May 12th, 2013
I started training again on May 1st. I have started conservatively with 20 non-specific hours the first week. If you follow me on twitter you would have seen a few of the activities that I have been doing. If you want to follow me on twitter I am @TeamFreebirdXC
Here are some pictures
XC skiing does not help maintain leg speed. Justin enjoyed hurting me during some speed work last week.
This a picture of Amber and I skinning on Mt Sunapee
I was able to skin at Waterville Valley till May 1st. Here is a picture of me holding my Fischer Watea Tele skis. Fischer, Alpina, and Swix have all pledged their continued support for me through next season. I have great sponsors.
I was skiing on the 1st and swimming on the 3rd. I don’t know why but every year that I have swum at least two hours a week in the off season I have skied fast. Its anecdotal but good enough for me.
I raced and won the Mad Triathlon in SugarBush Vermont yesterday which includes a six mile downriver kayak. The “Triathlon” actually has four events. It starts with a 7.2 mile downhill run followed by the kayak, a ten mile road bike hill climb and finishes with a 5k trail run. It is a cool event that used to be know as the SugarBush Triathlon. They renamed it two years ago when they lengthened the initial run and swapped out their traditional 5k ski for a 5k trail run. I have wanted to compete in the race for about 15 years but it had not fit in my schedule till this year.1 comment
April 15th, 2013
Today I went for my first ski since I got home from Tahoe. I skinned up the alpine slope in ideal corn snow with perfect sunny skies overhead. I felt lousy though. I have barely slept the last few days as I have been trying to reconcile with a new situation. I will no longer be a member of the US Ski Team. I was told that even though I am extremely likely to be representing the US at the Olympics in February, I was not nominated for NGB support because there was little probability of my medaling next year. Despite this assumption the Maine Winter Sports Center and my longtime coach still believe in my potential. We will continue to prepare for Sochi on our own.3 comments
February 8th, 2013
My time at home was very productive and I am feeling like myself again. I traveled to Davos Switzerland last night and just got back from an easy classic ski in fresh powder. I have eight days to prepare for the 15k freestyle world cup being held here. Five days later I will compete in the 30k at the World Championships
I had good sensations competing in the Craftsbury Marathon last Saturday. This picture was taken a few hundred meters from the finish
My Dad won the M7 age division and the unofficial beardcicle contest.No comments
January 31st, 2013
Even when rebuilding I find it important to stay in the practice of putting a bib on and racing. Last weekend I raced a 30k classic in Jackson NH. It was cold out and Swix VR30 was kicking like a mule. The tracks were firm and well prepared. Racing on “real” ski trails was a nice change from the “interstate highways” that are now raced on the World Cup. I had a good time and my feeling is getting better and better.No comments
January 20th, 2013
It took a full week for my body to recover enough from the Tour de Ski to benefit from training. Recovering from the seven races in nine days would have been difficult on its own but I had blood glucose management problems as well. After the 36km Cortina to Toblach race my blood sugar did something it had never done before after a marathon style race. It rose and it kept rising. In fact it went higher than I have ever monitored it. As a panic reaction I dosed a very large amount of insulin to counteract the high. I dosed too much and my glucose dropped to 30 (a non-diabetic would never see a number below 70). This low left me shaking and sweating so I ate carbs to bring my glucose back up, and it shot into the high range again.
The next day I had to race the 5k classic and I felt like a truck had hit me. I called my doctor afterwards and he explained that the high blood sugars would have prevented any recovery from the previous day’s race by drastically raising my muscle enzymes. The low sugar caused my stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, to spike. The combination of the high and low sugar in rapid succession was in his words, “the equivalent of being shot in the chest.” I was told that if he had been there with me he would have prevented me from racing in the 5k. Recovery would take about two weeks.
That night I looked into getting a plane ticket home. I could not find an affordable option with means of transport to the airport for a week. That meant that I would have to continue to follow the Tour. I called my doctor again and asked wether continuing to race would hinder my recovery. He thought that there would be no danger of setbacks as long as I was able to keep my glucose in a normal range. He cautioned that I would most likely race poorly though. Because I was stuck in europe anyway, the fact that I hate dropping out of anything, and that the last two races of the tour were good for me historically, led me to decide to keep racing. My doctor was right. I had nothing.
Knowing that a momentary lapse in blood sugar management can have consequences that affect my performance for weeks is very stressful. That stress added to the travel, elevation change, and different foods that I was confronted with every day, through me off the tracks.
It is hard to be home in the middle of the season, but a training block at home was the best way for me to stabilize and rebuild. My body is in a good stable place again and it is responding to training well. I have always loved skiing at my home ski area Waterville Valley and I am getting three solid weeks to do nothing but ski there. Waterville always reminds me that skiing is really fun. I will return to europe to compete in the pre-worlds 15k skate in Davos.No comments
January 11th, 2013
The Tour turned out to be a very long and frustrating week for me. I started out by injuring my shoulder in the second race and ended with glucose issues that wreaked havoc on my hormonal system. I made the decision to return home to NH and get my feet back under me. I have five weeks before the World Championships which should be plenty of time to regain my form.
