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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year's Eve!

Flight into Minneapolis, overnight with Marybeth at the Liebsch's, drive up to Houghton/Hancock. And now I'm here, at the venue of Senior Nationals, ready to race this week, and it is 10:30pm, 33 degrees fahrenheit, been raining all day and supposed to "snow" tonight. It's not looking good and the race organizers have had to put a lot of work into trying to get the trails in shape for us. Check out the race website for the latest updates at seniornationals.org.

It feels like so long since I've raced last and I'm getting really psyched to get to race again. And we get to race everyone, most of the college teams are here and all the serious senior racers. I cannot wait! And I got to see all of my teammates again (except Andre, who arrives on Tuesday). It's good to be back with the team; I've missed them. We went out to dinner at The Library tonight and it was fun to have the whole group together to laugh over stories from break.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

While in the Methow I got to "guest coach" the Methow Valley Jr. Nordic Team a couple days. Mostly, I just wanted to hang out withmy ex-housemate-from-Whitman Tara Gregg who is now the head coach there. Here Chani Caulfield works on her V1 with Tara right behind her. I look at these kids and think, "there, but for 5 years of training, go I." And I know that soon they will be the ones ripping up the race circuit and (unless I continue to train hard) kicking my butt.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Methow Valley via The Chewuch Inn

I spent a couple days in the Methow Valley skiing some of my favorite trails. It was great to be back in the Pacific Northwest to ski some of my old haunts and I had some of the best skiing all fall right here in WA state. This morning I woke up early to get a ski in before driving back to Wenatchee. I started skiing by 7:15, well before the sun was up, from the Chickadee Trailhead. At 6F I doubted that the old wax box would have a kick wax cold enough. Surprisingly, I found a green hard wax. Not surprisingly, it had never been used before. I had a great ski in the sunrise.

I stayed at the Chewuch Inn in Winthrop. They have the cutest little cabins to stay in. but I wouldn't have minded what the actually lodging accomodations were because the breakfasts would have made anything worthwhile. Breakfast reminded me of the Redwall meals: cereals, milk, orange juice, fruits, jams, fresh & local honey, bagels, real oatmeal, homemade-and-really-good granola, yoghurt, quiche, fresh-from-the-oven-and-handmade scones and muffins, teas, coffee. It was especially delicious after my ski this morning! Then in the evenings they make cookies and have hot apple cider, tea, & coffee. It reminded me of the Catmur's place in Crested Butte, Co, The Christiana Guesthaus. They had the same family-run, friendly feel.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I am hoping that you have been too busy enjoying time with family and friends this weekend to even notice that I haven't been writing. We are having a very white Christmas in the Wenatchee Valley this year with new snow every day!

Now I am going on a short vacation and I think chances are slim that I'll get to blog. I'll be reconnected on the 29th though. What does a vacation look like for someone who travels around all winter to ski towns anyways? Hmm, not actually that different from any other week; I'll be up in the Methow Valley... skiing. It is nice when a vacation is almost indistinguishable from your job!

Friday, December 22, 2006


I got to have a fun strength workout with Michael Hansen at Biosports in Wenatchee. Even without the typical weightroom equipment, Michael had no trouble getting me tired. Biosports is the best Physical Therapy place in Wenatchee, and probably a much wider area, but I manage to stay away from physical therapists as a general rule, so don't know for sure. It was pretty fun, as far as strength workouts go. The atmosphere at Biosports is very laid back, friendly & interactive. It was inspiring to get to see the other athletes in there being rockstars, rehabbing or fixing weak spots in their fitness.

Michael made me hop a row of increasingly high hurdles. If you've worked out with me, you might know that I am not a big fan of jumping things. Jumping onto things, okay. Jumping over bar-like obstacles, not my cup of tea. So I started to be squeamish about it but then Fletcher Farrar pointed out to me that, "if you have a phobia about something, they make you do it lots." So I shut up and jumped the hurdles. And it was fine, I only knocked one over once.

Michael/Biosports also works with Torin Koos (USST) and it was nice to work with a P.T. who knew exactly what movements & muscles nordic skiers need to train.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Solstice

Welcome the longest night of the year!

