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Saturday, May 31, 2008

10k Skate TT

We did a time trial Friday morning up from Potter marsh to the top of on of the neighborhoods on the hillside (Prominence). I have no idea what the actual distance is but it took me about 33 minutes so it was pretty equivalent to a 10k. I wish I could tell you what the results were but I actually have no idea. It's more of a individual benchmark to measure our training progress over the rest of the summer and fall. I will say that I thought Kate Fitzgerald was skiing particularly well. Fitz is on the devo team and mostly raced in Alaska last year so you might not know her but it looks like she's training well.

Also, on my cool down heading back to the parking lot there were two little kids with their grandma carrying grocery bags and picking up litter out of the roadside. They also appeared to be enjoying the experience. It made me feel like the world was a good place.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Links to the athletes and their teams that received NCCSEF grants in case you want to know more about them. Brian has some great photos up right now from his spring adventures in WA. (& if I missed someone's website, please let me know!)

Kristina Owen
Brian Gregg
CXC Skiing
XC Oregon
Bridger Ski Foundation

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

NCCSEF Awards $15,000 to U25 Skiers

Congrats to the U25 skiers who got a NCCSEF grant! I'm guessing since they gave out $15,000 to ten skiers each skier got $1500 and they all deserve it!

You can click on the photo to read the press release or here's the list of athletes:

Bryan Cook, Atomic/Swix
Evelyn Dong, XC OR/factory team
Brian Gregg, CXC
Brent Knight, APU
Matt Liebsch, CXC
Kristina Owen, CXC
Katie Ronsse, APU
Maria Stuber, NMU
Kristina Trygstad-Saari, BSF
Jojo Winters, CXC

Floating and Floundering

Monday I had my best workout of the year so far. 3x5x1min of uphill double pole. I don't know what was going on but I felt like I was able to create a ton of power through the poles and felt totally comfortable extending forward and getting all my body weight over my poles. My times got faster each set and I felt like I was recovering back to 100% in very little time. Pat Casey told me something the other day which I've been mulling over-- when you come forward in the double pole instead of coming up and then falling forward onto your poles just launch directly forward to where you want to start your poling. Now, to be fair to all my other coaches, Pat's by no means the first or only one to try to get this concept across to me (in fact, Erik was talking about this with us last Monday). The way Pat said it just clicked with me... travel the hypotenuse not the sides of the right triangle (at least that's what I heard).

Tuesday I was back to blustering through our 5x5min L4 hill bounding workout. I was going okay, not great, then before our last one Erik stopped us and we regrouped with Taz who was doing the same course but L3 and Erik told us to go all out and for Taz to keep it at X:XX, which was a time 30seconds slower than my L4 pace. Which meant that when I went all out I was only slightly faster than Taz going L3. Which was, quite frankly, disheartening.

My double pole workout I did mostly alone so maybe it felt so good because I didn't have anyone passing me? The hill bounding felt slow but maybe only because there were so many people going faster than I? APU & the USST have been stressing training as a group to push each other but maybe it's important to do some workouts by yourself so you don't get too caught up in comparing yourself to other people. Thoughts?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I will Derive!

Realizing that my primary audience is ski nerds, I still can't help sharing this video with my fellow math nerds. Sergei, I know you will love it & I'm guessing there's a few others who will too.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

I made it up to Rabbit Lake this morning. It wasn't actually very exciting at the lake since it was still snowed over and we had to think a little bit about where the lake actually was but it was still a good hike up and a nice valley complete with leftover blueberries and bearberries to squish and track across the plentiful snow fields.

Lookind down McHugh Valley.

North Suicide Peak

South Suicide Peak

A better picture of North and South suicide peaks by Erik Mundahl

"I like rocks" another photo by Erik.


