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Archive for January, 2010

Individual Ski Mountaineering World Cup–Claut, Italy 23 january 2010

Thursday, January 28th, 2010
Reconning the course for the 2nd individual world cup in Claut, Italy in the dolomites.

Reconning the course for the 2nd individual world cup in Claut, Italy in the dolomites.

Here is a weekend wrap up from the last individual world cup in Claut, Italy- the Italian Dolomites. It was about 7 hrs drive from Chamonix and I was glad to travel with the French National Team who were very kind to share some space in their team van.
This is the poster advertising the race. They even had their own bottled water with the same logo on--frizzante of course.

This is the poster advertising the race. They even had their own bottled water with the same logo on--frizzante of course.

The course started above town which made for a good warmup. It wove up some old summer alpage roads through the trees and broke out above treeline with two technical sections. The first one was a boot pack where boot crampons were required and the second was without. There was also a fixed line to clip into with a sling. All in all the course had 1840 meters of climbing (skinning plus the boot pack) and 1780 meters of descent over a distance of 18 km. Some of the descending was steep and through the trees. It was a pretty course, especially up high where we traversed a limestone ridge. There were exceptional views of the classic limestone Dolomite towers.

Here's the course map. All the athletes are given this at the race briefing.

Here's the course map. All the athletes are given this at the race briefing.

The course profile shows all the elevations and distances in an easy to read format. I usually note all the climbs on a piece of athletic tape and secure it to my watch. This helps me keep track of where I am on the course and be mentally prepared for the last few climbs. Tour de France cyclists do this as well.

The course profile shows all the elevations and distances in an easy to read format. I usually note all the climbs on a piece of athletic tape and secure it to my watch. This helps me keep track of where I am on the course and be mentally prepared for the last few climbs. Tour de France cyclists do this as well.

Claut is next to Cortina,  normally a summer resort town but they are ski mountaineering fanatics and really proud to host a World Cup this year as well as the World Championships in 2011. There are kids not much older than my 6 year old son who are kitted out in ski mountaineering equipment and cheering on the sidelines of the course. Here are some race photos:
 I am well positioned at the start just behind eventual winner, Roberta Pedranzini (on the far right in blue). You can just see the red white and blue of my suit and the yellow tongue of my carbon fiber Pierre gignoux ski boot. Many, but not all, World Cups are mass start events. This one is and with the men starting thirty seconds after the women. I was nervous about that, but the course was still quite wide when the top men passed us.

I am well positioned at the start just behind eventual winner, Roberta Pedranzini (on the far right in blue). You can just see the red white and blue of my suit and the yellow tongue of my carbon fiber Pierre gignoux ski boot. Many, but not all, World Cups are mass start events. This one is and with the men starting thirty seconds after the women. I was nervous about that, but the course was still quite wide when the top men passed us.

Here you can see the racers skinning up the switchbacks on skins, then the transition to the boot pack.

Here you can see the racers skinning up the switchbacks on skins, then the transition to the boot pack.

Roberta on the first climb or 800 m. with Mireia, World number 1, on her tails.

Roberta on the first climb or 800 m. with Mireia, World number 1, on her tails.

It was a great chance to get to know some of the other teams and learn from the Italian and French and Swiss. This terrain is know for its technical difficulty for skins and I did have some skins troubles on the 2nd climb which caused me to loose at least 5min or so but I was happy with the result of 9th place especially against the tough competition in the World Cup division. The skins are getting re-glued so they will be in top shape for the next race.
claut-bootpack-to-ridge
Two World Cup athletes descending an off piste section of the course--it's amazing how lightning fast they go on this stuff with such tiny skis.

Two World Cup athletes, from France and Itlay, descending an off piste section of the course--it's amazing how lightning fast they go on this stuff with such tiny skis.

claut-mens-winner Florent Troillet. He is in great form this year after lots of strength training last summer and mountain biking and running

Mens winner Florent Troillet from Switzerland. He is in great form this year after lots of strength training last summer, mountain biking and running. By contrast, the Italian National Team off season training focuses on roller skiing, mountain hiking, cycling, and glacier skiing.

claut-meira-kicking-it-in-to-the-downtown-finish-line

Spains's Mireia Miro Varela kicking it in to the downtown finish line for second place in the women's.

