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Monday, June 30, 2008

Blacktail Ridge while I could still see it before a serious snowstorm shut me out.

I returned to the lowland and then noticed that the upper ridge looked clear so I went back up and reached the high point before the clouds swooped down again. No snow the second time though. I am seriously ready for some sunshine. This Alaskan "oh it's great, it's light all the time!" does NOT cut it for me. I miss the presence of the sun and rays that penetrate to the shaded side of your body.

A hiker descending back toward Eagle River.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

I'm back from the glacier... it was an incredibly short trip. I had hoped, at the best, to get in Thursday, ski Thursday afternoon through Sunday afternoon and then fly out. It didn't work out quite like that but I still got in a couple of good on-snow sessions. I did the hike in to Eagle Glacier for the first time. The hike was a lot of up... According to Taz's watch we left the van at 1300' and got up to the glacier at 5500'. Maybe even a little more vertical since we actually descended to the glacier. Anyway, about 2:45 of hiking time although I think the record is 1:20 so we clearly weren't moving as fast as possible.

I think we're on Goat Mtn here.

We even got to rope up for a small part of the hike. Which I thought was a fun addition. It wasn't something for which I would have thought to rope up but I suppose that if I was feeling responsible for all 20 of us I would have wanted people secured. We made it up uneventfully, I think that my legs suffered the next morning during our L5 speedwork though because of the hiking. So I think I would still opt to fly in when it's an option.

Tazlina Mannix bundled up since we hiked from a balmy Alaskan summer to winter.
Roping up for a short snow climb


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Paul Robbins

There's a celebration of Paul Robbins's life today. Paul was a journalist who covered our ski races and would invariably call after a good race and pleasantly congratulate us. Paul passed away this February and left a void in the ski racing community.

More information about Paul and the celebration today can be found at


Friday, June 27, 2008


The Burky's got a Trice and I got to share in the unwrapping and assembling. It came very, very unassembled and it took awhile for us to figure out how all the pieces went together to make a bike derivative. It made for a fun puzzle. It's not all the way together yet but at least now it looks like something that can be ridden and not just a confused jumble of off-sized bicycle parts.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Eagle Glacier

With any luck we're heading off to Eagle Glacier again today for a couple more days of skiing!


Monday, June 23, 2008

Kincaid Bunker Hill

We did our standard Monday morning double pole workout on the road into Kincaid, 3x(5x1min) uphill DP. Over the course of my our workout there were about 50 rollerskiers out on the trail. 15 APU-ers and about 35 Alaska Winter Stars athletes. There was also someone playing the trumpet across the parking lot from us throughout our entire workout. Random.

Make that 51 since Jan Buron was also on rollerskis this morning.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Solstice OD

When I showed up to the Hillside parking lot Saturday morning for practice it was 50°F and the rain was creating bubbles as it hit the asphalt, making the road boil. I was not psyched about our 3hr rollerski/run workout. Kikkan & Jeff pulled in next to me. I looked at them through the window from the safety of my car and shook my head. When we got out to put on our boots the first thing Kikkan says is,

"Sometimes I wish I was the type of person who could just turn back and go home."

But she's not. And I'm not. So we went skiing. And then it stopped raining.

It actually turned out to be a great OD because we had a solid working group of Kikkan, Strandberg, Arduser, Taz & I.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


I ran the Chugiak HS ski trails the other day... they were nice, I approved. There was only one trail that I didn't like-- the Swamp Trail. It led me into a swamp so I turned back. Huh. I realized that I had totally developed at Kincaid-snob attitude. Note to self: Kincaid isn't the only place to train.

Four is the number of car skeletons I saw out on the trail... two on the Junkyard Loop. I thought they were quite decorative. Anyone know if there's more?

No bears, thank goodness.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Potter TT

APU had a time trial this morning up Potter Valley Rd. (Started at the marsh parking lot, out & back on Old Seward Hwy, up the hill.) Even though it was a small field and very low key it was good to do a "ski" race again. I felt pretty consistently strong through the whole thing, not quite hanging on to Kristina Strandberg toward the end of the climb.

Kikkan pulled off the front early and won with Strandberg in 2nd and then myself. I can tell you that my time was 24:05 and that the last time I did this course on 8/4/08 it was 25:07. Being able to compare times over the years is a good endorsement for keeping a thorough training log. The course record is 23-something.

