Saturday, January 31, 2009
A change of pace
I'm taking a break from being a racer this weekend and am playing at race support for one of my friends in the 50 Overlander in Kamloops.
Don't worry. I've already decided I like racing much, much better. I'm nowhere near retirement.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Jonas Sandström, Jeff Ellis, & Chris Manhard scaling an A-frame.
I had a fabulous ski this morning at Paulson ski trails... mostly single-track classic trails, sunshine, & good vistas. Then I skated at Black Jack in the evening... fast skis, empty trails, & beautiful crescent moon. It's nice simply to enjoy going out for a ski.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
WC Finals Fantasy League
Thursday is the deadline to sign up a team for Ski Trax's fantasy league... check it out SkiTrax.com
New Schedule for Distance Nationals
The two races that were canceled at the US Nationals in Anchorage are being added to the schedule for distance nationals in Fairbanks.Tues - March 24 - 5/10km C
Wed - March 25 - Team Sprint F
Fri - March 27 - Pursuit 15/30km
Sun - March 29 - 30/50km C
For information see: www.nscfairbanks.org
(although they don't actually have their calendar updated yet... I'm assuming in the future they will though).
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I haven't actually left Rossland yet after our races here this weekend. I might not get around to it for awhile either. The APU contingent is small-- Ronsse went down to the Telemark races so only Ellis & I are here. The skiing is good and close, it's been snowing off and on today, I can walk to the grocery store from where I'm staying (and the gym, which is where I went this afternoon), there's no frenzy of races and big teams. I am training, centering myself, and refocusing before the next spate of travel.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
A pair of thirds
I raced to a pair of thirds this weekend in Rossland, BC. Third in the skate sprints on Saturday (qualified 5th) and third in the 10k classic on Sunday. I raced well. I skied solidly. As always after races I review what I did well and what I did poorly. I picked the wrong skis on saturday because I wasn't expecting new snow and it did snow, lightly but persistently, so my skis got progressively slower. I picked the right skis sunday and took them back to get retouched (thank you Dan & Ian!) until they were exactly how I wanted them. I took the lead early in the A Final on Saturday and shouldn't have. I should have stuck closer to Swanson on Sunday once she passed me. I warmed up well both days. The list continues.
Still, despite the decent results, $300 CAN, and two commemorative mugs, I find myself not quite satisfied with the weekend. I feel dulled & without spark. There's no artistry in my skiing. Racing should be a celebration of movement, of life. There was no celebration in my body this weekend. Drive, yes. Focus, yes. Not joy. Both races were a grind-- I muscled through the races on fitness, capacity & efficiency.
Where was the beauty in my skiing?
Is that an absurdly trivial question to ask?
Or is it the only question that really matters?
Friday, January 23, 2009
my new favorite canadian team is...
I'm loving Canada. Aside from the occasional dire warning ("Most people wash their hands for 5 seconds... another 15 seconds could save their lives." --poster on one of the Callaghan bathroom doors) it's a pretty friendly place. Down at the Black Jack Ski Club ski trails it was even sunny today.
I met John Jaques of the Rocky Mountain Racers
on the trails this morning. John agreed to help me with waxing for the races. This is a huge help because I have no race wax and even less waxing knowledge. John started to tell us about how we needed to check out which sides of the course had the fastest snow so we knew which lines to ski during the race. "woah," I interjected, "you can't be telling us this stuff... your real athletes are going to get mad at you for giving away secrets." To which John replied, "I don't care, once we're taking care of you, we want you to win." Which is the most beautiful sentence you can hear from an adopted coach.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
My schedule is no longer current. The early and mid-season races have come and gone and I found myself in mid January with no real plans. After a couple of days adrift I'm starting to put together another schedule for the rest of the season. This weekend I'm racing in Rossland, BC. Katie
, Jeff Ellis & I are forming a small APU crew for the skate sprints and 10/15k classic races this weekend.
Then it's training and GETTING (not trying to get) faster before the World Champs!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
There are many tricks I've used for removing klister: heat gun, putty knife, baby powder, toilet paper, paper towels, an old sock, paint thinner, citrus solvent, fibertex, tiny tiny pieces of fiberlene... the list, I'm sure, extends beyond what I've ever heard about.