There's nothing like waking up in the morning and feeling good after being sick. This morning I felt like a rock star; my pulse was a languid 40bpm compared to a 56 Wednesday morning. I was all set to bust out my 6mmol intervals this morning. And then I skied, lasted 45minutes, felt like passing out, and definitely did not do any intervals or my afternoon workout. 45minutes is rough, I tell you, I had to take a two hour nap to recover from it. Pathetic, I know. But now I really am feeling super and ready to take on tomorrow... after a long night's sleep.

It has been nice to have some time back with the family. I always forget how weird my family is after I've been away for awhile. After I haven't seen them they seem normal in my mind. And then I come back and realize that we're not. It's a comfortable, happy weirdness though.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Home... and sick

I was so excited to get home Monday night, flying into Seattle to a beautiful sunset over the ocean and clear views of Mt. Ranier. And then stopping for dinner at The Thai Kitchen in Bellevue for the tastiest meal I've had in a long time. Tuesday my bro, Ryan (at Seattle U Law) and I drove home together. Then we had the first glitch of the day because we had to stop in North Bend for gas but North Bend was completely out of power still from Thursday's wind storm so we had to backtrack to Sammamish.

I got in a good ski on the Icicle River Trails in the afternoon with the LWSC Jr. Nordic Team but by the end and on the drive home started feeling pretty sickly. Upon getting home my body decided that it needed to purge every vestige of food or liquid in my body using all means available to it. So I took to the living room couch, And then a sleepless night in bed, and now I am back on the couch, feeling better, just weak, and trying to slowly rehydrate.

At least I managed to avoid being sick the entire time on the road and waited until I was home. Because if you're going to be sick somewhere, home is best. Here I can lie on the couch, looking pitiful, and get anything I request. Plus it's nice to have stomach flu instead of a cold because, training-wise, it's better to feel awfull for ten hours and then bounce back than feeling run-down for seven days and have to decide every workout whether you should train through it or rest. I hope everyone else is starting their christmas breaks healthier than I.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

One more...

That's right, another sprint win for me, topping off a great CXC weekend with Compton's win yesterday. (Compton had the day off today and by "day off" I mean she did a 3hr OD.) Some moments from today:

-- Winning the prelims. I haven't won those yet and I figured that since Compton wasn't racing, I could probably do it, and I did, goal accomplished.

-- Bryan Cook qualifying 10th, .16seconds ahead of Kris Freeman! Way to make a comeback, especially since he hasn't really done any speed training this year since he's still behind on his training plan from being sick this summer.

-- 6" of snot hanging down from my nose at the finish of my quarterfinal. Not scoring hot points. At least it was just my quarterfinal, I managed to pull myself together for the other heats.

-- Kate Whitcomb pulling a serious badass move at the finish of her semifinal. She was double poling in behind Kristina Strandberg, fighting for second (Amanda Ammar had first) to move on to the A final and 5m from the finish switched lanes and shot herself around and up even with Strandberg and practically dove (toe first, of course, since that's what they time off of) across the line. Unfortunately she didn't quite make it.

-- Why do the Canadian women drink Ensure for a recovery drink?

-- Cook being ready to kick some serious butt coming into the finish of his quarterfinal and then getting smacked by Anders Haugen's ski and snapping his pole.

-- The huge bloddy welt on Cook's shin from getting smacked by Haugen's ski.

-- 2 Canadians and 2 American in the men's A Final and the Americans taking 1,2.

-- The double pole duel between Freeman and Newell in the men's Final. Within inches for the entire 100m finishing stretch. Freeman took it.

-- The constant snowstorm throughout the day and not being able to find the tracks at the start of the downhill.

--Wanting to throwdown in the final and being able to pull it off (by 13sec) even in really soft snow, conditions historically BAD for me.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Interview with Caitlin Compton

Friday, December 15, 2006

A long ski

It was a long morning. I had a 3hour OD (over distance) ski at Soldier Hollow. I'm pretty sure the loop is only 2km now after going around it many many times today. All of my teammates are racing tomorrow so they only skied for an hour so I had to watch them drive away in Tiny while I trudged on around and around and around.

