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Archive for January, 2013

Erik Bjornsen Photos

Monday, January 21st, 2013

First off, I want to congratulate all of the athletes the just got named to the World Championship team! That is a huge honor, and we are all going to be so excited to see how awesome you guys and gals can do!

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Mostly, I am so pumped for my bud Erik Bjornsen!! Its pretty impressive for a guy so young to make this team. I know that it was a goal of his, and that he had to ski really, really fast in order to do it. He has put together an incredible season so far, just consistently dominating everybody regardless of distance and technique, and certainly earning himself a spot in Val Di Fiemme.

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In honor of this , I just published some pics that we took while we were in Quebec City for the World Cups. It’s pretty much just  him standing around looking like a stud and me trying to get it to look halfway ok. So check them out HERE, or click the preview below!

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And you will see, he is taking the message from photo #4 seriously!!

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Thanks for reading!

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SoHo Nationals 2

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

The Heber Valley in Utah is a starkly beautiful place. For the most part, it is a simple collection of bold mountains around the quiet valley floor, covered with old ranches and a quaint little town. Of course there are the swanky houses here and there, but they stand out against the rest of the older places, with their pastures and barns and livestock and fences.

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Nearing Soldier Hollow on a brisk morning.

photo – Ian Harvey/Toko

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There are lots of silent places that look as though time is just passing them by. Places that you know would have some stories to tell if they could talk.

photo – Bert Boyer

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But like I mentioned in my last post, we needed a mansion to house all 30 of us APU peeps, so we were left with one of those soul-less behemoths. One upside is that there was stuff to do, like swim with views of the Wasatch outside:

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I sat out the 30k classic in hopes of saving my energy for the sprint. I would really have liked to race, and with the cold, hard snow it might have been a good day for me. However, I just did some training and watched a few of the races, like Sadie Bjornsen winning the national championship and both Erik Bjornsen and Kate Fitzgerald getting the silver medals..

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I also got to watch my brother Logan in the Junior race, which was really cool. It was a great race to watch because A) there are some really fast junior guys right now who are pushing each other to new heights, and B) Logan ended up winning. He broke the race apart on the last time up Hermods hill and took it all the way in. Here he is on that climb pushing the gas pedal all the way down:

photo – Bert Boyer

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I was also really psyched because my friend Forrest Mahlen delivered an incredible race when he needed to the most, which qualified him for the World Junior team. Those guys are going to tear it up at Worlds, I can already tell.

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This little guy is psyched to find such an awesome lunch! Just make sure to tell him to get off the trails if Sam Tarling is around!

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Having not raced the 30k, I was feeling all ready for the skate sprint. However, it turned out to be the worst race of my season so far. I did everything right; all my preparation, my eating, my warm-up, etc… But in the qualifier, I just felt awful, plain and simple. I guess that sometimes you can do everything right and it still just doesn’t work out. I didn’t feel normal at all. To be honest, I wasn’t even that disappointed: I would have been if I had felt even just OK and had a result like that. But I didn’t even feel close to OK, I felt terrible. I was 31st, so I didn’t even make the heats.

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Having planned my training and peaking cycles with a lot of consideration placed on the early season, in hopes of making the World Cup team (which I did), I knew that there was a chance that I might compromise this portion of the season slightly. You can’t peak for everything, and you won’t always feel good, even though it would be fun to!

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Qualifying… with my friend and best-skier-in-the-US-right-now Erik Bjornsen breathing down my neck! He was absolutely flying, crushing second place by 4 seconds!!!

photo – Ian Harvey/Toko

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I got over it pretty quickly, and went out and cheered on my brother, teammates and friends to some incredible performances.

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However, one thing that I am really excited about is the new US Ski Team poster that it fresh out!! It is my first real high-level production, and I did all the photography and design work for it. It’s of the US Ski Team ladies, and you can see a much better version of the actual poster HERE.