I'm at home now and I had to remove my remaining klister from skiing at Callaghan this weekend. In the garage I found: an ENTIRE ROLL of fiberlene, two brand new pieces of fibertex, and a bottle of citrus solvent. After one of my quickest klister cleans ever I walked inside and started to wash my hands with soap and water. As I was contemplating if it was even worth it to go through the hand-washing motions or whether I should simply put on ski gloves for the next half hour I had a vision. An image of a huge can of gojo sitting on the workbench in the garage flashed through my mind. I dashed back out and sure enough, there was the bright orange color of miracle hand clean. Cleaning klister is hardly even an event when you have these kinds of supporting tools at your disposal.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
"389 Days to Olympic opening."
This was a text from my coach this morning. 389. It's continuing a countdown that Torin's already described
. When you lay out a certain number of days like that it certainly makes you think about how you spend each day. The next 389 days for me? They're not going to be anything extraordinary. Simply training. Getting faster every day.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
We raced this morning at Whistler-- a skate team sprint. The format is a two person teams alternating 1.3km laps, three laps each for a total of six laps.
I love being at the World Cups! My favorite part of the course today was the 200m sign. (This was my favorite part of the warm-up, I certainly didn't have the presence of mind to notice it during the race!) 200 meters to the finish was right before the last turn and marked the separation of the lap lane and the finish lane. Since they kept this part of the stadium fenced off the corduroy here was almost unbroken and wicked fast. The 200m sign was written vertically, like this:
but it was written in a modern, angular font so the two wasn't very curvy and the sign looked more like this:
which I thought was appropriate signage.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Tuesday night there was about five minutes of breathtaking gorgeousness. Actually more than five minutes but there was about five minutes just before it started getting really dark that the ski had the most brilliant hues. I would have given a lot to have a tripod and a nice camera. Kikkan & Jeff checking out the wear on Kikkan's klister skis.
That really is one of the nice things about cross country skiing-- you can easily look at the base of your ski without taking it off.
Labels: 2010 Venue, photos
Friday, January 16, 2009
"Bummer... I heard you fell"
There's a few serious signs that you really, really suck. After my cool down one of my teammates came up to me and said, "bummer... I heard you fell." I didn't fall. I was slow. ouch. Today was potentially the worst race of my life. I've had bad races before, I've even had really bad races, but I think this wins as Worst Race Ever.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Sometimes I like a series of images instead of just one image.
"Who wants their phot taken in front of stoney?"
"Hey Anders, stand in front of Stoney."
"Southam, go stand with Anders."
"Knight, get over here."
And then one of the volunteers offered to take our photo & Duser finally finished rumaging around in her bag.
and then I went over to look at what the snow sculpture was turning into.
and then a big charter bus came and took us back up to where our van was parked.
Labels: 2010 Venue, photos
Friday after US Nationals Kikkan
organized the inaugural Fast & Female U.S. event! We had about 160 girls attend and most of the top women racers in the US stayed an extra day after nationals to be a part of the event. Kikkan must have been taking notes from organizing her wedding because the event had pink balloons, sweet t-shirts for all the participants, even sweeter black and pink ski ties and lots of food and hot chocolate. I felt honored to be one of the instructors for the event and get to partake in such a great organization.
These are some members of my group. By the time we went out to ski (the event was 4:30-7:30, after school) it was already dark but these girls were still excited to be out skiing. They really wanted to go out off piste so we packed a zig zag trail through the woods and tried not to lose anyone!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
When we first skied on the Callaghan trails the officials were already out and skiers from other countries were already milling around the trails and wax trailers. Usually, at this point on the World Cup I start getting nervous. I start worrying about how fast I am or how fast I'm not. I get super intimidated by all the other athletes who seem to know exactly what they're doing and have important training and ski testing sessions to accomplish.
