Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring Things

I've been back in the U.S. for a month now, but until the other day I hadn't been back to Vermont. So after five months on the road, it feels good to be HOME! I flew back from Colorado on Wednesday and was greeted in Albany by my dad and a mix of rain and snow coming out of the sky. It continued to produce a "wintry mix" for the next two days, but spring finally hit a few days later. After Sun Valley, Simi and I drove back to Aspen for a few days before a quick trip to Boston with most of our other SMS T2 teammates for a YES Kids fundraiser. The T2 Foundation, the title sponsor for our SMS T2 team, is a big supporter of the Boston Youth Enrichment Services and we were able to meet a bunch of the kids who had tried cross country skiing over the winter and also attend a fundraiser in the evening. This fall I helped set up a program where I could personally be in contact with the YES Kids by email throughout the winter. It was nice to meet the kids in person and I'm looking forward to becoming more involved in the coming winters. Another nice surprise was that the SMS T2 team won the T2 Foundation Community Service Award at the event. As a team, we place a huge emphasis on community involvement, particularly with getting kids outside and active, so we were honored to receive the recognition!

Some of Boston's future XC stars!

"Skiing" by the YES Tram

Packed into the YES Tram
Our trip to Boston was a whirlwind and after 36 hours we were back in Colorado for some resting and adventure time. I enjoyed one last week of back country skiing and sunshine with friends out west before heading home.

Summit Sistas selfie
A little piece of wonderful

Some wind

And a lot of sun

After flying back home last Wednesday, I had exactly one day at home before heading back down to Boston to hang out with some of the Eastern Mass skiers and attend a US Ski Team fundraiser. I stayed at Mark and Pilar Doughty's house while in Boston. Mark is the principal of Thoughtforms, which is my teammate Noah's headgear sponsor. The timing was perfect because Noah was in town for the weekend, so we were able to team up for a busy couple of days. I am very grateful to Mark and his lovely family for letting us stay with them and organizing the weekend. On Friday afternoon, Noah and I headed out to do a Q&A and pizza party with some of the CSU high school kids. I was impressed with the questions the kids asked and enjoyed meeting them. After the Q&A, we headed back to Mark's house to get ready for our USST Fundraiser. We had a good showing of supporters at our fundraiser and it was a pleasure getting to know some new people.

Grace Bird with her new pink jacket and bib we auctioned off

Thank you to everyone who came out and a special thanks to Liz Arky, our good friend and USSA Trustee Board member, who put the event together. Here we are with Liz signing some wine bottles for our auction. (photo from noahhoffman.com)
After a good night of sleep, Noah and I woke up to an early pancake breakfast made by Mark and Pilar's children, Nathan and Anneka. After chowing down on some tasty chocolate chip pancakes, Noah and I hosted a practice for some of Eastern Massachusetts's younger kids. We led...actually more like chased the kids around the track for a warm up run and then led them in some stretching and core. After the warm up, we split into two stations. I led the agility and speed ladder station while Noah led the dry-land drills station. After an hour and a half of running around, we went inside to answer questions and sign autographs. Jamie Doucett captured some awesome shots from our practice.

Introducing ourselves to the kiddos. Check out that SMS summer camp shirt!

Warm up stretches

Push up challenge!

Speed ladder pros

Explosive jumps

Check out that form!

Demonstrating one of my favorite agility drills, the speed ladder

Noah leading the kids in some dry land drills
We ended the practice with a game of sharks and minnows, or as the EMBK kids call it, wolves and reindeer. Noah and I were the first set of wolves.

Who are we going to eat next?

The crew!

Thanks for having us!
I drove back to Vermont on Saturday afternoon and finally started to settle in. Soon after arriving, my brother and his girlfriend came home for the weekend, my sister got home, my grandmother came for dinner, and my room was a mess...just how I like it. It's nice to be home!
Leroy is even warming up to his long lost sister



Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sick in Sun Valley

I didn't realize it at the time, but I guess the end of my season was after my sprint in Drammen a few weeks ago! Unfortunately, the evening we arrived in Sun Valley, I started to feel a little tickle in my throat that soon transformed into a full blown nasty cold. Depending on the year, spring series can be a really fun time to race, or it can be really miserable if you're blown out and ready to be finished. I actually was looking forward to racing in Sun Valley this year, but maybe my body was sending me a signal that it was ready to be done. After a few days in bed, I was able to go out and cheer my teammates on in the races. The Sun Valley weather lived up to its name and we saw bright sun every day except for one. Although the majority of the SMS T2 team was plagued by some kind of illness (I believe there were about three going around), those who were healthy made us proud and those who were sick had a good time being cheerleaders. Now it's time for a little break. Happy Spring!
I was able to celebrate my 25th Birthday while in Sun Valley! Being sick on your Birthday is a bummer, but my teammates made it a very special day.

