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, 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! 

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!