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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Race Photos

Competitive Images has galleries up from the Capitol Square Sprints in Madison a couple of weekends ago... rumor has it that Paul & Jonathon shot over 7,500 photos that weekend and have a really excellent selection up on their gallery:

Competitive Image

Also, Steve Hoffman (Mel's dad, if you know Melanie) took some awesome pictures this weekend at the Telemark races and has his photos posted HERE. If you go to the album titled "Telemark Nor-Ams - CXC Team - 1/28/07" there are some good ones of Fish giving splits... one of the few times in race photos where you get to see the coach in action.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

No Girls

So Gregg & Kuzzy have been complaining that there's no girls in Hayward (I think they define girls as single women between the ages of 18 and 30) since about, oh, July. I always laughed at them. And then the other day I realized that I was getting kind of tired of being the only girl around. The only significant female in my life right now is Compton, and she doesn't really count since I only see her around race time and she's half machine anyway. The rest of the time it's Laura & a bunch of boys. Don't get me wrong, I like all the dudes on the ski circuit but sometimes I wish I had someone around to be a little more girly with. Like tonight when we had Kruse, Strabel, Flora, Easter, & Haugen over for dinner & those guys are awesome but I was still like, where are all the girls in my life? At least Kay came over and helped balance things out.

Occasionally I'd like to be around people who emote a little better. It's entertaining to be around people who can express their feelings with a little drama.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Compton's such a tough cookie. I hear she raced almost the whole race like this and she's even smiling. The volunteers must have been so intimidated that they forgot to take her bib afterwards. (Rumor has it that she fell and jabbed her ski pole handle into her face... she's on her way to get stitches now.)

Smiles & Races

Today's race was on a 2.5km loop, men did 6 laps, women did 4, because it was the only loop with enough snow to set tracks on. Sigh, my dad said he was up skiing (in WA) with 10' of snow today. Yeah, that was a foot mark NOT inches.

So the first part of the course was a lollipop out up a hill, around, and back down the other side of the trail. Kristina Owen (MTU) started about two minutes ahead of me so when I started I passed her coming down the hill as I was going up. It was a beautiful cold sunny day, and I wanted to drop my split times each lap so I was starting out pretty chill. So when I saw Stina coming towards me I really wanted to give her a "yo, whassup?" salute, but I reminded myself that I was racing and should not be chatting with my fellow racers, so I just gave her a big grin & she smiled at me from her tuck.

And then after the race she said something along the lines of: It was a good race, especially after you smiled at me and that reminded me that this was supposed to be FUN.

tear. that makes it all worthwhile.

And we both even raced well while having fun. Stina was 8th or 9th and I was 2nd behind Weier. It was fun to have short laps because there were other racers around all the time to try to catch and people all over the course cheering.

(note on a previous blog: 3.14=pi... but I hope you all already knew that!)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

a fast team

All of my teammates are fast. Our slowest teammate today was 14th, still top 15th, and he was 3rd last weekend. Our other CXC Team members were all stellar: Compton (1), Valaas (6), Kuzzy (2), Cook (3), Liebsch (8), Gregg (9), Watt (14). Wow, I mean, there's really no weak link there.

I've never been on a team this fast before. Not to mention dedicated and motivated, which I think comes before the fast part. It helps to be surrounded by people who are striving towards the same kinds of goals that you are. When your teammates are training hard and you see them doing everything they can to become faster it makes it easier for you to do the same. And it helps to have the emotional support of doing something as a group where you have encouraging, understanding people around you.

And I think that the supportive positive atmosphere that we've been training in all year is showing in our results as a team.

Friday, January 26, 2007


I just wanted to squash a rumor that I know has flitted about occasionally. No, not anything super scandalous. The rumor is this: Laura's just good at anything she does. And here's the rebuttal: Kuzzy is seriously kicking my butt at our ongoing cribbage games. Yep, LAV=failure. I just wanted to provide an example of my imperfections while I had a good one to share.

Less of a failure will be the CXC Team tomorrow. Andre Watt just pulled into Telemark so we have the team out in full force with everyone racing the skate races tomorrow.