Hanging out at the races with Erika and Liz

Hugging a Rose buddy after the 30k

KO continued to impress all week long!

Thanks to Sun Valley Resort and SVSEF for the alpine passes!

Crew on top of Baldy

On the way back we stopped to see my friends Parker and Hannah and their cute new pup

Pit stop in the desert! Pretty crazy to be skiing one day and in shorts and a t shirt the following day

We put on a clinic and fundraiser our last day and night in Sun Valley. Here Sadie and I practice backwards skiing with our new friend Sophia

One pole skiing with Jay
Morning agility group at the clinic

Team photo shoot in our new L.L. Bean and Craft gear!
We're THIS psyched to be working with Craft and L.L. Bean!
Thanks to Steve and Diana Strandberg for hosting us and hosting our fundraiser. And a big thank you to the Sun Valley community for being so kind and supportive.


And to the best teammates I could ask for...see you in a couple months!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Catch Up

I'm a little behind on blogging, but the last couple weeks have been busy ones. After Falun, the team flew to Lahti, Finland for a skate sprint and a classic distance race. One year ago in Lahti is where I got my World Cup podium. I tend to like flatter skate courses like Lahti, but for some reason I've always struggled in qualification there. In the three years I've done the Lahti sprint, I've failed to qualify twice, and I snuck into qualification once (last year). It was tough to not qualify this year on a course that I had had such a good result on the previous year, but luckily, all three teammates who qualified had great days. Andy ended up 8th, showing he was in strong form at the end of a long World Cup season. Jessie placed 4th, which is her best World Cup result ever and Kik was back on the podium in third! That's three years in a row that she has been on the podium in Lahti. Even though she hasn't had the season she hoped for, she always kept fighting and believing and landed herself back on the podium. We couldn't be more proud. Even though my skate sprint was a little disappointing, I had the oppurtunity to race the classic 10k the following day. I haven't been able to do very much distance racing this year, so I was excited to get a start and came up with a race plan without having any expectations as far as results went. I felt amazing my first lap and even though I faded a bit the second lap, I hung tough and ended up 31st, .2 seconds away from scoring distance points! It was arguably my best distance race on the World Cup ever. Even though it was a little bittersweet being so close to scoring points, I couldn't help but be happy with the result and how I felt.
It was International Women's Day while we were in Lahti, so one of our wax techs, Assar, gave us all flowers. How nice!

Dinner at Aino Kaisa Saarinen's house

Getting some TV time at the start of the 10k classic.
After Lahti, we packed up and headed to Oslo. The last two races of the season took place in Oslo. The first was a classic city sprint in Drammen on Wednesday and the second was a 30k skate at Holmenkollen on Sunday. I was only racing the classic sprint before heading back to the U.S. I've never qualified for a classic sprint in Drammen in the three years that I've done it. The gradual grade that mostly consists of power striding and double poling is not my favorite, but one of these years I'm going to make it happen. Despite not qualifying, I enjoyed soaking in my final day on the World Cup for the year by joining the crowds to cheer on my teammates for the rest of the race. Then it was back to the hotel to pack for heading back to the states!

Squinty team photo shoot in Drammen

Dakota, Sim, and Erik skiing at Holmenkollen

Holmenkollen Stadium

Soaking in some sunshine on a nice morning in Fornebu
The morning after the race in Drammen, I hopped on the plane and flew back to the U.S. I felt like I had been looking forward to heading home for awhile, but then when the time finally came, I was actually a little sad to be leaving. Life on the road isn't always easy, but we get used to the people and the lifestyle and eventually come to love it. That said, the idea of home is always appealing. Landing in a US airport after four months in Europe is always a wild experience. In Europe, I kind of get used to a constant buzz of other languages that I don't understand and it almost becomes white noise. When I landed in the US, everyone was speaking english and I couldn't stop listening! It felt good to be home. I haven't actually been to my real home in Vermont yet, because Simi and I went to Aspen for a week before Spring Series in Sun Valley. I had the perfect week of ski adventures and sunshine and arrived in Sun Valley last night. Unfortunately I woke up with a little cold this morning and I'm hoping to kick it before the races start tomorrow, but I'll take it one day at a time. Thanks for following!


A ski up to Maroon Bells

Our friends Megan and Dylan came out to CO to join us for the week. We tried just about every kind of skiing last week. Here we are on our first day of back country skiing. 

Not bad!

Enjoying a lake break

Sun, snow and a lot of skiing!

An artsy photo into Meg's goggles

Alpine skiing on Meg's birthday

The crew on one of our adventures