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NNF: The real deal. D-F-25

Friday, November 7th, 2014

There are the pretenders… and there are those who do it for real.

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The National Nordic Foundation does it for real.

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I mean that in the sense that, in life, there are always going to be those entities who focus on what is essential and lots of those who will focus on what isn’t.

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The NNF focuses just on whats essential. They make it happen. They fund the most important part of US skiing development; ironically, the part that the US Ski Team doesn’t fund; the up and comers. The harsh reality is, there will be no good American skiers to cheer for in the PyeongChang or Beijing/Almaty Olympics, or any Olympics after that, unless todays juniors can see any reason at all to dedicate themselves to elite cross country skiing.

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There are two main obstacles that stand in the way of every single person who aspires to fulfill their potential in skiing; training, and finances. The training will be hard, it will be deeply exhausting, it will be painful, and it will break you. Many times. Theres no way around that. And still, the money side is still even more difficult. It just costs so much money to represent the United States at international competition.

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That’s there the NNF comes in. They are knocking the top off the financial wall that stands between us and medals.

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Personally, the NNF has been involved with my development for quite a while. It’s not always a lot, but just enough to make it possible.

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I remember my first World Cup. It was 2010; I had gone to World Juniors once before, and was on my way back from my first year at Under-23s. I had made the Nations Group for the World Cups in Canmore, and couldn’t possibly have been more nervous. I couldn’t believe that there I was, the same kid who couldn’t crack the top 50 at Junior Nationals my first couple years, racing the best guys in the world for the first time:

photo - Phil Bowen

photo – Phil Bowen

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I was dead last. (If you don’t believe me look here)

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If you had told me that 4 years later I would be racing another World Cup, this time many more of them under my belt, at Finals in Falun, Sweden and would ski an entire 15k skate (my achilles heel) with a group of four of the fastest guys alive, I would not believe you.

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But that’s exactly what’s happening in this picture. I am heading up the Mordorbakken (Murder Hill) for the last of many times on one of the hardest courses I have ever seen; in front of me (#34) is Federico Pellegrino, who has been on the World Cup podium multiple times. Immediately behind me (#37) is the Olympic gold medalist from two weeks earlier, Ola Vigen Hattestad (also, ya know, the Sprint Globe winner). Behind him is Eirik Brandsdal, multiple time World Cup winner. And next in the white is the Olympic silver medalist Teodor Peterson:

Reese Hanneman NNF 4 _ Kikkan Randall

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It’s hard to believe. But that’s what makes it cool. That’s what makes the NNF’s support so worthwhile; it allows young skiers like myself a chance. I am just trying to continue that trajectory.

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The NNF is getting in there and making it happen. Funding the parts that don’t get funded, but without which we will have no good skiers.

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We are in the final week of their Drive For 25 event. The idea is to get a lot of people donating a little bit of money each. I don’t usually do these kinds of requests, but I ask that if you like skiing, and you want to see your friends and your friend’s kids, and even some kids that you don’t even know, who are from the same great free country as we are, have a chance to go for their dreams… please make a small donation to the NNF.

NNF button

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I don’t get any of this money. Your donation goes into the pot to be distributed to the neediest areas; you can see exactly where HERE.

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Thank you for your support.

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America thanks you.

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Park City Camp

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Park City training camp, October 2014 edition, is in the books. Every October, most of America’s elite ski racers convene in the small silver mining town to bang heads and push themselves. This is the third year I have gone to this camp, which is built around a US Ski Team training itinerary, and it didn’t fail to disappoint.

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For me personally, these two weeks cap off the real “training season”. From May first until now, the training has been hard and it has been big. This camp, which combines both volume and intensity, also throws a third big wrench in the spokes; altitude. The added stress on your body from living and training at 8000 ft is utilized to stimulate even more aerobic development; your heart rate and subsequently your metabolism are much higher up here than on the great plains of Alaska.

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The Wasatch… watch over you as soon as you land in Salt Lake City:

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I have always been a little bit enamored with the city of Salt Lake. It seems to have its own rugged flavor of Americana; a mix of old and new, classic and hip. Signs of a bygone era:

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The warmth and the mountains… when you come here, you join many others looking for the same thing:

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But when you come here, you are only looking for one thing; the most exquisite, authentic Mexican food in the world. This place has a well deserved cult following and is worth the long wait:

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Mole like you’ve never experienced. Rich and complex beyond description, yet healthily simple.

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Driving up out of the basin to Park City. Into the hills… and the textured blankets of fall colors that cover them:

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Coming from Alaska and having already trained in the snow this fall, training in Park City is like being transported back three months. It is quite invigorating to head out for training and be washed with the golden sun, its warmth bringing that sweat to the surface.

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On the way to training we see many others also making use of their last summer days… and in this case, maybe their last days period:

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The area is known amongst skiers for its long canyon roads, that climb from the Heber valley to any number of high mountain passes. Awesome for intense aerobic training, not so awesome if you happen to like even small downhills in between your big climbs:

photo - Sam Sterling

photo – Sam Sterling

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Nothing but clear skies for 2 weeks. Moon over the aspens:

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Food. Calories. Sleep. These are essential for supporting physical output of this magnitude. So you might as well make it delicious. Eric Packer with his killer curry:

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You cant make a harder workout than uphill ski-bounding at altitude. Experts know that it is the most oxygen expensive form of workout you can do; when its done at high altitude, you have even less in the bank to draw from. I struggle immensely with it; some people thrive. Lex Treinin can go uphill faster than your honor student:

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Nature’s spectral palette:

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All this running in the golden hot sun… gave me a good excuse to bust out my new Oakley Razorblades. This may just be the coolest product ever. Its a remake of the glass that started it all, with modern lenses and technology and timeless style that flies in the face of the modern trends. I feel like I should grow a moustache:

