out with too many buddies or my family much. Each day was feeling more and more festive and I knew for sure I had made the right decision coming home for the 12 day trip.

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We totally scored being able to stay at the Marston’s beautiful guest house!

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Fun to be on top of the podium… even though it’s just and Eastern Cup:) One of the highlights of the weekend was being there for the BKYSL races on Sunday and being able to hand out the ribbons to the skiers!

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Skiing at Rikert was perfect… and awesome to be there with Erika and the rest of the SMS team.

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Ben Ogden and I showing off a sweet hand made long board by Ben.

With just a day or two before Christmas we returned back to Shaftsbury for a night before Erika flew back to Bozeman. The skiing conditions had been so perfect in Vermont you kind of knew it couldn’t last and sure enough the day before Christmas it started pouring rain and got pretty warm. Erika headed home to Montana but I stayed in VT and got some quality training in… wet training.. but still quality training. Even though temps got close to 50 with several inches of rain the snow held up at Prospect and I was luckily able to ski every day, get some good intervals in and spend the holidays with friends.

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The Bennington bros!

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Home for the Holidays! can’t beat it

Today I’m traveling back to Europe for the remainder of the winter.  After an awesome break back in New England I’m ready to get back on the World Cup tour and start the Tour De Ski next week. It’s always super frustrating to miss out on points and world cup racing opportunities but in the long run I think it was the best choice to come home… and certainly the most fun. We will start racing again over here on the 3rd in Obertsdorf Germany for the prologue and 15k classic in the first 2 stages of the Tour de Ski.

 

 

Ruka to Lillehammer

Sometimes it feels like the ‘steeps’ of Ruka can either make or break your weekend in Kuusamo. There really are very few ski courses in the world that have steeper hills and it’s something that we definitely don’t see on the roller skis throughout the summer so it can be a very rude awakening to the world cup scene. For me it was a tough adjustment and the races didn’t go nearly as well as I had hoped.

The race weekend started with the classic sprint on Saturday and as usual everyone including myself was pretty fired up to draw race the final Ruka climb into the stadium and fight it out on what has become an iconic opening sprint race.  They day wasn’t made any easier by some tricky waxing conditions.

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looking up the big climb.

I think it’s safe to say that often times conditions are a lot more tricky than they appear on TV. I struggled with slightly slick skis in qualification and then switched skis to more of a Klister binder and ended up icing up a bit in the the heats. small adjustments can be so important on the world cup.  For most of the team the day was a bit of a disappointment other than seeing Ida make her personal best in classic sprinting on the WC! No matte what the outcome it’s great to get that first World Cup race out of the way.

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Ruka by night… looks very christmasy

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Ruka by day.

The sun never actually hits the ski trails but when it comes up you can usually see if from a distance. It had been about two weeks since we’ve seen much sun it any time it comes out in Finland we’re pretty stoked.

It’s easy to get bummed out when the first weekend of racing doesn’t go as planned but having a strong team behind you is so helpful when traveling on the road far away from home. Sunday was a tough day for our team when we learned that Noah had broken a bone in his ankle and would have to immediately fly home for a few weeks. Even with a few bad races under our belts it’s easy to get down but in instances like this you can see how quickly things can change and how it’s really important to enjoy and take advantage of your time here on the World Cup.  We’re going to miss Hoff for the next few weeks but looking forward to getting him back in Europe before World Championships.

On Monday we loaded up some busses and flew out of the Kuusamo airport to Helsinki and then on to Oslo. It’s kind of funny looking at a map Kuusamp to Lillehammer isn’t very far away but it takes an entire day of buses and planes to get there.  I have to say that the team was excited to get back to the Radisson hotel here in Lillehammer and dig into some amazing food after a day of travel.

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In case you ever need 7 different fish options for dinner Norway is the spot to be.

For the past two days we have settled in here and took an easy day to ski up a sjusjon yesterday morning while they prepared the world cup track. There’s not a ton of snow here but just enough to ski at the higher elevations. We hit up the local gym last night, and by local gym I mean the Olympic complex which is huge. the gym was bumpin with the most nordies I’ve ever seen lifting in one place along with a bunch or Nordic combined guys and ski jumpers. One of the biggest ski development programs called NTG has a base here so there are a ton of junior skiers around and a great ski culture here.

