We on the Far West Elite Team are committed to getting the job done, at training, at work, or both. Here’s some proof.
I’ve been on a smoke vacation that I like to call my smokecation. Over the past two weeks, the King Fire has torched over 90,000 acres of dry California wilderness and cost around 70 million to fight. Tahoe got its first dusting of snow yesterday, preceded by an inch of rain, both of which are credited with squelching the flame. So, I’m wrapping up my smokecation on Tuesday and will head back to Tahoe City.
I started my smokecation a week and a half ago at Kate Courtney’s house, my sister’s Specialized Global teammate, who lives in Marin County. Her house is snuggled next to Mt. Tam and reminds me of Italy! She has a fig tree that was absolutely exploding with rip figs, lemon and lime trees, and cypress trees. All the trails leading up to Mt. Tam smell like eucalypts and offer amazing views of the bay area. I spent three days and two nights sprinting and doing intensity at sea level and had to head to high ground, so I could remain acclimated to high altitude.
I borrowed my CA family’s black lab, Roxy, for this next leg of my smokecation and headed for my aunt and uncle’s house in Ogden. Utah. Roxy and I have been enjoying some morning runs right below the Ben Lomond mountain range. On one of these runs, Roxy found a mountain goat with huge horns at the trailhead and herded it down the sidewalk toward me. The mountain goat was sprinting at full speed right toward me, and we had a serious game of chicken going until we both decided to go right. That was a first!
Most of the ski companies in the world are based in Ogden, included my sponsor Atomic. I was invited into the race room, and we spent two hours picking my skis for this year. I stood about twenty different skis, and we narrowed it down to four pair that would be perfect for pacific snow. IT WAS AWESOME and really made the trip incredibly valuable.
Run, Ride, Roller Ski, Lift, repeat. Here’s what the last two weeks looked like.
It’s been a week since I rolled back in Truckee after two months of work in Colorado, and man, it’s good to be back.
First things first: Friends/Training Partners. I will be honest: most of the time, I don’t really like to train by myself. My high school ski team topped 40 people, and in college I was one of 18 girls on the nordic team. I’m spoiled by always having company, and it made solo training more difficult this summer. But no more. In one week, I’ve trained with each of my Elite Teammates at least once, as well as Sugarbowl Academy and Coach Wilson of Tahoe XC. It is SO awesome.
We’ve had to get a little creative though. Smoke from the King Fire has rolled in by early afternoon for several days now, and it’s thick enough that outdoor training isn’t really a good idea. Luckily, we are a resourceful bunch. Today I woke up early enough to finish a second outdoor session by 1:45 PM. Yesterday, we finished the Drifter time trial by 8:30 AM and had fun improvising an afternoon strength session when we couldn’t use the backyard gym.
The smoke sure makes for beautiful views, though:
I also have a new toy. I bought a mountain bike in Winnemucca, NV, which was the best decision I’ve made in a long time. It’s very refreshing to trade the top of the learning curve (e.g., refining technique on rollerskis) for the bottom (e.g., trying not to fall off my bike). What I didn’t realize when I purchased the bike, however, is that I exchanged this:
I have also been eating like a queen. Spencer brings home piles of fresh vegetables and Hausfrau Anja whips up all kinds of baked goods.
And last but not least, I’ve generally been living the good life. I think we’ve had some sort of dinner event with friends every night for a week. Last night, Christmas came early as we received our new Rudy Project helmets and sunglasses. (As a side note, I still can’t get over the fact that anyone is giving me free stuff. What universe have I walked into?) And I’ve been visiting some of my favorite spots in the area. It sure is good to be back!
It’s been two weeks exactly since I landed in San Francisco. I’ve been getting settled into Tahoe City with my new family, the Sybens. They are amazing, and I absolutely love it here thus far. However, there are few differences from Vermont.