The pasta was amazing…and of course the cappuccino’s (The Italians love to decorate their coffee. This one was one of the cutest and tastiest yet!).
dsc04890
Sunday we had great family ski day on the slopes!
Next world cup is the team event in Switzerland. In the meantime I look forward to a fun race- The Cenise Bargy– a combination of ski mountaineering and skate skiing (http://www.cenisebargy.fr/cenise_hiver_home.html)
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next update! (editors note: Nina got 9th place beating three wolrd cup men! MS)
I got a ride with the French team. Here the boys are headed back to van after the podium. They got 4th, 8th, and 9th. Florent Troillet of Switzerland won with Kilian Jornet coming in 2nd.

I got a ride with the French team. Here the boys are headed back to van after the podium. They got 4th, 8th, and 9th. Florent Troillet of Switzerland won with Kilian Jornet coming in 2nd.

Currently Ranked #2 in France!

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

This is really exciting to be ranked number 2 in France in ski mountaineering racing, as a result of my last week intensity effort (four races in 9 days). I am just behind last years World Cup winner, Laetitia Roux. Considering the level of competition in France (and equally Switzerland and Italy), I am honored to be in this position. It wont last too long though, as I am not pursuing the French circuit and will be skipping French Nationals this weekend for an Italian race that will help me better prepare for next weeks World Cup.

Here’s the live link: http://www.ski-alpinisme.com/classement/2010/2010-01-13D.pdf

Ski Mountaineering Mama – World Cup season begins!

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

head shot Greetings from Chamonix, France!  Thanks for reading my very first  blog for Fasterskier. What an amazing site for training, racing and keeping up  to date on athletes in the nordic sports!  We all want to ski fast whether  up or down! I am pretty sure this is the first ski mountaineering race  blog for FasterSkier. Through it, I hope I can share a bit more about the sport, continue to help it grow in the US and reach the goal of ski mountaineering in the Olympics in 2018 . To learn more about me and the sport of ski  mountaineering be sure to check my  intro, about me and other pages.

Here’s a quick rundown of my season so  far:

Pila World Cup, 18-19 dec 2009, Italy.

My season this year started off pretty early with the first World Cup in Pila, Italy mid December.  At this race I was joined by my national teammate all the way from Colorado, Monique Merrill.

Mona and Nina and Pila World Cup

Mona and Nina and Pila World Cup warming up and checking out the course

This was a great event for first world cup-early season but good training none the less. Day 1 was a sprint race which took place at a ski area- under 5 min which included a short flatter skin (climb with skins on but you could kick and glide) to a series of kick turns (steeper climbing) to a boot pack (a face too steep to skin),  and then back to skins and a short fast down hill across the finish line! This was an exciting race and a good opportunity for spectators to see what ski mountaineering is all about- it was televised throughout Italy on their sports channel RAI. Like World Cup Nordic sprint races there were 3 heats. Day 2 was a very cold  night race with pleanty of climbing and descents. Due to the cold weather (-22 c at the top of the ski area), the course stayed on the lower slopes.  For me that race was about survival and staying warm.

Cold with the mittens on!

Here is a transition from down hill skiing to an uphill skinning section. Here I am trying to get my skins back on quickly, but it is cold!

Getting back into the groove after the transition

Getting back into the groove after the transition

Christmas Holidays:

After this race I tried to put in some volume training and enjoy the holidays with my family.

Happy New Year! Family Ski Day!

Happy New Year! Family Ski Day!

I train on a similar 4 week cycle to nordic skiers,  intensity, med volume and volume and recovery week. Night training is often the time to get out with my husband.

Night workout- Michael and his Petzl Ultra

Night workout- Michael and his Petzl Ultra

Barlouka Uphill, 2 jan 2010, Veysonnaz, Switzerland.