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This morning was our first day skiing on the world cup courses which had a think layer of man made snow on them. The courses are at the newly remodeled Birkenbeiner Olympic stadium. The courses here are very challenging but also a lot more fun that your average ‘engineered’ courses. They have a ton of flow with lots of transitions, corners, tough climbs, but also very skiable terrain which is great for classic racing. 20141203_153358

This afternoon we passed the time by walking around town. although mostly everything is way too expensive to buy here it’s cool to check out the scene and enjoy the christmas feel on the walking streets.

With just one more day before the competitions start we will spend tomorrow doing our pre race workouts and testing some skis for the first skate sprint on Friday. Lillehammer is a mini tour this year so all three races will count together finishing with a 15k classic pursuit start on Sunday. should be kick ass!

 

 

 

Far North Update

We have been in Muonio Finland for the past 4 days and going through the usual adjusting to the Euro time zone and the dark coldness of the far North. As usual it look the typical 27 hours + to travel all the way from Vermont to Northern Finland but with everyone here in one piece and all of our baggage intact you can’t really ask for much more. Muonio is about a 3 hour drive North of Roveneimi (the official airport of Santa Clause!)
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Getting ready for the 7+ hour flight across the pond. In order to get to Muonio we had to fly to Amsterdam- Helsinki – Roveneimi

IMG_1520This shot of the map in the airport gives you an idea of how far North we really are…. about a 3 hour drive above the arctic circle.

For the past 4 days we have been getting some great on snow training in and adjusting to the sleep schedule. It can always be a little tricky when the sun rises at 10 in the morning and sets again at 3 but of me I think I’ve been adjusting to Euro time pretty well.  One of the best ways to do that is just by training twice a day. It can get damn cold up here but we have been fortunate enough to have had some amazing training conditions with temps just in the mid teens – 20’s.  We’ve had some clear days but also the ‘ice fog’ that tends to roll in here.. it makes it feel much colder than it really is but also makes the trees really beautiful and white.

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The sun never really hits the area where we are staying but sometimes you can see it shining in the sky which can make for some really cool colors.

While we are here we stay in some epic cabins right on the ski trails complete with wood stoves and sauna. It really is Northern Scando living at it’s best with great training right out the door. They also do a ‘frozen thunder’ type thing here in Muonio so they guarantee snow by mid October. So right now there is a 5k loop here made up of mostly man made snow and natural snow mixed in. So far the track as been rock hard, fast, and great hard wax skiing.

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Cold snow classic skiing at it’s best!

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Peter J drove over from his home in Sweden to be here for a few days so we’ve been running through some of the new skis he’s picked over at the Fischer factory. What we typically do is test some of the newer boards against some of the older race skis and try to eliminate some early on in the season. We try to keep the race fleet to about 30-35 skis

Through the weekend we will be training here and getting ready for the first World Cups in Kuusamo. I have already jumped into my first interval session since being over and will try to get in a practice time trial on the weekend. It’s been great having the whole world cup crew back together.

IMG_1519All smiled in the North Land. It’s been cool having Reese and Caitlin over here for the CC spots and we’re all really excited to get back to the craziness of the world cup. This picture below is a great example of what it looks like outside most of the time up here.. dark and icy, but we are all still stoked to be here skiing on real snow!

20141120_193738the crew walking up the hill after a hot dinner of potatoes, meet, and wasa crackers

 

 

 

Last week Home

yes it is. Actually it’s the last week in the US for a while so here’s a little recap of whats been going on.

After returning from Canmore Erika, Simi, Sophie, Ben and I hit up the big city for two days. Now most people know I’m not much of a city guy but NYC has been growning on me the last few times I’ve been there. It’s just so different, I feel like it’s kind of it’s own country. Very overwhelming, but a pretty cool place to see in small doses. We spent a day checking out some different parts of town including the MET and central park before we had our NYC Gold Medal Gala US Ski team fundraiser that evening. It was a great turn out and a as always it was a cool opportunity to catch up with USSA supporters, trustees, and ski fans from NY. It’s always a super fun night that turns in to a long night… with an even longer story thanks to taking Jonny Mosley’s invite to a NYC club. But I won’t get into that. Basically I was ‘citied’ out by the next day and happy to get on the train with Erika and head back to VT.

