Monday, January 9, 2017

Back at it!

I'm writing this post from the third hotel room which I have slept in over the course of a week. It's hard to imagine that less than a week ago I was at home sleeping in my own bed, a rare mid-winter treat for a ski racer and especially one who despite a traveling lifestyle considers herself a strong home body.  The holidays were over and it was time to get back to work!  While it was tough to leave the snowy winter wonderland in Vermont, I could feel my competitive drive firing and was ready to get back at it!  It's amazing how recharged I felt after three solid weeks of training.  The time at home with friends and family, as well as the variation in mental and physical demands from the normal racing was exactly what I needed to prepare for the next part of the season.

I flew to Slovenia and only had a couple of days on the ground before racing a couple OPA cup races.  While racing a sprint qualifier soon after traveling can be a harsh wake up, especially when it starts at 9am (the equivalent of 3am in Vermont), a hard race effort is the perfect cure for jetlag, forcing your body to GO GO GO! I was also happily surprised with how it felt, and able to take a lot of confidence towards the next weeks of World Cup racing.  The first day of racing was a skate sprint and I felt very strong all day but had a very frustrating crash and subsequent somersault near the beginning of the sprint final.  I got up and hammered as hard as I could to catch back up but ended the day in 5th.  That's sprint racing though and I'll use it as motivation for the next opportunity!  The next day was a 10km skate which is perhaps my least favorite race but always a good challenge.  I had a slow start and was quickly caught by a French girl who started behind me.  I was then able to follow pace for several laps and skied faster through the race which was encouraging.  I was also pleased with myself for understanding the splits which her coaches gave to her during the race in French.  Doing the translation in my brain was the perfect distraction from the lactic acid in my legs!

From Slovenia we drove through Austria to Italy.  I'm training this week in Toblach which is a cute Italian town nestled in the Dolomites and one of my favorite stops on the World Cup tour.  Like most of Europe, there isn't any natural snow but they are very committed to snow farming here so there is an almost 40km ribbon of snow laid out through the valley that is growing by the day.  This weekend World Cup racing resumes for me with a skate sprint and skate team sprint!  Ciao!

I spy someone who is happy to be home for the holidays!

Selfie with the family!

A few weeks at home was long enough to get my feet underneath and then carve out a few turns

And enough time to relax and enjoy some holiday time

It was a winter wonderland in Craftsbury with lots of snow and great tracks

My Craftsbury GRP teammates were home preparing for US National Championships so we did quite a few hard workouts together.  These girls have been ripping it up on the SuperTour circuit so it was great to train together.  Susan was also home from Europe and the biathlon World Cup tour so we had the rare mid-winter opportunity to train together.  Jake and Ollie were also amazing friends and paced and cleared tracks for me during a snowy solo TT one day!  I'm very grateful to have such an amazing Craftsbury team!

And of course it was wonderful to spend a lot of time with Pat before we headed our separate ways for the rest of the season!

Hard to leave such a wonderful place as this but I'll cherish the time spent with friends and family and the quality training logged on the Craftsbury trails and carry that strength through the adventures ahead!
From winter wonderland back to snowless winter and short manmade loops.  

But the backdrop of the Julien Alps in Slovenia is hard to beat!

And great to be back with my USST teammates and back to racing! The sprint group was in Slovenia while the rest of the team raced their hearts out in the Tour de Ski!  It has been very inspiring to see lots of USA success including podiums by Jessie, Sadie, and Liz at the Tour and Simi and Sophie on the OPA cup!

Winter in the dolomites!

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