Well we’ve made the yearly voyage to the far North in oder to find early season snow and racing and have arrived here in Gallivare Sweden. On Friday I said goodbye to the US for what will be about a 4 month trip on the World Cup, which is always extremely tough to do but exciting at the same time. Being on the road away from girlfriend, friends, and family isn’t easy but this year I’m more fired up than ever to start racing and want to get back to showing everyone what I can do on the World Cup. Because of this long time on the road it can make the last few days at home a little stressful trying to say goodbye to everyone and also making sure you’re not forgetting anything important. I was lucky that this year Erika, my fam, and all my teammates made it a fun week.
The week was also greatly improved by the awesome training weather we had making the last few long roller skis of the year that much more tolerable. I spent most of the week up at Stratton training with the crew but also taking several trips down to Shaftsbury in order to organize US Ski team gear, pack skis, and keep the cats from living in my suitcase.
I had a few hard interval days mixed into the week as did a lot of the SMS kids. Last week was their ‘Nationals’ week when they compete in sprint and distance rollerski time trials. The pic above is from the sprint day at BMD. Guys and girl racing heats together sometimes starting with a staggered start. Sverre does a good job of keeping the races exciting for the kids at all levels. Ben and Sophie both jumped in the race and had a hard fast final together.
Ben sprinting to the finish
Instead of jumping in a time trial a few days before flying to Europe I opted for some long easy distance days. We had a few beautiful training mornings. November in Vermont can defiantly be hit or miss but it turned out to be perfect conditions to enjoy the last bit of dry land training. All the leaves are down but it makes for some interesting running. Always fun to get in a few long runs before the full transition to skiing.
Running along the west river with Erika
It’s important to taper the training a little bit before heading across the pond to Europe, just to make sure we can stay healthy. It was a good excuse to have some more relaxed mornings of training and eat some good food before 4 months of hotel meals. We all got together as an SMSt2 team and had a Birthday brunch… basically to celebrate everyones November birthdays all at once. What a great crew!
Thats a lot of waffles…. I think they’ll have left overs for a little while, but it was the perfect meal before heading out.
The travel to Sweden was pretty smooth and uneventful. We actually fly into Finland and take a small plane from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. From Rovaniemi we drive North West (a couple hundred kilometers above the arctic circle) across the boarder t0 a cool town of Gallivare Sweden. We’ve spent some time here in the past since it has been a repeat World Cup venue in previous seasons and also where our wax tech amigo Peter Johansson lives. We lucked out since Scandinavia was actually off to a dry warm start to their winter but it snowed a bunch just the day we arrived.
For the next week we will be living up at the Dundret ski hotel and training just down the road at the Hellner Stadium. Of course it’s dark and cold and all that, but it’s all very manageable and temps have actually been pretty mild for this arctic territory, we haven’t seen anything in the single digits yet. With all the icy snow falling from the sky the trees are all cakes with snow giving everything that cool snow globe feel. It’s always awesome to go from sunny dry land training one day to skiing in Sweden the next!
Smiles on the ski course. The race tracks are almost all open here in Gallivare and there will be 2 FIS races here this weekend a spirt and distance race. There won’t be a huge field but the US team, Canada, Poland, some Russians and a handful of fast Swedes will be around to compete. It should be a great way to get that first hard effort on snow in before traveling to Ruka for the World Cup opener next weekend.