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A look at all the athletes with us at the NYC ski ball. a good handful of medalists from all disciplines.

It was great to get back to VT after what had been a really long 3 week training camp. I always spend the first day back just trying to hammer out some laundry and get organized. After doing so much training and racing in Canmore it felt good to kick back for a few days. After a few days at home I felt like I could have been coming down with a cold so I took a Zicam type medicine which turned out to be a bad idea. I’m incredibly allergic to a lot of medicines including Aspirin and since a lot of medicines are chemically closely related I basically have no idea what kind of reaction I’m going to have. In the end I ended up not getting a cold but I did get an epic case of hives for a few days. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had hives on the palms of your hands but its a very itchy uncomfortable situation. I actually had to fill up water bottles with ice water and hold them in order to sleep at night.

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It took a few days to work the itches out and I was very relieved once they were gone. It felt great to get back into some easy distance training around VT. It can be pretty hit or miss training in VT in November but so far I’ve had no complaints. We had a few super cold early morning roller skis where your wheels just inch along and your ski poles never seem to stick in the pavement but that just gets me more fired up to ski on real snow.

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I really like going for runs when the snow starts flying especially here in VT. It helps when it gets a little colder because the mud and water freeze up and it makes the back woods running a little more enjoyable.  Hadn’t been out to the sun bowl trails at Stratton in a while so I headed out there for some pole running. The trails were in great shape and it was sweet to run around on a lot of the trails we trained on as little SMS skiers.

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now I’m not sure when Newell’s Knoll is a blue square and Caldwells Cascade is a black diamond…. who do I need to talk to about this?

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Since the hives have cleared up I’ve been getting in a lot more quality intervals to get ready for the start of the season. It’s easy to get super fired up for the first races of the year especially when they are only a few weeks away. During these two weeks at home I’ve been doing some intervals specific to the first races in Kuusamo Finland to get ready for the demands of those courses. The sprint there is one of my favorites with a massive steep classic climb and the distance races have some gnarly walls on them too. I think bounding intervals up the mountain is the best way to get ready for those races… even better when there is some snow in the air!

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a view from the top of stratton after some L4 bounding intervals on Sunday

With just a few more day’s left at home I’ve definitely already started getting packed and ready to roll for Europe. I think this time of year we all look forward to the simple but exiting lifestyle of traveling around the world to ski races. to get ready for these several month-long trips however can make for some not so simple and extremely busy days at home. I’ve spent the past few days closing up the cabin for winter, making sure I have all the gear I need for Europe, and hanging out with the VT buddies.

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We were able to spend one more night at the cabin before closing it up. and spent the morning cleaning and raking leaves.

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with the nights getting well into freezing we’ve had some beautiful cold evenings for Sauna’s over at Fosters.

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Needless to say I’m pretty excited and ready for this training season to be over and looking forward to heading to Europe on Sunday. We’re going to miss any pre world cup races this year so our first real on snow races will be the World Cup openers in Kuusamo. Despite not arriving in time for the races we will spend a week or so training in Mounio Finland dialing in the on snow feeling and hopefully keeping warm above the arctic circle. ready to get this year rollin!

 

 

Canmore update

Frozen Thunder in Canmore never seems to disappoint.  We’ve been training here for the past week getting used to the feel of skiing on real snow and extending our mega camp into it’s third week.  The thought of skiing on a 2 k loop for a week can make some skiers cringe but something about being here in Canmore on the ‘Thunder” isn’t bad at all. I’ve been in plenty of ski tunnels over the years and although the skiing is just as crowded and often times just as sugary here on the “Thunder” the fact that we’re outside surrounded by beautiful mountains makes it that much better.

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We have been spending the past week adjusting to the roller ski – snow transition which means working on a lot of technique. Here Liz, Jessie, and Matt work on some skating without poles.  Our first few days in town we worked on easy distance skiing and speeds… Doing speeds on snow is one of the best ways to get your balance back so we have been throwing in accelerations in almost every workout. In addition to skiing in the morning we have had some strength sessions, running, and even some L4 double pole intervals in the afternoons.

