About Spencer Eusden

Spencer returns to the Elite Team for his third year. Originally from Maine, and a graduate of Bowdoin College, Spencer was part of the inaugural summer collee program and returned to California after graduation. Spencer has seen the Elite Team grow substantially in prestige over the past 3 years and is excited to be a part of it again. He also works extensively with Far West’s Junior skiers, and volunteers for Auburn Ski Club’s 1-2-3 program. He also is instrumental in organizing some of the popular fundraising programs for the team, including the Team Dinner and the Beer Tasting at New Moon Foods.

Auburn Ski Club Freestyle Sprint Races

This past weekend were the first Junior National Qualifier races. With Patrick and Anja racing elsewhere and Sabra sick, Wyatt, Emily, and I were left to represent the Elite Team on our home turf.

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(Looks Like Home Turf)

On Friday night Emily and I went over to Tahoe Cross Country to help their Comp and Devo teams wax their skis for the race. It was a ton of fun and they put the PARTY in waxing party.

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I was really excited to get to do a sprint this weekend since I have struggled a bit in sprint qualifiers. For most sprint races, after the qualification round the top 30 skiers move on to elimination heats. I have had the unfortunate luck of finishing 31st or 32nd in the last 5 Supertour sprint qualifiers, missing the heats by an average of 7 tenths of a second. My goal for this sprint was to practice my pre race warm up routine and lay down a really good qualification time.

I made sure I was really well warmed up before the qualifier and ended up with the 2nd fastest time. There is always room for improvement, but today was great practice for the upcoming sprints at U.S. Senior Nationals.

Racing sprint heats is one of the most fun parts of ski racing and it was awesome to see so many junior skiers gaining experience with this head to head style of racing.  Part of what makes sprint racing so much fun is all the different race tactics one can use. Since the 2nd half of the course had some tight corners and steep uphills where it would be harder to pass, my strategy for the heats was try to be in the lead going down the hill out of the stadium and go especially fast in the wider sections of trail where it would be easier to get passed.

I felt great through all the heats and with some good starts off the line was able to finish first. Emily had a great day herself, qualifying in 3rd and skiing an aggressive final to take home 2nd place!

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This race reminded me a lot of my favorite high school race, way back when I was a senior in high school, my school’s home meet was a skate sprint. I raced hard all day and ended up winning the final in front of all my family, classmates, and friends who were cheering me on. Despite only moving to Truckee a few years ago I don’t think I have ever had quite this many people cheering me on in any race I have ever done. I consider myself very lucky to have become part of such a strong and welcoming community here, You are all AWESOME!

-Spencer

Winter Summit Sunday

Most Sundays we do an over-distance workout to help rack up the training hours. The goal of these workouts it to spend a while (2-4 hours) working out at a relatively easy pace, which among other things helps build more capillaries in our muscles.

This past Sunday we woke up to a nice snowy surprise and decided to roller ski up Donner Pass then run the Mt. Judah Loop. Maybe it’s our skiing bias, but everything looked especially beautiful with a fresh blanket of snow. Here’s Wyatt and Emily laying down some fresh tracks.

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If you haven’t already heard of Summit Sunday  (http://summitsunday.blogspot.com/ started by a current ASC coach) it’s a movement to get out and climb a summit on Sundays. Here is Emily demonstrating proper #summitsunday technique

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Beer (and Cider) Tasting Coming Up

 

 

 

 

Come join us on October 24th from 5-8 p.m. at New Moon Natural Foods in Truckee for a beer and hard cider tasting. Representatives from Drakes Brewing Company and Crispin Cider (for those us who are Gluten Free) will be on hand to help you sample their fine products. The is a $10 suggested donation and all donations will go directly to the Far West Elite Team!

This was a really fun and effective fundraiser for us last year. I hope you can make it out!

 

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Get to know the Elite Team Contest

Can you guess how many bikes the Far West Elite Team has?

It’s no secret we love to cross train on our bikes. Contest ends Monday, so be sure to comment with your name and guess before then. If you guess correctly I’ll send you a nordic skier care package.

In case you were wondering only bikes physically in the Far West region are counted.

 

IMG_1926Last week Emily and I drove from where she was working in Denver to back to Truckee, via Jackson, WY. We made an ambitious attempt to hike the Middle Teton, but got turned back by lightning. Those are some pretty cool mountains and I’d love to make it to the top of one of them someday.