It's a testement to how much I like to ski that I managed to finish this workout. If someone had told me to do a 3hr rollerski on a 2km loop, there's no way I would have considered it. If someone had asked me to run for 3hrs on a 2km loop, I would have laughed. But it's a precious patch of snow, so I skied on it. And I do realize that most of the country is without snow so I am lucky to have even 2k of trails.

At the start of my ski, the trail was bustling with activity. Everyone was doing a preview of the skate course for tomorrow and getting a nice short ski in. Unfortunately everyone was skating so I skied almost the entire way alone (except for a lap w/ Sara Studebaker, who was nice enough to slow down and chat). Then, people started leaving, and the trails drained of humanity. Eventually it was only Andrew Johnson, Lars Flora, Kris Freeman, and me. There were a few other skiers, and coach wax testing, but I suspect they had come out later. Then it was only Freeman & I and it got pretty boring since Freeman only passed me every couple of laps and other than that the scenery didn't change. At least I had my ipod.

Then even Freeman left. At first I was impressed that I skied longer than him but I quickly realized that
a) He was doing a "short" day-before-race-ski & I was doing my OD for the week, and
b) He probably started skiing at 7 so he could be done by noon and get some rest before the race sat am. You think I'm joking, don't you.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Soldier Hollow 2.5

Since it's been so warm and rainy here lately, the trail conditions are suffering. Soldier Hollow only has a 2.5km loop groomed. You can still ski some of the other trails but they're really mushy and you punch through to the ground easily. And actually it's less than 2.5, probably closer to 2k, but we're trying to be optimistic here. At least it wasn't raining and our Salomon boots are waterproof so we stayed pretty dry.

After our ski hordes of Elementary School kids came out on a school trip to ski. While we waited for Fish to finish glide testing skis we stood on the balcony and watched them ski. It was like a flood of lemmings moving slowly around the 2km loop. Then they would hit a downhill and there would be mass carnage, bodies all over the trail. The best hill was the long downhill into the stadium. We would cheer for anyone who had the guts to just get in the tracks and go for it since almost all the kids would just tip over instead of skiing down the hill. The other awesome part of watching was that there were still people out training, fast people like the Canadians and some other American ski stars. So the fast skiers would be slaloming around small heaps of little kid on the downhills and dancing around them on the uphills.


We skied up on the Sundance Nordic trails on Wednesday. Beautiful area. But then it started raining and I was a lot less enchanted with it after 2.5hrs on a 5km loop in the wet, slow snow.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I've been feeling pretty spoiled lately. I mean, I travel around and ski every day, does life get much better? We pulled into the Homestead Resort last night and checked into our condo. Compton & I get to share the master bedroom and decided that travelling wasn't so bad because we stayed in places that were a lot nicer than any of our recent homes. Our room right now has a bathroom that's bigger than my bedroom back in Hayward. The room itself is probably four times as big as any of Compton's or my past bedrooms. And there's a walk in closet; I've never had a walk in closet before. So it's not like we're leaving the luxury of home to scrounge out an existence on the road. Plus CXC covers our food expenses while we're travelling so we aren't eating cup-of-soups every night, we get to make awesome salads and bake chicken. Not that I'm trying to gloat, but I just feel so incredibly lucky to be living the life I am.

Monday, December 11, 2006

S.V. -> SoHo

We depart Sun Valley today and head for Soldier Hollow, or SoHo as it is fondly refered to on the race circuit. There are pictures up from this weekend at the following sites:


I particularly like the one on the SkinnySki homepage where the snowman is looking maliciously over Compton's shoulder. Compton grabbed two skis Fish was glide testing for the boys and you'll notice they're not quite the same length.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Champion: Compton

That's right, Caitlin Compton of CXC won the 15km skate this morning. Not only was she the fastest woman on the course today, it was a mass start so everyone else had the opportunity to respond to her skiing and they couldn't. They watched her ski away from them, tried to keep up, tried to pass, but Compton was too tough for them. yep, that's my teammate! (I'm so proud!)

I raced also but, um, I don't even know what place I was-- far enough back that I didn't bother looking at the results.