Even less of a failure is my room number at Telemark: 222. I'm always happier staying in a palindromic room. It's almost as cool as that time Cammie and I had room 314 in some small town in Peru.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Racing on the Home Course

After training here all summer and fall, it was pretty sweet to race (and win!) at Telemark yesterday. It's nice to actually know a lot of the volunteers and officials at the race for once. Dennis Kruse announced and I couldn't help but draw a few parallels -- Dennis = Lee Jordan and CXC Team = Gryffindor's Quidditch Team. (Not that he wasn't impartial, but I know that secretly he likes us best.) Dennis's official title is "Appointed Other." We have Jack Jeffery as the T.D. and Scott Wilson as the Chief of Competition and then Kruse is just Appointed Other.

There should be a nice big field for the distance races this weekend since they also score as Collegiate and High School races.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Telemark Sprints

I may not be skiing in Europe, but I have gotten to ski at three new ski areas in the past four days. First, Como Park in the twin cities -- the sign said "Mount Como," which I'm assuming was a joke. Yesterday I got to ski at Trollhaugen, a fun little loop with a good man-made base. And today was my first time skiing on the famous Telemark trails!

I had a tough time preparing mentally for the skate sprints today. My mind was off wandering around Austria where it still thought I should be. I had moved on from SuperTour races emotionally and couldn't fully embrace the idea of racing here again. And last night didn't feel like a pre-race night either. We went and lifted weights in the afternoon, I hadn't skied the course yet and so couldn't imagine racing it, and in the evening I was way more concerned with beating Kuzzy at cribbage then getting psyched for my race.

I came in third in the qualifiers, putting me in the second semifinal heat (they only took top 8 into the heats so we didn't have quarters). I thought I could get through the semis without too much trouble since it was just Martina Stursova and the girls who finished in 6th & 7th, two UAF skiers. Thought. Because then I got dropped. Here is the message: do not underestimate the girl in the hot pink fleece hat. So Stursova and Paula Daabach started to drop me and I had to work pretty hard to catch up. I could tell I wasn't skiing at my best today; nothing was a sure bet. I managed to catch Stursova and Daabach and advance to the A final. Compton, qualifying in first, annihilated her semi.

The A final started out with Stursova leading, Compton in second, Kate Whitcomb in third & Miss Valaas holding on in fourth. Whitcomb & I started to drop off on the second climb. Then there was a downhill into a flat heading back to the finish and one last hill. The last flat had a significant headwind and I knew if I wanted a shot at winning I had to bridge up to Stursova and Compton by the time we hit the wind. Well, I didn't spend all those years bike racing for nothing, so I skied really really hard for ten seconds and got into Compton's draft. Phew, I had made it. Compton made her move around Stursova and I kept right behind her until we hit the last steep pitch before the finishing straight where I moved around her outside and pulled ahead. Today, anyone had a legit shot at winning.

The men's races where exciting too, with a tight finish in the men's B Final between Eric Strabel, Garrot Kuzzy & Bryan Cook (finishing in that order). Lars Flora won the men's race.

Monday, January 22, 2007


It has recently come to my attention that the general public is not familiar with fractals. I have mistakenly been believing that fractals are awesome enough to escape the confines of the mathematical world and be beloved by math nerds and non-math people alike.

Fractals are beautiful, which is why I thought they would be well known to the general population. You don't have to understand anything about iterations, rectifiablity, or recursiveness to appreciate them. And you don't have to know who Mandelbrot, Sierpinski, or Lévy were to admire the fractals they developed.

Fractals are images that are created by repeatedly performing a certain "step." That step can be either simple and easy to explain in words, or extremely complicated. But what am I saying, no one wants to know how to make a fractal, and if you do check out the classic, easy-to-understand iterations that make the Koch Snowflake. Or to watch the Mandelbrot Set developing, go to this
Fractal Applet, choose your favorite color scheme (I prefer Purple Haze) and walk through the iterations.

A fractal is a geometrical design in which, roughly speaking, each part looks like the whole. A real life example is broccoli. Take the biggest bunch of broccoli in your fridge, now break off a large floret and a smaller floret off of that one. If you stand them up next to each other, other than differences in size, they should look roughly the same. It's the same in a fractal, you can zoom in anywhere on the curve and not be able to tell how far you've zoomed in.

