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…