An elite athlete competing in the sport of bi

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

Friday, April 24, 2015

Change

Since my last post my life has taken a big turn. I've decided to put my rifle away and move on to some new and exciting adventures. My plans have taken me home to NH for the summer but I'm tentatively hoping to spend next winter back in Maine so I can be with Seth.

One of my last skis for the 2014-15 winter….fresh single-track for classic in Madawaska. 

Madawaska again. 

More nice classic track at Fort Kent Outdoor Center. 

Tapping trees at FKOC with the Theriault family. 

View of Katadin from route 11 on my drive home. 

Deciding to stop pursuing biathlon was a tough decision for me but one I felt I had to make. MWSC decided to stop their Olympic Development Program due to budget cuts. Without a program and the support of a coach on trips, biathlon is a really tough sport to be successful in. I truly enjoyed biathlon so calling it quits is tough. On the flip side, I have had five years of ongoing frustrations with the way the sport is run in the U.S. so taking that stress out of my life is a welcome relief. I'm still grappling with this giant change in my life so I'm sure I'll have more thoughts to share throughout the coming year as I continue to navigate this transition. I've been skiing and training for skiing/biathlon year-round since about 2004, so taking more than a few weeks off from it feels quite odd so far.

I am planning on continuing to race. I want to do the Birkie and will probably reacquaint myself with some classic technique so I can feel confident skiing in the NENSA Eastern Cups and as well as a few other long distance events. I've always done well in long races so I want to pursue that this coming winter. I plan on being a "lifer" in this sport…well, skiing anyways. Not so sure about biathlon yet. Nordic skiing is something I truly enjoy and even taking a few months off from it makes me sad, so I'm thinking seriously about trying to find a coaching job in the future.

For now I've moved home to NH (for the summer) to help my older brother Isaac launch a family dream. We live on a farm at the base of a hill where we have fields looking north and west toward the mountains and Lake Winnipesaukee. We've started Timber Hill Farm (what it's always been called) as a farm-to-table venue. Most of the land on our farm is under conservation easement, meaning it can never be developed. There are also strict rules that govern the management and uses that are allowed. Under the easement we can have events if they are related to agriculture or forestry somehow so we've teamed up with our vegetable farm, Beans & Greens, and will host events on our home farm with locally grown food (some actually grown here on this hill). This summer we already have several weddings booked, along with a farm-to-table dinner and an open house. Isaac and my parents bought a huge sailcloth tent and we have many, many more plans to make ours a unique and special experience.

Sunset over one of our barns at home in NH. 

Helping move one of our new calves down to the farm stand for the summer. You can placate any young calf by letting it suck on your fingers….lots of slobber! 

My dad and one of our tiny new chicks. 

Tree across the road from the barn where I've spent much of my time home so far. 

My parents feeding a calf that got abandoned by her mom in the field above our house. 

She spent a few days in the barn nestled in some hay and getting bottle fed. 

Now she's at Beans and Greens with the calf from the photo of it sucking my fingers (above)….the little one has been named Mo and the bigger one (on the right) is Marcy. Mo follows Marcy around like a puppy…it's really cute! 

Farm table and bench built by my brother, sign burned by me!

Right now I'm working on cleaning out part of one of our barns to create a bridal pantry, or a room filled with props and extras that couples can add to their wedding. The space I'm working on has been a storage area for at least my lifetime and probably for as long as the barn's been there. When I started it was FULL of old wood, windows, doors, beams, and other random stuff. There are some cool things in there too though and I'm planning on cleaning it all up and sprucing up the items that could be used decoratively for events. I've collected boxes of old bottles and jars, an old-school US Mail box and started gaining access to some gorgeous old horse-drawn buggies and a sleigh that are also stored away in there. It's a bit of a daunting task, but it's been a nice change of pace.

Cobwebs….from about five minutes of waving the stick around the rafters and corners. I have a LOT more cleaning to do!

This is what the second floor looked like before I started chucking things out the window. 

This is closer to what it looks like now, though the rest of the stuff on the right is gone and I started sweeping up the hay and corn husks that are all over. Unfortunately it seems like some animals (raccoon family?) have been living in this part of the barn. Whatever it is loves corn cobs and left droppings everywhere. Pretty gross. 

My younger brother Alex and his girlfriend Emily came down from Craftsbury for a couple of days this last week and built an arbor for our events. It came out great so I had them keep building. They made a facade for in front of our "executive" porta-potties that we're going to rent for events and two wooden frames for ladder ball. They're pretty crafty. 

I'll try to keep updating this blog every now and then. Obviously the theme has changed quite a bit for the next few months and after that, when I do start training later this summer, there won't be a rifle involved. New adventures are fun though, and that's what I have to remind myself of when I start to miss my life in Maine. Stay tuned for what will likely be an overdue update in several weeks, or follow Timber Hill Farm on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to see what I'm up to! 