The boys had a brutal 30km (6laps). Kuzzy (17) and Gregg (24) both looked nice and smooth. Cook didn't race, still working back up to the longer races.

Back in the midwest, Andre Watt placed second the 15km classic at Ironwood, MI! Only .25sec back from winner Adam Swank. Matt Liebsch was close behind in sixth place.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Classic Sprint awards. Thanks to Fish for waxing, coaching AND serving as team photographer!  Posted by Picasa

Compton hanging out with the Canadians in front of Galena Lodge. Kris Freeman, Compton, & I are the only Americans to make the podium at the Sun valley SuperTour races so far. Posted by Picasa


Since I didn't race today, I had a lot of time to sit around and be judgemental, here's the outcome.

Latest Riser: The Sun. Where we were waxing didn't get any sun until 11:30. We had to stand there in the cold watching the line of bright sunshine s.l.o.w.l.y. creep towards us.

Cutest Race Hair: Melody Scheefer's pigtails. She claims that her hair is too short to work in a ponytail, but I think she was out to rack up style points today, especially with her cupcake frosting, pink-and-white jacket.

Nicest Winner: Alexa Turzien, junior women. Alexa is just sweet, unassuming, pleasant, and she skied really well today!

Best Cookie: Perry's Bakery and Eatery. They had a couple of those promising pink bakery boxes full of their chocolate chip and raisin/coconut cookies at the start/finish area. Really good & I am hoping they have them tomorrow too.

Most Cookies Eaten: I'm not 100% sure, but I suspect it was Bryan Cook.

Hottest Racer: That's right, my teammate, Caitlin Compton, hands down. She also skied pretty fast today too, second overall behind Amanda Ammar (CAN).

Best Awards: SVSEF because if you make top three at these SuperTour races you get a boquet of flowers a hand-painted ceramic dish AND a white envelope with money.

Highest IQ: Erik Flora (APU coach). It was about 400m from the parking lot to the race start so all the teams had to pack in their gear. Flora had clipped skis onto their waxing table turned it upside down (so the skis were runners) and piled their wax boxes in between the legs like it was a sled. I was impressed.

Best Split Givers: Matt Whitcomb & Pat Casey. I was out at the top of the long hill with them during the women's race and they cheered for every single girl who came by and gave splits to almost everyone.

CXC Absentee Award: Goes to both our teammates Andre Watt and Matt Leibsch who raced skate sprints at Ironwood, MI this morning. Watt qualified second and finished third in the men's A final and Leibsch raced the men's B final and took 5th or 6th. CXC representin' in the midwest!

More results:
men 10km: Freeman (1, USST), Goldsack (2, CAN), Roycroft (3, CAN) Kuzzy (14), Cook (24), Gregg (26).
women 5km: Ammar (1, CAN), Compton (2), Betcherman (3, CAN), Williams (4, CAN), Mannix (5, USST).
jr. men 10km: Reid Pletcher (1, SVSEF)
jr, women 5km: Alexa Turzian (1, SVSEF), Liz Stephan (2, USST), Rosie Brennan (3).

Friday, December 08, 2006

Galena 5km

All the races this weekend are being held on a 5km loop at Galena, sat=5/10km classic, sun=15/30km skate mass start. Here's my analysis of the race course for the classic race.

The course breaks down more or less like this: 1km up, 1km down, 1km up, 1km down, 1km flat(ish). Because of all the downhills it skis really quickly and feels like a short 5km. I think that the crucial skill for this course is going to be the ability to decide which is faster for you: between striding and kick double poling or between double poling and tucking. There are many sections where it isn't clear which technique you should use. In fact, depending on how strong the racer is, how fast they are going, and how fast the skis are running, two racers could ski this course to the best of their ability and ski it using different techniques in many places.

The uphills are almost gradual enough to kick double pole (I think I would still stride most of them) and it will behoove the racers tomorrow to pay very close attention to where the hill flattens out slightly and they can get in a few effective kick double poles. On the other hand, you don't want to get bogged down kick double poling when you should be striding. The downhills also are on the verge of tucking or double poling. I tend to err on the side of too much tucking. I think for a lot of the downhills, the wind resistance from opening yourself up to double pole will negate the acceleration from poling, or at least make the gains not worth the energy expenditure, which would be more valuably spent on an uphill.