There's also lots of really fun math you can do with fractals, like trying to determine the perimeter of the Koch Snowflake or volume of the Menger Sponge. Fractals are also good for gazing at and contemplating the unfathomableness of life.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


U23 World's Press Release

Well, looks like I'll be heading back to Hayward. At least there will be some races to do to keep me distracted.


Purgatory isn't actually as bad as the Catholics claim. There's books, "Krik! Krak!" by Edwidge Danticat, which was awesome, and "The Count of Monte Cristo" which is one of my favorites. There's tea and a fireplace and sun. And right now it's even 20° and snowing. And we had phenomenal venison steak for dinner last night. Okay, so why is the Ceronskys' house in Minneapolis purgatory?

Because I'm here waiting for my future to be decided. U23's may or may not happen because of the snow conditions in Italy. So I canceled my flight that would have departed today at noon and rescheduled for one Tuesday morning. Monday I find out whether I get to actually take that flight or whether I take my bags, packed with care and hope, and return to Hayward. I'm either headed to heaven or hell and here I sit, not knowing.

(not that I think of Hayward as hell, I quite enjoy it there, but it's by far the less desirable of the two options.)

Friday, January 19, 2007

I am trying to get my hair to reach that level of unkemptness where it is so unbelievably unkempt on an otherwise manicured person that people assume that it must actually be just one level of stylish beyond them. What? you say it's not working?! Blame Andre Watt, it's a strategy I learned from him.

The bridge, and my footprints.

Looking back at Cresthill from Lake Placid.

Lake Placid

I finally braved the ice on lake placid today. Everyone around here seems to think that hanging out on frozen lakes is completely normal. People ice fish, walk, skate, ski all over frozen lakes. I, on the other hand, think that frozen bodies of water should be approached with extreme caution. This, maybe more than anything else I've noticed so far, declares in flashing neon letters: "NOT A MIDWESTERNER!" Unlike everyone from here, I have no ice-sense, no clue how to tell when ice is safe or not-safe. It was almost always a bad idea to walk on frozen bodies of water in Washington where I lived. For one, the water actually flowed so you had currents to watch out for and, for another, the ice rarely lasted long enough to thicken. I'll have to get over my ice qualms if I'm ever going to acclimate to the Midwest, but there's a huge cold lake underneath the ice... with fish! scary fish! and seaweed, creepy seaweed! My instincts tell me to stay away but maybe I've just read too many Jack London stories.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Price of being fast

I could spend the remainder of the season hanging out in the U.S., letting CXC take care of most of my racing expenses, living at Cresthill, not spending money, & maybe even making some prize money. But I'm not (and happy about it); I'm leaving for Europe in two days where my expenditures are about to get a lot bigger. As a mildly interesting number, & because I have to add this up anyway, here's what it costs to actually attend all these races I've been invited to:

330: Flight to Munich (jan21)
1150: U23 trip
500: OPA Cup trip (Oberstdorf races)
174: Train from Oberstdorf to Frankfurt (feb12)
400: Training camp in Asahikawa, Japan
World Champs expenses covered.
1700: World Cups in Scandinavia
170: Flight from Helsinki to Oslo (mar12)
1010: Flight from Stockholm to Quebec (mar22)

Total: 5434 USD
plus, I would estimate another grand in unplanned for expenses because things always pop up & this is just a list of money I KNOW I have to spend.

Sigh. I like going on big trips, but I don't like spending big money. (Don't laugh, compared to my net worth, this IS big money.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Capitol Square Sprints Video

There is video of Sunday's individual classic sprints HERE.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Mad-Town Props

I wanted to give some kudos to the many many many people who made an awesome weekend of racing happen in Madison this weekend. A lot has to happen in order for an event of that magnitude to take place. I saw the volunteer schedule for the weekend; it was huge and complex and involved a lot of people. Some jobs get the spotlight and get direct recognition, like Yuriy Gusev who pretty much organized the whole thing and got the money to make it happen. And Paul & Jonathan Phillips who photographed the event. and Taylor Robbins who announced all weekend. But then there's the guy on the top of the bridge all day who rakes the snow back onto the crest of the hill after people ski by and push it all down the hill. This is an important job since without his efforts all of our skis would be ruined by the metal material of the bridge. So, man in the yellow jacket, wielding a rake on top of the bridge, I salute you.

