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

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

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thawing Thunder

My last post started with how incredibly rough my transition from fall to winter was so this one has to start with how warm it got right after I wrote that last post. I spent much of the last week training without warmups and even had a few workouts where I was too warm to bother with a ski suit, going with just race tights and a lightweight long underwear top. I feel like acknowledging this might jinx us and spend the temperatures spiraling back below zero. Which could be tough for training though it would mean Canmore Nordic Centre (CNC) would start making snow again….

The ski development display at the CNC. Pretty cool to see how far our skis have come!

Frozen Thunder, the loop of saved snow they spread back in October, has held up remarkably well considering how long it's been skied on without being refreshed by natural snowfall. That said, it has gotten "less nice" over the last two or three days. I don't say "worse" because looking at the gray pictures from rainy Maine tells me that what we have cannot be considered bad. "Less nice" means that I stopped using my race skis over the weekend and may have added a new scratch or too on the bases of the skis that have now been designated as this year's training pair.

I took this photo a week ago on my last day off….perfect and incredibly cold tracks. Now they're still perfect but the snow is much stickier after a week of warmer weather. 

Thus we come to our "across the hallway" debate. Casey and I have been sharing the forecasts we're following over the past couple of days. Mine calls for fresh snow starting tonight (Monday) right through Wednesday with a total around 10-12 inches. His calls for a whopping 2 centimeters. We have yet to see which website is more accurate but because I love snow, I think that regardless of the results I'll probably go on believing whichever site calls for more snow. My fingers are crossed….fresh snow would mean I can confidently break out my race skis again and that the CNC would probably get some of their non-competition terrain further from the stadiums open. Those trails are really fun for easy distance classic skiing so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll have a chance to ski them before we leave.

My new race skis along with my training pair (far left). 

This coming week is the start of our race season as we'll be doing the first NorAm Cup being held here in Canmore. It should be a good chance to test the legs and the work I've done over the offseason on the range as the women that are heading to IBU Cup for Canada will all be racing too. This week we'll do more speed than we've done in recent weeks. For now, here are some photos from the past week in Canmore.

The railroad tracks that are just across the street from our condos. The train traffic has been fairly heavy every day that we've been here and at night they just fly through town. If I happen to wake up from the sound, I can feel the building vibrating! 

Late morning sun creating shadows on the trail. 

A frozen pond in town with the Rockies in the background. I'm pretty sure there's nowhere in town where you can't see the mountains. It's great. 

Another shot of my skis. 

The Bow River as seen on one of my runs up to the venue. 

I just love this bridge….it looks so different with changes in the sunlight and weather that I've now got a handful of shots taken in various conditions and I love them all! 

Looking down on the biathlon stadium from some new terrain that opened over the weekend. They've been pushing out fresh man-made snow on the nordic race trails and this one had quite a bit of climbing involved. 

We spent one afternoon at a local tea shop called Communitea. I was pretty excited about their colorful display of tea spices, though Brian was completely annoyed that they were close to, but not IN rainbow order. 

Shooting on a warm day….standing. 

Shooting prone the same day. 

Another run up to the venue…this one earlier in the morning after the sun had just crested the distant mountains to the south of Canmore. 

A riverside trail on my way back to the hotel. Those mountains you see are on the opposite side of the valley from CNC. 

The bridge again…different light and from the other end. 

A view on my down the hill from CNC looking east across the Bow River Valley. 

Brian and I went on an afternoon running adventure up the ridge to the east of the valley and our hotel. I showed him the Hoodoos….yes, that's what these things are called. 

There are three Hoodoos up there. If you drive up into Banff National Park there are a lot more but we haven't been up there yet. 

The Three Sisters…Brian informed me that they are called Faith, Hope, and Charity, though I'm not sure which was which. 

Looking down off the ridge we ran along toward our hotel and town. The white spot closest to the middle of that far ridge is where CNC is. 

A view of the Bow River from a different trail. The water, which I'm sure is super cold at this point, was crystal clear and looked almost green from the right angle. 

And finally, some shots of my actually training! It's hard to get pictures of me skiing when Seth is busy coaching and everyone else is training with me. These shots were frozen frames from some technique videos he took one morning. We were shooting and alternating one pole, V2, double pole and no pole skiing on the ski loops between shootings. Here I'm using just my left pole…something I've never felt particularly strong at, but I'm getting better. 


Check back in a week for an update with results from our first weekend racing and my reflection on how it went! Wish me luck! 

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