Last week I finished an intensity week – a series of 4 races in 9 days. There is a great series here of night uphill races often mid week. The races are a fun ambience followed by a good pasta or raclette meal and good company. At the Barloucka race in Switzerland I was joined by Kilan Jornet (over World Cup winner in 2009) and Miro Mirella, 2 of the best ski mountaineering racers in the world (and world class endurance runners as well), both from the Pyerenees of Spain. This Swiss uphill race was a 750 meter climb. With 5 km of distance,  there were some stretches of flat; a nordic background really helps for those kicking and gliding sections.

Nina, Miro and Kilian- (maybe they will transfer some VO2 max energy to me!)

Post race pasta. Nicola (a Swiss Team coach), Nina, Miro, Kilian's girlfriend and Kilian. Kilian and Miro are on the Spanish Ski mo Team and are both ranked number 1 in the 2010 World Cup. They live and train at a French Sports School in the Pyrenees. Kilian recently broke a running record on the John Muir trail in California with his sponsor Salomon. Maybe they will transfer some VO2 max energy to me!

La Grimpee du Loup, La Clusaz, France, 6 jan 2010.

This was an uphill/night race which climbed 720 meters with a section in the beginning of  a 20 meters to skate or skin. I chose skating and it was to my advantage -and flew past people on this small first hill. Uphill night races are pretty intense efforts- this one just under 30 minutes so your heart is working pretty hard. This one was also about -12 degrees (not warm again).

Podium- La Clusaz, 3rd Place

Podium- La Clusaz, 3rd Place, behind a Swiss and a French Team member!

La Meurianne, 9 jan 2010, Montriond, France

Cold again! Hand warmers really do the trick.  This was the first team race of the season and had 2 ascents, 2 descents and a boot pack +1300 meters). I did this with my ski club teammate, Nuno from Portugal. Team races are really fun as the two are obliged to work together going up and down. Often people use elastic cords to stay close on the ascent. This helps the second person who may be a little less fast than the first. For me it helps also mentally to stick together and work in the same rhythm. For me it was fun to race with Nuno as it made me work just a bit harder on the uphill to keep up with him.  We were placed in the mens category and came in top 30 in a tough field. Not bad, just 1 min behind the top womens team who are on the French National Team.

La Pyramide Uphill, 10 jan 2010, Mt Saxonnex, France

580 meters  (sunday eve) I was not sure if I was going to do this race- It depended on how I felt and if I had a good recovery after saturday. I felt good, rested, stretched and spun on my wind trainer to get the lactic acid out of the legs. Headed out to this race. It was an interesting course. Straight up hill up a ski lift line then a downhill section with skins on in the off piste powder (remember at night- here the Petzl Ultra head lamp would have been an excellent choice- little did I know I just had my small Tikka). After the dowhhill a boot pack (carry skis) through tough deep powder. At this point my legs were quite tired,and the boot steps were huge for my short legs. The last section was a good gentle skin up to the finish!

2nd place overall woman at La Pyramide, Mt. Saxonnex-Jan 10

2nd place overall woman at La Pyramide, Mt. Saxonnex-Jan 10

Podium Mt Saxonnex- 1st Sr Woman, 2nd Overall

Podium Mt Saxonnex- 1st Sr Woman (2nd overall)

Here I took 2nd place just 1 minute behind a very good uphill climber!

Recovory Week and next races:

The following week is recovery with volume for me. I have two weeks leading up to my next world cup in Italy. This sunday I will head over to Italy to race. The races are always well organized and techincal and this one will give me some good endurance training as it is a climb of +1800 meters and 4 transitions.

World Championships and the Patrouille des Glaciers:

Some skiers this year are focused on peaking for the Olympics. For me it is to peak for the World Championships in Andorra beginning of March and also the famous Patrouille des Glaciers end of April. This year my father has put together a team for the mini patrouille des glaciers as well.  www.pdg.ch

http://www.boston.com/sports/other_sports/skiing/articles/2009/12/24/with_vancouver_looming_vonn_looks_golden/