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Archive for January, 2010

Vermont Update

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

With only one more day left in Vermont before heading out to Canmore, I have to admit I’ve had a pretty awesome time at home. It’s not very often I get to come home during the middle of the winter so it was really cool to be able to see buddies and experience eastern skiing at it finest. I even got a chance to meet up with the BKYSL practice and talk with the kids a little bit. I think there is something like well over 100 kids in the Prospect league and over 30 lollipopper aged kids. thats a J6 I think….So it’s a good sing of things to come.
The first 4 days I has at home were incredible…. perfect hard packed skiing 25 degrees and sunny every day. This was followed directly by a day of 50 degrees, howling winds and pouring rain. I was just lucky enough to have a 3 hour OD planned on that day too. Pretty brutal.
After a full day of hard rain it’s been back to winter here and the skiing actually held up OK. I did a 15K skate time trial this morning at Prospect and it was actually really sweet skiing accept for one sketchy icy downhill. But that’s why you’ve got to love eastern skiing. On Friday Morning I’m back on the road and heading to Canmore. I really excited to get the bib back on and race again… and I really can’t wait to get to Vancouver. Only two weeks away!

DSCN1112.JPGskiing at prospect

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Back Home!

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

After leaving Estonia on Monday morning I was able to make it back to Vermont without any major problems. I flew from Tallinn through Brussels on to DC and then back up to Albany where it is then just an easy hour drive to my house. So it wasn’t a very bad travel day and I came home to some great winter conditions here in Southern VT. The snow at my house can be hit or miss during the winter sometimes because of the mild weather but the snow it actually pretty good right now, and even better up in the mountains where the xc trails are. So I’ve had some easy training for the past two days but have still managed to make it up to prospect each day. This morning I had a great breakfast with Peter Graves down at the Blue Benn, which is an awesome old school diner we have here in Bennington. It’s the full on silver trailer type diner that serves everything from turkey dinners to 24 hour breakfast. So after that I headed up the mountain in some perfect freshly falling snow and hit the Prospect trails a little bit with my mom. It’s really great to be back home and skiing around on the trails I grew up practicing on as a BKYSL skier.
So my life is going to be pretty chill for the next week while I’m home. A lot of my buddies are out of town but as soon as they’re back we’ll get a little rowdy before I have to head out to Canmore and prepare for the Olympics. Well, I promised pics from last weekend’s wax tech relay… so here we go!

DSCN1104.JPGSwedish skier Charlotte Kalla runs beside her wax tech giving a split. Finish, Norwegian, and Russian athletes look on.

DSCN1101.JPG The fans show up for the tech relay…. it’s even televised on local TV.

DSCN1106.JPGPeter J and Justin smiling before their intense race cough sets in. good times.

Estonia

Friday, January 15th, 2010

The skiing here in Otepaa has been bomber the past few days with cold temps and really hard classic tracks. It’s been pretty cold a few days but nothing too intense, just great extra blue skiing. The first two days here I just got in some easy distance training on the Tartu marathon course… it’s an awesome track that runs 65k’s through the Estonian country side. On Wednesday Stefan Kuhn and I hammered out some level 4 intervals together here on the sprint course. I guess at this point it’s kind of the norm, but this course is a long tough one because of it’s signature finishing stretch which feels like an eternity when you’re tired. So during intervals we tried to work on some strong double pole finishes and get used to the way the course skis. Since I’m the only US athlete here this weekend things haven’t been too exciting although we do get to eat lunch and dinner over at the Bunker. yeah the bunker. Anyone who has seen this place knows what I’m talking about… so I’ve been living off pickles and potatoes but at least there are a bunch of other people to eat with. Peter J and joaki are also here which is awesome and they’re already fired up about the wax tech relay going on tonight and with Justin as their third man I think they’ve got a pretty good team. It’s going to be a good one. I’ve never seen hammering like what goes down in the tech relay here every year. It’s under the lights and there are a lot of fans and athletes cheering everyone on, and people get after it. I’ll try to get some pictures and post them next time I get a chance.
I really wanted to do a video update while I was here but we don’t have a video camera with us so I couldn’t really show you guys around the stadium. but I did grab some pics this morning. Racing starts tomorrow with a 10 and 15k classic and then the classic sprints the next day.

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300 plus meters of pure double pole hammering and the colosseum like stadium that is Otepaa.

