January 27, 2010

Sprinting in Fog

Our first race was yesterday, the skate sprint! It was basically raining when we showed up, almost like I never left New England, except it turns out if was POURING there.....Fortunately the rain let up but the fog stayed in making it so you couldn't even see across the stadium. It made the snow pretty fast because even though it was raining, it was cold so it made a nice frozen layer on top of the snow. I had a decent qualifying round, finishing in 16th which was the number I started so I guess FIS points aren't totally bullshit. The course was so fast and short, it was hard for me to get going, I like the more grueling courses as I tend to get faster as the day goes on. I had some serious nerves on the line of my quarterfinal as every racer has a laser in front of them, but you can't see it and if you break it, its a false start and you get DQed. They don't use these in the US or even on the World Cup so it was nerve racking and the girl next to me false started our heat and had to just walk away from the start line leaving just 5 in my heat. Despite all this, I actually managed to get off the line pretty quick but the trail is so wide, its hard to tell what position you are in going up the first hill and unfortunately by the time we started up the next hill I was in the back. Knowing that hill was the last good place to make a big move, I pushed a little harder and passed a few girls. Then comes this twisty turny finishing section that makes it a challenge to pass people. I was duking it out for third with this Norweigen girl and she snuck around me on the last curve, but i hung on her and swung wide into the finish and manage to pass her in the finishing lanes, finishing 3rd in my heat. The top 2 automatically move on to the semis and 2 of the 3rd place finishers to based on their heat time. My time wasn't quite fast enough so my day ended there and I finished in 15th. I was pleased with that and it may have been a blessing in disguise as my knee was very sore after the aggressive skiing required in sprint heats. It was a very exciting day though as Ida was racing great and made it to the A-final, finishing in 4th! It was exciting to cheer her on through the rest of the heats.

My quarterfinal heat. I'm on the far left, Canadian Kate Brennan (of no relation) is next to me, a norweigen next to her, another norweigen is behind me and a slovenian next to her.

We returned to the hotel to learn that they had turned the internet off because too many people were downloading illegally. As that is my only form of communication, I was devastated! Fortunately, they just decided to put a password on the browser so things not directly connected to the browser (Blitzmail, skype) worked so I was at least able to check my email this morning and skype with people. Ida then figured out how to hack into the internet so now its our little secret! Tomorrow is the 10k Classic race, which is my favorite event so I am looking forward to that, although the weather looks like it could be quite the adventure tomorrow.....

January 24, 2010

The Black Forest

I arrived in the Black Forest Wednesday morning after just a quick 6 hour flight over the big pond. We were all wishing the flight was longer as after just 4 hours of sleep the flight attendants were offering up breakfast! It was an empty flight which was nice so we all got to spread out and get a little shut eye. The black forest reminds me a lot of New England with bigger mountains. It is a little more humid here and well forested than the Alps or the western US. We are staying in a nice hotel in a valley. It is actually part of the Best Western Chain, but it totally european, complete with tinny beds! Ida and I lucked out and got the biggest room in the place which has been nice. A few other teams arrived yesterday and ever since the internet has been on the fritz with so many people trying to connect and skype and whatever else people do these days. To get to the ski venue we drive up some curvy roads to the top of a mountain. The trails are very hilly and by far the widest nordic trails I have ever seen. The biggest loop is only 3.75km so we will be racing lots of loops but it makes learning the courses pretty easy. All the teams were out there skiing today. Even though i have been to a few big international races, it still intimidates me to be skiing around with so many good skiers all decked out in their team uniforms. Russians scare me the most. Their coaches yell the most and are always smoking, ironic for an endurance sport, but thats how they role in Russia. Big events like this are great, everything gets taken care of for you. Athletes are responsible for very little. I tell the coaches which skis I want to ski on the night before and they are ready to go when I get there, then I bring them back after my ski and they clean them and wax them for me! The event is also catered so they have tents with all kinds of yummy baked food and hot drinks for us. The US jumpers and Nordic combiners are also competing here this weeks so I always look forward to seeing some PC friends on the road! I will try to upload a few pics, but I may get frustrated with the SLOW internet here.

The venue we train at when we can't get to the race venue

WIDE trails at the race venue. Yes thats 4 classic tracks and 2 skate lanes

The biggest city nearby, Freiberg

Sprint practice

Shout out to the Dartmouth Ski Team that won the carnival this weekend despite being down 6 nordic skiers that are over here racing!!!

January 17, 2010

CARNIVAL season!