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With two races scheduled we didn’t have much intensity planned and used the season openers as a chance to go hard.  The Frozen Thunder sprint is always a a really fun event and this year took it to another level with Justin Wadsworth’s king’s court format. I have to admit we were all a little worried that trying to race that many skiers through heats wouldn’t work out but it flowed really smoothly. Each skier got to qualify and race 3 heats either advancing up or moving down depending on if you finished in the top 2. For me it made for a really productive and hard racing day. It almost felt like each heat was a final and we had to hammer all out just to advance. Great practice for the world cup.  In the finals it was a show down with Dakota and it was awesome to get the win! Regardless of where you finish it’s always fun to race the first sprint of the year and have a good feeling of fitness. I was extremely sore after Friday’s classic sprint but thats always typical with the season’s first events.

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happy team!

After a few hard efforts on the snow I think everyone is starting to feel a little tired from our 3 week camp so eating, sleeping, and training tend to take up most of they day. We are staying at the Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge here in town and doing our typical team dinner cooking to save money. The kitchens here are super small and not ideal for cooking for 12 people but we make it happen. So far we have had some pretty amazing meals including last nights feast prepared by the girls.

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Chicken with stuffing and veggies!

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For both of the races here we were on training wax but we still always have plenty of work to do in the wax room. Our coaches are pretty great when it comes to putting in the time in the wax room and preparing skis for us every day. Having traveled around the world enough I can tell you thats it’s pretty rare for national team xc ski coaches to also be the ones waxing the skis but these dudes work hard here on team USA.

Today was another racing opportunity with a  10ish K skate race. I think it’s always pretty fun to do 6 lap races like that.. it’s a good opportunity to work on pacing since all the laps are pretty short and it’s easy to see where you are loosing time. 10k skates are still my weakness in skiing but I’ve been trying to slowly get better at them by working on the right pacing and technique.

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Erika, who is an awesome skate skier, had a great race today for the SMS-T2 team.

tomorrow we will finish off the mega camp with a longer OD before heading back to the US for our final weeks at home before the season. Now that things are starting to fire up for the season I will be trying to update the blog more often with pictures and insights from the road.

VT to PC and Speed Camp

The past week was a crazy one while putting in some good training in Vermont and also getting organized for our month long training camp to Park City and Canmore. Fall is one of my favorite times of year to be training in Vermont and the past week was awesome with cool night, warm days, and lots of color. We had some of our usual workouts scheduled including bounding intervals up the mountain and a long OD ski run combo with the SMS club. School is in full session now so it’s great to have a big group of young skiers along for a weekend distance workout and the gym is always crazy. On Saturday the whole group was out for a ski run around Little Rock Pond and a big BBQ at sverres house to celebrate the start of the year and the super fun Peru fair weekend.

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Fall runs are the best!

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SMS team BBQ at Sverre’s house

The T2 foundation is a big part of the SMS-T2 team and it’s a perfect partnership since we are both big on building the Nordic community in the area.  The T2 foundation is dedicated to funding developing skiers and getting more kids involved in alpine and xc so we try to reach out to different clubs whenever possible. We on Sunday we made the trip over to Hanover to run a ski dry land clinic with the Ford Sayre ski club. We had an amazing turnout with over 70 kids. We took the opportunity to run them through a workout at the local ski trails and then a Q and A slide show where the kids came up with some great questions.

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After a few easier days of training and a lot of packing we flew out to Park City on Friday for the start of a big month long training camp. It’s always a tough camp to pack for since we’ll be doing dry land training and skiing up in Canmore so we have to bring a little bit of everything. For the next two weeks we will be focusing on training some pretty big hours and taking advantage of the high altitude.  It was a fast and furious first day in town with our second annual Speed Camp Park City.

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We had a great turn out with a solid group of local shredders and we spent two hours running through specific speed and agility drills.

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I was really impressed with the level of skiing that all the kids showed. We like to set up pretty advanced obstacle courses including slaloms, curb jumps, and backwards skiing and all the speed campers were charging hard.

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Thanks to everyone who came out to this years Speed Camps Park City!

 

Last weeks of summer

We are in that strange shoulder season right now when it’s not quite Fall but the lazy summer feeling isn’t there either. As a skier it feels like the Lake Placid Training camp is a big turning point when we start hitting more intensity and all of a sudden the season is right around the corner.

