I’ve been sick with viral bronchitis for the last two months unable to ski or race, hence why you haven’t heard a lot from me. I raced the first two Supertours with the virus, and those races really cemented the sickness in my body. My main goal of the season surrounded Nationals, and I had skip the races using it as a puddle jump to fly across the country. I’m home in Vermont! The snow here is incredible, and I’m just now getting back on snow. It’s been a while! It is SO nice to ski. I sure do love this sport! I’m excited to get back on a start line even if I only have a fraction of the fitness I did this fall.
I wanted to update you on the all the crazy things I’ve done to try to get healthy over the past month. I got the point where I tried just about anything.
- Two rounds of antibiotics, an inhaler, and nasal spray. Thanks Silver Sage for throwing the kitchen sink at this. Your expertise was very appreciated!
- Emergen-C- I would rotate between my homemade cold buster juice and Emergenc-C.
- Blood test- checking for mono, iron level, ect. Turns out I have great iron! So that’s good news.
- Zinc- Lots of it! All the time…
- Garlic- roasted, raw, pickled, with olive oil. I live alone in Tahoe City, so I could get away with this there. I had to stop eat garlic once I got back to Vermotn.
- Probiotics- In the beginning I was drinking Kefir, but I’ve since switched to two different kinds of probiotic pills and unpasteurized sauerkraut.
- Tumeric Tea- It tastes terrible and doesn’t really work. This one was vetoed really quickly.
- Cold Buster Juice- Dylan, my California brother, found a juice on the side of the road in Truckee. It turns out that I love juicing. I would make an orange juice, lemon juice, ginger, and carrot juice concoction every day. Heat that puppy up and it’s a great boost of Vitamin C.
- Smoothie- I kicked up the juicing to another level. There were too many healthy things that I was missing out on! Or so I was told. Here in VT, my dad makes me a smoothie you can really sink your teeth into every morning. It tastes disgusting!!!
Ground flax, Brewers yeast, Walnuts, Seaweed, Chai seeds, Cocoa powder, Corolla (I still don’t know what this is!), Coconut oil, Cabbage, Kale, Spinach, Banana, Chick peas, Avocado, Berries, Apple cider vinegar, Squid oil, Broccoli, Ginger
After reading that list, you may very well be thinking that I’m nuts. The truth is I just want to feel healthy, ski fast, and enjoying being on the team. I would do anything to have that back…. Clearly.
I’m racing tomorrow! Wish me luck!
It’s been dry out here in California (and Nevada!). Real dry. But the roller skiing weather is excellent. Last week I classic rollerskied up Geiger Grade to the pass and back down. I won’t recommend roller skiing back down (use a shuttle instead) for beginning roller skiers because some of the road has a narrow shoulder and there is a decent amount of tourist traffic going to Virginia City. Maybe next time I’ll hit up the tourism adventures in Virginia City.
On rain, canceled/changed/strugglebus races, speedy friends, lots of bread and why I’m skiing Nationals instead of Nationals
It has been about six weeks since I ate my last peanut butter samy, about seven weeks since I have seen the sun two full days in a row and about three weeks since I trained on rollerskis last. Time for an update!
After last season, I decided to keep skiing because I felt like I had made some big improvements over the last couple years at UVM. After lots of awesome college races and some pretty exciting results at US Nationals and Super Tours, I knew that was up there in the US, but had no idea how I would compare in Germany, five years after I had really raced there the last time. This year it was time to find out.
Actually, I did know that the girls here are speedy, that the competition was going to be really tough at OPA Cup races and that conditions can be somewhat tricky in Germany.
Tricky, I relearned, doesn’t only mean that there are some sloppy klister days. So far this winter, it also means total lack of snow in Europe. It means 2km race loops with plenty of dirt and only green around. It means racing in the rain more often than not. It means canceled races, races in different places, shortened distances and individual starts instead of mass starts and warming up on running shoes. It also means that you never know what the conditions are going to be like the next day. It did mean training on rollerskis and running shoes all the way until after Christmas, too. And it is raining again now.
Here is what the race course looked like in Austria and where I trained last week:
Thing is, it’s the same for everybody and this really shouldn’t sound like an excuse. I had some pretty good races and some pretty bad races. It’s tough. I’m in the mix, some days more than others. Yup, the girls are fast here! They are also really awesome which has made these past six weeks way more fun than I might have made it sound so far.
Here is to illustrate why I sometimes feel a little star struck by my friends: Three other German girls born 1991 are still skiing. All of them have skied a lot of World Cups already and scored lots of points. Hanna Kolb and Lucia Anger have competed in the last two Olympics, Elisabeth Schicho won the sprint at U23s last year and Hanna and Luci both got multiple Junior World podiums! I also got to hang out with my favorite German skier Sandra Ringwald, who is shorter than me by the way, and has already been on the WC circuit for a couple of years now. Her boyfriend made us lunch and guess what – yeah he is the Nordic Combined World Cup leader right now. I have been doing a bad job taking pictures (I’m going to blame it on the rain) but here are Sandi and I. So excited I got to hang out and race with her! She is the best!