First, it’s sunny all the time. No really, all the time. I don’t check the weather anymore because it’s only rained five minutes since my arrival. I used to check the weather a few times a day to most effectively plan training. The only thing that could possibly jeopardize training is the smoke that rolls in from forest fires, but so far it’s been fine.
There are bears! I woke up one night to a mamma bear and her baby tearing apart a tree behind the house. This doesn’t happen in Vermont. I normally have training and recovery snacks in my car, and I’ve stopped that tradition because they are bear snacks in California.
I’ve learned that you don’t feel earth quakes when you are mountain biking. We had a class 3 earthquake during a mountain bike ride and I didn’t feel a thing, which was very surprising.
The adventure potential here is absolutely endless. I’ve made a video to show just a few of the amazing adventures I’ve had.
There are many more reasons, but these 10 came to my mind first this week!
Second breakfast – Must have after every morning workout (training doesn’t count before you had a snack, a meal and before you logged it) and my favorite part of the day! I like breakfast sandwiches best: Bagel with avocado, tomato, cheddar cheese, an over medium egg and hot sauce. Yummm. Our plates are pretty cool too!
Toys – I got a Mountain bike this summer and biking has been really really fun. My new whip also is responsible for a lot of my bruises, but see next bullet point- it’s awesome. These pictures are from when 4 of us Far West Elite teamers went riding together this week. Great team and household activity!
I have also been playing with some other toys, nordork style. Getting better with these and they’re good fun too!
No pain, no gain – It has been SO awesome to have Emmy back here, and we have been working hard. We did two tough roller skiing intensity workouts together this week. I wouldn’t have gone half as hard nor had half as much fun without her. On Friday, I tested the pavement again (yes, road rash still hurts a lot) but I’m pretty sure that we got just a little bit faster that day, whoop!
Cali tan – Yup!
Guns – This year I am having a lot of fun lifting hard and getting stronger (hopefully). Our driveway strength set up makes me feel a little bad ass. Only in Cali! Thanks Spencer for fixing the pull up bar, and check out the little chair the boys got for us short girls to get up to the bar. Very professional set up!
Teammates – Just one example: On Friday Emily and I did an evening strength workout and when we were done Spencer had dinner for us ready. Here is the delicious chicken pot pie without chicken he made for us. Made me really happy because I was really hungry and because Janey used to cook chicken pot pie for me when we lived together in college. I miss Janey!
Being fit – Patrick and I went on a sweet long run in Desolation yesterday. The area is so epic and we just drove there, started running and explored. Pretty awesome to be able to just go play in the mountains for 5h. We saw about 20 different beautiful little lakes, and a couple of waterfalls that made for an exciting adventure!
Summer is not over yet – lots more playing to do! Check back for more updates and hopefully some cool pictures soon!
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.
Last 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.
This past week I traveled out to Lake Placid, New York for to spend some time training for Biathlon at the Olympic Training Center. This was my second time out to Lake Placid this summer, and the OTC is always a great place to spend some time focusing on training and recovery, as nearly all your needs outside of sport are served by the wonderful staff of the training center.
Another big perk of visiting Lake Placid is having the chance to spend some time in the Adirondacks. In college I was only an hour and a half from the ‘Dacks, and I have lots of great memories of long training runs/hikes in the area. Here are some pictures from a little adventure I did with Far West Summer Training Group member Heather Mooney.
Now I’m back in Truckee where I’ll be putting in another big month of training before heading to my next camp with the Biathlon Team at Soldier Hollow.
Balancing training and work is always a challenge. Sometimes you can do both. Earlier this summer while doing hydrology field-work in Elko, NV, I used an off-day to do a bike ride up the beautiful Lamoille Canyon in the Ruby Mountains. Turns out I should have brought the xc skis as 3/4 to the end of the canyon I was stopped by a couple feet of snow on the road and lots of snow machine fumes. I about froze on the ride back down as a snowstorm rolled in. Luckily, I had a trusty can of sardines in Louisiana hot sauce waiting for me in the truck at the bottom – a great training/field-work food (or just a great food anytime). I got revenge on the next work trip to Elko by classic rollerskiing up to the end of the canyon.