We finished off our LP camp strong with the epic Climb to the Castle race which is always one of he hardest workouts we do all year long. It’f funny because distance skate skiing… especially uphill skate skiing, would have to be my worse event but each year I go into the climb thinking I’ll tear it up. I do think my skate technique has improved a ton over the summer and I’m a lot fitter when it comes to skating but damn a 40 minute uphill race is still tough. I ended up hitting a pretty big wall in the last K after trying to follow Tim Burke for most of the race.  It was a leg burner posting a lactic acid reading in the mid 15’s afterward.

Needless to say we were due a few easy days after we closed out training camp with a long OD rollerski on Sunday. Since Erika and I had gone on a little surf adventure before camp started we were actually looking forward to just getting back to Stratton and taking it easy which is exactly what we did, making some stops along the way for ice cream and fishing. It was a beautiful ‘almost Fall’ day.

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The Batenkill is a tricky river to fish. We thought we could outsmart the fishes by trying to find a spot where not many people fish from so we did a little bushwhacking to find a secret spot.

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we did see a few fish jump but it was pretty unsuccessful fishing mission. Battenkill 3 – US 0  . we’ll be back

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I’ve been spending the past week really catching up on a lot of work but also trying to get outside since we’ve been having some of those epic VT days. One of the harder workouts of the week as running my usual uphill running test down in Bennington VT and it went pretty well. It’s a seriously tough run and take about 12:15 plus or minus a few seconds when I’m running fast. I’ve been doing this test for a ling time so in order to get close to a PR time I have to get pretty jacked up, get in the zone, and really put the hammer down from the start. I’m also usually doing this test by myself which makes in tough and also pretty funny for anyone who might see me spiriting as fast as I can up the Mt. Anthony access road.

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Erika has been out in Montana so for the weekend I’ve been able to hang out at home in Shaftsbury which has been great. I forget how good the training is down here and some of the back roads are beautiful for running and Ive been able to head out to some of my classic NY rollerski loops. Yesterday was a big Sunday Funday we had planned with the SMS-T2 team and we started a long rollerski in Townsend VT.

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the leaves are just starting to change a little bit and it was a really scenic ski over to Putney. It was really fun to ski on some roads we don’t get to train on very often and also ski past some of the little Vermont ski areas like Grafton Ponds where we used to have Bill Koch ski races as kids.  Some of my most memorable BKYSL races were always at the Putney School which is where we finished our 3 hour ski and right where coach Pat’s house it.

It really was a perfect sunday funday and we got to enjoy an amazing meal outside in the sun what included BBQ ribs and fresh corn. gotta love it

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Speed Camp Video

easy week surf adventure

Since this past week was a lighter one with training we spent some time doing some easy workouts around Stratton and getting organized for Lake Placid camp. After doing some L3 intervals on Saturday we had a good change to take a few days away from serious training so Erika and I headed out to the coast.

Our first stop was North Beach near Hampton. Once you get north of the craziness of Hampton beach I really like the NH coast both because it’s beautiful when the weather is great and also because it’s pretty laid back. Not too uppity… whatever that means. I’ve been taking little surf trips to Cinnamon Rainbows since I was in junior high and I have a love-hate relationship with the ‘wall,’ the local surf spot. You can’t see the waves from the road because of the concrete wall so there’s always a lot of anticipation as you get out of your car and check the surf. Reports are always off and I’ve been skunked many times.

This weekend was calling for small surf so expectations were low, but Erika and I had a few really fun sessions at the wall.

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Looking over the wall at some surfers paddling into some glassy goodness. Shoulder high and shredable

Most of the surf boards I’ve owned over the years have been built for bigger waves, which is great for trips to Costa Rica but not necessarily the summer swells of the Atlantic. I was sold when I came across this 6’0 epoxy egg at the shop. It has an old school shape and a lot of paddle speed for the smaller summer days.

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It’s kind of like a super short long board that turns really well and was a lot of fun to surf. We picked up a traditional long board for Erika from the shop and our surf vacation was on. We had a really fun session at the wall on Saturday evening and surfed until it was dark. Erika has been on a few surf trips with me, which can be tough when the conditions are too big to learn. This weekend though, it seemed like everything came together for her and she started surfing all kinds of waves and even dropping into some head high sets!

