Tuesday, November 24, 2009


First news I have....


My good friend Emily Carver made the newspaper in Maine for her work with the AmeriCorps!  Check it out!


We traveled to Finland on Monday morning early after a long bus ride to Oslo immediately following the races on Sunday.  We are pretty far north, so it is plenty dark here most of the day.

Spirits are HIGH!  And the lights are plenty bright, though Vitamin D levels will decline here.
More soon.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Portable Bridge Construction: Day 1

Kikkan after her best distance skate race ever.

The morning we woke up to.  Sun!

XC Ski fans toasting marshmallows on the side of the race.

A few Swedish fans and their blow up doll!

Some days will not go as you planned.  In fact, most days will look a bit like Swiss Cheese, full of things that are unexpected.  What I have always done is simply try to avoid the holes as best possible, so as not to fall in.  However, what I should be doing is building a portable bridge that I can put down as soon as I see the hole and carry it with me to help get over the next one.  Today, I began constructing my bridge.  Today, I discovered a hole 1:30 before my race that I let myself fall in and once I was in, climbing out became even harder than missing the hole entirely would have been.  Let me explain.
We have been training in Beitostolen for 2 weeks now, and exactly one week ago we raced the same exact race that we raced today.  However, today, we woke up to a much different day than we have been used to here.  The tracks were icy, downhills fast, corners sketchy, uphills tough to get an edge on, but this was race day and this was a hole that was unplanned, as there almost always will be.  I skied scared and tentative and all of that overtook my head, so that the simple act of going as hard as possible was even blurry.  So today, I start building my portable bridge.  This is one race in the bag, one race to learn from, one race to motivate me.  
On every day there are those who persevere and those who don't.  Today was Kikkan's best distance skate race ever.  That is something to smile about.  Ben Sim cracked the top 30 for the first time in Australian xc skiing history (I think).  They will be jumping in the air for sure tonight.  The winner of the men's race today is a biathlete and his tears of joy were enough to take your mind off of your own race, good or bad.  Watching the men race after my own effort out there today was inspiring and a reminder that good days or bad, the sport that I picked is one that I love.  There will be more holes, and when I have built my bridge, I may need to build a rope tow to get over an unexpected mountain that may emerge in front of me.  Adversity is a given, learning to push through it must be the goal.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Only Hell is Hotter

Yep.  You read it right the first time.  Basically we are one step below the heat found in Hell itself, us Cross Country skiers.  So all you people who thought you picked the dorkiest sport possible, you can pat yourselves on the back and maybe strip down to your spandex on your next ski.  Own it, because our sport is not only silver to Hell it is:

Yep, that's right, cool.

The FIS World Cup season starts tomorrow with a 10K Freestyle in Beitostolen, Norway.  We have been here for the last 10 days and were able to get a couple races (a 10K Freestyle even!) under our belt on tomorrow's course.  Things are going well here and all the other teams have arrived now.  There is a 4x5k and 4x10k relay on Sunday for the men and women, and we have been desperately trying to put a women's team together.  If we are able to, we will be a North American team, stealing one of the Canadians for our own and likely wouldn't count in the results, as we would be a mixed team.  However, the goal for us antsy girls is simply to be able to put a team together so we can race, so not counting in the final results is not an issue for us.  Results for the weekend can be found at the new FIS cross country website below.  Tally Ho!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Mo and I made friends with a couple of trolls on our day off yesterday!

Mo's new rain boots!!  A new addition to my suitcase this year is a Dr. Seuss book on every trip.  This trip is my all-time favorite of his: The Lorax.

Newell, Kikkan, Matt and I went on an awesome skate tour this morning.  Fresh snow, grooming a few days old, but perfect for balance training and great to get off the race trails for the mental side of things.

We travel to some amazing places as athletes and it is really great to take advantage of the places we are when it is possible to.  We are here to ski race as fast as possible, but it is necessary to get away from the venue and explore too.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ketchup to Beito

In one week I went from being in East Montpelier, VT to being in Beitostolen, Norway!  Here is a bit of a picture book of my last 2 weeks.

East Montpelier Elementary where I went to school.  Murals on the wall are still the same, but I swear the chairs and tables have gotten smaller!

Berlin Elementary.  I was pleasantly surprised by how many kids had cross-country skied before.  Thanks to all three schools for being so welcoming towards me.

My Mom's birthday party the night before I left.  I think she would tell you she just turned 30  and I would have to bet that if you met her you would believe her.
Me in the start gate with my East Montpelier Elementary Roadrunners 
T-shirt, courtesy of the Kindergarten class!