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Up on top, taking in the view:

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Many things about Utah are not like home. Some are good, some are bad, some are… just mildly annoying. Spiky seed pods stuck to everything after a run through the woods:

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And the good… homemade apple crisp from apples picked off of a wild apple tree just hours earlier:

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I am so incredibly thankful for the team that I have. We would never be able to do this alone; my literal teammates and I push each other every single day, every single workout to be better. Fitter, quicker, more powerful… and even just better people. Chelsea Holmes leads Sadie Bjornsen as they hammer Hermod’s, trying to become better than the two standout skiers they already are:

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One huge draw to Park City is the rollerski track. The opportunity for us to train on real ski racing terrain, which is much different than the long, steady grades found on paved roads, is hugely beneficial. Mens crew hammering some double pole speeds up some steep stuff:

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After so many hours every day, so many harsh impacts with the poles, with the feet, in the weight room… things break down. Muscles cramp, tendons get cable tight, knots form. We would never make it this far without the incredible Zuzana Rogers. She and the incredible staff at Advanced Physical Therapy keep us rolling along while we are in Alaska. But beyond that, Zuzana donates her time to come along on training camps like this one, making sure we can get the most out of it. Her physical therapy knowledge, and her skill with deep tissue recovery massage, is beyond valuable:

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Sometimes, all the nutrition and maintenance and PT and eating and sleeping is still not enough. Sometimes you just hit the wall. On the last morning of the camp, we were doing a 2.5 hr, all uphill, L2 skate workout. I was feeling ok; just barely hanging in there after the intense 2 weeks, but hanging in there nevertheless. Until I wasn’t. I went from fine to horrible in about 10 minutes. There was no question about it, I was breaking down. I began to lose clear cognition, I couldn’t maintain any sort of good technique and my pace slowed significantly. It was as clear of a sign as any; my body would take no more. My teammate Lex and I had been skiing together, and we were in surprisingly similar states. So we did what we almost never ever do; we stopped a workout early. We pulled over, ate some food, and put our skis and poles in the car. Then we sat on the edge of a small canyon, overlooking a creek, and enjoyed the nature around us as we hung on (at least mentally) for our lives:

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In all, it was an extremely good camp. The training was great, the weather was superb, my coach was inspiring and selfless as always, and my team-mates were strong. I came here to Park City to push the last two big training weeks of the year, and I did just that. I am leaving extremely tired, with my body right on the edge of brokenness; but one step away. So I accomplished what I set out to do.

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Big thanks to Erik Flora, Sam Sterling, Zuzana Rogers, and Alaska Pacific University for making it happen!

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Thanks for everything Park City! Thanks to the US Ski Team coaches for hosting, and for including us in their workouts. It is inspiring to see the next wave of America ski racers going at it together. Watch out world! Part of our APU crew at the top of a long ski:

photo - Ben Lustgarten

photo – Ben Lustgarten

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Until next fall…

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Thanks for reading. As always, I don’t post as often as I would like to. For near-daily posts, theres always that silly app called Instagram!

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Training Through the Harvest

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

The goal with my last blog post was to give a really brief glance into the sometimes unflattering realities of my summer training. Many people whom I talk to personally are often really surprised to hear how much I can struggle as I strive to be a better skier and person; the lack of motivation, the bad workouts, the near-constant suffocating fatigue, and how it all effects my life. It’s not always dark and gloomy, but it’s definitely not always sunny. After I posted that blog, I actually received a lot of messages from people all around the world who said that they loved it, and that it inspired them to hear that from me. Many of them empathized, saying they often felt the same way in whatever pursuit they were focused on; for some it was grad school, others a new tough job, and others their own athletic careers. It was really flattering to hear from these people, and I want to say “thank you” for your stories, which continue to in turn inspire me. No matter what we’re up to, we are all in this together.

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Now back to more superficial, documentary blogging…

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The real massive training blocks sort of ended in August. At that point, it didn’t necessarily get any easier, but the actual number of hours of training decreased a little bit; this slight hourly reduction goes a long ways in brightening my outlook on whether or not I’ll be able to hang on. When training 4-5 hours a day, almost every day, for a month… you are hardly ever more than one quick meal and an outfit change away from having to start another training session. I struggle mentally with always having that impending workout looming on the horizon. So cutting back even slightly, getting one more hour between workouts, can sometimes seem like deliverance.

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Wait, did I say I was just going to do “superficial, documentary” blogging… oops. Now for real.

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September brought a few weeks of higher intensity training and a few less hours, like I mentioned. We started hammering through some pretty serious Level 4 (sustainable race pace) workouts. These are some of the hardest workouts we do, because the pain level is extremely high and the intervals are still of substantial length, often 4-6 minutes, and we usually do anywhere from 4-6 intervals.

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The infamous Potter repeats. This no-outlet road switchbacks up from right from the ocean, and inflicts plenty of discomfort. Our mens crew at the top, 3x12mins race L4:

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photo – Sam Sterling

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I’m really excited to be using Skins compression wear these days… these guys pretty much invented it, and are on the forefront of the compression game. Gimmicky products aren’t really my thing, but I have been wearing the RY400 recovery tights after workouts because I honestly feel like I recover a little faster when I do. I don’t think anyone likes that feeling of your legs just throbbing and aching after a hard workout or race, and so anything I can do to minimize that the better. I’m also really looking forward to wearing the A200 tights and tops under my race suit this winter:

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One day, my lifelong buddy and teammate David Norris and I headed down to the legendary Kenai River for some fall trout fishing. We started really early in the morning, putting into the river in the drift boat at 5:30 am and with beads in the water as soon as the sun rose:

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It was one of those insanely magical days, one that I will probably remember for the rest of my life. For the first three hours, David and I estimated that we probably averaged a hook-up on every other cast. It was almost hard to believe. We were fishing with Keen Eye Anglers, and I couldn’t believe owner Kyle’s mastery of the river. He was finding these subtle spots, and outfitting us with these intricate hand-painted egg-pattern beads. David and I with one of countless simultaneous rainbow landings:

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I visited Goldenview Middle School one afternoon with some of my teammates, to hang out, run with, and talk to the xc running team. It was a really awesome experience; I was blown away by how enthusiastic and engaged the kids were, and also how many good runners they’ve got goin on.