And then there were all the ladies at the start line and registration who were cheerful and nice all day long. I don't know about y'all out there, but I can't always do cheerful for a full day when I'm standing around outside in the cold. And they didn't even make fun of me when I forgot to get my timing chip and didn't realize it until 15sec before my start so someone ran it over and strapped it on my left ankle for me just in time. I would have made fun of me. Who shows up to a race and just doesn't know that they need to get a timing chip? At some point I hope I stop making these embarrassing rookie mistakes.

World Championships!

It's official, Compton & I are on the team for World Championships in Sapporo, Japan. The full list of athletes on the team:

Chris Cook, 26, Rhinelander, WI (2006 Olympics)
Lars Flora, 29, Anchorage, AK (2002, '06 Olympics)
Kris Freeman, 26, Andover, NH (2002, '06 Olympics)
Andrew Johnson, 29, Greensboro, VT (2002, '06 Olympics)
Torin Koos, 26, Leavenworth, WA (2002, '06 Olympics)
Andy Newell, 23, Shaftsbury, VT (2006 Olympics)
James Southam, 28, Anchorage, AK (2006 Olympics)

Caitlin Compton, 26, Minneapolis (CXC)
Sarah Konrad, 39, Laramie, WY (2006 Olympics)
Kikkan Randall, 24, Anchorage, AK (2002, '06 Olympics)
Laura Valaas, 22, Wenatchee, WA (CXC)
Lindsey Weier, 22, Mahtomedi, MN (2002, '06 Olympics)

So my schedule is updated to reflect this. I'm not sure if I'll do any of the races besides the sprints, but I posted the entire women's schedule.

Note that since Compton and I don't have any Olympic appearances to put in parenthesis after our names, they put in our team just so we would have something in parenthesis after our names like everybody else. Or at least, that's what I imagine the reasoning to be.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Trends and DSQ's

I get excited about strange things sometimes. You would think I'd be really excited about the races this weekend, and I am, but races happen every weekend so it's not a novel excitement. Now I am excited about my new shoes. I decided I needed some black closed-toe shoes that were cheap, small to pack & light enough to carry around the world. So I went down to the dance store in Madison yesterday and bought black ballet slipper! I think it is brilliant, and while I may not start a fad of wearing dance shoes as street shoes, at least I have some unusual and rockin' footwear.

the other trend I'd like to claim (if anyone else ever decides to do this too) is classic racing in skiathlon boots. I've been doing it for two years now, but no one else seems to think it is as brilliant as I do. Anyway, on to actual skiing.

We had a race fatality on the CXC Team this morning. The course here is almost flat with one abrupt up-flat-down where they built a bridge that we have to ski over. Since almost everything is doublepole except this bridge which is too steep to stride so you have to herringbone it, most people raced on skate skis today. The hazard is, as you can imagine, switching from a fast double pole into a running herringbone without letting your skis glide. It's tricky. Kuzzy didn't quite manage it and got disqualified this morning. Sucks, but that's racing. The other three of us are moving on to the heats this afternoon: Cook (4), Valaas (1), Compton (5). I'm expecting the course to have turned into a huge sugar sink by then and make things a little messier than this morning.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Competitive Image

I have been failing at playing photographer this weekend, but Paul and Jonathan Phillips haven't. They are the race photographers with Competitive Image and have been putting up sweet race photos that run in a looping slide show right after the races on his website:

Competitive Image

More Mad-Town Sprints

Okay, first I need to give mad style points to Mark Iverson for last nights 100m sprints. One of Mark's skis came off at the finish of one of his sprints. Since they had just dumped enough snow to hold the 100m sprints, there wasn't exactly a lot of run out after the finish so you had to slide to a stop pretty quickly. Mark managed to make a nice sweeping turn and come to a stop... on one ski. I was impressed.

Tonight (8pm start for the ladies) was the team skate sprint: 2 skiers per team, 4 legs per skier, 2 laps per leg, 2 180° corners per lap. It was tougher than I had thought it would be because at every corner and on the one steep, man-made hill/obstacle you would almost come to a dead stop. Then you'd have to get back up to speed for 150m before hitting another corner/steep hill. That's 6 stop 'n go's per 1km leg. And that, I realized, can tire you out. Don't worry, Compton & I managed to pull ahead & take the victory.

