An elite athlete competing in the sport of bi

An elite athlete competing in the sport of biathlon: nordic ski racing combined with marksmanship

Thursday, March 5, 2015

On the road again….

Wow….I didn't realize how long it had been since my last update. Oops.

Here's the (very) short of the long: I got my act together and head in the game, raced two NorAms (Jericho and Lake Placid), won all three races that happened (one was canceled due to cold temperatures combined with chilly winds), and was named to the US Team competing at IBU Cups 7 & 8 in Canmore, Alberta. I'm in Alberta now and have already done 3 of the 5 scheduled races here.

I had a bit of a hard time leaving Maine when we have had such great skiing there of late. 

Someone wanted to come along…sorry Luna. I think you might like airplanes less than I do. 

Feet up during my layover at Dulles before heading to Dallas. Kind of a round about route for getting to Calgary! 

Luckily we had a clear day for traveling and got lots of nice views from the planes. 

MWSC teammate Kelsey Dickinson and I came out almost a week before the races started to acclimate and thaw our frozen bodies in the warm weather they've been having. The first few days we had here were awesome…full sun and hardly any wind.

Just a little warmer here in Canmore than in Maine….

We did a lot of crocheting while watching the US XC team killing it in Falun. I made a German-colored hat for our wax tech Matthias. He loves it. 

More crocheting. 

The scenery here leaves little to be desired. This shot was from an afternoon jog along the Bow River. 

Kelsey basking in the sun and scenery. She's a big fan of the mountains here. 

Our host for the first week, Melanie, got to compete in the first three races with us and was super gracious in welcoming us into her home for a few days. She even shared a delicious dinner with us….she's an awesome cook despite some severe diet restrictions. 

Sun in the nordic stadium at Canmore Nordic Center. 

Training during the week before the races got started. More sun….probably my first days training in just a ski suit since our trials back in December. 

Another view of the Bow River, this time from above. 

The railroad trestle that I'm in love with…this time I managed to take a photo from a different angle. 

Perfect classic tracks on the touring trails…too bad I only have skate equipment with me! 

The sun feels so good! 

Another great thing about Canada…everything comes in Maple flavor. Even the yogurt. 

They don't mess around with skating up here…the Zamboni even takes care of the local ponds. 

Some more shots from the venue. 

During our first official training day my teammate Casey had a really bad crash and ended up in the hospital in Calgary. While his injuries were bad, he's making strong steps in his recovery and might be able to go home in the next few days. He suffered a broken scapula, multiple broken ribs (more broken than not on this left side), and a punctured lung. We got to go visit him on our first rest day. He seemed pretty drugged-up then still but has gotten a lot better since. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he keeps recovering as quickly as he has this week. It's hard to see a friend in so much pain and not be able to do much more than make him smile and feed him cookies. 

Official training on the range. 

Ready for opening ceremonies with our Canadian friends and our flag bearer, Thor. 

Posing for a picture with the RCMP and native dancers after the opening ceremonies. 
Photo credit: Pam Doyle

The first weekend (IBU Cup 7) was two sprint races. For the first race I didn't feel awesome on my skis and didn't really do anything amazing on the range. I missed four, finishing just out of the top 30 and wanting more. The second day I felt much better on my skis but still missed 3 shots, leaving me just outside the top 20 in 22nd. A good step up but I've been shooting much better so I still wasn't satisfied. 

My leg numbers from the first race that coincidentally became my finish place in the second race. 

Early starter in the first race. Photo credit: Janice Dickinson

Felt much better skiing in the second race. Photo credit: Janice Dickinson

Coaches Betsy, Matthias, and Jean making fast skis for us! 

A pano of the stadium and range on a sunny training morning. 

Yesterday was an individual, the first race of IBU Cup 8. I felt really good on my skis but really did terribly on the range. In the individual the course is longer (15k for women and 20k for men) and you don't have to ski penalty loops, instead incurring 1 minutes of additional time added to your total ski time for each missed shot. I missed seven shots which put me much further back in the results than my ski time would have. I skied the 20th fastest course time but ended up 29th. Again, leaving myself much less than satisfied. 

Tomorrow we have another sprint race before the final event of the 2015 IBU Cup season on Saturday, a mixed relay. I'm hoping I get named to the relay team for the US but for right now my goal is to shoot better tomorrow…I'm looking for 80% or better on the range. 

Check back soon for another update. This weekend will be busy with two races and a travel day on Sunday. I'm heading to California for US Nationals with teammates Maddie and Kelsey. I will try to update sooner this time though, I promise! 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Facing the right direction again...

Since hearing the naming of the IBU Cup team for January (the team I wasn't named to) I've been getting a lot of training in. The first 2+ weeks I did a volume block, something normally unheard of in the beginning of January but it's paying off now that I'm back to racing. With my head back in the game and my mind refocused on some new goals, training has been really productive of late. As always, because I think a photo-filled blog is more interesting, here are my favorite shots from the last few weeks:

The start of the first Aroostook County middle school race at Fort Kent Outdoor Center. They had a huge showing and actually had weather warm enough to get the event off. 