DSCN1092.JPGmy swedish bro’s…… waxers by day, racers by night…. at least for tonight.

DSCN1094.JPGwhen you can make it out of the wax cabins and to the ski trails without getting hit by a door…. your day is off to a good start.

Off to Estonia!

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

First off…. just saw Tim Burke finish second a few minutes ago in the Biathlon World Cup! That gets be fired up!… but I’ve also decided that one of the most painful things I have to do as an athlete is watching ski races. For real, it sucks big time. With a lot of free time here in Europe and the remainder of the Tour de Ski playing out over the past few days it has been tough to have to sit back and watch so many races on TV. It’s a real bummer…. I just kind of sit here and get really antsy and pissed off that I’m not racing, I pace around the apartment and swear really loudly at the television. It’s definitely not a relaxing way to spend your afternoon. It’s kind of the same deal as Cook watching the packers… I’ve seen it many times and it’s not pretty.

But besides that things have been great here in Oberwiesnthal. There has been a little bit of snow and wind but the tracks are in great shape and it’s actually felt really good to be able to put in a few days of distance training since sometimes on the world cup that can be hard to do. It just so happens that here are some OPA continental cup races going on here this weekend too so there has a lot of other people to hang out with and ski with. Including Stephan Kuhn of Canada, Trond is here with some Swiss skiers, and the usually OPA cup scene. After a few days of easy training and some strength, which got me so sore I can barley sit down my legs hurt so much, I got back into the intensity today with some classic intervals. The plan for the afternoon is to hit the gym again before Grover and I make out way back to Prague where I’ll be flying out to Tallinn Estonia. Our time here in Oberwiesenthal was productive but I for sure would never want to be part of a one man team…. Much more fun with everyone else around. Stoked to get back into the racing in Otepaa.

DSCN1091.JPG a winter day here in Oberviesenthal

Tour Update

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

With the hectic race and travel schedule of the tour de ski it’s been a while since I’ve had a post, but I’ll try to give a quick update now that Grover and I have made our way to Oberwiesenthal and will now have a break form racing.
The Scene in Oberhof for the start of the Tour was pretty cool. I had jess with me and we traveled by train from Austria a few days before the start of the Prologue. As you can image she wasn’t too stoked to be spending New Years eve in Eastern Germany especially because our hotel was a piece of crap. Like really bad. It was just us and the Italian team there and this place was real ghetto. It was one of those places that you know just opened up for the weekend of the World Cup just to try to make some money and other than that they were probably closed the rest of the year. Jess and I had a room with a mattress on the floor and it smelled like someone had been chain smoking in our bathroom and this hotel was still trying to get us to pay world cup rates, which is 120 SF, for something that would normally got for 50. So that sucked, but other than that is was a good scene.

For New Years even we went into Oberhof to chill out with Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey who were in town training and getting ready for the Biathlon races this weekend. Tim’s girlfriend, Andrea Henkel, is a hometown Biathlon hero from there so we got to hang out with some German biathletes and have a good time which was a good excuse to get us out of our shit hotel.

The next day the Tour started with the Prologue. This was my second time ever racing a prologue distance race and both times they have hurt more than most races I do all year long. It’s a suffer fest. But it was cool to try something different. I have to admit that racing in the Tour de Ski is definitely an experience. I really liked the feeling of racing every day and having all the athletes skiing all disciplines of races. You just kind of getting in the racing zone. All the Athletes get in these weird schedules too because the races are all in the afternoon or evening so most people are tired but at the same time really wired at night from the competitions. So a lot of the time we’re not eating dinning until 9 or 10 and usually not getting to bed until midnight or later so everyone was sleeping in until like 10 in the morning. So it’s a different race scene. But that’s what the Tour is all about… trying to handle everything.

I won’t go into much race recap for you but the past 4 days have been a lot of fun. The 15k classic race was sick. A five lapper with a lot of spectators and some big groups of people to ski with. Last night’s race in Prague was pretty epic too considering the conditions. There was a few times during warm up and even during the race that I literally felt like I didn’t know how to ski. That’s how tricky the snow was. I don’t know if anyone saw it on TV but it must have looked funny when we were double poling in a skate sprint because it was faster across the deep snow of the back stretch. Weird. Anyway here are two pics from Prague that I snapped during my morning job before the race.

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