There's the MadNorSki Bear, mascot of the Capitol Square Sprints, hanging out & he (or she?) gave the flowers out to the men's podium. After they were all up, the bear stood in front of them & did a little dance. I watched the guys expressions:
Eric Strabel (APU, 1), Colin Rogers (FSX, 3), Zach Simmons (FSX, 3): Whatever, there's no bear.
Bryan Cook (CXC, 2): smiling with a Christopher Robin "silly old bear" kind of expression.
Garrott Kuzzy (CXC, 2): Big grin and laughing. But then again, when does Kuzzy ever not have a big grin?
Lars Flora (APU, 1): Has this priceless very expressive look saying, "why in the world is this person dressed up in a bear costume standing in front of me and dancing around like an idiot?"


Over and over again this season I have been impressed by the effort exerted by race organizers to put on quality races. People are losing sleep, shoveling snow, working for months and months beforehand, and collecting sponsors just so we can race. The sheer effort required to put on the Capitol Square sprints here in Madison is more apparent than at any other race so far. They had to close off city streets, deal with tons of bureaucracy, make snow, truck it in, and set up a ski course. It's as though someone decided to build a playground for me this weekend, put me up for free (top 4 of each gender in SuperTour rankings get free lodging at the next supertour), AND pay me to race. I've entered some kind of altered reality.

and i like it

Friday, January 12, 2007

100m sprints

blink once and I'm in Madison (aka mad-town) instead of Hayward. And I've already done one race this weekend- the 100m U.S. Record attempt. We each got three chances to break the record, but both my times and Compton's got slower each time. Not that there was very much pressure. Compton & I were the only women participating, I don't know why, top three got flowers & Candinas chocolates. Heck, I would have raced for the chocolate alone. I would have done another three runs as another person to get another box of chocolates if they had let me. I think it must be because people only wanted to race if they thought they could win (and earn $300, rumor has it) and Compton & I pretty much intimidate everyone. Actually, Camenisch would have raced, but she missed a flight & got in late.

I'm forgetting the most crazy part... they made snow and trucked it into downtown Madison and made a ski course for us around (two sides of) the capitol square. Crazy.

Capitol Square Sprints Website

Thursday, January 11, 2007


It's 40°F here at Cresthill and what little snow remains is dripping off of the roof. drip. drip. drip. a depressing sound indeed. It doesn't look any better in Madison, where we race this weekend, either. sigh. The skiing this morning was awful, I think I'm going to run this afternoon. And when I'm choosing to run instead of ski, you know it's bad.

I know that you'd like to think I'm on the side of good and not evil, and I'd like to think the same, but today and if this was Narnia, I'd be fighting with Maugrim on the side of the White Witch for eternal winter.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Hurray for being National Champions! And it's even better since Compton is up on the top step of the podium with me. Maybe you notice our headband peaking out from under our CXC hats? We raced in our Ski Tigers headbands... representin' the local club! Thanks to the ladies who made them for us.

Along with the boquet of flowers comes a check, or at least the promise of a check since they give you a form to fill out with SSN and signature.

Compton and I heading up to the podium. In our #1 bibs! That's right, we went into the team sprints ranked SIXTH. I don't think the ranking system for the team sprints was very accurate (combined distance points of the two athletes) because Randall & Mannix were ranked 4th (they got second), Camenisch & Pearson were ranked 7th (they got third), and Williams & Weir were ranked 8th (they got fourth).

Kristina Owen, Liz Quinley, Kristen Monahan, Caitlin Compton, Laura Valaas, JoJo Winters. There was a hotness competition going on last week, the results were not published on fasterskier, but here are some of the contestants trying to score more hotness points by showing a little spandex-clad leg.

Another Leavenworth boy, Torin Koos, who, along with teammate Newell, came in second in the team sprints. Coming into the exchange for his last hand-off Koos poled down onto his ski, broke his binding AND poled through the top of his ski. That's some serious poling force.

Two ex-PNSA skier: Sam Naney and Brian Gregg in the team sprints Sunday.

Coming into the finish on Sunday.

Immediately after the finish, with Compton and Fish.


