September 6th, 2010
I have been MIA from the blog scene for a few months, my apologies. Not that I have a shortage of things to write about really, just a self imposed exile to recharge my batteries after years of Nordic life. I have actually had a busy summer, I am involved with a start-up bike touring company up here in Aroostook County. Things are going well so far, we planned a modest start this year anyway and have all the growing pains of any small business, but we are surviving and have plans to grow next summer. I still find time to train and am working towards my goal of not embarrassing myself at the Rumford Nationals next year on my home course. I have had to change my training around a little to accommodate the other things going on in my life, but have found that it is a nice change. When the mind comes around to training after having focused on other stuff for awhile, it always seems to be fresh and ready to go. I get in all the things I need every week, just modified a little.
Last weekend I got talked into a long bike ride across the state of Maine. Every summer Von Perry and Mike Smith from Presque Isle do a Fort Kent to Kittery ride. It is a 390 mile ride, across the length of the state. They have done the ride in four days and as little as three, but for some reason this year got it in their heads that they were going to do the ride in two days. We left Fort Kent early Friday morning and had a fantastic ride to Brewer. 205 miles went by no problem with a strong tail wind the whole way. We started our grind across Route 1 early the next morning and stopped for coffee in Bucksport. Things got a little dicey after that. The heat started raging and a headwind picked up around Damariscotta, and the famous Route 1 traffic got going. By Yarmouth all three of us were starting to drag a little. At this point my usual OD feeding plan went out the window and the last fifty miles I got by on a curious cocktail of salt and vinegar chips, V8 juice, and ibuprofen. We did end up making it to the Portsmouth Bridge in Kittery, although the last few miles we rode in the dark. The next morning I woke up with welts on the underside of my ass the size of Clif bars.
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March 31st, 2010
We had a great time up here this past weekend at the SuperTour finals. The first tour de ski type event on home soil went off well thanks to some good organizing by Will Sweetser and the rest of the crew at the MWSC, Four Season’s trails, and 10th Mountain Center. I know there were a lot of tense moments leading up to this event wondering if the snow was going hold. Actually I think the snow last week and the cold weather over the weekend must have been a little divine intervention. It was amazing how quickly it turned into spring up here once the weekend was over, the past two days it has been pouring rain and all the snow has disappeared in my yard.
There was some good racing action. The mass start classic was fast and exciting due to some hard and icy tracks. I was pleased with my classic race, my start position wasn’t great, but I was able to work my way to the front in the first lap and was able to fight hard in the lead pack for two laps. A fade towards the finish left me in tenth, but I did my best and was pleased with my effort. The sprint on Saturday was also really fast skiing, but I couldn’t quite get up to speed, after the qualification I was sitting in 31st place, an unfortunate place to be. This weekend was the debut of the Madawaska trails to high level racing, and I have heard only good things from coaches and athletes about the venue and volunteers. Personally I really like skiing there, the view of the St John river valley is one of the best around and the folks who take care of the place are fired up about skiing.
On Sunday I had a start spot in the late I teens for the hill climb, but I was a long way out. It being the last race of the year I had the simple goal of giving it my all and enjoying myself. Luckily I had some good skaters starting behind me, so I hung on and fought hard on the hill to hang on for a decent finish. In the overall I lost a few spots, but given my history with hill climbs I was pleased with the day. I had enough left in the tank and the legs to sprint to the finish with a few guys.
So right now I am hanging out watching the rain fall. I have put away my ski clothes for a bit, and have already cleaned and summer waxed my race skis. This afternoon I am taking off for New York City to go visit some friends over the weekend!2 comments
March 19th, 2010
A couple pictures below from Fort Kent. The conditions are still good for skiing up here despite some warm weather recently. The forecast for the next week is a mixed bag, but the crew from Fort Kent and Madawaska are working hard to make sure that the races will go on as planned. You can see below that there is still plenty of snow at the venue in Fort Kent. Tomorrow I am headed up there to watch the second race of biathlon nationals.No comments
March 3rd, 2010
I got back to the County late last night and this morning had a chance to go out for a ski at Nordic Heritage. Things are looking good for JO’s next week. Apparently the weather over the last few weeks has been unpredictable, but there is still a good healthy base left on the trails in Presque Isle. I also have a reliable second hand report from Fort Kent and Madawaska that the skiing up north is also very good.
I am going to put in a plug here for the SuperTour finals coming up at the end of March because I am fired up that they are here in my backyard. Here is the link to the website:
The races start out with the 50k national championships on Wednesday and continue over the weekend with a three day Tour de Ski Event. I can say that the races at both venues will be fun. The folks in Madawaska have put in a brand new lodge and stadium within the last year and the trails are in a great spot overlooking the St. John River, Madawaska, and Edmunston Quebec. The races in Fort Kent will be at the same site as the biathlon World Cups coming to the US next year. My sources tell me that already there is a strong field registered with the number growing by the day.
There is going to be a lot of racing action up here in the next few weeks! The Junior Olympics start on Monday in Presque Isle, the week after Fort Kent will host Biathlon Nationals, and then the SuperTour finals. It will be nice to have a front row seat to all that is going on. Before things get crazy though, I am headed to the Rangeley Loppet this weekend.No comments
February 23rd, 2010
As always the Madison supertour races where a good time. I fell flat on my face in the second lap of the criterium and I didn’t exactly inspire myself with my sprint prelim. performance, but I had a good time skiing in a city downtown. The atmosphere around the races is always an electric one. A few pictures below from Sunday.