Friday, May 23, 2008


It seems as though all my APU cronies up here have dispersed. Fitz & I were the only girls at practice this morning. People who have homes elsewhere have gone home... Taz is up in Talkeetna, Rorabaugh is home in Fairbanks, Arduser is with Mr. Arduser in Cordova. And people who are from Anchorage are off somewhere... Kassie's in Germany, Ronsse's still at college, and Kikkan & Jeff have gone down to Canada & Moab for awhile.

jeez, it's like it's a holiday around here or something.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I got to take part in the Sand Lake Elementary Field Day. Both as a spectator (timing, above) and as a competitor (below). It was a great time to kick it with the kids I've been working with all year before they head off for summer.

I also learned how to team walk and got to practice my hula-hoop skills.

Sand Lake

I'm trying to post some pictures from Sand Lake Elementary-- they had a field day on Tuesday and the 6th graders have there completion ceremony today. Blogger, however, does not feel like letting me post pictures this morning so you'll just have to wait. I do get to be the guest speaker at their ceremony this afternoon and haven't really plotted out anything to say yet. So if someone out there has an idea of what advice would be very good for a graduating 6th grader to hear let me know. (Maybe there are even some parents of 6th graders out there?)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Erik managed to knock down my sense of self importance this morning. We did a fairly hard 35minutes of L3 skate rollerski up from Potter Marsh to the top of the Prominence neighborhood. A good morning's work of training I thought. Then in the van down Erik says, "we'll start really training on the 26th. Right now we're just preparing to train, on the 26th we'll start training for the race season."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Victory! (almost)

Every day that I manage to stay out of a car I consider a small victory for myself. I just can't help but feel that being in a car, going to a destination, and not really enjoying the experience must suck a small part of your soul out. Today I thought I had succeeded-- I rollerskied to practice this morning since it we were meeting 10min from my house by rollerskiing, I biked to work (2miles), then biked down to the bowling alley (1mile) to join my Sand Lake students for part of their field trip, then back to work, then home, then for my afternoon workout I ran around kincaid from my house. Just as I started to congratulate myself on escaping the confines of my subaru for the day, I remembered that I drove some friends to the airport this morning. d'oh! Can before 8am drives count toward the previous day?

Tomorrow we're meeting down at Potter Marsh for practice so I'll be driving again, but Wednesday I get another honest chance at avoiding the car.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Jeff & Kikkan
May 16th 2008
Talkeetna, AK


Rob Whitney created an arch for Jeff & Kikkan out of old skis.
The afternoon turned out to be beautiful and you could see Denali behind them through the arch. The ceremony was on the back porch of the Talkeetna Lodge looking out over Talkeetna toward Denali.

Erik Flora, marry-er, & Jeff Ellis, groom.
I'm not sure what you call someone who marries two people if he isn't a reverend or justice of the peace type person. Anyway, Erik was temporarily ordained to marry Jeff & Kikkan, had some fabulous things to say and for once didn't talk any longer than I wanted him to.

Kikkan being escorted to the alter by Ron Randall.

After the ceremony the wedding party exited down the aisle under an archway of ski poles festooned with ribbons. Most of them had ski baskets but the one with the rollerski ferrule made me laugh.

Kikkan's gown, very gorgeous, with pink swirly designs across the bust and down one side, scrunched across the torso and a modest train which got pinned up after the ceremony.

The back of the dress laced up beautifully. Kali, Kikkan's sister, made Kikkan's necklace as well as some of the bridesmaids' jewelry.

The wedding cake along with cake knife and server & champagne flutes, all encrusted with swarovski crystals (this was the winter that I learned both that swarovski crystals existed and that they are très fashionable).

Jeff and Kikkan were so perfect I could hardly stand it.

The guest favors were adorable cartons which you could fill with your choice of pink and platinum themed candies.

Taz even got some salsa lessons from her brother during the reception inside the lodge.