It’s also pretty nice to be home and to get to hang out with my family and lots of old friends. Christmas at home was wonderful, and New Years was great too! Last week, there was even one lucky day with sun, fresh snow and groomed trails starting at my door step. I skied for three hours- not once on the same loop- and finished the ski on my doorstep just before it started raining again. Made me pretty happy:
Finally, I feel like I have to give so many shout outs to all the fast people at US Nationals. I was jumping up and down in front of the computer like a crazy person all week, and I was super excited about how well so many of my friends did!! (Dak!!! Hannah!! The Catamounts!!)
Of course, I also got that itchy feeling that I wanted to be racing there, too. But, I have decided that I will race German Nationals next week before I come back to the US – both pretty damn exciting! After all, I am already here, right!? I could use one of those races that just feel really good!
Thanks for reading and following the Far West Elite Team!
Spencer and I have been in Houghton, Michigan for the past 9 days, representing the Elite Team at U.S Nationals. Without a question, the most notable part of our time in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has been the weather: pure, unadulterated winter. In our 9 days here, the highest temperature we’ve seen on the car thermometer has been 10 degrees; that lasted for about a minute before dropping back into single digits. Average skiing temps have probably been around 3, without factoring in wind chill. And it’s been snowing pretty much continuously—approximately two feet since we’ve been here, with much larger drifts in places. We have yet to see the sun. The bottom line: We’re not in Truckee anymore, Toto.
Freezing cold temps, deathly slow snow, and constant blowing and accumulation adds a whole new challenge to regular old ski racing. It’s been a battle out there: some days we’ve come out on top, other days not so much. After a nasty cold the week following Christmas, Spencer has been racing himself back into top form, showing big improvements in each race so far. We’re watching out for tomorrow’s skate sprint; he’s hungry for some head-to-head racing and will lay out all out there in the prelim.
I failed to qualify for the heats in what has historically been my best event, the classic sprint. I just couldn’t find my top gear in a very long sprint prelim. Most sprints fall in the 3-minute range, but slow snow and heavy accumulation lead to qualifying times well over 5 minutes for even the fastest women. Definitely a different kind of sprint, and one that didn’t work out so well for me. Not qualifying was a pretty big disappointment, but hey, there’s always another race to do! I was able to channel the frustration for the classic 20k mass start, execute my race plan effectively, and end up 34th. Rockin’ fast skis and perfect kick from Far West coaches Martin, Gus and August, and of course Salomon, helped a lot. It was a bit of relief to post a result that I think is representative of both my fitness and my potential to keep improving throughout the season.
A couple other recent highlights: The last weekend before Christmas brought our first home races of the season: the Holiday Freestyle Sprints and the Snowshoe Thompson Classic, both hosted by Auburn Ski Club. These races were a great tune-up before U.S. Nationals, as well as a wonderful opportunity to race alongside our fantastic Far West community. A small race field and open heats on the sprint day meant that everyone got to race against everyone else – Elite Teamers lining up against college skiers, juniors who are JN veterans, U16s looking to qualify for their first-ever JNs, and even speedy 7th and 8th graders. This meant that I toed the line against some of the Tahoe Cross-Country 8th and 9th graders who I’ve been coaching since June. They were a little nervous to be racing against the big kids, but I understood exactly how they felt: it’s more or less how I feel starting a quarterfinal against girls who’ve skied World Cups. Just goes to show that there’s always room for improvement, no matter what level you’re skiing at.
After a couple weeks of SuperTour racing, it was fun to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond for the weekend. I ended both the sprint and the classic 5k on the podium (2nd and 3rd, respectively), and Spencer had similar success: 1st in the sprint and 2nd in Snowshoe Thompson 10k. Thanks Auburn Ski Club and all of Far West for a great weekend of racing!
Coming home for the holidays always rekindles old friendships, memories, and traditions. After hanging with my family (minus my brother Charlie, who is on duty coaching for the Auburn Ski Club in Truckee!!) in Boise, Idaho, racing the Bogus Challenge 10k skate race is a high priority. I was able to pull of the victory in the mass start race over some speedy Idaho Nordic and Bogus Basin Junior Nordic Team (BBNT) racers. These local races are great chance for juniors to get exposure to racing in a low-key setting, provide master skiers a tuneup opportunity for later season marathons, and all proceeds from the race entry go to BBNT. Prizes? Brownies! Thanks to the volunteers for making it happen!
The next weekend I raced the famous 20km Snowmaker Classic citizens race in the Boulder Mountains north of Ketchum, ID and was able to hold on for the win! No brownies this time…Thanks to Elephant’s Perch in Ketchum for putting it on.