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My apologies for having not posted earlier. Our camp is almost over and this is the first post!… I’m a slacker. Actually, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in training, getting new skis ready for on-snow testing, and sleeping. All pretty important things. Our week in Ramsau (Austria) was great. A bit of rain in the beginning, followed by some pretty amazing high-pressure days. The skiing was so soft under the 80 degree skies that we were literally pouring water out of our boots by the end of each session. Now we are in Oberhof (Germany) skiing in circles in the 0.8 km refrigerated tube just down the road from the ski stadium. It’s actually great skiing in there and there’s enough terrain to keep you interested for a couple of hours. Plus the French women’s national team is training here this week, so the scenery stays exciting on those days that seem to drag on forever. All is good with the crew. We’re missing Kris, Eric, and Skyler, but we have Eric Packer from the SMS team along in their stead. Everyone is super fit and training has been top notch. Grove and the Cork-dog have been dialed in with organization and all those sweet things that coaches are good at, and I think we’ve even managed to bring them down to our maturity level when it comes to dinnertime conversations. It didn’t take much. Without further ado, some photos… courtesy of Packer and Grover. Enjoy.

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If you’ve ever been driving through Eisenhower on I-70 and thought to yourself what it would be like if there was groomed snow on the road and Europe’s worst dance hits being played on speakers, here are some pics to help you realize that dream.

Pete standing guard at the top of the “climb” in the tunnel. This thing gets so chewed up within an hour of the tunnel opening that I’m considering carrying skins for tomorrow’s skate speed session.

The most comfortable trailhead I’ve ever been to. Except the dude putting kick wax on was making me quite uncomfortable while I was trying to take this picture. What’s your problem, man? Didn’t bring the right kick today? They only TELL you what is kicking best at the front desk. C’mon.

As crazy and boring as this type of training is, it’s still skiing. And skiing is awesome. Let’s not forget that. Looks like we might be spinning the price is right wheel to decide where we’ll be heading next week. Until then, stay classy, ’cause you know we are here.

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It’s been great being back out here. Camp has been good. It’s been a bit rainy, but we’ve had our fair share of sunny days as well. Fall is for sure my favorite time of year to be out here… training conditions are usually pretty close to perfect and there’s always a slight hint of winter in the air.

I’ve been out here for about two weeks and I think I’ve been fairly successful in making the most of my limited time. I spent a few days riding and hanging with friends up in East Burke, VT where Kate is coaching for the winter. If you’ve never been riding up there, you should definitely plan a trip… the trails are awesome. I did a few great workouts with the Burke kids and was super psyched to witness how hard that crew works and how committed and tough they are. We woke up one morning at 6:15 for a pre-class workout and it was raining and about 40 degrees. I didn’t hear one person complain the entire workout… super impressive. One of the best parts of being up there was finally checking out Whitcomb’s cabin. Such a cool place. I can’t wait to get back there in the winter to check out the ski-in/ski-out feature.


We’re a little over a week into our Lake Placid camp. As always, the quality of training has been super quality. Since it is primarily a high-intensity block, we are not logging a ton of hours. Rather, we’ve been doing a ton of L4 and maximal (time trial) efforts including the classic back-to-back bounding intervals and prologue. We have a couple easier/recovery days on the docket before Saturday’s suffer fest up the toll road to the top of Whiteface. It’s supposed to be super nice weather this weekend so I’ll try to get some pics of the race to post. So check back in a few days. Until then, Pete’s been posting some cool shots on the NNF website (nccsef.org). I’ve also started a cool project via NNF, so check that out here: http://ccgeneralfund.causevox.com/simihamilton

Photo by Pete V

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Good solid speed work with Liz today at Soldier Hollow. Getting my feet back under me after a pretty sweet camp in New Zealand with the boys. Felt good today to be back in some summer heat, and felt like I was moving pretty good again after a couple long days of travel and some huge hours at camp. Next week I’m off to the east coast to see the lady friend and make the VT rounds before we dive into our annual Lake Placid camp Sept. 6-19. Really looking forward to getting back to hard training with the team- we’ve got some good workouts planned and going hard at 2000 ft. is always a fun feeling. So check back in for some updates from there.

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Dumping! That’s what it’s been doing here for the last 30 hours. Maybe dumping is a bit of an overstatement, but we have had about 6 inches of the white stuff come down in the last day or so. Anyway, any amount of snow is a lot amount of snow for August. The brown spots are gone again, and patches of blue sky are beginning to reappear… just in time to begin training hard again tomorrow after a day off today.