This afternoon I skied for the first time on the Birkie trail. In fact, it was my first time ever skiing in Wisconsin. Which is shocking to me since I've been training here most of the summer and fall. I also felt slightly embarrassed for WI because the snow was so low and the trails were understandably sketchy so it didn't make a great first impression. We did get to ski with the Hayward High School team and even play a game of tag (if there were winners and losers in tag, Gregg would be the loser today). I was psyched to finally be skiing on the famed Birkie trail, but sad because I will be leaving again soon and won't get to explore the many ski trails in the Cable-Hayward area.

Yesterday I bought a plane ticket to Munich. Yep, just a ticket to Munich, no return flight scheduled. I recommend buying a one-way flight at some point in your life, just flying somewhere and not really knowing when you'll be back, keep life exciting. I know I will be competing at U23 Worlds in Italy. Then a couple races in Germany. Then, who knows, we'll see. So the first three weeks in Europe are planned out and my passport doesn't expire until 2012. Just kidding, I'll be back before then.


Team Skate Sprints:

Went awesomely. It's hard to complain about a race that you won. Compton went out the first lap and just chilled out and stayed out of trouble. Tagged off to me and I just wanted to chill out and get into the lead to set Compton up to attack. Which she did on her second lap and dropped EVERYBODY, giving me a gap on Kikkan. My second lap I just wanted to stay ahead of Kikkan because I knew the third lap was going to be tough. Compton threw down on her third lap and opened an insurmountable lead, which I maintained through the finish. There's even a video of it all up on fasterskier.com.

Classic Sprints:

I didn't feel that these went so well. It was pretty clear to me that my classic skiing had some huge technical holes on the icy hills with the cut-out tracks. I kept getting a little off balance and loosing my rhythm. Definitely some room for improvement in these types of conditions. But, hey, I'm still psyched to be skiing as fast as I am!


Monday I cleaned up klister from Saturday, travel waxed all my skis, helped load up the wax gear into the trailer and drove home to Hayward, WI with my boys Gregg & Kuzzy. I get two weeks in my own room before I start living out of a duffel bag again.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Finish!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Still looking up to Kikkan, but from a little closer now.

The token podium shot.

It's good to see Koos up on the podium (in second). Notice the pear. I thought it was good advertising; it made me want to have a pear to eat.


Kikkan starts to pull away from the field and I am determined not to let her get a gap.

The start of the women's A final.

Interview with Jeff Parker

Gabcast! Laura Valaas #7

Prelim sprint report

I had kind of a floundering morning. It was the most awkward race I had skied in a while. I know the groomers did their best, but the tracks were bad and icy and really squirrly. I know Fish gave me the best wax possible but I still struggled to make it kick. And the layout of the course was just awkward: slight up, long down, spastic up/flat into the finish. I was feeling a little awkward when I had to try to start striding again. Did I mention the race was awkward? Basically I felt like I was flailing all over the place and unable to apply power to propel me forward. I'm guessing everybody else felt the same way though.

Heats this afternoon. My quarterfinal starts at 3:10 EST.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Matt Liebsch in the classic course. Matt pointed out to us that he was the ONLY racer of the day to have the exact same rank for each of his lap times AND his overall place. Gold star.

I didn't know Kikkan and Weir were so short until I saw this picture.

Post-podium, pre ski tie fiasco.

Isn't James Southam cute, Compton & I are big fans. Sadly, I haven't even seen James yet this week to talk to (but I did get to talk to his wife a little bit).

Bryan Cook is wicked fast in the 10km classic race.

Ski bonding time

I had a nice long session of bonding with my skis this afternoon. I know that I shouldn't wax barefoot because I'm inevitably going to drip hot wax on my feet. But I do. And it hurts. So now there's a little Toko LF Moly on my toes.

Who's excited to race this weekend...?


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Scott Wilson officiating at the turn off to the finish lanes.

Shawn, our host mom (& real mom of the three Oppligers in the headband photo), took Caitlin & me on a walking tour down to the stream behind their house. Even though the snow levels are super low and everyone is freaked out about the race course it's still gorgeous here. Shawn returned home and Compton & I continued our walk down to the Co-Op to get treats. The Co-Op turned out to be Very Far Way Away but luckily Matt & Marybeth Liebsch rescued us and gave us a ride back to the Oppligers'.


