Monday, September 25, 2017

All the Seasons

I'm hanging out inside this morning escaping the heat on a morning off from training.  It seems crazy that with sunny and clear skies I wouldn't want to be outside but after enduring a long three plus hour run yesterday that combined shuffling through fall leaves with 85 degree heat and humidity, my body is suffering from a little seasonal confusion.  The past few weeks have been an exciting whirlwind of travel, skiing, training and recovery.  At the end of August I traveled to New Zealand for a three week training camp with my US Ski Team teammates.  This is one of my favorite training camps where we are always treated to winter wonderland ski conditions at the Snow Farm, unreal southern hemisphere sunrises and sunsets, and lots of New Zealand adventures.  This year a few club teams joined the fun including my Craftsbury GRP teammates so it was fun to have a large contingent of American skiers training hard together far from home!  With amazing snow in a beautiful landscape it's easy to A LOT so after three weeks of hard training including some New Zealand Winter Games races at the end, I was exhausted and ready for some recovery!  I arrived home to beautiful crisp fall Vermont weather and the red maple leaves were popping!  Soon though the mercury began to rise and my seasons continued to transition in reverse first from winter to fall and now from fall to summer!  With all of the extreme weather events happening around the nation, I count myself very lucky though, and am soaking up the vitamin D and enjoying my last opportunities to swim!  I'm also feeling grateful to be able to spend the fall at home in Vermont and am looking forward to making the last preparations before the season with some quality Green Mountain training!  Here are some photos from New Zealand and check back soon for fall updates!

Snow Farm trails! So fun to find perfect winter in August!

Sunset bedroom views

Skiing the Gorge trail which is one of my favorite trails at the Snow Farm.  It 

A rest day on Lake Wanaka

Running up the Matukituki Valley

River crossing

Back to the snow for some crust skiing up high

So much snow to explore!

This might have been the best ski of my life...seriously!!

Storm clouds rolling in bringing whiteout conditions just in time to race

Skate speeds

Mountain yoga with ski's a new thing

A quick visit to NYC to get a Visa to spend more than 90 days in Europe

And back to Vermont!

Loving the last of the late summer and fall harvests including apples, tomatoes, peppers, kale, zucchini, and this amazing peach tree from the O'Brien's yard in Putney

Summer or fall?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Methow Intensity Training!

Our US Ski Team camp plan has fallen into a predictable pattern over the past few years, returning to the same training locations at the same times of the year.  This year as a women's team, we wanted to mix it up and add a new location for renewed excitement and inspiration.  The goal was a shorter camp with a big focus quality hard training sessions together in a positive team atmosphere.  So what better way to tune out distractions than to drive a few hours into the woods of Washington, turn down a dirt driveway, and continue for a few more miles before establishing our training base camp.  That's exactly what we did as we left Seattle, WA and drove to the Methow Valley of Washington for eight days of intensity training.  The training plan had hard intervals every other day interspersed with longer distance sessions that included rollerskiing up the pass and long runs in the mountains.  It looked intense on paper but without super high volume and the with benefits of the quiet cabin life, it was easy to relax and embrace the training and the company of the team.  Soon we were rocketing through one workout after the next.  We stayed in some wonderful cabins in Mazama that were mostly free of internet and cell service (I say mostly because Jessie still had service and setup a hot spot for us all so we weren't quite offline).  Pete Dickinson, a PT who travels with the team and lives in the Methow, set up a table on our porch for an outdoor PT and massage studio.  And our coaches, Matt Whitcomb and Tim Baucom, kept the fridges full of food and the training plan full of excitement.  Besides Sadie, who grew up a few miles from where we were staying, this was the first time spending any time in the Methow for the rest of us so we had a blast exploring new trails and roads and I'm already looking forward to another visit there!  If you haven't been to the Methow Valley before, I would urge you to make a visit!  From the Dolomitesque spires of the mountain peaks to the crystal clear and freezing cold rivers and the countless miles of trails in between, it is a sunny outdoor playground!

Checking out the map the first day as we learned our way around the Methow Valley

To the mountains! 

Tree huggers

Following Jessie and Kikkan on a long rollerski up Washington Pass

Striding towards the snow!

Tim manning a feed zone in the middle of a rollerski OD.  Tim is my wax tech in the winter but he helped Matt with coaching for at the camp.  Thanks to Matt and Tim for all their working supporting the workouts, driving vans, giving technique advice, and scoping new training routes.

Interval time!  Lots of head to head workouts taking advantages of different strengths and hammering together as a team.

Pain faces and grimaces nearing the end of our mock team sprint interval

More smiles mid L4 bounding intervals courtesy to some much needed cooling efforts!

Scoping the best route into the falls?

It was hot and sunny every single day but there were lots of rivers and lakes to cool off in after or during workouts

The meadow in front of our cabins

Cabin life at its best!  Eat, sleep, train, and chill!
After an awesome week of training, I headed back to Vermont and have settled into some more cabin life, living in my little cottage in Craftsbury and training with the GRP.  I have a big block of time at home now so I'm excited for some of my favorite summertime training and fun in Vermont before the next adventure which is an on-snow camp in New Zealand at the end of August.  

Monday, February 6, 2017


We came to Pyeongchang, South Korea to test out the 2018 Olympic trails and left so excited and inspired to prepare for the Olympics next year!  Big hills and fast, technical downhills on the sprint course left me wondering if I could have imagined a more perfect course.  And a weekend of hard racing under the lights and two podiums on the World Cup stage made for an exciting experience in Pyeongchang!  Thanks for all the love and support!

Individual classic sprint bronze!

Team sprint bronze with Sophie!

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!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

No place like home!

The beginning of the season brings a whirlwind of travel and racing.  I trained in Utah at the last US Ski Team camp and then headed home for a quick week before flying to northern Finland for some opening season FIS races.  Soon after those races, the World Cup began bring racing in Ruka, Finland, Lillehammer, Norway, and Davos, Switzerland.  Each weekend we raced and then travelled to the next venue and quickly started training to prepare for the next weekend's competition.  I hit the ground running and was on go time jumping from hotel to hotel, race to race, and training session to training session.  It's easy to get caught up in the momentum and whirlwind around you and just roll along with the current.  But while the races started strong, I'm still looking for more and decided to mix it up from the routine to find that extra edge.  I headed home to Vermont for the holidays .and couldn't be happier!  There really is no place like home! I'm skiing my favorite trails at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, training with the Craftsbury GRP, visiting with friends and family, dancing to the Christmas spirit, and defining my inner focus to take the next step on the race trails.

Happy holidays to all!

Classic racing up the Ruka hills to start the World Cup (Toko US/Nordic Focus photo)

Arriving in Lillehammer

Exploring the trails in Lillehammer and seeing the sun for the first time in a few weeks!

Skate racing in the Lillehammer Mini-Tour (Toko US/Nordic Focus)

While Davos lacked any natural snow, it made up for it with sunshine and mountain air!

Davos sprinting (Marcel Hilger photo)
An evening jog with the team in Davos

First day home was extra blue skiing... feeling very thankful for all the snow and well groomed trails!

Eyes forward and pain face smiling while I stride it out on Moss Run in the Craftsbury Eastern Cup 5km classic.  (John Lazenby photo)

Christmas cookies on the couch in front of the woodstove are the perfect recovery after a 3 hour classic ski in single digit temperatures. Happy to be spending time with this guy!

Decorating the Christmas tree with Mom!  Good to be home!