Southam won the men's race and Jeff Ellis was second. Strandberg's sidekick didn't come out to race. I was pleased to see Southam and Ellis racing so well today since they both had off season's last year. My hope with Southam is that since he trained so hard last year (and believe me, he did) he set himself up to come into this year with a huge base and ready to race fast this season. And with Ellis, obviously, now that he's skiing with both arms again he should have a better season.

I really didn't do a very good job as a note-taker and can't tell you much more about the results than that.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I've seen these guys a couple times now this summer. Little furry puff balls scuttling along the bike path. Going in straight lines and sharp corners as fast as I can imagine them being able to go. They must be shrews-- about the size of bouncy balls with feet. If I was an owl they'd look like popcorn.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hip-Hop & learning

Right before I headed off to hip-hop class tonight one of my friends commented that I must be getting pretty good at hip-hop since I break curfew every Tuesday night and zip off to dance. (& you thought all I did was ski.) I replied, "oh no, not really, it's still hard and i just go jump around and look foolish." And then there were three newbies at class and a really small class (7) and I realized that despite only being in Anchorage half of the Tuesday nights over the past year I HAVE managed to get better at hip-hop. I had progressed beyond struggling with the choreography to being able to actually try to make it look interesting.

I was a bit worried that after graduating from college my learning progression would cease. I'm pleased to find that even without school I feel like I've continued to learn, maybe not at quite the same rate, but probably more effectively since I'm only learning things in which I'm really interested. It's reassuring to know that I can be a ski racer without letting growth in other areas stagnate!

Monday, June 16, 2008


Miss Taz had an exciting weekend including a grizzly bear, a climbable tree, a black bear, a lost fuel canister, blisters, and turning 22. That is Taz's story though, not mine. I will, however, share my new favorite word with you: Taztastic.

Taztastic: Anything quintessentially outdoors-y and Alaskan, such as riding a moose to school or living in an igloo... almost too absurd to really believe, but then again, maybe not.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

APU being a presence at the Bird Ridge Mountain Run (Technically Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb).

Actually there were a lot of other APU-ers there who weren't around when we took the picture. Big congrats to Brent Knight for getting second in the men's race and to Holly Brooks (coach) for winning the women's race. So much for telling athletes to come to APU to get fast, even if you come to coach you get fast! Brooks is a fellow Whitman Ski Team alum so I'm particularly proud of her. I suppose I could call her a fellow Whitman College alum but there's 350 of those being created every year and only a few Ski Team alums so being a ski team alum must be way more prestigious... right?

We also had some of our juniors have excellent finishes but I don't recall off the top of my head.

I raced, had fun, finished somewhere after fifth but before tenth I think. I haven't seen actual results. But the results aren't really the point anyway. The point is 54 minutes of solid L4 effort... that's good training.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Of course, this is what it looked like most of the time up on Eagle Glacier last week.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I love being on the glacier, it changes constantly. I realize that I might be waxing a little too poetic but it's like a symphony of white. The clouds dance around, swoop and swirl. The light changes throughout the day and you can look out across the glacier and see the cloud shadows (the echoes, if you will) spread out on the snow. Beautiful. I think I spent the entire time this week I was out skiing thinking to myself that if I could be anywhere in the world right now I'd be right here skiing on Eagle Glacier.

Casey Fagerquist out grooming in the piston bully.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Kalysta Schmidt & Erika Klaar making a water concoction.

It's not ALL skiing up on the glacier. Due to the fabulous winter we had some wintry weather on the glacier (that's right, I mean we were kicking on HARDWAX). It also meant that the snow hadn't started melting into water yet so we had to make some. Luckily there's some very talented chefs in our group. That also means that I went five days without showering. Which, actually, I was fine with. I mean, showering is just one more thing to do during the day and if you can skip it without feeling guilty why not? At the same time though, the first stop after coming off the glacier was to a gas station where Taz & I practically ran into the bathroom... to turn on the faucets and wash our hands lengthily in warm, running water. For drinking though, there's not much better than fresh snow-melt! Things were starting to melt by the end of the week so next time we go up there should be lots of sun melted snow so we won't have to do any coaxing.

Peter Kling clearing the snow that had blown in through cracks out of the wax room.

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We made it up to Eagle Glacier Wednesday afternoon in time for a short ski that evening. Then skiing twice a day Thur, Fri, & Sat and one long ski Sunday before coming home. More later!

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

LAV & Kik

I was scrolling through archives looking for more photos of Eagle glacier to post while I was gone and found this post that I had saved on blogger back in February and then forgotten about. The photo is one of the many I got from Andy Fecteau in Estonia.


