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Wild Rumpus Sports
 

A few scattered thoughts

So here we are, in April, me still blabbing on about ski-related topics, you still reading it. Or maybe you’re here looking for the photos. In either case, you’ll get plenty of both! This is one of those “look back on the season and reflect on the lessons I learned, the experiences I had” posts, but in (hopefully) less sappy form. This is a series, in no particular order, of high and low moments from the season. The punctuation marks in a long stretch of 25 races all over the globe.

So cue up your Green Day “Time of Your Life” soundtrack, and let’s begin! Oh shoot, I said it wasn’t going to be sappy and emotional. Scratch the music, then.

High: filming the Uptown Funk video. Some of it wasn’t glamorous, like when we were filming in the streets of Falun dressed head-to-toe in white spandex with pedestrians staring at us, usually with open-jawed wonder at our apparent lack of self-consciousness. One of the best parts was getting the coaches to lip-synch on the bus ride to Falun. Especially because the lines we gave them were “dance, jump on it. If you sexy, then flaunt it. If you freaky, then own it.” They did not get those lines by accident. Hey, if you’ve got to do intervals all summer long then you take your retribution when you can, amiright?

But some of it really did feel pretty glamorous, like when they played our video on the big screen at World Champs in front of thousands of people. And all those hallway dance lessons paid off big time. So I’ve basically been sitting next to my phone ever since, waiting for MTV to call and offer us a reality TV show deal. Eat your heart out, Kardashian family.

The crew after filming some dancing in the Ostersund stadium!

The crew after filming some dancing in the Ostersund stadium!

High: finish-line hugs from teammates. They have literally and figuratively picked me up from the ground when I needed a lift, and been there to share in the best, and worst, moments. If racing is the huge variable, they are the constant.

And the exhaustion, pain, mental fatigue and lactic acid.

And the exhaustion, pain, mental fatigue and lactic acid.

High: Northern lights in Finland. They were so beautiful! And I had never seen them so bright before.

Seeing the beauty in the 21-hours-of-darkness days (photo by Reese Hanneman)

Seeing the beauty in the 21-hours-of-darkness days (photo by Reese Hanneman)

Low: Getting there. It was 4 flights, 2.5 hours of driving, total travel time about 20 hours. Travel days are the worst, and this one was the worst of the worst.

High: Getting my name bib for the first year. This is a big deal to me because to get a name bib, you have to have finished the previous World Cup season in the top 30 overall, and that was one of my big goals.

Happy to have a fresh new bib! (photo from Noah)

Happy to have a fresh new bib! (photo from Noah)

Low: missing my family. High in that low: getting to Skype with them. But it’s not the same as getting to hug them and have them there in person!

My Dad, Mom, Sister and Nana with her little dog all there to say hi!

My Dad, Mom, Sister and Nana with her little dog all there to say hi!

Low: not having a wax truck. It’s not just a prestige thing (although, let’s be honest, they are pretty freaking cool.) It’s about state-of-the-art ventilation systems so we can feel better about NOT slowly poisoning our hard working, amazing wax techs. And not making them set up and build the wax room in every single venue to go to.

Grover packaging up skis to load back into our cargo van

Grover packaging up skis to load back into our cargo van

Low:  travel days. Yes, this is in here twice.

Some of the team on a bus ride back to the hotel in Lillehammer

Some of the team on a bus ride back to the hotel in Lillehammer

High: Birthdays on the road. Any cause to celebrate, really!

Andy being a good sport about having to wear the Birthday crown

Andy being a good sport about having to wear the Birthday crown

High: Hotel bathroom haircuts. This may not sound like a high, but trust me, it is. It’s really fun and I’m getting pretty good at cutting boys hair! Not girls hair though. Let’s not even start with that.

Low…or is it a high? Having to go through duty free. You want to buy all the fun stuff, but the perfume section gives you a headache as you walk through it. And you always have to walk through it in the Euro airports.

The biggest chocolate bar you've ever seen.

The biggest chocolate bar you’ve ever seen.

High: getting to see new beautiful places, from a small-town perspective. Often, the places we go to race aren’t the super touristy sites, so we get to actually experience the true feel of a town!

The beautiful landscape in Sjusjøen!

The beautiful landscape in Sjusjøen!

High: Holiday poem exchange party. This is hilarious and embarrassing and hilarious BECAUSE it is embarrassing.

Grover reading the poem Simi set up on the computer to the group.

Grover reading the poem Simi set up on the computer to the group.

Low/High mix: the pre-race meeting: It’s a mix because it’s good to know all the details and plan for the race the next day, but the whole time I have nerves like butterflies in my stomach. Before the World Championship races, the butterflies morphed into large birds and they hurt with all that flapping around.

Low: unexpected injuries. Wait, that’s kind of a dumb thing to say…of course they’re unexpected! You never plan on getting hurt.  One morning in Davos I woke up and literally could not bend my knee without a lot of pain, and I could barely walk. I had no idea why, and I still don’t to this day. But luckily Fred, one of our PT’s, fixed me up and in a few days I was totally back to normal. Injuries are so scary because in a career that’s based 100% off your body being in peak condition, it doesn’t take much to derail that. In general through I came through the season unscathed, but I can’t say the same for everyone on the team, and I’m impressed with how those people mentally battled through their injuries and came out swinging.

