Saturday, November 21, 2015

Resting up in Gallivare

The race season officially started for our team today in Gallivare, Sweden.  I had been looking forward to this date for quite some time and it was hard to mask my disappointment and frustration this morning when I woke up sick with a sore throat.  There wasn't anything I would rather have done than put on my new stars and stripes race suit with a bib on top and hammer til my lungs burned.  It didn't seem fair that I got the achy lungs without the satisfaction of a hard effort.  I longingly looked out over the fresh snow which had fallen over the last several days and settled into perfect ski conditions.  As a ski racer, everything seems to revolve around the delicate balance of staying healthy.  Colds or other bugs which would be minor to most quickly turn devastating to Nordic skiers.  My mind started to wander toward the what ifs and worries from missing races and training. So I spent the day coming up with ways to stay busy and happy in a lonely European hotel room far from home.  Here's a list of some of my top activities from the day
  • Organizing my email inbox
  • Reading Shantaram, a 946 page novel that I highly recommend
  • Coloring in a coloring book- surprisingly soothing and healing
  • Seeing how slowly I can chew raw garlic
  • Drinking cup after cup of tea
  • Researching online graduate school classes
  • Short walks
  • Yoga 
  • And of course.... blogging!
I have my fingers crossed for a fast recovery so I can be back on the ski trails soon!  Here are some pictures of Gallivare from earlier in the week and from a walk earlier today.

Skiing!  So much fun to be back on snow in winter and can't wait to get out there again!
The Hellner Stadium in Gallivare on a snowy day!  Swedish skier and Olympic Champion Marcus Hellner lives and trains in Gallivare

The stoke level is high for the start of the season.  Here are Erik Bjornsen, Tim Baucom, and Caitlin Gregg

Smiles and warm hands with my new TOKO mittens

Arctic sunrise (and sunset as my brother-in-law Linden pointed out) one morning at our hotel

Dr. Seuss looking trees

Looking down on the mining town of Gallivare from our hotel

Dundret, the alpine resort where we are staying

Alpine ski trails I found on a walk

The view from North of the Arctic Circle

Coloring book art
My room at home :) My parents put a new mattress in my bedroom at home and sent me the picture of my room which stirred up some strong feelings of homesickness.  Time to focus on the good adventures ahead!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Training training training- Long overdue update from the last month!

As I sit down to write this blog and scan through pictures, I'm realizing how much has happened since my last update.  The dryland season finished with a big altitude training camp in Park City and then some high intensity workouts at home to prepare for the race season.  There is more hard training ahead but it feels good to know that I've done a lot of quality training and I'm feeling good as I count down the days until the start of the season.  The really fun part of this job is about to begin!

But first here are some pictures from training over the last month or more.

We started the training camp with a lot of volume training to take advantage of the high altitude and lack of oxygen in Park City.  The mountains in the area are perfect for lots of adventures like this 3.5 hour run/hike we did on the Crest trail which was at almost 10,000ft. (Caitlin Patterson photo)
A stampede of over 300 sheep crossed the trail in front of us. 
Then we turned up the heat at the end of the camp and finished with a 3 day mini-tour Soldier Hollow.  It was great practice to prepare for Tour racing this winter and hammering up the big hills of the 2002 Olympic courses at SoHo is about as hard as it gets! (Tom Kelly/USSA photo)

A sunrise at our condos on the last morning in Utah.

I returned home after Park City to some chilly and grey November days.  It's not the prettiest time in VT but I love shuffling through the leaves! 
But then Indian Summer arrived and I got one last dose of the sun before travelling to northern Scandinavia.  Pat and I hiked Mt. Mansfield on a beautiful day and had the amazing summit panoramas of VT and the Adirondacks all to ourselves.

In years past, I've skied on natural snow on the Notch Road in Stowe during early November but today we were on the top of VT in shorts which was a bit of a scary reminder of the effects of climate change.
We did find a little bit of snow though and you can see Pat pointing out a few flakes.
Then after driving a few hours north we found a lot more snow!  I travelled with my Craftsbury GRP teammates to Foret Montmerency for a short training camp on the snow which was a nice break from rollerskis.  

Foret Montmerency saved snow from last winter, insulating large piles with sawdust over the summer which they then spread out over 2.5km of trail at the beginning of November.  It was surprisingly good skiing and well worth the trip!

The focus on the camp was intensity on snow so over four days we packed in two interval workouts, a time trial and some speeds!  I was pretty tired by the time we got home but with each day I felt more comfortable on my skis. (Caitlin Patterson photo)

Green Mountain Creamery will be my headgear sponsor again this winter.  If you haven't tried their yogurt yet, DO IT!  The maple is my favorite but all of flavors are really good!

Packing disaster!  I will be in Europe for almost four months continuously this year so packing is quite the ordeal!  I somehow managed to fit it all into one ski bag and a duffel bag and neither of them were overweight!
On the road and back to winter!  We are starting the season this year in Gallivare, Sweden, north of the Arctic Circle!  There is not much daylight here at this time of the year but lots of snow and great skiing.

Check back next week for stories and pictures of skiing, training, and RACING!  I made a goal to update this blog on a more frequent and regular basis so look for another post soon.

The race season starts this weekend with some FIS races in Gallivare which will be great warm-up races before the World Cup begins the following weekend in Ruka, Finland.