July 28, 2013

Quick Back-log

The US Women's Nordic Team arrived and things got busy here in Anchorage! We were graced by wonderful weather as always for Girls Camp, workouts were hard, and social nights were the norm. It is always difficult for me to adjust from training with my APU teammates to having an influx of lots of fast girls show up at my house and at our training sessions. This is one of things I realized I need to work on throughout the week. My goal for the week was to be confident in MY own training and believe that whatever I am doing right now for training is because I know thats what I need to be fastest in the winter regardless of what the 15 other fast girls around me are doing. My training volume has been significantly reduced this year due to the injuries I have developed which is where I believe this lack of confidence developed, but I had a really successful time turning things around and being proud of what I did do throughout the week. A couple highlights included reducing my time on our L3 interval route by about 1 minute, swimming 1 mile all in the freestyle technique, and completing a 5 hour mountain bike ride without back pain!

After training, these birds decided to attack us. Becca was more cool with it than the rest of us.

Checking out the coast with Patrick

The top of Resurrection Pass, 3 hrs into the bike ride

Sunny on one side of the pass

A little gloomy on the other side...

Made it to the top1

Pat had to hike up to the snow to get a snowball. Silly easterner still thinks its crazy to find snow in the summer.
After turning back down the pass, I managed to break the derailleur hangar off my bike and therefore had no rear derailleur. I happen to have an amazing boyfriend who is not only good at fixing bikes, but also riding bikes so despite a plethora of bugs, rain drops, and a few swear words, Patrick was able to turn my bike into a single speed and switch our pedals so he could ride it 12 miles out while I rode his slightly more functioning bike. He even managed to not break the chain until the last kilometer!

Post workout photoshoot with the whole bunch of girls!

Astrid cooking up some king crab!
A couple exciting things happened this week during camp. First, we had guest superstar Astrid Jacobsen join us from the Norwegian National Team. Astrid won World Championships in 2007 and then showed up at World Juniors, which also happened to by my first World Juniors. I had a great race myself, but happened to be in 3 heats of the sprint with Astrid. She thoroughly kicked everyone's butt, including myself. She has also received a lot of attention because she chose to continue her education while ski racing and is also attending medical school. As I also chose to pursue education in addition to skiing, I have found her to be a real inspiration. It was amazing to be able to train with her, or well behind her, and listen to her wisdom. She is a very bright and experienced athlete and I learned so much from her!

Kikkan also landed a new sponsor, Alaska Seafood, who blessed us with King Crab Legs, Salmon, and Halibut. I am a seafood fiend and really gorged myself, it was amazing!
grill full of tasty fish!
Sadie, her boyfriend Jo, and I on top of Hatcher's Pass, another great bike ride we did!
After a great week of dryland, we headed to the glacier for a full week of skiing! We had a media day so check back this week or all the links to the articles, videos, and photos.

July 7, 2013

Recovery Week FUN!

I love being able to ski in the summer at our glacier training facility, but what I love even more is coming back to town, sleeping in my own bed (with my blackout curtains), sleeping in, and having nothing planned for the week. Ok, that might be a bit of a stretch because I am real planner and I would never go a week without a plan, but I don't have to follow a training plan and get to check out some other parts of AK.

The week started with a small hitch as my boyfriend, Patrick, had some flight troubles and didn't make it here on time. But he made it and since we was last, there was no rest for the weary as we jumped in the car and headed down the Kenai Peninsula for a few days of fun.

We started by taking a water taxi 12 miles across Resurrection Bay to a great little place called Kayaker's Cove. We rented kayaks and hit the water. It was not the nicest of days, drizzling on and off, but I've learned that's just part of being in AK and I did my best to not let it get me down.

Checking out the coast line. Patrick braved going double with me. We both made it back alive. 

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Checking out the waterfall

There were a few yurts that we saw, that are WAY off the grid. Someone had hooked up a little hydropower set up, harvesting the energy from the waterfall to power their cabin. This is the shack that turns the water into power, with a power line extending out of the building. 

If you look hard enough, you can see a little brown bump in the water, that is a sea otter. We saw a few of those!

And some starfish

And some bald eagles. and some Jellyfish, which are my favorite sea creature, but I failed to get a picture of them. 

4th of July is great in Alaska because people up here are some strong patriotism even if we are separated from the rest of the country and most people who don't work in the oil industry forget Alaska is even there. Much of Alaska gathers in Seward, a town that swells from 3,000 to 30,000 to view the annual Mt. Marathon race. It is misleading because it is not a marathon at all, but a 3.5 mile race that climbs up a 3,000 ft. peak and back down. Yes, that means they climb 3,000 ft in 1.75 mile which is absolutely nuts. To add to the craziness, there is not really a defined trail so you have to know your route up and down the mountain ahead of time. Racers spend hours and hours studying the routes trying to find the fastest and safest route. The most common involves climbing roots of trees, scrambling rocks, and hucking it off waterfalls, running down rock creek beds. It is something I would never in a million years enter as I am certain there is no way I would make it up or down without incurring some new injuries, something I just can't afford at this point, but I have some incredible teammates that thrive of this race and it's great fun cheering them on.
It was cloudy and raining, which had one perk, you could actually see the fireworks. This is extremely dark for AK in the summer and this is midnight. 

Enjoying fireworks from the beach. 

Crowds gathering at the base of the mountain for the girls race. Racers come right down that rocky shoot that is actually what I would call a cliff. The up trail is to the right of that, racers scatter into the woods to execute their perfectly planned route up the roots. 

Cheering the boys. This is only about half way up and the town already looks so small! 

Coming down! This is the good part of the down, which is scree so you actually float and slide a bit with each step, taking some of the pounding away. This is an APU coach Eric Strabel who broke the record set in 1981!!!!!!

This man is a well known mountain runner from the lower 48 who was paid to come up here to make the race more competitive. It is hard to just jump is a race like this because experience is so important with all the hazards. He put up a tough fight and still broke the old record coming in 2nd. 

This is the famous "birdman" His bib is pierced through his nipples.
This is a better example of what the down trail entails. Running, jumping, falling, down rock bands, small cliffs, and waterfalls. It rained a lot so the rocks were slippery and wet and most of the trail was in a creek bed that had a creek flowing through it. Here is Strabel, showing us how its down. He has the downhill record of 10:08, which is just crazy!

We had plans to camp one more night, but the rain had just crushed our spirits and our teammate, Greta, offered us her boyfriends appartment, something we couldn't say no to. He also is a fishing guide and owner of Chugach Backcountry Fishing and so kindly took us fishing the next day. I have been wanting to experience fishing in Alaska ever since I got up here, mostly so I can enjoy the best salmon around for free, but also for the experience. It was really fun. I was the first to catch a fish and I did so in my first 5 casts. I guess I have to thank my dad for that one, I actually did listen and do know a little about casting. We also saw a black bear with 3 cubs!  

Here I am very excited about catching the first fish of the day! 


Pat and I showing off our fish!

Guide Corey showing us all up. He could pull them in like crazy. 
Watching Pat kill his fish. Cory made me kill my fish and bleed it, neither of which I enjoyed so much....

Guide Cory and Greta.
The Whole Crew!

Our amazing guide Cory from Chugach Backcountry Fishing