January 18, 2012


Following US Nationals, I traveled to Craftsbury, VT where Patrick lives and trains. The Craftsbury Outdoor Center is a really unique place. The racing team based out of here, the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, is a group of post-college kids (many former teammates of mine at Dartmouth) who all live together in a giant farm house on the trail system and do some work for the center in return for training and race support. The Center is very dedicated to making Craftsubury into a world class ski venue and have introduced snow making this year, making it an ideal place to come for some training.

Patrick spent all summer and fall working on widening the trails in order to make them FIS homologated or certified to hold big races. I greatly enjoyed checking out all of his hard work and skiing on the very wide and much more smooth trails. The man made loop here was in excellent condition every day with perfect tracks, but there was also enough snow to venture around some of the other loops without hitting too many rocks. After a week of racing it was so fun to just get out and ski and not think about too much!

Patrick enjoying the fresh snow

Installing solar panels were another big project Patrick helped with

The new snow guns with a large pile that has been slowly moved to the trails. 
Patrick has made a friend "Mo" who is not scared of anything, not even the chain saw

Mo loves to follow patrick around

Fresh groomed tracks right out the front door. 

Gathering wood for the newly installed wood stove. 
Over the weekend, we headed back to Maine, this time a little further northeast to Farmington, ME to race in the Eastern Cup. The first day was a classic sprint and due to lack of snow, it was a pancake flat 700m loop that we had to do twice to make up the sprint. Most of us actually double poled on skate skis rather than bothering with classic wax. As I was waxing for myself, I chose that out of simplicity's sake. Brayton, one of the Dartmouth coaches was kind enough to help me out during the rounds by reapplying flouros to my skis to keep them fast. In the end, I finished in 2nd place. The next day, I was feeling a little under the weather and chose not to race. I have come down with a little cold that I am frantically trying to fight before the next set of races.

In the meantime, Patrick and I took a full tour of New England, spending a night with my Grandparents in NH and a night with Patrick's parents in Putney, VT before heading back to Craftsbury to get some last good skiing in before heading to Minneapolis tomorrow! Saturday marks the start of a 5 day tour that will take place of the next 10 days in the twin cities. Check back for a report on that! Hopefully I can scare this cold right out of me!

January 9, 2012


Had you asked me going into Nationals which race I would do best in and which race would be the toughest for me, I would have undoubtedly answered that I would do much better in the classic races and that skate sprinting is my biggest struggle. Skiing, however, always presents challenges and experiences that make these things unpredictable and as it turns out the skate sprint (last post) turned into by far my best race.

The rest of the week proved challenging and while it was not a disaster, it was not the week I was hoping for. The 10k skate was the second race and I had some very tired legs that I had to convince to keep moving from the get-go. It was a tough day on skis and I ended the day in 13th, not my best,  not my worst.
Photos Courtesy of USSA Nordic
Getting chased down by the winner

Last uphill!

Next was the 20k Mass Start Classic, which is one of my favorite races. With only a 3k loop to work with, we had to do 6 laps which included the infamous High School Hill, a rather steep hill in the middle of the loop. We were greeted in the morning by falling snow. It was enough to change the wax up a little, but was not enough for disaster to strike. Once again, I felt I was missing that top gear to really push when someone drops was the hammer. I unfortunately had a case of slow skis too, which is difficult in a mass start because your race is usually dictated by the leaders so its hard to push in places where you skis are good. Anyway, I ended the day in 11th, not quite what I was hoping for, but not an utter failure either. 
Mass Start

After getting dropped from the lead pack, I had to fight the last 2 loops alone
Out of the stadium we go!

The week finished with a classic sprint, which in the past has been a really good race for me. With a year full of disasters last year, I didn't race much and as a result, this week, with 4 races packed in, I was really struggling to recover from each race and muster up energy for the next race. So, I found myself in the classic sprint fighting lots of fatigue. I ended up having a great qualifying round, which I am very happy about because qualifying has been a struggle in the past for me. I qualified in 5th, making me believe despite the fatigue, I must have something left in me! Not wanting to play games, I just went for it in my quarterfinal, which, retrospectively, was probably a bad idea. I made it through the quarters, but maybe spent a little too much of my dwindling energy. In my semi, I had no push and was unable to make it to the A-final. Back to the B-final, I decided I needed to do what I could to fight for a top 10. I pulled through and ended the day in 9th. 
Feeling the Fatigue
My goal heading into the week was to get top 10 in every race, making me a good all-around contender. While I fell short of that, I am very thankful to have been able to race all 4 races this year in good health, after all I went through last year. I have been reminded of some of the struggles in racing many days in 1 weeks and have come away with some things to work on in future.