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I had a blast goofing around and going through their warmup routine with part of the team, as David called out what drill we were doing:

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And then we went outside and did a pretty impressive distance run around the Anchorage hillside. It was awesome, and I got challenged to a couple sprints… I think I was just braely able to fend for myself :)

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Afterwards, we talked to them briefly about our own athletic careers, and what it’s like to be full-time skiers. They asked a lot of really good questions, and were pretty stoked:

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Thanks for having us Goldenview!!

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This falltime of year means lots of hard intervals. The idea is to build the aerobic capacity of the body through pushing it at near max effort for many many minutes. Lots of uphill bounding:

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On the recovery week, I got to go on a really sweet adventure out to Hinchinbrook Island, which is one of the two big islands that protects southcentral Alaska, and Prince William Sound, from the Gulf of Alaska and the entire Pacific Ocean. It was in short, amazing. Unreal…

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Flying through the Chugach on our way to the Sound:

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It’s rare in Alaska that you see such rich, blue, clean waves rolling onto sandy beaches:

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Landing on such an extreme, remote island is a pretty raw experience, even before you go very far… and then all you have to do is walk a couple hundred feet and it gets even more real:

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Nothing quite like having gourmet pancakes and all the toppings, as the sun rises over the beach and the blue waves crash in:

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Back in Anchorage, its more intervals. Bounding uphill on a gorgeous day:

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Last weekend I volunteered to lead the high school running races around for Regionals. Lars and I were representing NANA Nordic and I put in a solid 35k of riding in front of the racers. It was fun to see all of the skier kids out there tearing up the trails in their spikes!

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Winter is surely on its way. Weve been getting snow in the high mountains above town for a couple days, and have done a couple long runs with the boys in the high country.

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Ptarmigan hunting on foot, and 4 hr run, all in one:

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David, gaining altitude and freedom:

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I love this time of year, when I can look out my front windows and winters icy grip slowly descending onto the mountain peaks… And when the sunset hits those late evening clouds just right, everything just pops. This photo is almost totally unedited:

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I just got to Park City, Utah for the last big push of the year. I will be here with my APU team for two weeks, focusing on both volume and intensity simultaneously. Coupled with living at 8000ft, it will be a very difficult training camp.

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As always, follow me on Instagram for more frequent photos!

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Thanks for reading!

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More Than Ever

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

I just finished the biggest training block of my entire life.

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It’s not often that I honestly peel back the covers on what is really going on in my training. I try not to overly emphasize the day-in, day-out grind and extremely tiring monotony that is the workout routine of a pro cross country ski racer for a few reasons: it’s hard for it not to come across as very boring, and I also don’t like to be that guy who is always claiming how “hard” he’s been training. There are plenty of those out there, and I personally am not really interested in reading that, so I don’t construct my own blog that way. It’s not usually what I would want to hear.

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But the reality is that it has been tough. I have never trained this hard at any point in my ski career. And it’s been like that all summer long. It has honestly been a test of my will and my desire to succeed at almost every level; often it has been questionable whether I would be able to complete each month, each week, each day, and even each workout. There have been so many times when I just felt so broken, both physically and mentally, that I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep going.

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But I had to keep going. There will be five men representing the United States on the World Cup this fall; the four on the US Ski Team, and me. I do not take this opportunity lightly. I do not take the responsibility of representing our country lightly. I want to show up in Europe in shape, and ready to perform.

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Of course, it’s a bit of a risk. Some people think it’s too much. I’ve had people tell me that I should back off, play it conservatively, that I probably don’t need to train this hard.  And that’s true; I really don’t need to do any of this. I could just go get a job, and I wouldn’t be exhausted all the time, I wouldn’t have to be gone all winter, I wouldn’t have the risk of failure, and I would actually be able to pay for things.

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But that’s not the decision I’m making. I’m going for broke.

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It’s not as risky as it sounds. My training is based on years and years of personal experience, and on the shoulders of my incredible coach Erik Flora. I had a great season last year, making big steps up in my overall performance as well as my consistency. That did not happen because I got lucky; I spent last spring, summer, and fall pushing myself harder in training than I ever had. It made me fitter, and able to maintain the high load of racing fast all season.

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Now I’m just doing it again. But more.

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I would not be able to push through these towering waves of physical exertion, which threaten to crash down on me and pummel my body to pieces, without my team mates. Having these guys right in front of me, and right behind me, is what keeps me pushing.

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I’m also following in the footsteps of those who have gone before me. Over the last year or two, Sadie has taken her talent, added in a gigantic serving of hard work, and made a grand entrance onto the world scene. And she is at it again:

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You have to be strong to be a successful pro ski racer. Tyler and Eric leading by example:

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Sometimes when it hurts so badly, and it would be acceptable to quit, all you can do is focus; focus on just getting through it. Erik B can adjust his focus to a razor point better than almost anyone I know:

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I didn’t mean for this to get all emotional and philosophical and epic. But I have had a lot of people ask me how training has been going, hope I’ve been having fun, enjoying summer, yadda yadda. And I often just play it off, agreeing, like it’s a lot of fun and everything is just easy and smooth. I can be known to over-emphasize the fun parts; the down time, the off time, the adventures I get to do in between training. Maybe that’s just to convince myself that I can keep doing it, that I can handle the training load.