Same T-shirt in our wax room.  Quite a few skis, eh?!

First day in Beito.  Team heading to training.

Kikkan and Mo jumping over the trench that emerged from the time we walked to go ski and the time we walked home!  These Norwegians get after it!

Our daily lunch: Caviar, Fish paste, and Petter Northug bread.  Delicious.

Randy Hill, our sport scientist, thoughtfully brought a blow-up ice bath for us to travel with all winter!  Yay!  No, actually it is awesome and we have all been in it a lot this past week already.  Ice baths are the key to recovery, despite their less than appealing draw in the winter time.

Race 1 of 2009-2010 season.  10K skate for me, but some of the team started yesterday with a classic sprint.  It's a great feeling to put on that bib for the first time and charge.

Morgan Arritola getting a sweet ride from a really fast French skier.  Mo stuck with her the entire second lap and finished with her.  You get passed and you quickly re-focus and stick to them like glue for as long as you possibly can.  Mo did just that and had a sweet ride for an entire 5K.  The minute you let your mind go to the negative aspect of someone passing you, is the minute your race is over.  Re-evaluate, re-adjust and then re-focus.  First World Cup races are next weekend here in Beito.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Halloween.  Dressed up as an old man and went trick or treating at my 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Cote's house.  Pretty fun.

Monday, November 2, 2009

NYC 2009

Billy D on the Nasdaq wall

I am in awe of what happens in this city.  First of all, I don't think you are allowed to be a cab driver here if you do not honk your horn at least every 2 minutes.  These streets are alive with sirens, horns, the subway passing underneath you and the constant game of dodge ball you play with the people walking all around you.  There are street vendors selling bananas 3 for $1, 3 handbags for $25, 3 "I Love NYC" shirts for $10, 3 bialys  for $2, "How about a hotdog Ma'am?  3 for $3!)  If you need just about anything in this world you can find it on the streets of New York City.  Anything and everything but quiet.  Yesterday I had the experience of stepping into the world's largest store, Macy's.  I know I'm from Vermont, the state that has the only capital in the US of A with no MacDonalds or Starbucks, and any town larger than Burlington looks gigantic to us, but the nations biggest store!  I had to see this.  So, I followed the other girls in with one mission, and that was to get our makeup done for free at one of the 75 companies that had a booth in Macy's.  I wandered around aimlessly for a while, bumping into shoppers who had a clear mission, until I saw a familiar brand, Clinique, and strode over to the desk.  I picked the girl who had the least makeup on behind the counter and asked if she could please help because I had no idea what I was doing.  Her name was Matilda and when I told her I needed some makeup (probably pronounced wrong) on my face for a formal ball she asked me what I normally used on a day to day basis.  Things started to get comical here, especially when I said that I wasn't sure I had ever put makeup on in my life.  To me, that wasn't a big deal.  When you spend 4 hours a day in bright colored spandex, it's not the first thing you think to do when you get back inside.  To Matilda, born and raised in the city, it was a bit of a shock.  So she began to fix me up and 30 minutes later I left the beauty department sporting a look that was a bit different than the one I usually wore.  I had heard that this store had 8 or 9 floors of whatever you can imagine, so I decided to venture up to see what was going on in the rest of this maze.  Women's shoes were always fun to look at, so I looked at a map and of the store and saw that they could be found on floors 4 and 5!  I felt instantly claustrophobic and, as if I was in a fire, searched frantically for a lit-up exit sign.  This store was as if someone has taken all the fields around my house, stacked them up and filled them with products.  It was enormous, I was overwhelmed and had bonked.
Nasdaq building where we all had our pictures taken as well as our names on the wall!
We then headed to Gotham Hall and as always, the Ski Team Ball is a good show.  All us athletes step out of our sweatpants, training gear, and race suits and get into suits, dresses, high heels and makeup and mill about with 500 really psyched up fans of US Skiing.  Alongside us were former Olympic medalists Donna Weinbrech, Tommy Moe, and Billy Kidd.  

Billy Kidd, me, Mike Engel, Marco Sullivan.  Mike and his ex wife Deb Lovci have put me up in Park City for the last 3 summers and Mike came all the way out to New York in support of the US Ski Team and me.  Pretty awesome people.

 Ralph Green and me with a few of the supporters

The Ski Balls are always a good time and an awesome way for athletes to meet some of the many people who support our efforts.