From here my season is a bit up in the air....At this point, I am planning to race an Eastern Cup in Maine this coming weekend and then heading to the Twin Cities for a mini-tour which should provide lots of challenging racing.

Thanks for all the support and keep cheering!

January 3, 2012

And we're off

My quarter final heat
After some incredibly warm weather an an evening of pouring rain, the scheduled start of US Nationals was delayed by a day in hopes of cooling temps and allowing the saturated course to drain a little. And cool down it did! Today was brisk and windy making for a wintry feel despite the only snow being that on the 1.4km course, all man made. The course was in great condition and very fast making for some exciting sprints. I have not done a skate sprint in a number of years due to my great injury and other mishap record over the past 2 years. As a result, I started in the back of the field and had a less than stellar qualifying round. But the great part about sprinting is that as long as you make the top 30, you get a chance to go head to head and move on regardless of how your qualifying round went. Turns out, I do still remember how to do this and I was feeling pretty good today so I had an easy time moving through my quaterfinal on to the semis. The hard part of sprinting, for me, is being scrappy, aggressive and moving around people with ease. I much prefer to just go hammer my heart out and beat people based on fitness rather than tactics. My semi was full of scrappy people using every tactic in the book and it resulted in a messy tight race that left me without a spot in the A-Final. Regretting every part of my semi, I headed to the B-final with some anger to work out so I just took my chances and went for it. Turned out, I had some killer skis and enough energy to hold off the rest of the b-final on the downhill draft and into the finish lanes putting me into 7th place. I am very happy with this result and more so with how I felt. I am quite regretful of my lack of scrappiness in my semi final and am hoping to use that to my advantage in the coming races.

Results are here: http://www.uscrosscountryskichampionships2012.org/results.html

Thursday: 10km Skate
Friday: 20km Mass Start Classic
Sunday: Classic Sprint

I will do my best to put up a quick story about each race to keep you all up to date, but if you are really anxious, they do have live timing at the above link and a more detailed schedule. Thanks for following!

January 2, 2012

"This is the Place"

While Brigham Young only said that because he was not going to make it another inch before he croaked, I fully believe in those words. Utah is incredible. Around the world, people have been complaining about lack of snow and horrible weather, Utah included. However, after spending 4 years in New England, "no snow" means NO snow. So when my mom kept telling me there was "no snow" at home, I was prepared for the worst over christmas. But, when I arrived, I realized "no snow" was all relative and there was plenty of snow to ski on, I just had to travel more than out my back door to get to it. So, in the end, I had a wonderful Utah Christmas and I don't think I saw a cloud the entire 2 weeks I was home!!!
Mom and I did a long ski up at Daniel Summit, a place neither of us had been! 

It was snowy and beautiful

The skiing in all on snowmobile trails

But we only saw a couple the whole time!

Some animal tracks, but no animals

Cloudless Utah Skies!

Good snow coverage

A few scenic vistas

Some self photography

Add caption

Mom cruising in to the finish after 3 hrs of skiing!

I love baking and I love chocolate

So I made up a very chocolatey Christmas Eve Dessert

And decorated some Christmas Cookies
I also did a Wasatch Citizen Series race while I was home. It was great to see so many familiar faces and I was able to be of use, testing and waxing for the PCNSC juniors. The loop was only 2k long making for a chaotic 10k of racing. Lots of people showed up and it went smoothly despite the chaos.

Next stop, Rumford, ME for US National Championships. They will have live timing here: http://www.uscrosscountryskichampionships2012.org/results.html
so follow along and wish me luck!

and please, do some snow dances, because no snow in New England means NO SNOW!