Wednesday, January 28, 2009


These are the days we call glamour days.  They are the days that are sunny and warm, yet the tracks are still firm.  They are the days where you can head right out your front door and have hundreds of K of perfectly groomed trails to ski on, great skis, and great friends to do it with.  These are the kinds of days we have here.  I am in Praz de Lys, France for the U-23/World Junior Championships.  Tomorrow is our first race, a 10/15K freestyle, followed by a 15/30K pursuit on Saturday and a classic sprint on Sunday.  The juniors begin racing on Sunday with a classic sprint.  We are staying in a big hotel with 6 or 7 other teams, and so we have been trying to practice our languages when possible.  I am about to get a massage from our PT so I am going to go, but will post again tomorrow.  

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Its On

It's on.  The World Cup races here in Whistler start up tomorrow with a classic sprint.  It will be an exciting day for all racing, and for teammates watching as well.  I am not racing tomorrow, but will be in the 15/30K pursuit on Saturday.  Pretty exciting to be here amongst some of the world's best skiers, and for many of us this is either a first time experience to be racing here or at least a rare occasion, so the fire is lit, nerves are rocketing around and we are jazzed up.  More to come after the weekend, hopefully with some pictures!!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bring on the rain....

I have a new appreciation for the rain.  I have always liked rain, but winter rain is not always as pleasant as a warmish summer rain.  In the winter, generally, you would rather see snow falling from the sky, however, rain in the winter does guarantee one thing: It will not be below zero on the thermometer, and for me, right now, that is worth jumping in the air for.  

We just left Anchorage, Alaska, where the temps were below -4 degrees Fahrenheit (well below most days) for 2 weeks straight.  I say below -4 because that is legal race temp, and without being above that mark for most of the week, 2 of our 4 races were cancelled.  That is a bummer, for sure, as there were hundreds of athletes who make the trek to US Nationals every year, but something incredible always seems to happen whenever we race in Alaska, and that is this: The volunteers are unbelievable people.  I have been in Fairbanks, AK, many times for races where is is extremely cold, and despite all, the course is lined with hundreds of  smiling faces of people who have left their warm homes to come stand in the frigid temperatures to help a cross country ski race get off the ground.  Some of them ski, a lot of them don't, and that is something to be incredibly thankful for, the volunteers.  So a huge hug goes out to all of you who were out there day after day, trying to get a race off for us, and smiling even when you were freezing.  Thank you.  

Despite the rain and mist that has been hanging around for the last couple of days, the snow here in whistler is incredible.  I am here to race a world cup (my second ever) and I am super pumped.  There is  a classic sprint on Friday, a 15/30K pursuit on Saturday and a skate team sprint on Sunday.  It is going to be awesome.  
Sorry no pics....I need to take my camera out of my bag if I want to be able to post any....

Friday, January 2, 2009

People Watching

People watching.  It has to be one of the easiest pass times there is in this world.  It is way more engaging than twiddling your thumbs, does not require concentration the way reading does, even surfing the internet has it’s downsides, as I only know about 10 sites to go to and then I get stuck looking at the same pictures over and over, wishing they would change.  But people, they are incredible and they are ever moving.  People are always doing things worth watching, worth analyzing, or simply staring at (which is not the most polite thing to do, I know).  Right now, I am looking at a lady who has more trouble than I do picking out clothes that match with each other, and that is saying something, as I have been asked on numerous occasions if I got dressed in the dark.  There are women in running tights, though definitely not heading out or coming in from any sort of exercise.  There are men with handbags, a store clerk with cat eye contacts.  But these physical features are just scratching the very surface of people watching.  The actions and the conversations are what make this pastime such eye candy for the long-term airport junky and bored citizen.  Making up the life stories of the people who walk by, trying to decide whether a couple were high school sweethearts or whether they met and got married in Vegas last night, that’s when the game really gets going.  There are so many military uniforms wandering around in the Minneapolis airport, and these are hard for me to pick a story about.  War is too foreign for me to guess about, perhaps it is for them too and they are on their way to training, or perhaps they just wish it were still far away from what they knew too.

 There are kids, dogs, cats, long sweaters, mini skirts, sports teams, musicians, people of all ethnicities speaking all languages, but again, these are just the outside, the surface.  There are thousands of people, all under one roof, who live lives that are completely different from one another.  People are sick, people are unhappy, there is anger here, and love, and republicans and democrats, people from the Bahamas and people from northern Finland.  It are these characteristics that really make these people come alive to the watcher.  These are the characteristics that are invisible to the naked eye, but so vivid to an awakened imagination.

 So I people watch, and maybe it is rude and judgmental, but the fact that I can make up a life for someone who just walked by me in a pea coat and thick rimmed glasses, to me, that’s just imagination, and I always wonder what life others will come up with for me (or my family!).