Former biathlete, current coach….all round nordic enthusiast!

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

Monday, July 28, 2014

Lots to little: Volume to Recovery

These last two weeks have been about as opposite as they could be. The first was a volume week that ended up being about 22 hours in total followed by this week, full-on recovery at it's best.

A group shot from the MWSC Maine Team Camp at Sugarloaf earlier in July. Great group that put together a great week of productive training sessions. 

Our volume week was pretty uneventful to start but we finished it out with a team trip to Kamouraska, Quebec for a little change of scenery. We camped two nights right on the St. Lawrence Seaway, ate sea weeds and smoked fish, wading along the shore while the tide was out, went for an exploratory run on some local trails, took a scenic 5 hour road bike ride, and (some of us) went rock climbing. I just watched due to almost total exhaustion but I'm hoping to go back at some point and give it a try. If you haven't already been and you're one for gorgeous country scenery and outdoor activity, Kamouraska is a place to add to your bucket list. The area is littered with monadnocks surrounded by farm land and quaint little French-Canadian villages over looking the Seaway. Aside from road biking, trail running/hiking, and rock climbing, there's also great kayaking to be had and the towns boast awesome little shops and art galleries.

Kamouraska is where the red drop is, north-east of Quebec City and about an hour and a half from Fort Kent (at right where the 161 highway marker sits on the Maine/Canada border). 

My recovery week was pretty low key, highlighted by a post-birthday massage (if you ever need a massage and live near or travel to the Presque Isle/Caribou area, go to Leslie Smith…she's awesome), and a trip to Edmunston for some single-track mountain biking. Unfortunately the single track trails don't lend themselves to photo taking while in the saddle (they're a little too technical for me to risk the one-handed maneuvering) so I have no pictures to share from that adventure. The folks in Edmunston have been adding new trails since I've last been there so it was a fun exercise in being lost and not really caring. Lots of raspberries trail side and a good workout to practice staying fairly focused for an extended period of time. 

In other news, I'm older again and got a sweet new camera for my birthday. It's the perfect replacement for my old one (which had spots on the lens that showed when I used any amount of zoom). This one is even smaller (think really small) and will be a perfect addition to my training from now on, not to mention that it has a million features, which I'm still exploring. Some of these photos were taken with my new toy:

On our first afternoon in Kamouraska we explored the shoreline while the tide was out. Unknowingly, we took the difficult route to the water's edge, dodging all these stinky little bogs on our way. 

Brian modeling the kelp scarf that Kelsey just gifted him. 

Toes in the….muck? Might look gross but it felt pretty cool. 

Birthday morning breakfast with my family, via travel mug. 

Saw this fancy rig in our campground. 

Riding along the river. Photo courtesy of my teammate Mikaela.

Our road riding crew at the end of an old ferry pier on the river. Yes, Nick was being a bit of a creeper. 

Seth during a break at the top of a ridge…I guess I still have a little learning to do as far as the panorama function goes on my camera. I think that block box at the right means I didn't move fast enough? Or far enough? 

Fields of canola right along the river in full bloom. 

The gang setting up to climb some rocks on our "off day". Mikaela and I spent much of the morning and early afternoon exploring easier terrain, perfecting our sports bra tan lines, and eating more than our fair share of wild blueberries. 

Kelsey making an attempt at a chosen route. 

Our campground right on the river's edge. 

Looking down toward Kamouraska from the monadnocks where the rock climbing was to be had. 

This monadnock was home to SEBKA, the campground we stayed at. Our site was on the far side right on the river. 

Looking north-east away from Kamouraska….more fields and river. 

Eva in her favorite window spot. Life as a cat does seem rough….eat, sleep and play (at 5 am when Seth and I are still trying to sleep). 

One of the 4-wheeling trails that I've been running on quite a bit this summer. The dry weather (until yesterday) was leaving the trails pretty dusty, especially when you're on foot getting passed by a whole group of ATVs. Hopefully the rain we're getting today will help with that in the coming week. 

One of my favorite view points to run to in Fort Kent. 

Another pretty trail in Fort Kent…so green and peaceful even though it's right in the middle of town. 

And raspberries….best trail-side snack there is. 

Big trucks along one of my running routes….

Love the fields up here…so green and pretty! 

 What's  next? This coming weekend Kelsey, Mikaela and I are hoping to gather a team of 6 for the Nordic Heritage Trail Festival so we can participate in the 6 hour trail running relay race. After that we have the second MWSC Maine Team Camp in Presque Isle before I head down to Vermont for trials and a camp with the National Team later in August. Oh, and LOTS of crocheting….I got an order for 26 hats! Time to get busy!