We did some speed work with the Canadians yesterday… went well. Any day you get to go head to head with world champions is a good day. I’m not feeling particularly fast right now, but we’ve been kind of expecting that with the recent focus on volume over the last two months. In other words, I’ve hardly done any top-end speed work since March, so it makes sense that I’m feeling a little draggy when I try to shift into that top gear. It will come again soon, and when it does, I’ll have a ton of really good volume base under me to support the speed over an entire day of sprint heats.

I’m missing home a little bit. Being here is awesome, but I always get a little homesick about a week into a trip to another part of the world. At least the company, food, and training couldn’t get much better. That helps. Looking forward to getting back on my bike in the Utah sun in a couple weeks. Here are some pics from the last couple of days. If you want to see some real shots, check out nccsef.org for some awesome updates by Pete V. from our camp. While you’re there, take a gander at the nccsef’s goals and inspirations. I don’t think you can argue with the fact that xc development in the U.S. needs attention and allies, and nccsef is a great way to tap into this.

Theme of the 3.5 hr OD: rewax


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Well… it’s been a while, so I’ll get to it. We’re in New Zealand, and this place is just as cool as when we left it 357 days ago. Nah, scratch that, it’s even better. We’ve been waking up to blue bird skies and cold temps, making our extra blue call of the day pretty straight forward. At least 30 km are groomed right now, and we’re hoping for another 10 up on Kirsty Burn in the next couple of days. It was great to hear today that the girls had a really good camp up in Alaska. It’s been interesting not having them here, there’s definitely a dynamic of the team that is obviously missing, but it’s also nice to be hanging with just the other guys on the team. We’ll get plenty of “team time” starting in November, so maybe it’s good that we’re at least a little bit segregated at this point in the training year. As was the case last year, and as is the norm for on-snow training in August, we’re treating this camp as primarily a volume period, putting in between 21-26 hours each week for three weeks. As a guys team, one of the main off-the-trail goals of the camp is to get a facebook project up and running in which we can share some training ideas with the the xc community and hopefully get more juniors and club team skiers involved in what we’re doing as well as learning some things that they are doing for summer training. I’ll post more on that later. For now, here are some shots from the last few days up here at the Snow Farm. The high pressure has made itself at home and none of us are complaining. Right now: Sunny, totally blue sky, -5 deg. C, hard tracks, extra blue. Rock on.

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Wow! I’ve been seriously slacking on keeping everyone updated on my mid-winter status. My deepest apologies, but to tell you the truth, everything’s been fairly subdued recently. But things are picking up again, so I figured it was about time to jump back in head first in the digital world.

Nationals was a bit of an interesting week. It was great spending some time with my girlfriend’s family in Cape Elizabeth, ME both pre and post race week. Although I know I will always be a western boy at heart, I love every chance I get to spend time in New England. Life seems to go by at a different pace out there and it’s rejuvenating to be in a place where modesty is a hard earned value. But getting out there usually seems to be an ordeal in one or the other, and this time around, the long travel day and an already worn-thin immune system got the best of me. Unfortunately, I was knocked flat the week before the races and I never felt even remotely close to fully recovered until the last sprint. Even then, there was something a little bit off all day, but it was nice to at least get in one really hard effort before I found myself leaving the East coast. As time would tell, it probably wasn’t the best choice to race the sprint, as I got sicker than the X Games on my way back to Colorado. So after a second go-around of recovery and about 3 books later, I finally felt like myself after about 4 weeks of being held back. Just in time to get my duffel packed and hit the road again.

On my way to Norway last week, I was re-routed through San Francisco in order to avoid the chaotic mess that all East coast airports were experiencing. If you ever have 13 hours to spare in the Bay Area in January, here’s a suggestion: pack your running clothes and shoes, take the light rail into downtown (dressed, of course, in your running clothes and shoes), and make your way out to the Golden Gate Bridge. I’ve never been to San Fran and experiencing it for the first time by foot at a brisk pace in 75 degree sunshine was an absolutely awesome way to do it. I’m not much of a city person, but I was pretty astonished at how beautiful and unique the topography and infrastructure is.

I’m currently in Oslo with Liz, Morgan, and Pete. Although I’ve spent a fair amount of time in this city and country over the years, it never ceases to amaze me how active and winter-oriented these people are. You’ve probably read this at least once in every other xc ski blog, but it is so invigorating and inspiring to head out on a ski 5 minutes from downtown Oslo, see at least 500 hundred school children and families out for a ski on the trails, and not even come close to scratching the surface of the amount of skiing that is around here. Every track is groomed almost every night, and every skier you pass is incredibly enthusiastic to be outside, blizzard or sunshine, bad kick or perfect kick. There are no whining 8 year olds or disgruntled middle-aged women counting amount of calories burned. Everyone is psyched, and spending time outside is just what they do.

