An elite athlete competing in the sport of bi

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

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bouncing back.

I've been putting off writing this post because I haven't got anything exciting to share and that which I do have, isn't what I'd hoped for. My races in Minnesota didn't go well enough to earn me a spot on the team heading to Europe for IBU Cups 4 & 5 so my last few weeks have been pretty uneventful on the biathlon front. That said, I haven't been sitting on my thumbs….

I got to go home for almost a week over Christmas and really enjoying taking a breather from training to visit with my family and relax a bit. After my "break" I came back to Maine and started working out what I'm going to do with the rest of my winter. There is a chance  that I get to race for the US in some IBU Cups in Canmore at the beginning of March so I haven't put my rifle down, but my more immediate focus has been less on racing and more on base training so that I can be fast at the end of winter. I did a club race in Madawaska last weekend that felt pretty crumby, but I expected that after 3+ weeks without much intensity. Next weekend I'm going to test my L3 capacity in the 30k skate race here in Fort Kent. Aside from that, I'm enjoying a more relaxed version of winter, sleeping in my own bed and training in one place for a while.

Some photos from my last 3-4 weeks:

Christmas at home in NH. 

There's nothing quite like a relaxing evening with a real fireplace. Here in Fort Kent we have a fire, but it's gas so it's not quite the same as what I grew up with. 

Christmas dinner. 

My brother's dog, Gunnar, enjoying the cold concrete by the door. 

My parent's dog, Kaiya, on cloud nine in a bed or wrapping paper with a new squeaky toy. 

My parents made Seth and I a new game for Christmas. We call it Marbles…it's a lot like Sorry but played with two decks of cards instead of dice. I grew up with Marbles so it's great to have a little piece of home to take back to Maine with me. I taught Mikaela and Sarah to play this past weekend. 

My brother and his girlfriend, Emily, made my parents some adirondack chairs for Christmas. Pretty sure they've taken up permanent residence in our house and might replace the couch soon. 

Yup, chocolate bullets in my stocking. 

Gunnar getting some chill time….not relaxed at all. 

Sunny day at home. My mom likes her plants. A lot.  

Eggs from our chickens for breakfast.

And back in the County: a cold classic ski in near perfect conditions brings out a smile no matter how disappointing trials were. 

10th Mountain: recently renamed to Fort Kent Outdoor Center. 

Fresh tracks on a (VERY) cold morning at FKOC. 

Last week we had a few days of crazy snow squalls. One morning I woke up and was psyched to see the sun so I snapped this shot from one of our windows. Shortly thereafter I looked outside again….

Morning view of the US-Canada border from our window. 

My first weekend back Mikaela and I went to Madawaska to ski and stayed to help with their children's program. It was zero out but they still had 40-50 kids show up! 

A cold classic adventure with friends...

Fresh corduroy at FKOC. 

I found a channel that was showing the stages of the Tour de Ski but it quickly disappeared from our listings and now I can't find it! Heart break sets in. 

Getting ready to snow blow the driveway in below zero weather with howling wind includes long underwear, a fleecy shirt, a fleece vest, two down jackets, neck warmer, buff, hat, glasses, mittens, boots (with the fur) and a very dorky (but very warm) Carhartt onesie. 

Our kitties that love to cuddle but also seem to find places that they can't both easily fit. Eva doesn't seem too phased by hanging over the edge. 

How to enjoy an afternoon after a morning of chilly training….hot chocolate while teaching Mikaela how to crochet. While knitting was a solid fail for her, she actually picked up crocheting quite fast! 

We've had our share of cold mornings up here. 

Another cold ski….somehow taking music along makes me feel a little warmer when it's below zero and windy! Although they look supremely dorky, wearing these headphones is like having surround sound on my head. The sound quality is great AND they keep my ears warm! 

With the disappointment of IBU trials behind me, I'm glad to be in a place with good friends and great skiing to get my mind back in a happy place. There's nothing like a perfect classic distance ski with friends to help me remember why I ski. Stay tuned for more pictures of perfect ski conditions and training adventures from the frozen hinterlands of northern Maine!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Minnesota Trials

After about five weeks on the road I'm finally back in northern Maine cuddling my kitties and enjoying the snowiest place I've been so far this winter!

First, I have some exciting news to share: Skhoop, a Scandinavian company that makes amazing women's winter wear, has joined forces with our women's ODT and PG biathletes this winter! We'll be wearing jackets, socks, and down SKIRTS from them soon…in the mean time, you can check out their site. I highly recommend their down skirts…I have one that I got in college and I LOVE it!  Can't wait to get our new stuff. It's supposed to come to our embroiderer today and I've been hitting the refresh button on USPS tracking in anticipation.

Brian was a little jealous of our new Skhoop supporters….he tried my skirt on just for grins. 

The last nine days of our stint on the road were spent in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. I have very mixed feelings about Grand Rapids….they have a pretty good course that usually has great cover for racing, even in early December. This year was no exception on that front. The part about Minnesota that gets me is that I've had very few pleasant days there in terms of weather and this year was no exception. Usually we end up with ridiculously cold temperatures during our December trials. This year we had the opposite end of the spectrum…warm, wet weather that ate any natural snow on the ground and brought out the dirt in the man-made ski track. Fortunately Mother Nature redeemed herself a bit on the last two days of racing, bringing us cold weather that refroze the track and made it seem more like a winter sport again.

My races went alright…I can't say I'm psyched with them because I never had great shooting but the skiing was consistently faster than I've been in those trials in a couple of years, so that was good. We're still waiting to hear how the team naming will go so I have my fingers crossed on that front. The four top ladies were within 98% on the final ranking list so hopefully they'll fill the spots allocated to the US and let us all get some better racing experience!

Pictures from MN:

Photo credit: Jakob Ellingson

Photo credit: Jakob Ellingson

Photo credit: Jakob Ellingson

Heading into Minnesota…there was some natural snow when we arrived but it all melted pretty fast when it got warm and rained. 

Racing in the snow-eating fog. Photo credit: Jakob (or Mikael?) Ellingson

Photo credit: Jakob (or Mikael?) Ellingson

The house we stayed in was right on a lake. When it rained the surface got really smooth and slippery so we did some exploration after training on our day off between races. 

The skating would have been amazing but when it cooled off the rain turned to snow and now it's covered again. 

That's our rental house. 

MWSC podium sweep in the mass start race. Photo credit: Seth Hubbard

I made the podium in all four races (clockwise from upper L): second (actually 3rd with my teammate Maddie, who is a junior but won the overall and isn't pictured) in the first sprint, third in the next, second in the mass start and third in the final race, another sprint. 

The view from our little plane on the way back into Portland yesterday. 

And the view just as it was getting dark on our way up Route 11 toward Fort Kent. Lots more natural snow than I've seen anywhere else thus far. 

Fingers are crossed for the team naming. Will post again when I know how it goes.