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Archive for June, 2009

Klondike-er

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Alaska is all on one time zone. Well, except for the far-out-there, Aleutian Islands. So when I traveled to Haines Junction for the start of the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay, the time was set ahead one hour. Okay, not so crazy. But the bike race goes through the Yukon, some of British Columbia, and ends up in Haines, Alaska. Thus, because it is part of Alaska, the time is set back again one hour. But wait! We just went even farther east then where we started, yet the time still goes back? One other crazy side affect of living in the big state.

 The racing went well though. I did the two-man relay on the 150-mile race, with Will Coleman as my teammate. Wyatt Mayo also did the two-man race, so he and I battled and attacked the pack on the first half of the race. Then Will hammered the second half of the race to grab the second place title for us, behind another Fairbanks team.

After the race, Wyatt and I, (along with my family), decided to become true Alaskans and hike the Chilkoot Trail. This is the trail where hundreds of men carried their goods up and over the pass that leads to the gold fields in the Klondike and Alaska. The total trip was about 33 miles, and it never rained! Now that is truly crazy!

The two-man and solo pack charging.

The two-man and solo pack hammering a hill.

 

Will pressing the pace in the last few miles of the race. This last section consists of 40 miles down a river valley with a strong, steady headwind. Fun!

Will pressing the pace in the last few miles of the race. This last section consists of 40 miles down a river valley with a strong, steady headwind. Fun!

 

Crazy beaver dam.

Crazy beaver dam.

 

Wyatt and I taking a bath in a stream that is probably about 33 degrees! We had to run 16 miles out and back to town to buy a stove part.

Wyatt and I taking a bath in a stream that is probably about 33 degrees! We had to run 8 miles out to town to buy a stove part, then run back.

 

Wyatt and I climbing the famous "Golden Stairs". This was the 45-degree slope that the prospectors carried multiple 100-pound loads up.

Wyatt and I climbing the famous "Golden Stairs". This was the 45-degree slope that the prospectors carried multiple 100-pound loads up.

 

 

Another catch-up-on-sleep trip.

Another catch-up-on-sleep trip.

 

This water, forming a stream only 17 miles from the ocean, insteads forms the headwaters of the Yukon River. Now it flows 2000 miles to the ocean.

This water, forming a stream only 17 miles from the ocean, instead forms the headwaters of the Yukon River. Now it flows 2000 miles to the ocean.

 

 

 

 

Agony and More

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

So, there’s thing called Agony. I’ll give you a hint; it’s not the latest overly violent videogame. Really, it is just a scraggly, twisting trail that launches its way upwards into the hills behind the University of Utah campus. Apparently, this grueling uphill running time trial is THE standard out here in the wild west, having been run by EVERY National Team member. On closer inspection, we found out that by “every National Team member” they actually mean “only about half of them”, but nonetheless, it is generally accepted as somehow being important.  

Wait, did I say uphill running? What running? This thing is so steep in places that it’s all you can do to keep from dragging your knuckles on the outcroppings. And when you finally get to all of the 100 meters of flatter section, you are no longer worried about your knuckles; now it’s all you can do to keep yourself from falling on your face and drowning in your own lactic acid. So yeah, let’s put it this way: the Agony time trial lives up to its illustrious name.

Besides that, this week we (the NTG group) got to join in with some of the Western REG workouts, which was super fun. Rick Kapala does a bang-up job at commanding this swarm of nordies, and it was sweet to get to do some ski and bounding workouts with them.

Now that the acclimation process is pretty much complete for us lowlanders, the real training begins. Next week will be our first actual volume week here, so there should be plenty of opportunity for interesting workouts.