Thursday, April 2, 2015

Race! Then Rest, Recover, plan.

This past Monday I got back from my final trip of the 2014-15 racing season….a five week stint on the road that included racing in Canmore for IBU Cups 7 and 8, two weeks in Truckee, California for US Biathlon Nationals, and finally a week in Sun Valley, Idaho for cross country Super Tour Finals. I'm happy to be back home, sleeping in my own bed, cuddling my two favorite kitties and enjoying some overdue time with Seth.

Some of my races went well, others went not so well but I came home with a tanned face and some gorgeous pictures so it can't have been all that bad! Now it's planning season…figure out where to go from here. There will be big changes though I'm not sure what they'll look like yet due to some serious changes for MWSC. When I'm ready to share, I'll post again about those. For now, here are some of my favorite photos from the past weeks….enjoy and stay tuned.

Lake Tahoe….on the border between California and Nevada. Was the perfect place to thaw after a long, cold winter in northern Maine. 

I'm ready to go back. 

Clear water and blue skies lend the lake to looking like this most of the time. It's gorgeous. 

I took pictures till my phone died and I was sure that I had two shots of every rock. Just kidding, but I do have a whole slew of photos collected on my computer after four trips to the lake in the two weeks we spent in Truckee. 

So pretty. 

Old cars live longer where there's no salt on the roads…and apparently Thule boxes grow horns too.

Lake Tahoe again…the water level is super low. It's pretty sad. The sand-looking area between these trees and the waterline should all be underwater. 

We got to explore some abandoned train tunnels up on Donner Pass. They're all covered in graffiti and wet inside but pretty fun to explore. 

Urban art in a not to urban area? 

We also went to the Donner Party Museum and learned about their unsuccessful migration west back in the 18040s during a winter of 20+ feet of snow. 

At the museum store they had painted rocks for sale….for $30! Why haven't I been selling rocks? 

Very dirty but still snow-covered trails for US Nationals at Auburn Ski Club. 

Prone shooting on day 1: sprint race. Photo credit: Jakob Ellingson

I finished third with four misses (pretty bad for me) and having raced on my training skis which were terribly slow. I learned and decided to actually sacrifice some good skis for the second race. 
 Photo credit: Jakob Ellingson


Recovery activities between races at US Nationals. After a few weeks on the road my body wasn't psyched about racing in Truckee….here I'm in the ice bath with my right foot and the hot tub with my left. Contrast bathing in hopes of feeling better for race #2 the next day. 

Saying goodbye to my beautiful S2 race skis…they got sacrificed to the dirty snow that we raced on in Truckee. How they managed to pull off races on snow-covered trails is beyond me. 

The day after our last race in Truckee it snowed down in town….this little bit of fresh white stuff would have so helped during the previous two weeks of big races (they hosted Junior Nationals for cross country the week prior to Biathlon Nationals). Mother Nature just wasn't feeling like cooperating! 

After biathlon Nationals I made my way up to Sun Valley, ID with Patrick Johnson, a biathlete on the Far West team, based out of Truckee. This picture pretty much sums up the whole drive from Truckee to Idaho…all 10 hours of it. 

In Sun Valley I was sick for the first few days and unfortunately wasn't well enough to compete in the team relay two days after we arrived. Two days later was a 30k and my final chance to race for this season so I choked down more vitamin C than I care to think about, slept and saved my energy. 

Completing the "parade lap" immediately after the mass start. Photo credit: FlyingPointRoad

It worked and though I wasn't sure I would race even an hour before the start due to severe congestion, I put on my bib, paced myself carefully through the first lap and then started picking off competitors. It was 6 laps on a 5k course and I think I managed to pass people on all but the very last lap. By that time the race was so strung out that I was just able to see the next competitor in front of me and had no one in sight behind. I know…don't look back, but when you're out there for two hours (the skiing was super slushy and slow due to 60 degree temps and full sun) you get bored and start looking around. I finished 18th….better than my 54th start position, and 12th for Americans. Pretty happy with that for an ending to a long season despite being sick! 

Looking north-west from the back side of the pass that Galena Lodge (the venue for the Super Tour races) sits on. We took our rental for some exploration before heading home. 

I stayed out west for a few days after the races, explored a bit, nursed my cold (though it's still hanging on) and then made my way back east to find home still buried in snow and still cold. 
Though not as cold as I left it back in February. It's snowing lightly even as I write this. On April 2nd. 

#whereisspring

Stay tuned for my decisions on next season. 
I'm not at all sure what they'll be, but I hope they'll make me happy.