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All in all, it was a pretty lame Nationals for me personally, but that was balanced out by getting to be a part of a team that was putting up re-donk-ulous results left and right! My APU teammates were absolutely killing it, with 11 National Championship podium spots and 4 National Championship titles over the course of the week, with some Juniors doing awesome as well (making J1 Trip and World Junior teams). Thanks to all the people at Soldier Hollow, and to Ernie and Summit Timing for doing an awesome with the races! Till next year!

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Driving away from Soldier Hollow in the dying evening light:

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Thanks for reading!

SoHo Nationals 1

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

I have been here in Midway, Utah with my APU teammates for just over a week now. Before anyone got here, there were bad rumors about sketchy snow situations and questionable skiing, and we were all hoping that it wasn’t gonna be another one of “those” Nationals.

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But it has been pretty close to perfect. There is a good amount of natural snow, and it has been nice and cold. The organizers and the people at Soldier Hollow have been doing an amazing job of proactively preparing the course for any weather that might try to cause trouble. Even with at least a foot of natural snow, they have had countless snow guns running non-stop to build up the course just to be absolutely sure of a good base in case of warmer temps.

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This is view from the top of the sprint course. They have had the guns running like this on almost all of the 5k race course.

photo – Bert Boyer

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We were here a few days early, which was nice. It’s a little more relaxing to be able to have a few days to just train, without having to get into race mode right away. Here, myself, Mark Iverson and Erik Bjornsen test some skis on the classic sprint course. You might notice I have holes in my skis; the course was relatively easy, so we were comparing skates vs. classics in the event that it was faster to just double pole:

photo – Bert Boyer

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We (Team APU) have about 25 athletes here racing, which is a combination of our Junior, College, and Elite teams. This makes it a very fun atmosphere! To house all these people, we rented this ridiculous mansion up in the mountains. It is a total Cribs-style pad, complete with a huge underground garage, swimming pool, game room, racquetball court, and awesome kitchen. Everything about it is insane.

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Afternoon workouts often include swimming. Here I am exploring the depths of the pool in the sunlight:

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Speaking of pool… we have also been playing a lot of it. So many games in such a short time… its amazing how fast you improve when you go from playing 0 games a month to 10 games a day! Someone starts off a game with a break:

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We’ve also got a big industrial kitchen. Searing things on the griddle:

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The first race was the classic sprint. I had pretty high expectations for this race. I knew that I was capable of doing very well, and winning it if I had a great day. I have had great consistency with good classic sprints, and I was hoping to put this one up there too.

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Starting things off with the qualifier:

photo – Bert Boyer

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In the end, I came away pretty disappointed. I knew that this course was primarily about tactics, and I went into my quarterfinal with a plan not to lead the heat until the last few hundred meters. However, at the start of my heat I went easily to the front, and held my lead on the only two climbing portions of the course. I tried to slow down and let people by, but no-one would pass. So I ended up going into the huge final downhill in the lead and getting completely slingshotted. I was able to come back and pass most of the people again on the double pole finish, but finished 3rd in my heat and 13th overall. I was totally bummed, mostly just to have executed my strategy totally wrong. In the end, the strategy that I had wanted to execute was the one that worked in every single mens heat.

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Here co-leading my heat. About to go into the final climb and accidentally take the lead and be doomed.

photo – Bert Boyer

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After being disappointed for a bit, I was able to get past it and start thinking about the next races. Yesterday was a 15k individual skate race, which is usually the bane of my existence. It is normally a very, very tough race for me. However, I approached it with a little bit of a different mindset than normal, and actually produced a very good result for myself, 22nd overall. This is a very good improvement for me in this event, which is a good sign.

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But the biggest excitement of that day was my good buddy Erik Bjornsen skiing absolutely incredibly and winning his first National Championship! He has been my closet training partner for a few years now, and I have always believed he is one of the best all-around skiers in this country. He totally proved it by winning his first Stars and Stripes in the event that he would call his least favorite!!

photo – Bert Boyer

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Yeah dude! And of course, the APU girls just slayed it. They swept the podium, with Rosie Brennan (who grew up right here in Park City) also taking her first National Championship!

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Next up is the long distance classic races. Those are going on tomorrow, and I am sitting out in hopes saving all my energy for the skate sprint.

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More blog to come soon! Thanks for reading!

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