I told FS that I would never compete in the Tour again. That is probably not true. I will definitely not participate in it next season as I do not want to take any chances with my health in the lead up to Sochi. However I would like to race it again in 2015. In the next few weeks I will write more about my experience in the Tour this year. For right now though I am going to drink another cup of coffee and play with my dog.No comments
December 23rd, 2012
I have had a busy few weeks. After a disappointing race series in Kuusamo, I flew to Aspen to train with the Hoff for a week before Canmore. My training there centered around two intensity workouts. There was no snow in Aspen so we drove to Vail to do a 45 minute L3 skate on the cat tracks at the base of the alpine area. We were at 8500 ft so I mostly followed, and suffered as Hoff skied in his natural habitat. The next hard session was a planned 6 x 3 minute bounding session. We changed the workout to uphill classic intervals after it snowed a foot overnight. The purpose of the workout was to go hard enough that I would reach failure. I felt good for the first two efforts but then it became clear that I was not recovering in the thin air. After the 4th interval I felt completely blown but started the fifth anyway. I reached failure, mission accomplished.
On Monday, I flew to Canmore with the Hoff to get ready for the 15k classic being held on Thursday. The lead up to the race was uneventful. The race itself turned out to be one of attrition. A big pack stayed together for the first two of four laps. Then skiers started falling off the pace in big numbers. By 13k, I was in 10th place with 3 skiers close behind me. I was loaded with lactate though, and had to switch from a racing mentality to one of survival. I slipped to 14th place by the finish. It was not a great race but not bad either.
The next event for me was the 30k pursuit. The pace was predictably slower, and I skied in the top 20 keeping close watch on the leaders to make sure there were no breakaways. I skied comfortably for the entire classic portion of the race and had a smooth transition to skating. The first lap of four in the skate was quite slow but the second lap sped up and I started to hurt. When I got to the preem on the third lap I was in 12th, and I looked over at the guys around me. They looked worse than I felt. I hadn’t planned on going for preems, but I put in a few hard pushes and crossed the line in 9th to pick up a few points. On the next lap I put in a harder effort and took fifth on the preem. Meanwhile, Hoff was jamming at the front of the pack a few seconds in front of me. On the final lap the pace picked up considerably and the lead pack of 20 splintered. By the final hill the pack was down to 12. I attacked the hill well but my legs were so loaded afterwards that I skied the following downhill corner poorly and got passed by Filbrich. The last few hundred meters were an all out sprint and I not sure exactly what happened except that I out-lunged Decenta for 10th. I was five seconds off the winning time and two seconds off Hoff who had just posted a career best 8th place. It was the first time in my career that two US men had finished in the top ten in a distance race. To make the day even sweeter, Tad posted his first top 30 of the day.
There wasn’t too much time to celebrate, as I had to pack up that night to catch an early shuttle to the airport. I flew to Munich, picked up a passenger van that the team will use for the Tour de Ski and drove myself to Davos. For the past five days I have been staying at the excellent Hotel Kulm and skiing twice a day on perfect snow. There is at least three feet of powder here and I haven’t had to wax warmer than VR45. I head to Oberhof for the Tour on the 27th.1 comment
November 23rd, 2012
The team and I had an easy travel from Mounio to Sweden. Since then I have been skiing twice a day on the world cup courses. The 5k loop which will be used for the men’s 15k and women’s 10k has some minor terrain changes. Four tunnels and a replacement bridge have been added resulting in several short steep hills that will slightly alter the momentum of the course. A new 2.5km loop has been groomed as well that will be used for the men’s and women’s relay. The men’s relay has been shortened to 4×7.5km. It will be interesting to see if the shorter length has any effect on how the race is paced and the overall outcome.
My energy has been increasing each day and I am feeling much better skating than I did leading into last week’s race in Finland. It seems that sometimes I just need a few more days on the snow to make things happen. Speaking of snow I saw some positive signs for a good winter in the East. My favorite ski area, Waterville valley, opened their alpine mountain over week ago. And the Maine Winter Sports Center Junior and Development teams have also found some snow in Canada. I wish them luck with their season as I begin my own on the world cup.No comments
November 19th, 2012
I have finished my first weekend of racing in Mounio Finland. I started all three races this weekend beginning with the classic sprint. I skied technically well in the sprint but lacked the snap I needed and missed qualifying by just over two seconds. The second race was a 10k classic which I skied very well. I was in the hunt for top three the whole race but finished 4th. Given the strength of the field it was a great effort. Sunday’s race was a 15k skate. I felt off from the start and never got comfortable on my skis. My struggle to get comfortable cost me on the last lap as I faded from 8th to 14th. It was a frustrating day, but one that I would rather have in warm-up races than on the world cup.
This last picture is of my parents dog, Wyatt, who I rescued from the pound 9 years ago. He is finishing up a sixteen mile run which was one of my last workouts before flying to Scandanavia. Wyatt is awesome.No comments
October 13th, 2012
I recently spent a week in Presque Isle training. The weather was ideal and I took advantage of it for some long skis on rolling farm roads. I also did some near max bounding intervals at the Nordic Heritage Center and a 3 x 5k interval session with Welley Ramsey. Welley is in good shape and used his fast roller skis to really push me on the workout.
I am now in Park City training with the national team. I have testing on Monday and Wednesday before traveling onto Canmore for some on snow training.No comments