Monday, January 27, 2014

Pre-Olympic Training Camp!

Still in Seiser Alm!!! We are so lucky!

Perfect tracks, beautiful sun lots of days, and snowing the rest of the time. The training life is good up here.

Noah heading out on a ski.

The Italian Team was staying at our hotel with us until this past Saturday and it was fun to mingle a bit with another team.  A few of us skied with Debby, one of the Italian World Cup athletes a couple of days, and we are plotting how to do some more training together in the future.

Here are a few shots of our gorgeous vista.

Our hotel: Hotel Panorama

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Seiser Alm to Poland and Back!

After a great training camp after the Tour de Ski with Jessie, Noah and Matt, we all jumped in the van and headed out on our 9 hour drive to Poland where the weekend's World Cups were to be held.  It was hard to leave the epic snow conditions here, as Poland was not meant to have much at all, but we knew we would be coming back in 5 days, so that made it a bit easier.

Seiser Alm

Poland was really fun, as I was able to do a skate sprint race, which I really like to do, but usually don't have a spot.  I ended up qualifying for the rounds for my second time ever on the World Cup, and finished the day in 15th and had the time of my life!

Holly sent me these pictures from her live feed back in USA.  Pumped to get Holly back tomorrow after her little rest in Boulder and Park City the last 2 weeks.

Ahhhh....happy place.

Great ski this morning on perfect tracks! 

As a reminder:
The website CrossCountrySki.US has the entire EuroSport feed of every Cross Country World uploaded to the internet, just for all of you avid fans out there, but maybe not willing to get up at 4 am to see us compete on the weekend. TOTALLY get that!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Just a very quick snapshot of the last 2 weeks....

Jessie, Holly and I in Toblach, Italy after stage 5 of 7.

There has been a lot that has happened in the last 2 weeks, and I really want to recap in more depth, but I am torn between getting a post up and taking the time to reflect on this period of time that has just passed.  So, I will do both.  Here are a few pictures from the last couple of weeks to give you a brief idea of what I have been up to until I can sit down and take the time to write the post I would like to write.

The Tour de Ski happened.  And, my parents came to watch the last 3 stages!!

Noah, Jessie and my good friends, Karin Camenisch and Markus Ljungdahl decided to drive over from Davos to watch us race Alp Cermis.  The 3.5 hour drive turned into an epic 9.5 hour drive, through a blizzard and closed roads, but they made it and I feel so incredibly lucky to have such caring friends as these two gems.

Our awesome massage therapist, Steph, who keeps us feeling our best throughout these grueling 9 days, me, and Holly after the Final Climb.  Holly didn't complete the last 2 stages of the Tour this year, but was there cheering her lungs out right where we needed her most.

Holly, Jessie, Steph and I all smiles after finishing the Tour.  It's a pretty fun feeling at the top of that mountain at the end of the 9 day Tour.

My parents and I took a mini 3 day vacation and headed south to Tuscany the day after the Tour.  Rest is what is needed for a few days following, so it was a great opportunity to spend some much needed time with my family and check out an area none of us had ever been to before.  We stayed 2 nights in a small town called Castellina in Chianti, which is about 20k outside of Sienna.  It was a really cute little town, complete with a castle, vineyards and olive trees everywhere, and great little farmhouses that you can rent a room in for the night.  We found just such a place and enjoyed the quiet, beautiful views from the patio when we weren't out exploring, which I have to say was not too much!

My parents and the view from our farmhouse.

The first night we arrived I saw one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen in my life. A picture never does it justice, but to give you an idea...

We checked out Sienna for a day, which is a super old city with narrow, cobblestone streets and gorgeous, old buildings, some that were built thousands of years ago.  It's pretty unbelievable how old some of Europe is.  My dad and I enjoying an espresso.

Me and my parents excited to have time together. I can't tell you all enough how wonderful it was to be with my family again, even if only for a few days. Skype is great, but there is nothing that compares to a bear hug from your dad and some good quality mom time. I didn't realize how much I needed it.

Panoramic view of the square in Sienna

View of the city of Sienna.

I am now training in Seiser Alm, Italy with Jessie, Noah and Matt before we all head to Poland for a weekend of World Cup racing and then head back here for 10 days of training again before our last World Cup before Sochi!  It is all coming quickly now.  There are some really beautiful pictures from here that I want to post, and some fun activities that happened yesterday on my birthday, but I have to get to bed so they will have to wait!

Ok....maybe just a taste of my life right now....


Monday, December 30, 2013

Tour de Ski!


This is one of my favorite times of year, racing in the Tour de Ski.  It is a big traveling circus of cross country skiers and staff that just set up shop, race, take down shop, travel, set up shop, race, take down shop, travel, etc for 9 days.  It's so much fun and this year we have a pretty big crew for these first 4 stages.  A lot of people will drop out after the races here, as 3 of the first 4 races were either sprints or a prologue.  Noah, Jessie, and I plan to complete the whole Tour, which is 7 stages in 9 days, finishing with the climb up Alp Cermis in Italy. So far we have completed the first 2 stages, the skate prologue which kicks things off and a skate sprint, which was supposed to be a 10k classic, but due to lack of snow in Oberhof, the format was changed.  I actually was pretty excited, as I never get to sprint, and tomorrow is another skate sprint as well, so lots of practice.  I qualified in my only ever WC sprint last year in Val Mustair, Switzerland, and yesterday I was 32nd, 2 places from qualifying, so I am really excited to get another crack at it tomorrow.