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But the truth is that often, it’s not really all that fun, or easy. It certainly can be. Some of the most beautiful days of my life have been somewhere out on the trail, surrounded by exquisite natural beauty and enjoying the synergy of exercise and creation. But the majority of the time, it’s just plain hard. It’s beyond tiring; it’s beyond a mental grind. It’s exhausting. But that’s what makes the honey of success so much sweeter; when it took everything you had to earn it.

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Thanks for reading

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Drone Rollerski Video

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

A friend of mine made this sweet little video of me rollerskiing, using a small drone. I think it turned out pretty sweet considering that he only filmed for for a pretty short time, and that I insisted that he not waste too much of his time editing it.

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US Mens Glacier Camp

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

Last week was my second and final glacier training camp of the summer. It was also the second week of the US Ski Team Mens camp in Alaska. After the first week in town, which was quite challenging, I went up onto Eagle Glacier expecting a tough 6 days of training.

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I think camp starts now, as soon as those heli skids touch down on snow:

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Its always surreal how quickly you get transported from one world to another. It’s like being teleported in a video game… except the sensations are just so much more intense. One second you’re down by the ocean, in the rainforest… and the next you’re staring at this:

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And I was right. When you throw a group like that up into a training center where there isn’t a whole lot to do except ski, that’s what happens. We ski. A lot. Here is a short & sweet video that Andy Newell made from the week:

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All that skiing is quite exhausting… which is why it was so nice to find this treat from the girls, who had left just before us… Whoever made us these biscottis… Jess? I can assure you that I didn’t let the bag make it through the first afternoon :) Incredibly good:

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What made this glacier camp stand out from the rest was that we had some high-caliber guests in town. There are little clues here and there that there must be somebody besides just Alaskans:

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We had some real warm, wet, soft conditions up there, which meant that the yellow based Carbonlites were blazing… Goofing around between waxing:

photo - Eric Packer

photo – Eric Packer

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Besides skiing a ton, a huge benefit of the glacier camp is the opportunity for some really concentrated coaching. There is nowhere to have to go after training; no meetings to go to, no groceries to have to get, to errands to run. So if you want to stop and talk technique, or training, or philosophy… Erik Flora will happily oblige. He will stand out there, and turn in his passion into productive discussion, LONG after everyone else has gone inside:

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If you look closely enough, you can find a whole microcosm of life up there. In the rocks, the moss, the glacier itself… sometimes you don’t even have to look that hard:

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No matter how much you eat, youre muscles still ache and struggle to refill themselves with glycogen fast enough. The trick is to keep eating… I made some gooey, sugary caramel apple crisp:

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Unfortunately, I did have to leave the camp a few days early due to a minor concussion I sustained in a crash during a sprint workout. I was doing some skate speeds with the three fastest dudes in the US, and was feeling good, until I caught a tip and just whiplashed down:

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In the end, it wasn’t a big deal and I was able to get back to training pretty quickly.

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To read a great full-on article about the whole mens US Ski Team Camp, with pics and videos, click HERE.

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So long for 2014, Eagle Glacier! Its been real!

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This week has been a recovery week for me after a long block of big volume. I still have done some pretty decent workouts though, including a long double pole with Noah Hoffman before he left town. He took this picture on a nice early morning:

photo - Noah Hoffman

photo – Noah Hoffman

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Another thing I am really excited about is to continue using Swix poles for the upcoming racing season. Poles are one of those things that, although maybe not as flashy as new boots or skis, can easily make or break a ski race. Having a super-light pole that breaks easily is just not going to cut it. Having a super-stiff pole that is heavy is a no-go as well. When you train all year for races where there are all kinds of crazy people running into you, stepping on your baskets, and where you’ll be swinging your poles (sometimes hundreds of) thousands of times, there’s really no choice except to use what is accepted as hands-down the best all-around pole out there. Dang light. Dang stiff. Dang durable. I’ve tried a lot of other top-end poles, and trust me, nothing comes close to a Triac 2.0:

Reese Hanneman Swix Sport Triac 2.0 Fasterskier.com

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On Monday, we will start back into another big, solid chunk of training.

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As always, thanks for reading! I post pics more frequently on my Instagram feed, so find me there!

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Big Mid-Summer Photo Update

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

My first glacier camp of this summer, which I posted about HERE, was really successful. The skiing was ridiculously good, and I felt like the week really contributed to me racing faster next winter. A big part of that is due to the tireless efforts (ok, not tireless… he gets tired, he just keeps going) of my incredible coach Erik Flora. It is hard to be involved even the tiniest bit with US cross country skiing and not have heard of this guy. His passion for the sport and his athletes is indescribable; and he works himself to the bone for us. I will never ever be able to do anyting that will come close to paying him back for all he has done for me.

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That’s why I was so glad to hear that he has been named the Coach of The Year by the US Olympic Committee, above all other coaches from every other Olympic sport. I am glad that his insane dedication and work ethic is being recognized by others, outside of the ski world. He deserves it. I am so proud of him. Check out this great article about his award HERE, and also, you have to check out the list of past recipients… LOOK AT SOME OF THOSE FAMOUS COACHES!! They’ve had books written about them! Im so stoked to see Erik on that list.