Friday, June 06, 2008

Where I am right now. But I think with a lot more snow than in these pictures!

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Talking about weather

You know how when life is super stressful and you start having a hard time falling asleep because you keep thinking about what you need to do tomorrow (and you don't quite know how everything that needs to be done can be feasibly accomplished in the allotted time, which really adds to the stress) or what you should have done but didn't today?

Really? That sucks, I haven't felt like that since college.

The other night though I did find myself unable to fall asleep because I couldn't remember how to talk about the weather in Spanish. I had a running litany of French phrases: Il fait froid, Il fait chaud, Il y a de neige... and when I tried to run them through the Spanish translator I found a total void in my head. As you probably know, French & Spanish don't use the verb "to be" when talking about weather, French uses faire and I couldn't remember the equivalent Spanish verb. I tried to let it go but I couldn't so I lay there trying to come up with the Spanish. I finally chipped down the phrases by remembering caliente, then hay nieve, then frío and with frío I finally remembered that it was hace frío, hace calor. I feel like my Spanish is getting blanketed by French. Which is maybe just what happens when you learn a new language but I'm crossing my fingers that I'll be able to resurrect Spanish after I get a little more competent with French. I mean, most of the rest of the world doesn't seem to have a problem with being multi-lingual.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

up to the glacier!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


I was pretty pleased with myself over the past two weeks for riding my bike to work 8 of 9 work days. Rj will be pleased with me too, I bet! And while I don't have an Xtracycle like Rj does I even picked up groceries via bike last week.

I guess I had a bit of an epiphany that I could ride my bike places instead of driving my car. Actually, I enjoy it WAY more than driving places. I'm way more excited to go somewhere when I can hop on my bike and spin over to wherever. I don't know why it's taken me this long to embrace biking as a means of transportation. I always just thought road bike: training, car: transport. Maybe because I don't train very much on my road bike and if I didn't commute on it I wouldn't ever ride it. Plus I really like riding my bike-- it's fun to be out on the road for once and feel faster than a runner and less ungainly than a rollerskier. It also helps that Anchorage has been gorgeous lately.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Fleet Foxes!

The Fleet Foxes CD was just released on Friday! I may be slightly biased, but it's awesome!

You can buy the Fleet Foxes album at STOMP. (itunes only has some of their songs from their album Sun GiGiant.)

You can listen to the Fleet Foxes album on their myspace page.

If you think I'm just partial because I'm related (Robin's my cousin) you can read one of the many fabulous reviews of the Fleet Foxes here.

They're playing in Paris tonight and Brussels tomorrow night, Hamburg on the 4th and Berlin on the 5th. Their full concert schedule is up on their myspace page.

This is the comment from Stomp:

* Every few years a band comes along that stops you in your tracks. A band whose music is so overwhelmingly beautiful, so emotionally stirring, so utterly beguiling and unique, that you have to stop and catch your breath. Seattle's Fleet Foxes are one of those bands. * Fleet Foxes make such complex, harmonic, 70's inspired folk-rock, it's hard to believe that the band's principle songwriter Robin Pecknold is but a scant 21 years old. Fleet Foxes draw on a variety of influences - gospel, hymns, folk, motown, baroque pop, country-rock - to produce the most outstanding new music you'll hear this year. * Fleet Foxes self-titled debut was produced by Phil Ek, whose many production credits include recent albums by The Shins and Band of Horses. * Fleet Foxes were one of the most talked-about band at this year's SXSW, and certainly the act that picked up the most across-the-board plaudits with everyone from NME, MOJO, Pitchfork & the UK's Guardian newspaper selecting them as the finest new act of the festival and raving about their celestial four-part harmonies and awe-inspiring cosmic country-rock

Sunday, June 01, 2008


I just had two very nice visitors from USADA-- Lee Ann and her husband. I got a phone call at 12:30 from Lee Ann and I told her I was at home. Which surprised her since apparently she'd just left my house and also had tried calling earlier. I had gone to the store. Note to self-- carry cell phone. Anyway, I got to chat with them for awhile until I was ready to "provide a sample." They were from Sacramento and come up about twice a year to do testing for USADA in Alaska. They said they were scrambling around trying to get all of us selected for random testing since we were going up to the glacier today.

It sounds like in 2009 the testing protocol is probably going to change to having the USADA reps come to wherever we said we were going to be and wait an hour but they won't be able to call us anymore. While I approve of strict doping controls it's going to be tough for us athletes to keep USADA updated on our whereabouts when the window that they are required to wait for us gets smaller.

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