I was surprised to notice halfway through my ski that I didn't have any of my usual inclination to hide on the remotest trails of Callaghan's extensive trail system. Other athletes were out training, wax techs were out testing, people in "Whistler Olympic Park" jackets were out stringing out wires to power the video cameras and zooming around on snowmobiles. I finally feel comfortable with all of the hub-bub of World Cup races. I haven't stopped being excited about World Cup races, I've just stopped being intimidated by them.
Labels: 2010 Venue
Monday, January 12, 2009
50.2 is how many pounds my duffel bag weighed when I checked in. No pre-weigh at home or anything, pure packing skill (maybe some luck). There's a hot tub on our porch, snow on the ground, and Ansel Adams posters in the hallway. Whistler is exactly as it should be.
Here's looking forward to the World Cups this weekend!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
US Nats Recap
Marshall, Nicole & Colin
This is what people looked like most of the week but on Thursday we finally got a chance to race again. It was windy but the temps were legal so at 2pm we started the sprints and, to my surprise, managed to finish up all of the rounds too. While it's not quite as impressive as Brayton's streak of sevens
, I did finish second behind Kikkan for the third time. Which is good. Kikkan's fast and I'm getting faster so there's no complaints there.
The most impressive part of nationals, by far, was the race organizers and volunteers. Sure it was a drag for the racers to have races canceled everyday but all we had to do was pack, show up, sit around, go home, train inside. The volunteers, on the other hand, showed up early, set up the stadium and marked the courses before it had even started to warm up yet, waited to start, put together several start lists each day, passed out bibs, tried desperately to get all the unused bibs passed back in, took down the stadium, went home, showed up the next day and did the same thing. No, wait, it gets even more impressive. There were biathlon race right before US Nats AND Friday, Saturday and Sunday there were/are college races. Which is 11 straight days of race volunteering. Not everyone volunteered every day, but I know a lot of the volunteers were there like it was a full time job. And to set up for a race and then not hold it is kind of like hosting a party and having no attendees. Sad. Hopefully next year will be more normal.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
The month of January, so far.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
I raced very well on Monday. Cammie complains that she can never tell how well I race because I don't say how well I race and often don't mention results. This is because I don't like results-- I think they're an arbitrary and frequently inaccurate way to judge one's performance (although necessary). Another friend congratulated me on being eligible to race distance WCs. Which was news to me but it appears that the race penalty was 59.07 FIS points and I had a penalty of 21.07 points for a 80.14 points race. Which is by far the lowest points I have scored in any distance race ever. You need a distance race under 90 points w/in the past year to race a distance WC race. (There's an exception if you're skiing in the Nation's group quota.)2.
I have not raced since Monday. It has been wicked cold. I am a big wuss. I have been riding my bike inside. After the not-race on Tuesday when I thought we would get to race, I went to Body Renew
and hammered out some intervals on the treadmill and did a strength workout. To quote Duser on her treadmill interval session at another gym, "I loved it, I was the fittest person in there and that doesn't happen very often." There's something to be said for taking a break from the ski scene where I don't feel particularly fit or fast and remembering that I am actually in exceedingly good shape.3.
J1, Jr, & U23 teams were named tonight. I don't have the official teams yet but the points lists are up here on the right.
congrats to our very own Becca Rorabaugh for being the top ranked Jr! (Our=APUNSC's)4.
Despite only being here for about 2 days, Vordenberg has some phenomenal photos
up on TeamToday.org
Some Good News
no, we didn't race today. But mathematician tops the list of Best Jobs according to a new Survey.
hopefully tomorrow the Good News will be that it's warm enough to race.
note: ski racer was not one of the 200 careers surveyed.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Fast & Female Event Friday 4:30-7, Kincaid
"Calling all girls ages 9-19 interested in cross-country skiing that want a chance to ski with the top female skiers in the country. On Friday, January 9th 2009, from 4:30-7pm, Kikkan Randall along with the Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage, will be hosting the first annual Fast and Female US FUN-ON-SKIS event at Kincaid Park. This free event will consist of games, technique work, inspirational stories, and poster signings with the US National Women’s Team and other top national skiers.
Come play on your skis, hear stories, have posters signed and get inspired!"
Come join me at the Fast & Female Event this Friday!
For more details and to register (pre-registered participants get a free t-shirt!) click HERE.