Stay tuned for photos and stories...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Adventures in Western Maine: Maine Team Camp #1

Before I share the latest of my adventures I'm psyched to announce that I'm an official Alpina athlete! I've been using their boots and bindings (Rottefella) for the past four years and have been really pleased with the quality and comfort of their products. If you're in search of new boots or pondering a switch from SNS to NNN, I highly recommend checking out the Alpina brand. I've added their logo in my sponsors menu to the right and you can click on it to visit the US site. Thanks for your support Alpina! 

This last week the County crew (juniors, PG and ODT athletes all included) ventured south to join up with other MWSC and Maine Team athletes from across the state at Sugarloaf for the first of two Maine Team summer training camps. We used Carrabassett Valley Academy as our base for the week and made good use of the hilly terrain that the area has to offer. Workouts included lots of on-foot time spent running, hiking, hill-bounding and searching for the ever-elusive Will Sweetser scavenger hunt questions (more on that later). We did two rollerski workouts; one as an uphill L3/4 interval set utilizing the Sugarloaf access and condo roads, and the other heading east out of Stratton focusing on double-poling technique and efficiency. Kelsey and I also snuck in one short mountain biking session but hardly touched the new single track trails that the local club has been building. They’re pretty sweet so I’ll have to make a return trip for more exploring at some point. 

The Maine team camps serve as a great opportunity for the MWSC athletes to train together but also as a chance for outside kids to jump into a quality week of training with their peers from across the state. This year the group was pretty impressive in the level of focus and effort that was put forth. Despite some hot weather and workouts that turned out to be harder/longer than expected I heard no complaining. These kids will go far if they can carry the mentality from this camp through the rest of their off-season and into winter! 

Now, as always, the photos from this week: 

The crew taking instructions from Will on day 1.

Our double poling session: focusing on quick impulse and high hips and hands at the top. 

PG and ODT (and Tara, our token college athlete) ladies part way through a five hour hike in the Bigelows. We had absolutely perfect weather for this hike! 
Photo courtesy of Kelsey's phone and Justin's skills. 

Last summit for the day: Avery. 
Photo credit: Kelsey. 

Heading up with the PG and ODT crew...

First summit with the PG boys...

The views aren't too shabby from the Bigelow peaks. If you haven't been up yet, add these peaks to your list. They're gorgeous and worth the effort! 

Flagstaff Lake

My goofball teammates Mikaela and Kelsey enjoying some views, sun and endorphins. 

Mountain flora and great views...

Love these views...

Kelsey wanted to experience being taller for once. 
Photo credit: Kelsey's phone/Justin's skills. 

Kelsey heading down for the last time. 

A view from Flagstaff Lake looking toward the Bigelows that I took toward the end of my double poling session in Stratton. Not a bad view, right? 

As always, I made good use of my free time tying knots in yarn and came away with these. 

In the absence of a biathlon range we visited the local shooting club for some paper accuracy work. Seth captured this shot of my standing efforts. 

The end of camp was scheduled as an OD (over distance…these workouts are usually 3+ hours in length) so Welly and the coaches put together a classic Will Sweeter-style adventure/scavenger hunt. They hid questions of carrying difficulty in the woods and water for us to find via map in a three-hour time frame. Here's one of the questions we found hidden in the river.

Kelsey venturing into a (NASTY) swamp after a question. Due to a rule stating that teammates had to be within 10 feet of one another Nate and I followed suit only to quickly retreat when Nate spotted a 5+ inch leech swimming our way. I'll try to get the videos from Seth to work here: 

Heading in…felt gross but we ventured forth so we'd be within the 10 foot radius of Kelsey. 

No one likes a 5 inch leech….except maybe Seth, who thought it was hilarious. 

And last but certainly not least, a short glimpse of how the boys helped me stay awake on the drive back to Fort Kent: 

This next week is another large volume week for us so there are sure to be more adventures to report on soon. Check back for updates on that and pictures from our upcoming ODT/PG team trip to Kamouraska, Quebec next weekend! 

Monday, July 7, 2014

June Wrap-Up and July's here!

Apparently I've been a slacker and neglected my blog longer than I'd realized. My apologies. Here's the short of the long that was the remainder of my month of June and the first week of July:

June is lupine season in northern Maine and this year was no exception. They're everywhere and they're gorgeous. 

Seth and I celebrated Father's Day with some friends up the road with a BBQ and some lawn games...

My new work place: the Lakeview! 