I have been following the articles about the Birke on Fasterskier and I am feeling a little Birke fever coming on. Tomorrow BethAnn and I are headed over to Hayward.No comments
February 12th, 2010
I thought I might sneak in a blog before the posts start coming furiously with Olympic news. I am hanging out with my in-laws in Grand Rapids, MN. The good news is that my knee is fully recovered, and I have been able to put the bib on a couple times out here, at the SuperTour in Telemark and again at the City of Lakes. I am not in my best shape at the moment, but am trying to get some miles into my legs over the next few weeks for the races later on in the season. Sunday I am all clear to race the Mora Vasaloppet, this is a race I have always wanted to do so I am looking forward to it.
My new training partner, Sadie has some serious endurance in such a small package. Two hours of skiing is no problem for her.
The lake that BethAnn’s folks live on here in northern Minnesota. My thanks go out to the groomer at the Grand Rapids High School ski trails. I hope he or she reads this. The first day I was here I marched through the snow across the lake to ski on the 5k loop at the high school. Every day since I have had my own private ski track across the lake.1 comment
January 27th, 2010
I apologize for the radio silence for a few weeks. In the classic sprint at nationals I tweaked my knee in the quarterfinal and have spent the last few weeks layed up and gathering information about my injury. My knee was swollen and painful for about a week and the preliminary diagnosis was that I had some cartilage floating around in there. I got an MRI done as soon as I could and late last week I was able to get some opinions on what was going on in my knee. The short of it is that it turns out my meniscus is fine, a few frays around the edges, but nothing that requires surgery to keep me going. I had a lot of inflamation around my joint capsule, the likely cause being a strained IT band and a healthy bone bruise. After the first week, the swelling went way down and soon after I was able to move around without a limp. I have had cartilage problems before, and even though this past week I was able to shuffle around on my skis before I had any report on the MRI I was still worried that I might have a problem that required surgery. A while back I had a small tear in my right medial meniscus that caused a bakers cyst to form. I would be fine for a few weeks, and then the cyst would flare up like a golf ball in the back of my knee. It was a frustrating experience, but luckily I was able to get by without surgery. This time around I was happy to hear that my problems were not meniscus related.
I feel like I have dodged a bullet on this one and am feeling pretty good about myself. I took good care of my knee for the first week, lots of icing and vitamin I, I think that made the difference in the long run. Right now three weeks out, I am skiing with no problems. The word from my PT is that I can train like normal this week as long as I pay careful attention to the swelling in my knee. The first sign of swelling and it is back to the drawing board. I have been given the green light to try a race this weekend too. For a few days a couple weeks ago I was starting to think like a retired ski racer. I got some good use out of my birthday gift, the Sopranos box set, but I must say that I don’t think retirement suits me that well. Right now BethAnn and I are at her folks house in Minnesota, I will stage my comeback at one of the races in Telemark this weekend. We are headed over there on friday morning. Cheers!
My knee!No comments
January 1st, 2010
It has been an eventful couple of weeks since my last post. Currently I am up in Anchorage getting ready for US Nationals, starting Saturday with a skate sprint. Things are shaping up for a good week, the weather looks like it will cooperate with us this year, today was the coldest day yet out at the venue at a balmy 9 degrees F. Warm compared to last years temps.
I had a great holiday season back in Minnesota, the highlight being my wife BethAnn qualifying for the IBU Cup team with an amazing performance on the last race of her trials. She really killed it in a high pressure situation, shooting clean and skiing fast to take the win. She left for Germany early this week and will be competing over there for an Olympic spot.
I have to give a big thanks to the Stone family for putting me up my first few days here in Anchorage! I have been spending my days up here skiing around at Kincaid, getting to know the courses again. The rest of the Maine crew showed up the day before yesterday and we are all staying at the Homewood Suites. The venue looks good, Kincaid could probably use a little more snow but the volunteers have done a great job covering the thin spots with snow. They were out all last weekend pushing snow around to make sure things will go smoothly this week. On the agenda are a skate and classic sprint, 15k skate and a 30k classic mass start.
Happy New Year!
BethAnn relaxing after a long week of racing.
Alaska this time of year is a little dark, but still spectacular.No comments
December 21st, 2009
I am spending the holidays in Minnesota at my in-laws, cheering on my wife and the rest of the MWSC biathletes at the team trials here in Grand Rapids. It has been a week of down time for me, and a week of craziness for the biathletes. I didn’t arrive here until early last week, since then I was able to watch a sprint and a pursuit, tomorrow is the last race, another sprint. Even though my in-laws live here in Grand Rapids, I have really only skied at Mt. Itasca in mid January, when the snow is good and the air is cold. It seems to me that the folks at the Itasca ski club pulled off a miracle to get these races underway. On the side of the trails are only a couple of inches of snow , but for three kilometers of skiing up from the stadium there is a trail that is World Cup worthy. Every morning before the events I get up early and head to the venue to ski around and around the loop, but I am not complaining, the skiing is very good. I can’t imagine how many man-hours it took to blow the snow and get it in place, my thanks go out to the crew that is taking care of the trails here.
Also I have to send a shout out to the rest of the Maine Winter Sports Center crew back in Presque Isle. From the looks of things it was a stellar weekend at the first eastern cup for everyone, bravo!
The last of what must have been a monster pile of snow.No comments
December 10th, 2009
Earlier this week Will and I made the trip from Bozeman to Kelowna. I have trained and raced in Silver Star almost as many times as I have been to Yellowstone, and every time this place never fails to inspire me. What is it that inpires me? - the skiing is great, nine times out of ten this place is a winter paradise, and the main street of the village is a ski trail. I get psyched about ski racing everytime I come here.
This weekend we have two skate races on the plan. The venue is pretty electric at the moment. The 15k skate race on Saturday is a one and out qualification race for the Canadian olympic team. Whoever wins gets to go to Vancouver. The course is difficult, it is the same course used for the pursuit race at the 2005 World Cup here. One of the things that makes the skiing here so good is that Sovereign Lake does an unbelievable job with grooming. It is fun to ski here.