We spent the next day hanging out around the Portland area. The weather was awesome so even though the waves had died down a bit on Sunday, we still had some beach time to hang out in the sun.

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Walking around Portland was pretty cool. One of the great things about living in New England is that within a short drive you can be right at the coast, something I think we don’t appreciate as much as we should. We met up with Annie and walked around town and checked out the docks.

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Even though the waves were small, I still almost always want to get into the water and surf. We had gone to Higgins beach in the morning where the waves were glassy but tiny so we got to get some sun time in and take turns riding the 9 footer on little long board waves, trying to nose ride and surf with some old school style.

IMG_1159Even on a 1 foot wave I’m still having fun

It’s hard to go to the Portland area and not do touristy stuff so we checked out the lighthouses and went to the legendary Lobster Shack for dinner on Sunday. There was about a 40 minute line to place an order but it’s one of those places where the food comes out really quickly and you can even go enjoy it on the rocks down by the water. It was definitely worth the wait and after a lobster roll I was ready to get back in the water for an evening 1 foot surf sesh.

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Lobster shack classic

 

 

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On Monday we had a long drive to make from the coast back up to Lake Placid for the start of camp, but not until we got a few more waves in. We woke up early and drove down to the ‘Wall’ again for some of the most fun surfing I’ve had all summer. Waves were 3-4 feet, shoulder high and totally glassy. Erika was holding her own among the crowded break and getting some great waves. The drive to LP was long but the weather was perfect and it was definitely worth it for the fun surf we had scored in the morning. For the next two weeks we will be having our typical training camp here at the OTC in Placid. Lots of intervals and time trials on the schedule so it should be exciting as always. I’m looking forward to a lot of tough workouts and hitting up all the local swimming holes.

 

 

Canadian SMS camp week

It’s been the week of camps! technicially the week of 3 camps since the Canadians are still in town training and the SMS BKL and junior camps have been going on at the Stratton campus.

I wasn’t even able to get a post in last week because things were so busy so there is a lot to catch up on. For me the last two weeks have been planned as a big volume block… one of the last big volume blocks of the summer before adding in a bunch of intensity as we get closer to the fall. Last week was a 24 hour week and this week was even bigger so it was awesome to have the Canadians and their coach Tor Arne Hetland here at Stratton to add a new level of intensity.

I spent the beginning of last week showing the crew around the southern Vermont area and leading them on some fun rollerski sessions and runs in the green mountains. We were really stoked to hear that the Canadians were having a camp here in the Stratton area so I tried to give them a tour of all the great training spots.

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We have been putting in a bunch of longer workouts in the 3 hour range. Having Tor Arne around has been great so that he can drive the vans and support some fun point to point workouts. Here we are running toward Little Rock Pond after skiing for 2 hours from Manchester. We are pretty good buddies with the Canadian dude and have been traveling around the world with them for years so it’s great to catch up and talk to one another… or yell if you are Harvey on a long run.

IMG_1068Lenny and babs join me in the cold river waters after a long workout. We got lucky with some pretty epic weather all last week.

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Kris Freeman came over from NH for some training and the younger T2 dudes have been joining us for a buch of workouts so it makes the 3 hour rolls a lot more exciting. Tor Arne coaches the crew in this photo as Alex Harvey and I lead the crew up the big hills next to SMS campus. It’s alway fun to have a big group for distance skis and its cool to try to learn from great skiers like Alex, Devon, Babs, and Lenny.

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As we jumped into our second week of training the weather turned just in time for one of the hardest workouts of the week. 6×5 minutes level 4 striding in the pouring rain is one of my favorite workouts. It makes it a little more exciting I think to do intervals out in the elements every once and a while. By the last interval we were pretty much hammering all out and feeling a serious burn.

This week was also the start of the annual SMS summer camps that Sverre runs here every year. These camps are pretty special to me because they were one of the biggest reasons I stated training for skiing in the summer when I was a kid. I would come up from Bennington to the BKL and the Junior camps to learn about what xc skiers did for training in the summer. The camps were also a big reason why I ended up going to SMS for high school… so I think it’s a great opportunity for kids to attend them.