Kitties lounging around our house. Eva was psyched with the addition of the air conditioner upstairs this last week (understandably…she is wearing a full-body fur coat) and I caught her sitting right in front of it with her nose in the vent. Too cute. Where's my camera when I need it? 

A flowery trail  during an afternoon recovery run along the river in Fort Kent.

Bike trails make for a great easy distance workout in Presque Isle. 

I took an evening bike ride with these two brothers and found some curious cows on the way (along with a whole lot of mud)! 

More mountain biking adventures around Fort Kent. Hard to keep the smile from your face with all the bright colors and so much sun!

The suspended bridge on my favorite 3 hour mountain biking route from Fort Kent. This was the only place I could stop for a snack without getting munched on by deer flies. Annoying? Yes, but they can't keep me from having fun! 

Adding challenges to shooting practice….

2nd place female in the SW Collins run after my first big week of training this summer. Tired legs still can go fast I guess! 

In the end of June I took a short road trip south, first visiting my older brother Isaac in Newport RI before heading up to NH for a short visit at home with my parents. Isaac is a captain on a boat that sails out of Newport so we spent a bit of time exploring town and got to take a morning sail on his new boat, the Adirondack II

I took a couple of runs while in Newport. The first was along the Cliff Walk, a walkway and trail that runs between the ocean and a bunch of mansions. The views were awesome in both directions! 

One of the two tunnels I went through on the Cliff Walk. 

Shot in the tunnel. 

Where the Cliff Walk becomes less of a fancy paved walkway and more of an adventure! 

Some boats waiting to be refurbished at the local boat-building school. 

View down one of the piers in Newport just before sunset. 

Isaac pointed this gem out to us during our morning cruise….looks a bit like a pirate ship, right? That's because it was in the Pirates of the Caribbean! 

Isaac and Jen, his cutie of girlfriend who joined us for the sail. 

My parents enjoying the sun and cooler temps out on the water...

The view over Isaacs shoulder…he's really got a tough job.

Spotted this HUGE lobster during our hunt for a bar on the water where we could watch the US team play in the soccer World Cup. 

After our short visit with Isaac my mom and I drove north to catch the Phantom of the Opera in Boston. This trip marked my first and second times (ever) driving through Boston NOT as a passenger. The trip south wasn't too bad but heading to the Phantom we hit horrible traffic and got hopelessly turned around. It took us a LOT longer to get to the Boston Opera House than it should have. 
Traffic and the Boston skyline. No, I didn't take this while driving. 

This is the route that we drove to get to the Boston Common where we parked in the new (and very convenient) underground parking garage. It took over an hour. 

This is the route we could have taken. Oops. 

The Boston Opera House. 

In the lobby. It's really nice and has been refurbished in the last 10 years or so. I couldn't take any pictures inside the theater but it was more of the same just much grander and HUGE! 

After Boston I went home for the weekend and managed to cram a lot into just three days at home. A ski walking workout up Gunstock, a roller ski time trial with Gunstock Nordic (the club I grew up skiing with), two evenings at the lake with family and friends, a fairy house-making event during Kid's Day at Beans & Greens, and lots of good farm-fresh food. Hard to beat! 

Fresh strawberries! 

The cow-feeding line at home. They've been getting spoiled with fresh-cut hay and don't care much where it lands when it comes off the truck….

Dinner time! 

Caribbean night at the yacht club with my grandmother, Gisela! 

Fairy-housing in the pavilion at Beans & Greens. There are more photos on the Facebook page for Beans & Greens. We had a ton of kids come through so I can't even begin to post all the photos here. 

My mom got me some wings! 

Posing with one of the little girls who was completely taken with my outfit...

This little one showed up with wings and tutu of her own! 

My ski walking buddy enjoying a break while I take in the view…

I'm back in Maine now for a long training stint before we head to Jericho, VT in August for roller ski trials. This past week was a lighter week in terms of hours but it was quite the test from Mother Nature with the heat she threw at us. 

The new steps heading down to our favorite local swim spot, Jacuzzi Falls in Fort Kent. 

Fourth of July parade crew in Stockholm. 

Ashland Adventure Race on July 5th in the remnants of Hurricane Arthur. It was an adventure alright! 

This week I'm heading down to Sugarloaf with the rest of the MWSC crew for the first Maine Team Camp. I wasn't planning on going till this last week but with so many (30+) juniors attending, Kelsey and I are heading down to help out and get our mentoring hats on. Should be fun! Hopefully we have cooler weather than this past week but if not, my fan is already packed! 

Happy July!