I think Arduser summed it up best when she said it was the happiest wedding. Kikkan & Jeff were the perfect hosts, serene and gracious with time for everyone without even a hint of flustered. I'm not particularly sentimental and I hate clichés so I'm having a hard time coming up with my next sentence. Kikkan and Jeff were radiating love, you could tell they were the perfect match for each other, they floated, they were oblivious to anything else but each other while at the same time being hyper-aware of everything and everyone around them and savoring every detail of their wedding experience... are they still clichés if they're true? I have never been happier on behalf of one of my friends than I am for Kikkan and Jeff. Absolutely no jealousy or resentment, none of those selfish twinges that too often tarnish our pleasure at our friends' successes, just pure joy in their happiness. I was also caught off guard by how proud of them I felt. I'm incredibly proud of Kikkan and Jeff for prioritizing each other the way they do, making choices together and treating each other every day with compassion. On the glacier, on ski trips, on separate continents over skype, the empathy that they have for each other is beautiful.

Denali reflected in my wine glass.

Kate Arduser rollerskiing past the Roadhouse Saturday morning in Talkeetna, Alaska.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Congrats, Thanks, Amazing people in general

Congratulations to my brother, Ryan, who graduates from Law School today! Now you get to study for the bar exam... par-tay.

Thanks to Ronski for supplying me with my lucky No.2 pencil that I used on my actuary exam... yep it's pink with KATIE RONSSE in gold lettering down the side. Hopefully it's lucky, I'll thank you again if I pass the test.

Good job to the Pole Pedal Paddle participants in Bend this weekend, I'd say skiers pretty much dominated: 1) Marshall Greene, 2) Zach Violett, 3) Dan Weiland, 4) Brayton Osgood, 5) Josh Smullin, 6) Colin Mahood. (If you don't recognize Weiland it's because he's the Nordic Director at Vail and not hitting the SuperTour races every weekend.)

Thanks to the Burkholders for giving me a ride up to Talkeetna & home, the Mannix family for hosting me for the night, Kate Arduser for taking me to Costco and letting me use her membership card... life would be a lot more difficult without so many people who are willing to take you in and help you out.

Rollerskiing on Friday Erik drove up behind me to watch me ski. He finally pulled over and motioned for me to stop. For one of the first times since I've been working with him he didn't immediately tell me what I needed to change. As I waited for him to suggest a change (don't worry, he still had plenty of corrections for me) I realized that I was unequivocably skiing better than I had been skiing 12 months ago. Good job me.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dearest, Darlingest Kikkan,

We of the blogging community feel strongly that you should take as surname the venerable Canadian name of Ellis, that of your intended. We support this course of action for several meritorious reasons:

1. Everyone else does it. Sure, there may have been a time when it was in vogue to retain your own surname, but now about 90% of married women take their husband's last name. The exact percentage may be disputed but it's basically everyone.

2. Next season having a new name will give you the advantage of being the unknown athlete on the line. No one will expect that Kikkan Ellis is a wicked fast skier. The only people who might guess are your friends on the World Cup circuit that know you're getting married, people who recognize you by sight, people astute enough to hypothesize that maybe if the girl's first name is Kikkan then it's the same Kikkan even if the last name changes. But at least you'll fool a few people for the first weekend!

3. Lucy Stone is so 1970's. There's bigger political statements to be made than not changing your name. Let's start an earnest dialogue about our carbon footprint instead.

4. "In a 1997 study of more than 10,000 Midwesterners, men thought women who kept their surnames were more likely to work outside the home, less likely to enjoy cooking, less likely to attend church and-- this is the clincher-- less likely to make good wives," according to Diana Boxer's research at the University of Florida. Ontario's basically the Canadian version of the midwest so I bet you'll be a better wife if you change your name! (How's that for cold hard logic?)

5. Changing your name will be a fun summer activity for you-- changing your passport, your driver's license, your social security card, all your contracts, your bank accounts.

In conclusion, Marlis Hellinger, a linguistics professor at the University of Frankfurt/Main, said naming practices are a "central issue in research on language and gender. Boxer’s important contribution focuses on questions of change and explanations, but also opens up the field to include cross-cultural perspectives." (I quote because I don't understand well enough to paraphrase.) Kikkan! Become Mrs. Kikkan Ellis officially. We the anonymous mass of humanity pinging around the blogosphere have made our desires known.

p.s. Congratulations.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


If anyone really wants to have a psychic bond with me on Thursday morning you are invited to download the following Actuarial Exam and spend from 9-noon completing it. I'll be spending the morning in the Tahoma Room of the Seattle Mountaineers Club with the May 08 version of the exam. It will surely be fantastic.