Oh man, check out the CXC men's results. They basically took the field by storm. Here's the breakdown:
Garrott Kuzzy, 5th
Bryan Cook, 12th
Matt Liebsch, 13th
Andre Watt, 18th
Brian Gregg, 50th

Yeah, I am so proud of my boys right now. Just glowing with pride. I haven't talked to them yet so I don't know any detail, but they must have fought through the slush to triumph!

Busy, busy.

The busiest time is the afternoon/evening after a race when you have another race the next day. Not only do you have to take care of all the post-race stuff, you have to do all the usual pre-race stuff too. That's my excuse for not writing yesterday. I did try to post some pictures, but the picture posting function isn't working very well either. Wow, am I full of excuses today or what.

At least I don't have any excuses for the races. Great skis, both today and yesterday, thanks to Fish. Both days the course was better than I had hoped for. The sun came out today and started to turn the course into slush, but it was nothing compared to what the guys are going through right now. Poor suckers. I skied well today, in my opinion, better than yesterday. Yesterday my fifth km was weak, today I skied consistently and hard the entire 10km. I snuck into 12th place today, by 0.3seconds ahead of Morgan Arritola, phew, getting beat by less than a second sucks so I'm glad I was on the lucky end of that tie. Kikkan Randall was second today, again by 9 seconds to Alexa Turzien. Alexa caught a lucky break on her second lap because she came through right when Kikkan started and (so I hear) managed to catch a ride for most of her second lap. Not that that makes her win any less impressive.

Yesterday I was third so I got to go up on the podium for the flower ceremony after the race. I'm starting to get the podium thing down, but I'm not quite there yet. I had all the appropriate gear on, stole Compton's Toko ski tie since FIS won't let us wear our water belts on the podium anymore. I made it through the awards fine, smiled for the cameras, momentarily thought I was cool. Then that finished up and Compton and I finally started our escape to freedom and cool down. I put on my skis and tried to stride and almost fell on my face because I forgot to take the Toko ski tie off of my ski. And that's when I realized that, no matter how fast I get, there's a good chance I'm never going to be cool.

Today I had a stellar cooldown with Kristina Owen and Kari Koos. The three of us have been skiing together since we were little annoying J6's. It's nice to have the Leavenworth crew together again. Even Torin Koos graced us with his illustrius presence for a short while.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Race Photos

There's an official race photograher and you should be able to view race photos at Brockit Photography. The classic race photos are up and they're quite good. There's only one of me, and it's not great, but there's good ones of lots of other people. So check it out.

Monday, January 01, 2007

The local junior ski team the Ski Tigers made headbands at the Oppliger's house (where Compton & I are staying) and they made Compton & I honorary Ski Tiger headbands. We are pretty excited about them and plan to wear them for our sprint team relay.

In the photo: front: Jane Gregg, middle: Rachel Robertson, Madeline Shoup, back: Caitlin Compton, Ruth Oppliger, Karen Oppliger, Louise Oppliger, Laura Valaas.

I am happy to be skiing again. I hadn't skied since
Friday...that's a long break for me and it felt awesome to be back on
snow and in the sun!

Brian Gregg skiing through the Swedetown trails.

Because they closed the MichTech trails today in hopes of preserving them for Nationals, Brian Gregg & I (everyone else had the day off) skied about ten miles North at the Swedetown Trails in Calumet, MI. It did manage to snow a little last night and hovered just below freezing for our ski so we had some beautiful, sunny, winterwonderland skiing this morning. It's warming back up quickly though. On the drive back, there was one section of road where the trees on the West side were bright green and the trees on the Eastside of the road were still frost encrusted. It made foran
interesting contrast.


I'm not typically big into New Year's Resolutions but if I had to state one for this year it would be this: remember names. Historically, I haven't been great at remembering names. (I'm not sure if it's legit to use "historically" to refer to the past 22 years, but I'm trying to pull it off.) Mostly I think because I didn't expect anyone to know my name so there was no pressure to know their name. But now I'm thinking there's a slight chance that people I run into on the ski trails and have kinda/sorta met before might remember my name. So it would behoove me to be proactive in the name-knowing game and make a solid effort to remember names of people I meet. This is really just the most recent goal on a long and ongoing goal list that happens to fall on January 1st and so gets a special title.

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