The basic determining factor will be fitness and technique, but there's not much a racer can do to improve those two things the night before the race. I only know all of this because I'm not racing tomorrow-- if I had to race it, I'd be a lot less sure in my analysis!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Western WA Decor

I didn't know that there was a distinct Western Washington decorating style, but when we walked into our condo I knew that the owners, Tom & Sara Hayward, were from Western WA. If I had to guess a town I would guess Bellingham, Anacortes, or somewhere island-ish on the peninsula. Maybe somebody knows them and can confirm my suspicions. It feels very homey (even though I'm from Eastern, not Western, WA) to have photos of Mt. Rainier, posters from Gig Harbor & Vashon Island, coastal Indian art, and old salmon packing labels up on the walls.

We skied the course today at Galena and had to navigate piles of snow that had been shovelled onto bare spots on the course. It looked like the course had been colonized by an extended family of snow moles.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Classic Sprints!

Today we had 1.5km classic sprints at Lake Creek in Ketchum, ID. Kuzzy was still feeling sick (but better than yesterday) and didn't race. Gregg just missed out on qualifying since they were only taking the top 16 (World Cup races take the top 30). Bryan Cook had his debut race of the season after a series of unfortunate events this summer which delaying his training cycles and came in 25th. I'm not sure if this is reasonable, but Compton and I both watched Cook to see where he double poled/dbl.p.kicked/strided around the course. Maybe it's because he gives us good (and sometimes absurd) race strategy advice so we wanted to see him actually race. We did have one of our boys qualify, even if he isn't technically our boy. Sam Naney, skiing for BSF, is staying with us until the BSF team comes up for the weekend and he qualified in 14th and then got kicked out of the heats in his quarter final. If you're wondering who was winning since it wasn't our boys... it was the Canadians. Everyone in the men's A final was a member of the Canadian National Team. And the rest of the top 16 contained a good number of Canadians. Very fast. And very good looking. I think they might have hurt Caitlin's results because she was checking out the Canadians instead of warming up. Just my suspicions. Not that, of course, we had the guts to actually talk to any of them. None of the US Ski Team members are here this week, they got back home Monday night and are mostly enjoying some time at home after an unfulfilling trip to Europe.

The women's field was small-- only 17 people on the start list, but only 15 actually started so everyone made the heats. I was feeling pretty shabby this morning, I kind of wanted to stay in bed instead of start what I knew would be a day of racing. But we went to race and let Kuzzy do the sleeping in for the team. I executed our standard sprint warm-up and tested my skis. Actually almost missed the start because there was no race clock up to keep track of the time & I was starting first so there wasn't anyone else to follow to the start. Luckily, I guess, the announced me as a scratch and that got my attention so I went over to assure them I intended to race and got there 45sec before my start. Anyway, felt super stiff in the qualifiers so during lunch I stretched out a lot. Made fun of Compton for falling over and still qualifying in third, silly girl.

Quarterfinals were chill, Compton and I both won ours. The semifinal was tougher, we had Perianne Jones, a very strong Canadian skier, Kate Pearson (Rossi), Compton, Valaas. It was close, I won it and Jones came in second to move into the A final with me. Compton had requested a little too much kick on her skis and they were too draggy so we would pull ahead on the downhill/flat parts of the course. I was pretty traumatized not the have Compton in the A final with me, we've raced every semi and A final together this year. She had a five minute break after the semis (in which Fish fixed her skis) and then raced the B final, coming in second behind one of the Canadians, Sarah Daitch, to take 6th overall. Pearson was a couple seconds back to take 7th.