The crew contemplating the start of Agony, just above Salt Lake City

The crew contemplating the start of Agony, just above Salt Lake City

 

 

 

Cherries right off the tree at Pat Casey's house

Cherries right off the tree at Pat Casey's house

 

Me during a bounding workout at Deer Valley

Me during a bounding workout at Deer Valley

 

Juggler on the roof; David, inspired after USA's historic Confederations Cup performance

Juggler on the roof; David, inspired after USA's historic Confederations Cup performance

 

Girls will be girls; even the best juniors in the country like to decorate clothing with paint pens

Girls will be girls; even the best juniors in the country like to decorate clothing with paint pens

PARK-ed in the CITY

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

So, David Norris and I have been here in Park City for just over a week now. Let me just say this: it’s so rad. We both got invited to be a part of the NTG hosted by the US Ski Team, which is basically a two month residency camp located right in the hotbed of Nordic summer training.

Things are set up beautifully; town is a one minute bike commute away, and the shiny new USSA Center of Excellence is a ten minute ride. With the neighborhood Albertsons (which I can proudly say we are now Preferred Members of) just a stones throw away, and a handful of farmers markets in the immediate vicinity, we have a pretty good sustenance selection.

Training wise, the first week was fairly chill, with acclimation being the main focus. I got to experience my first on-the-spot lactate test while rollerskiing, and guess what? I was going too hard… big surprise, I know. One of the most annoying things about training at altitude is how stupid slow everything is; the same heart rates that support a brisk clip at home now require a agonizing crawl.

I know how tired we all get of some of those gabby bloggers, so I will stop. Here is what you really want; here are some pics. And check back soon for another update/pics.

David loading up with groceries

David loading up with groceries

 

 

 

Me, catching a little air in the middle of our singletrack commute

Me, catching a little air in the middle of our singletrack commute

 

David hitting the rollers on our way to a workout

David hitting the rollers on our way to a workout

 

The skate-park and foam pit in the Center; and yes, we jumped into it

The skate-park and foam pit in the Center; and yes, we jumped into it

 

Ski Teamer Lindsay Williams makes some HARD CORE BAGELS!!!

Ski Teamer Lindsay Williams makes some HARD CORE BAGELS!!!

24-7

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

 

         Summertime up here in Fairbanks is crazy. For nearly three months there is no darkness, which is a very different scene compared to the 3-hours-of-daylight winter. These long days lead to the grass actually turning green, and making golfing under the midnight sun possible. Where else in the world, besides North Star Golf Club in Fairbanks, can you tee off for a round at ten at night? With these kinds of days, people up here become nocturnal. One because there are things to be done when it is light out, but two, who can go to sleep with the sun shinning in their eyes at midnight?

 

Me teeing off on a long, par 5, 16th hole

Me teeing off on a long, par 5, 16th hole

 

 

 

The tee box on hole one. When the sun is at this angle, its next to impossible to see your ball when its airborne

The tee box on hole one. When the sun is at this angle, its next to impossible to see your ball when its airborne

 

Out playing golf at 10 pm

Out playing golf at 10 pm

Crack Down Mack Down

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

A brief article posted recently on Velonews brought up an issue that, unfortunately also pertains to nordic skiing. It’s super short; check it out:

 http://www.velonews.com/article/92918/three-top-katusha-riders-oppose-new-team-rules

 As I see it, the current state of the doping controls in cycling are just not sufficient to prevent cheats. It really comes down to one of the most basic ideas learned in high school economics. In this case, the risks and potential costs of doping and getting caught are just not high enough to outweigh its benefits.

I’ve always wondered why the UCI (and FIS for that matter) doesn’t just enact a sporting version of ‘capital punishment’, like lifetime bans and massive financial penalties. If you really wanted to eliminate drunk driving, its penalty would be life in prison. Same thing with illegal performance enhancement. If you don’t want people doing it, then scare them out of it.

So the Russian ProTour team Katusha has basically taken it upon themselves to make the costs too high for any of their riders to dope. Five times their annual salary as a fine? That’s a start. What do you think? Effective or not? Translatable to skiing?

Gert Steegmans opposes the high fines; what does that say about him as a competitor?

Gert Steegmans opposes the high fines; what does that say about him as a competitor?