Monday, January 05, 2009
I learned how to play Go
Thursday night. I was studying
in a bookstore and a couple of people started playing a board game next to me. I didn't recognize the game and was curious because I love games but I really was trying to focus on my studies, so I focused. Then a few more people came over and it was clear that this was a routine gathering and also that I was sitting in their space so I got up to relocate. This opened the door to conversation and I asked what they were playing. They gathered to play the three great games of strategy: chess, backgammon, and go. "Go?" I asked, "how have I not heard about this game." And it didn't take them any time at all to convince me to learn.
Bob sat me down and explained Go, as well as telling me about the history of Go.
. So we played, on a smaller board, and I had a six stone handicap. With Best Play a player can win with a five stone handicap. Bob played his first move. I panicked and froze, staring at the board. Where to put my stone? I knew the goal, I knew the rules, I knew about smothering and ko, but I couldn't see what the consequences of possible moves would be. What would be his next move? Would I play into a trap? Do something foolish? Bob, clearly an experienced Go teacher, noticed my tension and said, "be at peace with yourself. You can't possibly know what the best move is right now. You'll learn. Accept that you'll make mistakes. The best Go player in the world still studies Go every day." So I relaxed, and mimicked his move. In the end, thanks to my handicap, I won the game. I won our second game too. And then I ended my excursion into game theory and returned to my equally puzzling and less entertaining textbook.
During our speeds Friday around the sprint course I was getting so frustrated. I got dropped by the rest of the girls, I switched to skate skis (double-poling) and I got dropped even worse. It was the day before the first race of US Nationals and I thought, "what am I even doing here, I don't belong, I should just go home." Then I thought about Bob. Be at peace with myself. Where I am with my training and where I am with my technique is where I am. I can do my best today with what I have. I'll make mistakes. That's okay. I'll learn. I recognized the room that I still had to grow and develop as a skier. There's so much room for improvement, there's the ability to improve too. The danger lies in getting frustrated with myself and not being patient.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
so much for being a ski racer these days
After only one delay (kudos to the organizers) from 11:30 start to 13:30 they canceled the sprint race again today. They even announced it more than an hour before the start so I didn't have to warm up. Yesterday I warmed up for three different starts-- an unfortunate consequence of being no. 3 on the start list. All I want to do right now is race. It's tough to anticipate a race and then not get to do it. And then have to go through the same disappointment the next day. The current rumor is that we're doing a shortened skate race Monday and making up the classic sprint on Tuesday. see the current schedule here
Due to the cold, I stayed inside and got back on my trainer. The last time I rode my trainer was on the ferry ride up to alaska
. At the time I thought the trainer would be useful for warming up for bike races, not enabling me to exercise inside in January.
Saturday, January 03, 2009
we didn't race today. the legal min for a FIS race is -20°C (-4°F). the classic sprint race is rescheduled for sunday morning 11:30am.
Labels: photos, race
Thursday, January 01, 2009
2009 if Frigorific!
The m-w word of the day for January 1, 2009 is
frigorific \frig-uh-RIFF-ik\ adjective
: causing cold : chilling
which is a very apt word for today. The high over the past 24 hrs was -20°C (-4°F) according to the KANC METARs. My new favorite piece of apparel is my Salomon boot covers. I've known about boot covers for forever but two days ago was my first time actually wearing a pair. They're easy to put on and my feet haven't been cold yet. I have also started driving in my lobster mitts. It's that cold.
m-w also provides the following background on frigorific:
The chill in "frigorific" comes from "frigus," the Latin word for "frost" or "cold." ("Frigorific" is derived from Latin "frigorificus," the adjective form of "frigus.") "Frigus" has provided us with other icy words as well. It is the source of "refrigerate" ("to keep cold"), and also of the combining form "frigo-" ("cold") and the noun "frigorimeter" ("a thermometer designed for low temperatures"), both of which are primarily scientific and somewhat rare. "Frigus" is also related to the ancestors of "frigid" ("intensely cold"). "Frigorific" is a relatively unusual word and is used considerably less often than its relatives "refrigerate" and "frigid."