I guess I’m lucky to have a job that includes work in places where potential for mountain biking, running, and rollerskiing adventures make work seem like play.
There are officially three new additions to the Far West Nordic Team. I’m incredibly honored to be one of them, completing the trio of women donning Far West uniforms this winter at most of the Super Tours and domestic series races.
Let the adventure begin! Last week, I gathered my belonging in Vermont (mainly gear: bikes, skis, paddleboard, and roller skis) to get ready for my move out west. It turns out my belongings weight about 192lbs. I boarded my practically empty Labor Day weekend flight to San Francisco with an endurance athlete blessing of three empty seats. I woke up at midnight, rubbed my eyes, and grabbed a rental car to navigate to one of my old Middlebury friend’s apartment.
She’d left me one key to stay in her apartment in her garage, and it turns out you need two keys to get most apartments. I could unlock the outside of the building, but I could not unlock her actual apartment. So what to do at 1:30am/4:30am EST? I spent my first night on the west coast sleeping in my friend’s Tahoe in her garage, laughing to myself that I had moved into Tahoe a day early!
I made my way to the real Tahoe yesterday to meet the most incredible family that I get to stay with for the next month. They took me on a beautiful trail run, which I have a feeling will be a lovely tradition here.
Most of my teammates have spent the summer here, but I’ve been running a non-profit this summer in Vermont, Colorado and California called Little Bellas that I started with my sister, Lea Davison, and friend, Angela Irvine, eight years ago. Our mission is to create confident young women and girls that are life-long self-assured, healthy individuals and the vehicle for our message is mountain biking. Many of you will be familiar with Fast and Female; Little Bellas in a sense is the cycling equivalent to Fast and Female. So naturally, this summer was spent in the saddle riding with a lot of smiling girls, sailing, baking, and training. The Little Bellas season ended last Sunday, and I was happy to round out the season getting 300 girls on bikes throughout the spring and summer.
Now that I’m in my new home, I’m excited to meet my new training partners, get acquainted with a huge network of trails to romp, explore this beautiful backdrop, and have the promise of massive snowfall this winter. So far so good here in Tahoe!
Hello to everyone out there in the Far West virtual universe! After Anja’s spectacular opening to the 2014-2015 blogging season, I’m here to try to prove my chops as a FW Elite Blogger. (Thank goodness I don’t have to prove myself as a skier for another few months…) Since all three Far West ladies are new to the team this year, I going to follow in Anja’s footsteps and introduce myself.
By way of background – I was born and raised in New Hampshire, and I traveled a total of 60 miles to attend Dartmouth College. I took some risks there and lived 500 feet from Vermont for 3 whole years (don’t worry, no long term damage). Though I was on Dartmouth’s team for all 4 years, I didn’t really ski fast, by any standard, until my senior year. The Far West College Training Program deserves a good portion of the credit for that success.
After all that improvement late in my college career, I almost joined the ranks of post-collegiate skiers last year. I ultimately decided not to, for a variety of reasons. Instead, I did a lot of this:
Skiing the sidecountry in Taos, NM
XC touring with college friends in Durango, CO
Crested Butte, CO backcountry
Outside of Moab, UT on consecutive days
I was fun-employed, I traveled the West, I lived on my brother’s couch (now eternally in debt to my big brother) and I skied — cross-country, alpine, backcountry — a ton. But I also missed this:
Racing (photo courtesy of Brian Seitz).
And I especially missed this:
(I also missed training, but I don’t have any good pictures of that.)
So when I remembered that Far West and the Tahoe region offered teammates, training, racing, mountains, and all other mountain-related activities, I said SIGN ME UP! And they were kind enough to do so. Thanks for having me, Far West! I am so excited to be here!