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The glacier camp that I mentioned was the last week in a big block of training, which meant that the week of the 4th was a recovery week. I really, really like when the few real recovery weeks of my training year line up with the big social holidays. Its always a bummer when all your friends and family are planning some fun trips and activities, and you have to be like “well, can we stop here on the way so I can do rollerski intervals and then I will have to miss dinner for my second workout too”. No one likes that guy who kills the vibes with his workouts. So I was psyched to have this week to just lay low and do a few easy alternative activities.

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I went down to an a beautiful cabin right on the ocean in Katchemak Bay for the week of the 4th. My friend Don and his family have a wonderful place in Halibut Cove.

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Leaving the Homer boat harbor:

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We proved that the cove’s name was more than just that… captian Don with a line down:

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And the days catch, pulled right out of the icy water:

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And straight onto the grill. You absolutely cannot beat perfectly grilled halibut caught just an hour earlier, flaking off in juicy sweetness:

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It was so nice to celebrate all of the freedoms that this great country allows by getting out there a bit. We are so lucky to live in the good ol’ U-S of A, where we are free to choose our own paths.

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Patriotic flair I made with beach shrapnel:

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Good times with great friends. Sometimes they’re coming, sometimes they’re leaving, but they will always be friends:

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After that one low key week, it was back to the grind. We’ve been getting after it here. That means lots of running and rollerskiing, which can really beat up your body and make you feel like a big pile of knots and aches. When trying to push the volume, I like to try and throw a little swimming in every now and then to keep the shoulder mobility happenin. Sadie and I doing yards:

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I love going to the Alaska Club to swim after a long day of training out in the elements. The cool water rushing over your skin is soothing, and it just feels better the faster you go. For me it also brings back memories, since Ive been swimming and training at the Alaska Club since I was born. I am so proud to have them as significant supporters of my ski racing endeavors.

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With the pretty decent weather weve been having, its been really cool to get some good mountain runs in. There’s something about being up there, on a very tiny trail or no trail at all, just absorbing all of the rawness and the wilderness around you. It makes the time go by so quickly.

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Tucker McCrerey is a Colorado boy, and a guest of ours for the training summer. He has been killing it up here with the training, and it’s been fun to do some exploring with him:

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I have a hard time passing up a good glissade… here I am hacking my way across before dropping in. This one ended up being quite a bit icier (faster) than I expected:

photo - Tucker McCrerey

photo – Tucker McCrerey

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And then after so many hours, sometimes you just need a treat…

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This past week has been a highlight for me this summer. We have had the US Ski Team men join us for a week of dryland training here, and it has been SICK!! It is really, really motivating to have Andy and Simi and Noah here in Anchorage, doing the same workouts with us that we always do. These guys are the best in the world in their specific strengths, and I want to learn as much from them as I can while they are here. Every workout has been productive. We have done lots of rollerskiing, bounding intervals, strength, and running.

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Here is a video from a double-pole speed workout we did on Thursday. In this video am wearing the green shorts, with the black-and-green helmet, and no shirt:

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With all this rollerskiing, I’ve been putting millions of kilometers and bazillions of pole plants through the new Toko rollerski gloves, not to mention putting them through their own countless thrashings in the washing machine. They have been performing flawlessly and holding up great! I saw that AMH has them in stock, so if youre in Anchorage, go and pick up a pair!

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On Friday, we did a long set of threshold skate intervals. In this video I am wearing black spandex shorts, the same black/green helmet, and of course the yellow/black Fischer boots. It was quite the impressive train that we had going on there:

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Tomorrow the glacier portion of the US Ski Team mens camp starts. We will fly up to the Thomas Training Center on Eagle Glacier sometime mid day hopefully. It should be a really good camp, and I am sure I will be very ready for some recovery when its over!

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Thanks for reading!!

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Glacier Camp #1 – June

Monday, June 30th, 2014

I just returned to civilization from our first training camp of this summer on Eagle Glacier. Like I mentioned in my last post, this spring has been an exciting one. Training with our new group of guys has been awesome, and we wanted to take that momentum from the pavement and singletrack to the finely groomed track at the Thomas Training Center.

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The stoke-o-meter is always high for the first on-snow camp of the season. We’ve been in town, doing dryland in the sun and the rain, and now its a chance to go do our actual sport.

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It doesn’t hurt that the camp always starts with a helicopter ride. Deb and Keith at Alpine Air are absolutely incredible, and they are instrumental in making all of our big hours of summer ski training possible. They are literally the ones who get us there. If you are ever in the Anchorage area and you want  the most epic, mind-blowing way to see the real cool parts of Alaska in a quick and (honestly) cost effective manner, go with these guys. I would recommend it to myself. So thanks a million to Alpine Air!

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Deb and I hamming it as Keith runs another load in the big bird:

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Once you get up there, and you take those first skates and make those first strides… bliss. You can’t help but think that you have an incredibly difficult week of training ahead, but its hard not to get excited about being on snow. As if we needed another one… Eric and Erik:

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On a clear(ish) day, I would venture that its one of the best views in the world. 360 degrees of mountains, everywhere. Me, getting my skate on:

photo - Logan Hanneman

photo – Logan Hanneman

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If you’re a skier, or just an outdoor enthusiast of any kind, you know that organizing and transporting your gear from place to place while keeping it safe and dry is one of the biggest challenges. Thats why I’ve been really loving this new Jansport pack that I got recently; its made of this super tough, lightweight material so the overall weight is low, and has just enough external straps for backcountry skis or rollerskis, without going overboard:

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K’s require k’s… kilometers require kilocalories:

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When you’re exhausted and full, your day is almost over. All thats left is to watch the sun set:

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But its not just magic. There is a ton of work behind the scenes to keep this facility running at capacity. Erik Flora and his crew put in endless, tireless hours to make it all happen. Don Hearing heading out on one of thousands of chores:

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Every day, you just do it again. More laps, more kilometers…

photo - Logan Hanneman

photo – Logan Hanneman

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Erik Bjornsen and our four legged camp companion. This little furry guy put in more hours than all of us:

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After yet another day of labor, it helps to pause and give one last look before heading inside, just to give it all a little perspective:

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You know the Canadians are around… Knute and Colin from the Yukon Elite Squad treating us to their hand made, snow-cooled Maple toffee:

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So tired. Body aching. Legs flooding laying still. Sleep it away, sleep it away…

photo - Logan Hanneman

photo – Logan Hanneman

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Boss man Flora giving us the lowdown on our workout:

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It was really, really fun to have my brother up there training with us. He was doing awesome, and I was impressed with his skiing. He and I have spent a ton of time together, training and just all sorts of adventures, so it was cool to share the glacier with him:

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Back down, into the lush colors and smells of a more diverse ecosystem. And life, as it might be more normally defined. And rest.

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I now have a couple weeks of training in town, before joining in with the US Ski Team Mens training camp that will include both a week of dryland and a week on the glacier.

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Check back soon for more updates and pics! Thanks for reading!

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The New APU Mens Elite Team

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

This might be the most exciting spring of training I have had in my lifetime. After a pretty sweet competition season, where I made some good steps forward and got to take my racing up a couple of levels, there were bound to be some hard questions when it came time to start training again for next year. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to handle increasing my training load enough to make another big jump up next season. How much harder could I go? Was I ready to go that big? If I was ready, would I have the motivation and the drive to do it? Who would do it with me?

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Those hard questions have been answered by the team I am fortunate enough to be a part of. The APU Mens Elite Team has turned into an incredible group of boys (men? maybe a little presumptuous)  who are of similar age and similar drive. We are a group made up almost entirely of Alaskans who have trained with and raced against each other for many years. I believe that if it is possible for me to be a better skier, this is the crew that will get me there.

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The seven of us are lucky enough to be shepherded by an absolutely incredible coach. Erik Flora lives and breathes by hard work, and his passion for helping people. None of us would be here without him. To learn more about the incredible program he has built, check out our team’s website.

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I have been fielding so many questions about this new mens team… who is on it? What is it about? So to answer thos questions, I wanted to make a super informal introduction to our new crew, just so that you all can at least have some premise for what is happening this summer.

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So in alphabetical order, the APU Mens Elite Team, in my own words:

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photo - Chris Hodel

photo – Chris Hodel

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Erik Bjornsen

Reese Hanneman-1266 copy

Hometown: Winthrop, WA

Current Age: 22

Skis/Boots/Poles: Rossignol/Rossignol/Swix

Best Events: Anything. Especially basketball

2014 Highlights: Olympian. Crushed the team sprint there. End of story

Claim(s) To Fame: Craigslist wheeling and dealing; flipping Ford Rangers and talking people down insane amounts are his real specialties.

What He Brings to the Training Group: Incredible all-arounder, strong in basically every training discipline.

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Reese Hanneman

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Hometown: Fairbanks, AK

Current Age: 24

Skis/Boots/Poles: Fischer/Fischer/Swix

Best Event: Anything in the traditional style (aka Classic)

2014 Highlights: US National Sprint Champion, SuperTour Overall Champion

Claim(s) To Fame: I think people sometimes forget that I ski race, they think I just blog or something. Once at Nationals, when Peter Graves was going down the line and announcing the past results of each of the top seeded sprinters, he gets to me and just says “And this guy has a blog!!”. Great.

What He Brings to the Training Group: Wisdom. Wait what!!?? Im the oldest guy on the team now!!?? Can I say “catching air”?. And also striding or double pole intensity.

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Tyler Kornfield

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Hometown: Anchorage, AK

Current Age: 22

Skis/Boots: Rossignol/Rossignol

Best Event: Sprints

2014 Highlights: 19th U23 World Championships Sprint, 4th OPA Cup Sprint Qual

Claim(s) To Fame: Can put away chocolate bars unlike anyone I’ve ever seen. Has never, and will never, lose a lunge at the line. Should have been a swimmer with those shoulders.

What He Brings to the Training Group: Power; leads the train in real fast double pole and skate sprint workouts.

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David Norris

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Hometown: Fairbanks, AK

Current Age: 23

Skis/Boots/Poles: Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

Best Event: Roll the dice. Distance

2014 Highlights: Fewest races in a year of any elite skier…? 4th 15k SuperTour Finals

Claim(s) To Fame: Oh, where to even begin… Have you seen our music video?

What He Brings to the Training Group: Distance intensity monster. Rythmic squat thrusts

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Eric Packer

APU Mens Team Eric Packer 2

Hometown: Anchorage, AK

Current Age: 23

Skis/Boots/Poles: Rossignol/Rossignol/Swix

Best Event: Sprints-that-end-with-a-free-skate-finish

2014 Highlights: 1st Besh Cup Sprint, 9th American 50k National Championships

Claim(s) To Fame: Has some mad video skillz. Can seamlessly fit into both the East Coast and the Alaskan scenes and styles, depending on where he is (that’s harder to do than you think).

What He Brings to the Training Group: Lazer fast in speed workouts. If its slightly downhill and all-out, just try to draft him.

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Scott Patterson

Reese Hanneman-1282 copy

Hometown: Anchorage, AK

Current Age: 21

Skis/Boots/Poles: Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

Best Event: Something skating that goes uphill a lot

2014 Highlights: 2nd 15k SuperTour Finals, dominating the Eastern Carnival circuit

Claim(s) To Fame: Can probably currently calculate, in his head, what the FIS and USSA penalties will be for the races in West Yellowstone next fall, based on the three most statistically likely finish orders (given current data of course). I usually just ask him what my points were, it avoids having to deal with that new USSA website.