After this exam I'm taking a month off from math and focusing on learning French. So I would welcome any comments or emails in French to help with the learning process.

The only comment I have about training today is that it seems like the only time it was actually raining today was the 2hrs I was out running. Why is that? You would think that since I could have gone running at any time I would have been able to coordinate my training better with the weather.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rollerskiing again

Today was my second day out on rollerskis. It's a sad, sad state of affairs. I miss the years when I wouldn't rollerski until August or September, that was nice. I wasn't as fast back then though, that wasn't as nice.

Monday, May 12, 2008


It sounds like there's been great snow all over the US this spring so I can't brag so much about the great skiing at Callaghan last week. Although I'm guessing not everyone is as excited about all the late snow as I. Ha, that sentence would be a good example sentence to teach the I/me difference. In fact, I'm almost tempted to change it to me purely to amuse the small portion of readers who would find the apparently unintentional hubris entertaining. I'm not sure how many people would either notice or bother to read the sentence literally if I used me though, so I'll refrain. Now, what was I originally planning on writing?

Oh yes, I remember.

The snow pack at Callaghan shrunk noticeably every day we were there especially on days that were either warm and sunny or warm and rainy. Furthermore, every day was warm and every day was either rainy or sunny. As the snow melted it was like peeling away the layers of a time capsule. Every so often I'd come upon some relic from previously in the season-- one of those little blue nylon twigs used to mark the lanes, someone's pole basket, a paper race number... things that may have been lost or forgotten months ago. I think Whitcomb found a camera which we collectively determined belonged to Kevin Cutts. It's kind of uplifting to know that things you lose can be found again.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

It was a big day for the stadium this morning. We did a mock team sprint, basically 2x3 laps of the sprint course except that we tried to emulate a team sprint so we had about equal rest between intervals and 30minutes between sets. (We all started each interval together instead of tagging off.) It was a good workout, Manu did all of them with us and Mali Noyes jumped in for two near the end also. The boys had a little bigger field which included some of the Sun Valley boys for one set. (Sun Valley is driving home today so they didn't want to do the full workout.)

Garrott Kuzzy

It feels like we have a lot of spectators when we're training around here with all the coaches from our teams and others milling around taking lactate and video and timing. This was the first time I've done lactate this year and if you're into the number here they are:

pre first set: 1.1mmol
post first set: 9.3mmol
pre second set: 1.4mmol
post second set: 9.0mmol
15min post second set: 2.0mmol

I'm no physiologist but I would say that I was recovering well but hopefully with some more speed training my post-interval lactates should increase.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Willful Ignorance

Yesterday afternoon I went for a 1hr run. Except that I found a sweet mountain bike trail and didn't make it back to the hotel until 2.5hrs later. I wouldn't so much call it getting lost. Maybe "willful ignorance" is a more apt term. It wasn't all lost time though. I found:

-One headless snowman
-A loonie, a quarter and a dime. Which I stopped to pick up.
-A golf course up on the mountainside where no golf course should be. I stopped to pee on the green in a sign of protest against turning wilderness areas into golf courses. Also because I had to pee.
-A lumbering black bear.
-A ropes course.
-Six dudes sitting on a log across the stream smoking something that didn't smell like any cloud of tobacco smoke I've ever been unfortunate to walk through.
-A really, really excellent woodpecker tree.
-Several wooden bridges on the mountain bike trail. Looked like fun if you were a good mountain biker.
-No other people once I got 20minutes away from the village.
-Lots of semi-crusted snow.