Icing the feeling right out of my knee in Davos

Icing the feeling right out of my knee in Davos

High: having a chance at greatness every single weekend. Every single race is a new opportunity to push yourself. And that’s really cool.

A sweet card that Liz found

A sweet card that Liz found

Low: ice tubs. But also a high, buzzy feeling afterwards…but yeah, getting into them is just a totally awful moment.

High: Having my family there for the holidays. Having spent 2 years of being separated from my family on major holidays, getting to hug them in person felt extra extra good!

Kenzie, Me, Dad, Simi, Sophie, Ida and Mom (Liz is taking the photo)

Kenzie, Me, Dad, Simi, Sophie, Ida and Mom (Liz is taking the photo) having Christmas dinner together!

Accidental Low: Hiding Simi and Sophie’s Christmas stockings. My parents had brought over Christmas stockings for all the ski team members staying in Davos, and I thought I’d be a sneaky little holiday elf and hide them as a surprise in their condo. Well….somehow, I got the wrong condo. So Simi and Sophie had to go on a treasure hunt the next morning after I’d been breaking, entering and trespassing in some stranger’s home the night before. Oops. Big oops.

Simi finally getting to bring the treats home! (photo from Sophie)

Simi finally getting to bring the treats home! (photo from Sophie)

Low: getting sick in the Tour de Ski. But this was also an accidental high, because it forced me to rest and afterwards, I bounced back so fast I’m convinced it’s the moment my season turned around and started climbing towards better and better races.

High: pre-race hair braiding. It’s 1.) practical and keeps your hair out of your face during the race 2.) gives you something to do when you’re nervous before a race and have time on your hands and 3.) it looks awesome, obviously.

Katherine Ogden's sweet 30km race day hair. She was nice enough to let me practice on her.

Katherine Ogden’s sweet 30km race day hair. She was nice enough to let me practice on her this spring.

Low: getting totally beat up. I know that I bruise easily, but things got out of hand after a string of unlucky falls mid-season. I also heal quickly even though the bruises stay, so it doesn’t affect my racing…it just looks bad.

This bruising was from A MASSAGE. A deep, deep tissue massage to smooth out the muscle damage from earlier falls. Good grief.

This bruising was from A MASSAGE. A deep, deep tissue massage to smooth out the muscle damage from earlier falls. Good grief.

High: seeing Liz do so well in the Tour de Ski, and then get her 2nd place podium finish in Russia! This has been a long time coming to an amazing teammate who works so hard for it and deserves every high five in the world. It was so inspiring to see her ski so well and to do it all with a smile.

Liz and the Tour de Ski wax team after her 5th place finish: Peter, Gus, JP, Matt, Cork, Ann (massage therapist), Liz and Oleg (photo from Liz)

Liz and the Tour de Ski wax team after her 5th place finish: Peter, Gus, JP, Matt, Cork, Anne (massage therapist), Liz and Oleg (photo from Liz)

High: Seiser Alm camp with Liz and Cork. More specifically, sledding at that camp with Liz and Cork.

Cork and I ready to go about 50km an hour down a mountain (photo from Liz)

Cork and I ready to go about 50km an hour down a mountain (photo from Liz)

High: the hours following the 10km skate race in Falun where I placed 2nd. Especially the hugs from teammates and coaches and wax techs as we all went through the stages of disbelief, believing it, and owning it. It was amazing to be with the team and celebrate our success together!

On the podium during the flowers ceremony

On the podium during the flowers ceremony

High: stealing Andy’s guitar throughout the winter. I didn’t travel with my little pink one this year, and regretted it, but Andy is a super nice guy and let me sneak off with his whenever I came knocking.

Playing Andy's guitar at the Newell, Stephen and Caldwell parents house during the Championships when they had us over for dinner. (photo from Susan Stephen)

Playing Andy’s guitar at the Newell, Stephen and Caldwell parents house during the Championships when they had us over for dinner. (photo from Susan Stephen)

Low: Missing my SMST2 club teammates. We had such a good time over the summer, and it was weird to be separated from some of them for the whole winter! Luckily, Skype was there for us.

SMST2'ers:   (photo by

SMST2′ers: Andy Ben, Pat, Simi, Annie, Erika, Me, Anne and Sophie (photo by Hubert Schriebl)

High: the fans. Seriously, these people who flock to the trails to come stand outside and cheer their hearts out for us make such a huge difference, and it makes racing exciting.

One of the less-crowded hills at the Holmenkollen in Oslo

One of the less-crowded hills at the Holmenkollen in Oslo

High: Glitter. Oh, the glitter! I love me some pre-race glitter. I think the photo below accurately sums up the euphoric feeling you get from putting on that shimmery stuff. All joking aside, the glitter is an important pre-race ritual for me, because it’s the moment where I step back from my race nerves, smile and remember that I’m allowed to have fun, that I do this because I like it. And that’s what allows me to race fast in the end.

Fish getting glittered up for the Junior Worlds relay (photo shamelessly stolen from Julia Kern's Facebook)

Fish getting glittered up for the Junior Worlds relay (photo shamelessly stolen from Julia Kern’s Facebook)

This season was a mixed bag of good moments and some I’d be ok with not repeating, but overall there were many more highs than lows. I left the season psyched on life and racing, and ready to do it again! After a break, of course. Excuse me while I go climb into bed to sleep some more.

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