What He Brings to the Training Group: Thrives in the big hours, big hills, and long OD’s. One of the best mountain runners in Alaska.

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Lex Treinen

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Hometown: Anchorage, AK

Current Age: 24

Skis/Boots/Poles: Rossignol/Rossignol/Start

Best Event: The longer and weirder the better

2014 Highlights: American Birkie 2nd American

Claim(s) To Fame: Would ski barefoot if it were possible. Can definitely bake better bread than you.

What He Brings to the Training Group: Can make you hurt in anything longer than a couple minutes. Especially bounding and skiing.

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I will be blogging much more frequently here over the summer, with pictures and updates from our training and whatever adventures we may be up to. In between blog posts, I post pics to my Instagram almost daily of all kinds of stuff… find me there with the username “reesehanneman“.

Instagram-logo1 reesehanneman

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Thanks for reading! I am already looking forward to sharing my pics with you over the summer!

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Please check out my website REESEHANNEMAN.COM for more info about me or my sponsors.

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Scandic World Cup – Photo EPIC

Friday, April 18th, 2014

I can’t believe this. I can’t believe it has taken me so long to get this blog up. I have been fighting with some computer problems that have kept me from being able to edit my photos, and I can’t bring myself to make a post until I have gotten my photos somewhat together. So, this is probably one of the most belated blogs I have ever done… sorry about that. But I really wanted to put it up, because this was a really important trip for me.

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Basically, the short summary is that I got to go race all of the World Cup races after the Olympics. I was given this opportunity because I was the Overall SuperTour leader at that point in the season, and FIS mandates that the skier in this position must be able to start the World Cups. This had been one of my huge goals for the season, to lead the SuperTour and get that World Cup spot.

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So I headed off on an adventure to Scandanavia, for the biggest races of my life!

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Flying all over different continents from race to race involves all kinds of crazy connections. The more connections, the more your bags get handled. The more they get handled, the higher the risk for damage. I was bummed to arrive and find that these two pair of my race skis were demolished:

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I have raced in Europe every season for the past 5 years (at least), and have learned just how hard it is to really be competitive on that kind of monumental time change. Your body is just way too wacked out. So I felt very, very fortunate to be able to head to Norway and week early and stay with my friend Kjell-Christian Markset and his family. They were incredibly welcoming and amazing, amazing hosts. I got to experience some authentic Norwegian living, something different than just hotel life. I have eaten lots of wild moose heart in my day, but never store-bought packaged reindeer heart:

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I was pretty thankful to have my new Suunto Quest watch, because besides from being a slick heart rate monitor, it has a sweet dual-time display that kept me in touch with what time it was back home in Alaska, so I wouldn’t wake up my family and friends at bizarre hours:

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KC and I were in Sjusjoen for a week, training and watching the Olympics. Sjusjoen is basically xc heaven. Trails groomed daily as far as the eye can see, and then much much further. Checking out the map of the region:

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After that week of adapting to the new time zone and body cycles, I met the rest of the U.S. Ski Team in Lahti, Finland. They were coming straight from the Olympics, and it was really nice to see them all after the big show.

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In addition to the Olympic team, my good bud Sylvan Ellefson was also arriving. He got to race two weekends of World Cups because he was the SuperTour Distance leader, and he and I were roommates in Lahti. We were both pretty stoked to be there racing the best guys in the world.

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Sylvan is one of the greatest guys I know. He is very nice, very genuine, and he likes to work hard and have fun. He inspires me my own life, and knows how to keep it fun:

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For some reason, I didn’t take a lot of pics in Lahti. I think it was because it was my first weekend there, and I wanted to make sure I was focusing on the important stuff, which was the prep for my racing.

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Great to see my Aussie homies again:

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Double skate weekend in Lahti made it a little more challenging way to start out for me, but for those races, I held my own. The conditions were tough, with a couple inches of ground up sugar on top of solid glare ice. I just tried to really go about my race routine like I always do, and not try to get all crazy with it just because it was a World Cup.

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I just love being there and learning from our top US skiers. As a dude who is trying to break into the World Cup sprint scene, I have a ton of respect for Andy Newell and his incredible consistency in qualifying over many, many seasons. So also kind of tried to shadow him a little bit and see if there was anything I could pick up from him. Andy getting in the zone before the heats, a mix of chill and amped:

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It was incredible to be there that weekend when Kikkan and Sophie went 1-3 in the sprint, and to see history being made there right before my own eyes. Very inspiring.

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Next up after Lahti was off to Norway for the craziest two venues I have been to; Drammen and Holmenkollen. These are both legendary in the ski-crazed nation of Norge, and I have heard so many epic tales from these races.

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You know youre in Norway when the gas station’s Red Bull display features… cross country skiing:

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Stoked on the morning of Drammen!

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Drammen is one of the most famous city sprints in the world, with crazy crowd turnout for the heats and a beautiful backdrop. The course winds a loop through a shopping district before finishing up the steps of an old cathedral:

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It was a crazy mix of spectators, snow, pavement, and all of the athlete, media, and wax crews. It’s also the only World Cup I have ever seen where the spectators can walk right up next to the start area:

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Riding the provided transportation system to and from the venue:

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Refueling with endless slices of the wonderful, sweet brown cheese:

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After sprinting in Drammen mid-week, next up was the biggest one of all, Holmenkollen. This is like the SuperBowl of skiing, with more fans camping and screaming alongside the course than I could have ever imagined. The stadium is impressive:

photo - Jennie Bender

photo – Jennie Bender

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The Holmenkollen has always been a 50k, and this year it was classic which made me happy. I knew that it would probably be the single hardest race I have ever done; the course is insane, with the longest climbs I have ever seen. And 50,000 meters of it.