Let me describe the course: slight uphill start, long downhill, flat along the river, gradual up, 20m steep up, 20m gradual up, steep down, flat corner, slight up to finish. For the final I started out in the inside track in the lead. I kept the lead on the downhill, the girls behind me were drafting and could have stepped around since they were picking up speed, but instead pushed on my pole so we could both go faster. I took the hint and opened into a double pole to start accelerating again. Kept the lead across the flat and into the gradual uphill where I heard someone tell Shayla Swanson, who was skiing right behind me something along the lines of, "just relax, stay where you are, you have plenty of time to pass her on the hill." And it made me smile, because I knew how fast I was planning on skiing up the hill and suspected that passing me might not be that easy. Then we hit the steep part of the hill and I skied the steep to gradual section of the course as fast as I could and opened a decisive gap. Then a tight tuck and a few double poles into the finish to take the win. Swanson was second and Jones third, Tara Whitten fourth. Now that I think about it, I led (or skied even with one other skier) the entire way of every heat. It was nice not to have to scheme and plot to get the win since on a steep uphill drafting isn't a big factor. And then Bryan Cook had saved me a chocolate chip cookie and I ate it and was happy and now I am wanting to go back to bed again.

Monday, December 04, 2006

our coach bryan whom we call fish because there are so many br(y/i)ans

We made it up to Ketchum, ID where I was thrilled to go to KB's for dinner and then to our condo to find that Caitlin & I had a walk in closet in our room AND wireless internet. Life is good.

I think that it's about time I gave some credit to my coach, Bryan Fish. I don't know how he manages to stay on top of everything as well as he does. When people ask me if I like my coaches, I have to correct them with, "coach, singular, there's only one Bryan Fish." But he certainly works enough for a couple more people. Especially since this is an all day, every day job. First of all, he writes out training plans for each of us, scheduling every single workout of every single day. Then he usually is at practice with us, taking video, testing lactates, working on our technique. He buys us groceries and takes his turns making dinner. And that's just on our chill training days.

Once it's race day, his workload goes way up. Because on race days, our wax has to be perfect, and Fish tests EVERY possible wax combination obsessively the day before and the morning of the race. He also stays up late putting top coats on our skis and gets up early to get the gear ready for race day. He registers us for the races and has to go to the coaches' meetings and know everything about race day because we ask him questions about everything. So far he has made my skis exactly how I want them, which is crucial for classic, and does so in a timely fashion. Especially when I delayed testing my skis for our sprint relay, finally got on them, decided they were slow, made him race-wax my second pair of skis, and rewax my first pair, found each pair too slick or too sticky several more times before we got it nailed in time for the start. Now that is what I like in a coach.

And then there's the business side of things. Fish has to gather all of our requests and then talk to all of our sponsors to track down missing gear. He also takes care of our logistics like booking rooms and traveling (making sure Tiny runs has been a big component of the travel tasks lately). I'm sure there's a bunch of other business-y type stuff he takes care of that I don't even hear about too. After all this, Fish has to get in the van and drive us to our next race venue. Basically what I'm trying to say here is that it absolutely rocks have Bryan Fish as a full-time, competent, dedicated coach!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Our first team relay!

Unfortunately Kuzzy was a little sick, so Gregg raced with another individual, Topher Sabot. They did really well, finishing fifth, and Gregg had some of the fastest splits of the day. The set up was semi-finals at 10am with the top five teams advancing from each semifinal and those ten teams racing the final at 12:30. The men's final was pretty exciting with a tight group of three teams skiing together and a coming down to a close sprint finish. As much as I like all six of the guys in that group, I was pretty psyched to see Marshall Greene and Brayton Osgood win it. Because Marshall's from Spokane, WA so we were on the same race circuit back in the day. Also ex-PNSA racers racing were Emily Chenel and Sam Naney. Colin Rogers & Zach Simmons were second. James Southam and Anders Haugen were a close third. Compton and I had a poster of James Southam above our area in the warming hut-- we decided that we must always have a poster of James with us. Unfortunately I just remembered that we left our poster at the race venue so we'll have to ask him for another one (our third, since we had one in West Yellowstone also).

Compton and I easily made the finals, like I said, there's not very many of the big teams here. It was pretty sweet to see all of the BSF athletes out racing. There were a lot of juniors racing today and yesterday and they were looking pretty good. The MSU team also had its athletes out racing and it was fun to see them since I've been on the RMISA circuit with them for the past four years. Anyway, I thought it was cool to be out there with the up and coming J2s/J1s/OJs. It reminded me of back when I was a junior trying to keep up with the pro skiers and being jealous that they didn't have to go to school. And now I'm the one people are trying to pass. Weird.