I got to participate in the first Aroostook Cup race of the season, the Deprey 6k Classic (that is actually a skate race despite what it's name might lend you to believe) at Four Seasons Trails in Madawaska. It was a brisk and chilly day which didn't lend to how I felt on my skis. This was my first hard effort after a few weeks just putting in distance time so it was a good opportunity to work hard while chasing down some guys. That's probably my favorite part about the Aroostook Cup races…they're all mass starts and we get to race with the men! 

The following week I skipped out on the Rumford Eastern Cups to race the 30k Frostbite Aroostook Cup at Fort Kent Outdoor Center. I tried a bit of a different tactic this year, taking it out of the start really hard for the first 5k before stepping down to L3 for the duration of the race. I skied most of it by myself, taking the overall win for both men and women, although I don't think that earned me any extra Aroostook Cup points for 10th Mountain Outdoor Club. The weather was warmer than it notoriously is for that event (hence the name: Frostbite 30) which made for a pleasant event but it was followed by heavy rain and a gross thaw the following morning. Since then we've cooled back down (understatement) and gotten many light dustings of snow that are starting to add up again. The frozen base of ice created by the thaw is acting as a solid base and the powder that's been accumulating has made the skiing at FKOC really nice over the last two weeks. 

A pretty sunrise as seen from Will's house in Stockholm. 

My favorite tree on the FKOC trails….it's single trunk (bottom right) splits evenly to become four! 

A chilly morning on the potato fields across from our house. 

Training with the crew on what was probably the most pleasant morning we had in all of January. 

The sun melted some of the snow off the target roof and created some awesome icicles. 

Perfect classic conditions. 

Sunset over the ski trail after the first middle school race. 

Ready to snow blow the driveway in -5F and howling winds. This requires a Carhartt onesie, two down jackets, a fleece vest, two long underwear shirts, long johns, ski pants, hat, neck warmer, buff, and downhill goggles. And mittens. 

FKOC looking pristine in winter. 

Fresh tracks after another 5 inches of fresh white stuff. 

We had a two days in the past two weeks that actually were so cold that I didn't want to ski. The temperature hardly made it into the negative single digits and the wind howled, making the added chill of skiing downhills much less enticing. So I snowshoed! A welcome change of trails and mode that proved good for my head and body. I stayed warm and still got a decent workout in while packing out the trails that no one had used recently. 

The snowshoe trails were gorgeous, especially when I caught them before the wind took all the fresh powder out of the trees. 

View of FKOC from the Warrior Trail. 

This last weekend we raced NorAm 6 in Jericho VT, a sprint on Saturday followed by an "American Pursuit" on Sunday. We call it the American Pursuit because while we still start by order of finish from the previous day's pursuit, the start times are only 5 seconds apart, making for a more exciting event than it might otherwise be with such small fields of competitors (there were three women in my category). I shot (2,0) to win the sprint and skied pretty fast considering how I felt. My legs were less than happy with the effort after +/- 8 hours of driving the previous day. On Sunday, in snowy conditions, I won again with (0,1,2,2) for shooting and felt much better on my skis. Sometimes I need a hard (and painful effort) to flush out my legs and then I ski much better the next day. My shooting was pretty good for prone. The first stage I came in really hard from the first lap of the 2k ski course and was a little worried at my heavy breathing but it went smoothly. After the first shooting stage it started snowing quite hard and when I came in for my second prone I had some powder lodged in the bottom of my front aperture. I chose to shoot without clearing it and hit all but my last target, which I attribute to a rushed shot, not the snow. Standing was a little harder with the snow as the targets aren't quite so vivid in the flat light and falling flakes. Although I would have been happier with one or two fewer misses, I was pretty pleased to feel so good on my skis after a month+ without any biathlon racing so the good outweighed the bad in the end. 

MWSC ladies getting goofy after our sprint race on Saturday. 

We took a trip into Burlington to see the sights and found some pretty cool ice sculpting on Church Street. This replica of the UVM chapel took me back a few years….

And the icing on our weekend in Vermont: their awards are delicious. We're having pancakes with maple syrup this week! 

This coming weekend we have NorAm 7 here in Lake Placid where I'm writing this from the Olympic Training Center. We're training here for the few days between races and although I took today off and haven't skied yet, I'm going to go ahead and guess that the trails are probably quite nice based on how much snow was on the road sides as we came into town. More pictures soon.  

And because I can't help it, here are some Luna pictures because she's been very affectionate these last few weeks:

Luna watching me suspiciously from her house. 

Luna reaching for some attention. 

What I wake up to each morning…

Happy February!