At least I made it back just after people had started eating dinner-- the boys made penne pasta with sauce and a very nice salad.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Feeling chagrined that I hadn't taken any photos yet on this trip to Whistler, I pulled my camera out of my drink belt when I stopped by the stadium for a drink. Mo happened to be skiing through the stadium at the time so I took a picture of her.
Morgan Arritola
Noticing that she was skiing without her poles and pausing between strides with her arm & leg extended I figured I could get that one good classic shot so I zoomed in and took another.
Morgan Arritola
Then she fell over, which made me laugh.
Morgan Arritola

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Whistler has been everything that a ski town should be. We've been skiing in the sunshine every morning starting at 8 so we can get a ski in before the trail softens up too much and then an afternoon workout of running, rollerskiing, or strength. We're doing a "technique block" so we've been taking video every day and either watching it the same day or the next morning before going out skiing again. It's good to take this time to really focus on technique for the coming season while the fitness base is still building. Not to say we're not doing intervals already! Taz and I had some 1min intervals yesterday around the stadium area. I say Taz & I since we were the only ones with the workout planned but I think we only did one interval by ourselves before we had a shifting group join us of Vordenberg, Andy Fecteau, Pat Casey, and Manuela Henkel. Andy's our Physical Therapist and Manuela is on the German National Team and is over here training. So the intervals were quite the party. On our last interval Manuela turns to Taz and I and says, "okay now we're to the A-Final in the Olympics," now that is keeping your goals in mind during training. Easier, of course when you're actually training on the Olympic courses. It was a good reminder for me to remember that what I do every day, even some random day like May 7th 2008, contributes to competitions way in the future.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

CPI Graph

This has absolutely nothing to do with skiing or Whistler or anything you might expect to be on here but it is a very cool graph to peruse... it breaks down what the average American consumer spends and also shows how that has changed from last March. You can zoom in or mouse over to see what each bite of the pie represents.

View it HERE.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Wenatchee to Whistler

It's not a bad life when you go directly from the Wenatchee Apple Blossom Festival to skiing at Whistler. And by Whistler I mean staying in Whistler and skiing at Callaghan Valley. It was great to be home for Apple Blossom and get to partake in the festival. Everyone was so nice and excited about the festival and Tyler & my accomplishments. But now it's good to be back on the road with the US Ski Team!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Susan Valaas & Laura Valaas

Saturday was the Apple Blossom parade! I'm posting pictures from the Wenatchee airport but now it's time to board!

Laura Valaas, Stephanie Wade, Tyler Farrar

Laura Valaas, Stephanie Wade, Tyler Farrar

Tyler Farrar, Slipstream/Chipotle Pro Cycling Team

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Looking down into the Wenatchee Valley from Horselake Rd.

My dad & I went on a mountain bike ride on the sage hills trails... back among the sagebrush and wildflowers!

Peter Valaas

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Wenatchee Apple Blossom Festival!

I am back in the lovely Wenatchee Valley this weekend to celebrate the Apple Blossom Festival and I must say the timing couldn't be better-- the cherry blossom trees in our front yard are pullulated with blossoms. I not only got to run in the mountains and row in the river today, I also got to attend the All Service Club Luncheon where I was honored as co-Grand Marshall of the Festival! My co-Grand Marshall is Tyler Farrar. If you follow road cycling I don't have to tell you who Tyler Farrar is. If you don't follow road cycling, Tyler races for Slipstream/Chipotle and is Certifiably Fast. We graduated from WHS together in 2002 and even were on our first and the youngest ever Ridge to River team together in fourth grade so it was good to see Tyler again.

Tyler and I are going to be on the radio stations tomorrow morning starting with 104.7 at 7:40am but other than that our only remaining official duties are to ride in the parade Saturday morning!

It is so nice to back in Wenatchee and a part of such a wonderful festival!



I walked into my parents' house in Wenatchee and on one coffee table was a copy of the Smithsonian: "Come with us to the Casbah (before it's too late)" and on another was a copy of National Geo: "Africa's Ragged Edge: Journey into the Sahel." That evening I watched Casablanca with my parents and when I went to bed I found a new book by my bed that I'd been wanting to read (thanks mom!) per a recommendation from AG with the first sentence: "The unusual events described in this chronicle occurred in 194- at Oran." (gold star to anyone who knows what book I'm reading... write it in the comments) Anyway, I'm taking all this as a sign that I need to get myself down to the North African coast sometime in the near future...

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