Anyway, the finals went smoothly. Compton led off and came in with a slight gap. I took off and we maintained our lead throughout the race to win with a comfortable margin. I did hear a rumor that Taz Mannix and Kate Pearson crashed, but I haven't confirmed that. SInce they were the second an third teams, that might have contributed to our gap. Karin Caminisch outsprinted Ida Sargeant in a really nice striding finish to take second for her and Pearson. Mannix (APU/USSkiTeam) and Sargeant (Burke) teammed up to take third.

I also must say that I was pretty impressed with the race organization by Bridger Ski Foundation, it ran very smoothly and there were lots of volunteers shovelling snow and picking out rocks for us. Also, I couldn't believe how nicely the course was groomed considering how little snow there was in the park.

And now it's time for our afternoon strength workout.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Life has been moving fast the last couple of days. Fast and then standstill & then fast again. On our way to practice Thursday afternoon, Tiny (the van) broke down (again...it's been having a few problems). So we went to ski and Fish fixed the van. It still wasn't fixed by the time we were done at 6pm so the boys went to help and Compton and I went to Strozzi's and ordered the pizza. Finally we got everything taken care of and left for Bozeman. Then our headlights started getting dimmer and dimmer. Then the van stopped shifting. And it was dark and if you know the road between Bozeman and West Yellowstone, you know that you do NOT want to drive it in a big van with a trailer in the snow in the dark with no lights on. S.K.E.T.C.H.Y. We made it to Big Sky and decided to stop before we got funneled into the Gallatin Valley of death. Kuzzy called an friend with a condo in Big Sky & got us somewhere to stay. So Tiny limped 3 more miles up the road to the condo, Caitlin held a flashlight out the window so oncoming cars would know there was something on the road. So Thursday night we ended up stranded in Big Sky.

Friday, life came to a standstill. Fish had the van towed into Bozeman and the athletes went for a ski and lounged around Big Sky, playing scrabble and scheming about how we were going to get into Bozeman. We almost got the Salomon guys in Bozeman to drive up and get us. We had a shuttle figured out using the bus system. Compton called every car rental place in the area. We were being resourceful. Then Fish called and said that Tiny was fixed! And we all looked at each other and said, oh, we didn't even consider that as an option. So Fish drove back up to Big Sky and picked us up. Then we walked the race course, had a sweet dinner with Kuzzy's cousin, Eva, waxed our skis and didn't get to bed after all this until way after 11pm.

Compton and I went for a pretty sweet ski in Big Sky Friday morning. Nothing was groomed so we skied on a golf course. Afterwards an aerial photo of the golf course would have looked like one of those Family Circus cartoons with the dotted lines. We skied in circles, zig-zags, up the hills, down the hills, around trees, through sandpits, stopped to make snow angels & stomp out "CXC" in the snow, and generally followed no reasonable path. It was fun and un-intense.

Then Saturday morning we got back into racing. This weekend we had downtown sprints at Lindley Park in Bozeman. There is 1.2 and ONLY 1.2km groomed. Which meant that between the qualifiers and heats, we couldn't ski anywhere. That is why it is good to keep up the running over the winter so you can warmup running when you need to. It was a small field today so the quarterfinals were a breeze. All four of us racing today made it (Kuzzy, Gregg, Compton, Valaas). Gregg and Kuzzy were in the same semifinal and took 3rd & 4th in a photo finish, the officials had to delay the race because they couldn't figure out who was 2/3. They went on to take 1st and 2nd in the men's B final to get 5th (Kuzzy) and 6th (Gregg) overall.

Compton and I also raced the same semifinal along with Kate Pearson (Rossignol) and Melanie Park (Bridger Ski Foundation). Compton and I both advanced to the A final along with Karin Camenisch and Taz Mannix. And then, I won. Crazy, I don't really understand it, I mean I keep waiting for someone to pass me, but they don't. So I guess I'm okay with it. Camenisch was second and Compton in third. And tomorrow we get to do classic team sprints!

Another exciting news tidbit is that the US Ski Team decided to come home from Europe... which means that Kikkan Randal will be racing us in Sun Valley!

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