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!!!