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BKYSL campers are the younger kids. this year we had about 50 campers! (Lilly Photo SMS blog)

During the past week we have had plenty of time to interact with the kids. We try to eat meals with them in the cafeteria and talk about skiing whenever we can. One big draw of the camp is that we also get to ski a few workouts with the campers which is pretty unique. This is probably the only camp in the country where young skiers can join more than 5 Olympians for a rollerski technique session.

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Pat and I work on skate technique with the ‘older” BKL boys. We worked on everything from V2, to V1, to skiing with frisbees.

(Lilly Photo SMS blog)

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Annie Hart works on cornering with some girl campers. (Lilly Photo SMS blog)

IMG_3168It’s pretty impressive to see the numbers increasing each year for both the BKL camp and the Junior camp. (Lilly Photo SMS blog)

For each group we like to hold a Q and A and it’s always interesting to see what the kids ask. This year for the junior camp we even got Tor Arne and the Canadians to come in and answer some questions from the campers, it was pretty rad.

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Tomorrow will be my last day of big training as I wrap up this two week blog of volume. We are planning a sweet point to point run with the crew. After intervals this morning and about 26 hours stacked up for the week I’m starting to get a little tired and looking forward to an off day. for Daily updates from the Camps, lots of photos, and to keep up with what the SMS club is up to check out their blog http://smsxc.blogspot.com

 

 

VT Vacation Week

hot damn… it’s already August! since returning from Alaska camp I’ve been here in Vermont for the past week enjoying a little VT summer vacation. The past two weeks of training camp in AK had a lot of high quality training so this was a great change to kick back and take an easy week.  A lot of my teammates on the SMS-t2 team headed home but Erika and I hung out here at Stratton and had a kick ass stay-cation (i think thats what you call it) and got to enjoy some great VT summer activity.

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Evening Swimming at North Beach in Burlington 

One of the things I was have been really looking forward to the last month was seeing Old Crow Medicine Show at their concert in Shelburne VT. They have a new album out that we’ve been listening to a lot and it’s not too often we get good bands that just want to play in a little Vermont field… Shelburne Farms is a pretty laid back but beautiful venue. So we drove up to burlington for the day going for a run by the water in the afternoon and eating at the dockside restaurants on Lake Champlain.

Old Crow sounded really amazing… I think their stage presence and sound quality has come a long way in the last few years. It’s cool to see a band with blue grass roots still able to rock a venue.

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Old Crow playing at Shelburne Farms 

The next morning we headed town to Thompson Point to visit with the Ogdens and Hodges at their family lake house. Since I live so far south I don’t get to spend too much time around Lake Champlain but being by the water for a few days makes you appreciate how big the lake is and how awesome it is to have that during the summer.

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With a few days of vacationing it was time to get back into hard training a little bit on Saturday with an uphill running TT. It had been while since I’d done my running time trial up Mt. Anthony in Bennington and I was a little worried about running it the week after returning from the Big AK training camp but it turned out to be a great run. Sometimes the legs can be a little heavy after a week of only skiing. but I was just 1 second behind my all time PR set two falls ago and faster than any time I ran it last summer, so I was stoked. Erika and my buddy DJ came out to run up the mountain with me so it helped to have them there to help me start hard and push even harder into the finish.

We had amazing warm sunny weather for the entire weekend which made it possible to finish off vacation week with style. I got the new and improved Triumph out for a bunch of rides, did a little fishing,  and got to hang out in Weston with buddies. Although ‘hanging’ out in Weston usual turns unto ‘working’ in weston it was still a good time.

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Spending time helping insulate Ryans house… foam is up on the outside 

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Last year I picked up a vintage Arthur Fulmer helmet on Ebay and haven’t used it at all until now. It’s extremely old school looking and extremely sparkly… but I guess thats how they used to roll back in the 70’s drag racing scene.

Starting tomorrow I will begin another two big weeks of training here at Stratton. Fortunately the Canadian men are coming to town which should make things exciting and help push me through the next big block of training. I’m looking forward to catching up with those guys and their new coach, Tor Arne Hetland who was always a idol of mine and a cool person to race against back in the day!

 

Alaska Camp Video