We’ll be here for a few more days before we head up to some Scando cup races in Beitostolen. Then we’ll be back down here for the Drammen World Cup races and World Champs will be knocking at the front door.

Feeling healthy and fired up, and I’ll for sure be doing a better job from here on out with keeping everyone updated with news from the north.

Cheers

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It doesn’t feel right to be sitting in a hotel room in Bethel, Maine ALL day when nationals is just a stone’s throw away. I should be going through the motions; getting some good L3, L4, and distance in, skiing the sprint and distance courses, and catching up with people that I haven’t seen since I was in Maine 9 months ago. But, alas, here I am, so I’m rolling with it. During travels out here a few days ago, I got flattened by something that I most likely picked up along the way, and I’m still reeling from the knock-out punch. I was at least able to spend some really good time with Kate’s family in Cape Elizabeth all week, although I was pretty bummed not to take advantage of the sweet training conditions around Portland and Pineland. So I’m focusing on getting 100% healthy as quickly as possible so I can take advantage of as much quality racing next week as I can. Nationals is always a well-run, fun event and the racing is top-notch. So my fingers are crossed that I’ll be back in the game in no time.

Christmas at home was really nice. I had some big training hours on the table, so it was great to be home getting plenty of rest and eating well while focusing on the task at hand. I felt really, really good all week, which makes my current status that much harder to swallow, but I’m looking at things in the big picture… last week’s training will be really good for my racing in February and March, which will be the most important part of my season. For Christmas eve and day, our family escaped up to our cabin at the base of Chair Mountain above Marble, CO. It was nice to get out of the chaos of Aspen during the holiday season. Check out the pics.

Check back in for updates from Maine throughout next week and happy new year!

View of the Elks from our cabin’s porch

A sampling of some of the skiing from our front door


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After an up and down first WC period in Europe, I’m back in Aspen making the most of the comforts of home. After a few weeks in northern Finland and Sweden, we chased the sun down to central Europe and had some great racing in Germany and Switzerland. Sprinting in Dusseldorf was a wild experience. The course is laid out literally right above the Rhine in the downtown streets, and the WC hotel is part of a Bundasliga 2 soccer stadium (photo below). Needless to say, it was a very new and cool experience. For me personally, the races weren’t great, but we had some good team performances, highlighted by Kikkan’s 2nd place.  The 2 lap course is tricky… pacing is a key factor. It is entirely flat, so recovery is hard to come by. For the most part, if you try to ski the 3:30 qualifier like you would a normal skate sprint, you’ll most likely end up losing quite a bit of time in the last 500 m. because you’re so blown out from the first 2/3. Believe me, it’s true, I know from experience. But Andy and I rolled into the team Sprint on that Sunday renewed and with a fresh confidence (neither of us had good days on the individual day). Conditions were way better than the previous day- hard and fast snow made for more sprint-like conditions. Our semi heat was going really well; our heat was significantly faster than the previous heat, and we maintained a great position in the lead pack for 5 of the 6 legs. With 600 meters left on my last lap before tagging Andy for his last lap, a German made what I thought to be a very questionable move as he cut right in front of me skied over both of my skies, sending me toppling into the slush and watching as the front pack (which I had been in) skied away toward the exchange. But hey, that’s ski racing. Sometimes things don’t work out in your favor, and it sucks.

On Monday, I put the not-so-great weekend of racing behind me and we headed to Davos to meet up with the rest of the team. Besides getting a massive dump of 50+ cm right before the distance race, training went really well all week. My leg was feeling the best it had been feeling since I injured it in October, and I was no longer hesitant to really put it to the test during skate workouts.

It was fun watching the crew race the tough 10/15 km on Saturday. No one had a truly stellar day, but it was still awesome watching everyone hang tough through the crazy conditions. Sunday’s sprint yielded really great conditions, and the sun even blessed us with its presence for most of the day. My qualifier went well- I felt strong, relaxed, and efficient and was pretty psyched when I saw that I skied to 11th. I wasn’t particularly psyched with how my heat ended up going, but I learned some really good things that I will undoubtedly be applying to the next WC heat I ski.

Now home for a couple weeks before jumping back on a plane and heading out to Rumford nationals. Check back in for an update from Aspen, where it’s currently dumping!

The view from our hotel dining room in Dusseldorf. Crazy

Davos

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