We hosted a white elephant gift exchange in our apartment on the 23rd and invited a bunch of different athletes from all different countries and it was super fun. Jessie baked about 6 different types of Christmas cookies as well, which were delicious!

Me and Noah on Christmas morning opening our cards from our second family, the Moore's.

Delicious Christmas morning gingerbread cake, courtesy of Jessie!

Stockings that santa filled, which looked suspiciously like Jessie's socks....

Jessie's new bag tag:)

The chain gang.  On our way to Oberhof from Davos it started snowing really hard and to get down the pass we needed to chain up...all 4 tires on our 2 wheel drive van.  Perhaps a new set of tires would have been a good start!

From snowy Davos to rainy, warm Oberhof, Germany where we skied in the ski tunnel as the track was closed the day before the races.  No preview was necessary, as the course was only 1500 meters long! The races were changed, as the weather in Oberhof was so bad leading up to the races that they were not able to blow snow.  Given the weather conditions, the volunteers really made these races happen. Props for sure.

Training in the tunnel.

Noah and Simi's friend from Aspen is a teacher of an 8th grade class who made us all Christmas cards and wished us all good luck in the Olympics and for the season.  These kinds of things are really special to us, so a huge thanks to the Aspen class!!

Our ice tub was already set up in our hotel in Oberhof!

And then we woke up in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, and it looked like this. YES!

Bomber tracks, perfect sun, beautiful mountains, which were made even sweeter by the fact that the last 4 days were pretty tough.

Langlaufing. (German for xc skiing)  It's the thing to do here.  And I'm PUMPED!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Holiday Time

I am in Davos, Switzerland for the Holidays this year, preparing for the Tour de Ski which starts in Oberhof, Germany on Saturday.  The Tour is 7 races in 9 days and is a very taxing but extremely fun bit of the season.  We are thoroughly enjoying the holidays together as a smaller team and I want to wish you all a very happy holiday season wherever you may be.  Here is a recap of the week.

Picture of me racing in last week's 15k skate taken by Andrew Moorehouse.  Great to have some extra help over here this week including Eli Brown, Erik Flora, and our awesome PT/Massage Therapist Fredrica "Fred" Manning. Huge shout-out to these guys for the awesome extra help this week.

And another HUGE HUGE shout-out to my awesome Rossi boot guys.  These guys are the reason I am pain free in my feet and able to train and compete at my best.  Luca and Luigi drove the long drive from Montebeluna, Italy to Davos to help me and a few other athletes out with some boot work.  Thanks a ton guys! You rock.

Noah and Jessie night 1 in our apartment here in Davos for the Christmas break.  Pad Thai. YES!
Breakfast 1: French Toast and REAL VERMONT MAPLE SYRUP!! My awesome cousin and his family gave me a lucky maple syrup from Slopestyle Syrup, the Cochran Family's sugaring business and it was delicious and sure to bring us extra energy for the upcoming Tour de Ski!

Noah, me and Jessie sporting our aprons for cooking time.

Christmas cookie time!!  My good friend, Anna Haag and I made dinner and then got our bake on the other night. We made these delicious chocolate cookie balls, fudge, chocolate covered pistachios and almonds and some gourmet Reeces!

Me and Anna having a blast in her kitchen.

The weather and the snow has been nice here and our apartment is just a short walk to the stadium and all the trails.  Jessie, Noah and I headed out on an early ski on Saturday so we be back in time to watch the sprint heats.

Jessie snagging some sun time.  Oh yeah Davos. Oh yeah.

Our Christmas Tree!!! Complete with lights and ornaments and a handmade snowflake for the top!

We fired up a game of sequence the last couple nights.  Games are awesome.

Jessie putting in some one pole work.

Yesterday Holly, Jessie and I skied together for a bit and worked on our classic technique together.  No pole and 1 pole drills may not feel "cool" but there must be something to it when you see the best skiers in the world doing tons of it. I think the only times I have seen Justyna use 2 poles this year are in the races.  That may be an exaggeration, but if you aren't ever dropping a pole or two, now is the time.

Mini coffee....

Mini Sandwich...
AND SO DELICIOUS!  Thanks for lunch Holly! (Don't worry, this was not it!)

There is a new hotel that has opened here that we call the "Golden Egg" because that is what it looks like to us.  They had an open house yesterday afternoon so a few of us went up to see what it was all about.

The flower presentation on the tables was beautiful.  

And the sun on the deck and comfy couches was hard to beat.

Florian (Robs friend from college), Holly and her husband Rob.

The view from the 10th floor bar in the Golden Egg.  It is a very crazy, overbuilt and modern hotel, but it has a bit of intrigue for me just because it looks so different than any other building I have ever seen.  I forgot to take a picture of the outside of the place but I will try and take one today and add it to this post.