 

 

 

Fundraising Dinner Saturday

The Far West XC Elite Team is putting on a delicious fundraising dinner at TXC this Saturday. See the details here. http://farwestnordic.org/fwnsea/elite-team-dinner/

Please come out and support the Elite Team by letting us serve you a delicious meal.

Alaska

Pat and I are in Anchorage Alaska for Supertour Finals. We had a 15km Skate race Saturday and I did the Classic Sprint Sunday. Today we skied out across a lake to a glacier on one of the most scenic skis I’ve ever been on. The sprint went fairly well although I’ve now been 32nd in the last 3 Supertour sprints I’ve entered in (the top 30 qualifiers move on to heats). Even though its tough to be so close but not make it to the heats, I’m pretty excited on how much I have improved in sprinting this year. Tomorrow is a team relay, which we don’t have enough people for so Patrick is joining mixed club team. Race Schedule and results are here: http://anchorage2014.com/

 

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West Yellowstone Rendezvous

(Scroll through slowly while listening to this music www.youtube.com/watch?v=yptp1yCCRWk)

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Episode VI

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RETURN OF THE JOHNSON

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A long time ago in a race far far away….

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Patrick Johnson has returned to his home range of Hoth West Yellowstone in an attempt to rescue his friends Spencer and Wyatt from the vile bedbug hoards of Western Montana.

Little does Pat know that the RENDEZVOUS EMPIRE has begun construction on race course warmer and faster than ever before.

When completed, this ultimate weapon will spell certain doom for the small band heros, known as the Far West Elite Team, struggling to restore freedom to the galaxy…

 

 

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If you haven’t already guessed the West Yellowstone Rendezvous race was star wars themed this year. Patrick, Wyatt, and myself made the trek out to Montana for what ended up being an awesome race. Patrick, after winning the race last year, got his name on the appropriately designed event shirt. Apparently the force is strong with people named Patrick.IMG_0405

 

Conditions looked like they might be about as balmy as the forest moon of Endor, but the groomers worked their magic and the sun was shaded by the deflector shield making for a wicked fast 50km. Patrick broke the course record, at just under 2 hours, while I was just a couple minutes behind in 3rd place with Wyatt just behind me in 4th. Our skis were faster than Proton Torpedos with Toko Jetstream Red Powder and Toko Jestream Blue Bloc on top. We owe a huge thanks to all the volunteers. I’ve never seen so many Jedi at a ski race before….

 

We will post race photos as soon as they make it out of the Dagobah System.

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Staying Warm

The Far West XC Elite Team owes a huge thank you to Silver Sage Sports Performance, Marmot, and Alpenglow Sports for providing us with team puffies this season. Ben Grasseschi put together the design to keep us looking sharp.

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These jackets are awesome. Last week we did a bit of “field testing” to see just how warm they were……they worked great….

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What happens on rest days?

 

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These kids are pretty good at managing a bunch of schoolwork and racing.

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Happy Holidays

In which

This holiday season I went to Maine to visit my family. In typical New England fashion, we got a half inch of ice the day I arrived. While this wasn’t the best for skiing, it was really pretty.

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Air travel with skis can be often a pain, this time was no exceptional. On arrival there was a hole I could fit my head through in the bottom of the ski bag. It was for good reason I left all my good skis at home in Truckee. Luckily my cat was more than happy to help me sew the bag back together. (While blue jeans are what you might typically sew up a ski bag with, mine now has pockets)

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On Saturday the local ski area had a fun biathlon race, which my brother and I participated in as both of our first ever biathlon races. The race was put on by a local biathlon club using air rifles and had some seriously stiff competition…. (the field for the 6km and 3km race)

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The race went great, so well I’m considering retiring. I hit all the targets, which the lead over my brother (who did not hit all his targets) and the win. The trail system here has one of the better ideas I’ve ever seen at a cross country ski area. At the high point of the trails was a “Snackbox”. It’s really a just mailbox filled with snacks and candy, but is quite delicious. I can think of a few cross country centers that should do something similar  in the Tahoe region.

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I will meet up with the rest of the Far West group in Soldier Hollow in a couple days and am excited to race at U.S. Senior Nationals.