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Leaders headed out hot:

photo - Jennie Bender

photo – Jennie Bender

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To be honest, my only plan was to ski in such a way that I could finish. I knew that severe cramping would undoubtedly be an issue on a course of this difficulty and length, and that the pace would be more than I could handle right from the gun. So I just pushed it as fast as I thought I could possibly hold, and just went for it:

photo - Jennie Bender

photo – Jennie Bender

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Erik and Andy skiing together:

photo - Jennie Bender

photo – Jennie Bender

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I ended up having a pretty good race, considering. I made it to the finish, and I was skiing strong the whole time. It can be really, really hard to have the confidence for an effort like that, against the absolute best guys. So now I know that I can handle it, and next time I hope to go faster.

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The grandstands provided an unbelievable wall of noise every time you lapped through the stadium:

photo - Jennie Bender

photo – Jennie Bender

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I have to give a massive thank you to Patrick Moore, who was a volunteer wax tech for the US Team in Lahti, Drammen and Holmenkollen, and who did an incredible job with my skis. He provided as premium of a wax experience as I could imagine, and he nailed my skis every time, which can be very hard when you have never worked with a particular fleet of skis before.

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The next day, all of us guys went out to help support the women in their 30k. For most of us, this meant providing feeds at various points on the course. We had help from Kjell-Christian, who was doing a great job in his role as a team hand:

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It was fun being able to be on course to watch the best ladies in the world. I could stand just a track or two away as they went by. Marit Bjorgen was impressive in her dominance:

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The whole Oslo experience was pretty unreal. You feel like the whole nation is there cheering you on, chanting your name. I have never seen that many people live at a ski race; uncountable multitudes. Oslo is a beautiful city, especially when you get to stay up on the hill:

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After that was all over with, we packed up and rode on a bus all day for Falun. It was an all day bus ride, but luckily we got to stop in the Swedish countryside:

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Falun was a beautiful little town. It was big enough to have some stuff to explore, but small enough that it still felt friendly:19

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Trying to take pictures with my nice camera over all of these places and all of this travel can be risky. I have had a lot of close calls with my camera, and am always scared of it being stolen or damaged. I dropped it really hard into a hard floor right when I got to Falun, but luckily just broke the UV filter and not the actual lens:

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Falun was a little bit different than the first two weeks, because it was World Cup Finals. This means that only the best 50 men and women in the world are allowed to race, and then each Continental Cup leader is too (our Continental Cup is called the SuperTour in the US).

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Eli Brown was waxing my skis this weekend, and he absolutely killed it. He worked really, really hard, and we were a good team. It is hard to really imagine how much time these guys put in; they are testing and waxing all day, every day leading up to the races. I am so grateful that Eli was willing to donate his time to help me out:

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World Cup Finals is a mini-tour, which means that there were three races that all added up into a cumulative “overall” place at the end. The first race was a classic sprint, and I was super stoked for this one. It was on a difficult course that had two big, steep striding climbs, and I knew I was capable of a great race. It ended up going well. I say “well” because it was going really well for most of it, until the last climb. Because I was the last starter, I hadn’t gotten to ski on the course for almost an hour before I started. The game of kick wax is an extremely marginal one, and I didn’t have quite enough kick to really stride strongly up the last climb, having to herringbone over the icy tracks. This cost me a few precious seconds. I finished 31st, one place from being only the third US male to score World Cup sprint points this season. I had been running in the top 20 at points before that last climb.

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It was heartbreaking to get that close, but it also is a lot of motivation for the future. I know I can do it.

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Watching the women’s race from my hotel room:

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The Swedish fans turned out in force to cheer on their idols. They get into it:

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photo – Kikkan Randall

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After the sprint was a 30k skiathlon, and then a 15k pursuit. In both of these races, I had no big expectations. This gave me to freedom to aggressively, because I wasn’t afraid of the consequences. These two races ended up being very, very good experiences for me, because I attacked them like I never have in those two events before. I ended up being able to ski with some very, very good guys, and it opened my eyes a little bit to what I was capable of.

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Skiing in a pack, surrounded by four World Cup winners and Sochi Gold and Silver medalists:

photo - Kikkan Randall

photo – Kikkan Randall

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All in all, it was an incredible month for me. I had a good time, but I also got a lot out of it. I think it might have been the most productive trip to Europe I have ever had. It has given me the confidence that I can make the step up to compete at that level.

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I am incredibly thankful for everyone who has helped me get to this point, and to get to the World Cup. There are way, way too many people and groups for me to be able to them all here, but the really big ones deserve a shout. APU Nordic Ski Center, The Alaska Community Foundation, Girdwood 2020, The Alaska Club, PDC Engineers, NANA Nordic, and The Allergy Asthma and Immunology Center of Alaska all deserve more than just this footnote. Their support directly improves US skiing and our communities. So thank you!!

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I also have to give a massive “thanks” to the US Ski Team staff who put in so much time and effort to help support me over there. These guys are overworked and probably under-appreciated, and they are what makes any of this happen. I am very grateful to them for their amazing sacrifices and tireless work:

left to right: Steph Caverhill, Chris Grover, Matt Whotcomb, myself, Eli Brown, Oleg Ragilo, Peter Johansson, and Jason Cork

left to right: Steph Caverhill, Chris Grover, Matt Whotcomb, myself, Eli Brown, Oleg Ragilo, Peter Johansson, and Jason Cork

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Thanks for reading!

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