This weekend marked the beginning of the carnival season for the eastern colleges. There are 6 carnivals throughout the season that make up the majority of our college racing season. As the name suggests, carnivals are typically fun races with lots of familiar faces and team camaraderie. St. Lawrence hosted this weekends events in Lake Placid, NYDartmouth took things by storm, not missing a beat from last carnival season. We woke up to rain friday morning, not ever ideal conditions for classic skiing but we bulldozed right through the tough conditions. We were down 1 girl this weekend, but that didn't stop us. We went an outstanding 1,2,3,4,5 in the 5k classic. I believe this is the first time we have ever done that!!!! On Saturday, we didn't do quite as well, but still won the women's side easily with a 1,3,4,6. The nordic boys held up strong on their end as well and the alpine skiers did well enough so give us a solid win for the weekend! I was 2nd and 3rd and certainly feeling very tired after last week's adventures in Alaska. With all my ailments, I have been struggling to find that top racing condition I know is in me so every race is a fight on my end. Hopefully I will start to feel better in the coming week. I will be heading to Germany for U23 World Champs on Tuesday! 5 days of school for the month of January, yikes...

If you are interested in following the carnival circuit, eisaskiing.org, is the place to go. They post results almost instantly, have many pictures, interviews, videos and articles recounting all events.

January 8, 2010

the end

The last day of racing commenced today, a classic sprint. This race did not count for making U23/Junior World Championships so the pressure was off for a lot of the young-ins. Classic sprinting has been my forte in the past but today, I was just not quite there. My legs were really sore and tired from the grueling 20k so I was not the quickest off the line. I was relying on a strong double pole and fast skis. Those two things were good enough in my quarterfinal, but failed me in the semi final so I was relegated to the B final. I skied alright in the B final and ended the day with another 9th place. All in all it was an alright day but I was hoping for a little more coming into this week. My teammate Ida, busted out something special and ended the day in 3rd making us all proud! Dartmouth actually had a great day as a whole which was encouraging for the rest of the season! Everyone is headed back east tonight, except me....I am staying for an event called Fast and Female, an organization created by some Canadian skiers whose mission is to promote skiing and healthy, athletic lifestyles in girls. Then, I will finally be headed back to school tomorrow night. From there it is a total scramble with classes, possibly a carnival race and preparation for U23s. I will do my best to stay updated, but school will be hectic next week...

January 6, 2010


After another disappointing skate race on Monday, it was starting to look like I wasn't even going to make U23 World Championships, let alone the Olympics. Spirits were low to say the least. Fortunately, I like classic skiing much more and had some faith in myself to ski my way on to some team today. Health issues have bogged me down all week but today, I just had to put everything aside and get the job done. We woke up to warm temps and falling snow, every wax techs worst nightmare. Cami and Ruff helped us all stay calm and were extremely prepared. We all went out to test skis and all found our skis with just plain hard wax worked the best. Although there are always those moments on the start line were you begin to second guess yourself and see the girl next to you is racing on hairies (waxless skis), my skis kicked and glided for the most part so I had no excuses. I just kept skiing along and soon found myself in the lead pack of about 8-10 and was pretty psyched. A few k into the second lap my stomach turned on me and I was dropped from the lead pack but seemed to have built a fair gap to the next pack. Half-way through that lap I was caught by my Dartmouth teammate, Ida, and jumped in behind her and skied out my stomach pains as best I could. Together we dropped the girl that was skiing in our pack and continued to ski together the entire last lap. Unfortunately my skis were a bit slower than hers and I was unable to stay with her in all the transitions at the end so I ended the day in 9th place, which I believe is my best distance finish at nationals! I was pleased with my effort and do believe I salvaged enough of a race to make the U23 world championship team which will be departing for the Black Forest in Germany in a few weeks here. Now I am doing what I can to take the pain away from my sorry knee.....and hoping for another good day on the classic boards on friday. (classic sprinting is my favorite event!)

January 4, 2010

Race 1 US Nats

Well, Alaska is still my least favorite place to travel. It takes a long time to get here, its dark pretty much the whole day and its always cold and wet. Yes the mountains are pretty but unfortunately I'm a cross country skier and do not get to enjoy that part of this state.

Back to racing, I had a less than stellar race which is why it has taken me so long to update, I had to sort it all out in my head and get over it before sharing. It was a skate sprint, which is not my best event but I thought this course suited more of my strengths so I was hoping for the best. I had a good qualifying round and ended up in 13th which isn't too bad for me (I have never been a strong qualifier). In my quarterfinal, I had a great start and skied up the first big hill really well and was in 3rd at the top of the hill. After coming down the fast downhill and swinging around the corner into the next uphill everyone in the heat glided right on past me and that was game over for me. I was never able to catch back up and pass people. So, in short, a combination of slow skis and not very sparky legs left me mad and disappointed at the end of the day. Overall, Dartmouth did poorly, many of us had slow skis and weren't on our top game so we are all looking forward to today!

Luckily Nationals is a serious of 4 races so I have 3 more chances to redeem myself, the first one being today! The temperatures have actually warmed up so I am even hoping that I can race in gloves instead of mittens! There are moose just all over the trails, its weird if you don't see one. This is pretty cool, but also terrifying as every local has a story of being chased by one so hopefully the boys that race before us will scare most of them off!