Teton Ridge Classic

The Teton Ridge Classic is a great ski race. Beautiful scenery, nice rolling terrain, tons of snow, cheerful volunteers, lots of hot soup and bread at the finish. I had the added benefit of driving over to Driggs, Idaho with the Idaho Nordic crew. Turned out that it was perfect fish scales and/or zeros conditions. I left both of those pairs of skis in Reno. But Mike “Silver Fox” Weber set me up on his extra pair of fishies. Throw in their v05 Finite structure tool and the skis were dynamite.  Oh and one last critical piece of equipment: my lucky Bill Clinton ski tie. Needles to say,  It was a good race.

 

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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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Good ol’ days

Boulder mountains and synchronized striding

Is that Lake Tahoe back there? Nope: just Boise below the inversion

Is that Lake Tahoe back there? Nope: just Boise below the inversion

It’s great to find snow in Idaho and find old friends and jump in the old local races from the junior days. Here’s some pics in cold sun valley that bring back them old memories. Maybe truckee will get some of this snow soon??

Best of luck to the far west crew down in soldier hollow this week! I’ll stick to fighting off master blasters for the time being.

Our old coach: Ivana

Our old coach: Ivana

Racing snow maker classic in sun valley

Racing Snowmaker classic in sun valley

 

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.

Podium!

As you’ve probably seen from Spencer’s posts, the weather in Bozeman was a bit cold this past week! We had already decided to skip the sprint to focus on the 15km Classic Mass Start, which was fortunate because with a high of -12F, there was no chance of the sprint getting off. Though the weather was supposed to be slightly warmer on Sunday,  we woke up to a temperature of -20 and we were once again questioning if the weather would get to the legal race temperature of -4F.

We made the drive up to the venue at 11:30, in preparation for the already-delayed 1:00pm start. However, when we arrived it was clearly still too cold to race, and we quickly learned that the start had been delayed even further. After sitting through several more delays, we suddenly got the call and learned we’d be starting in 45 minutes. Though the temperature had reached -4F, with wind chill it was probably about -25, so we bundled up in our puffys for a quick warmup, grabbed our race skis from our wax tech Tim, and made our way to the start.

I started the race off conservatively and settled into the middle of the lead pack, probably around 15th place. With the cold temperatures and the challenging hills of the Bozeman course, I knew it’d be important to have lots of energy for the second half of the race. Luckily my Rossignols had great glide and kick, with Toko HF Blue and Cold Powder for glide, and a mix of Toko green binder, blue and xtra cold for our kick. By the end of the first 5km lap I had moved up into the top 10, and 2km later I made my way into the lead for the first time on the day.

For the rest of the race I stayed in the top 6, and took turns in the lead with a number of other skiers, including Miles Havlick, Reese Hanneman and Truckee’s one and only Matt Gelso, now skiing for Sun Valley. With about 2km to go, I moved into the lead which I shared with Miles Havlick, until CXC’s Russian Dimitri Ozerskiy made a move up the middle between the two tracks, which was hard to counter, unless we wanted to break our poles. The pack was still probably around eight or nine skiers, so the sprint up the last two hills was on!

By this time, the cold I had really started to get to me, freezing my eyes open and making my mind a bit delirious. After loosing a couple places on the first uphill, a steep wall barely wide enough for two skiers to herring bone up, I found myself falling back into fifth place. But with one more hill to go, I put my head down and powered up, passing two skiers and making my way back onto the podium, which I held onto until the finish!

Photo Credit: Paul Clark

Photo Credit: Paul Clark

Now it’s back to Truckee for some focused training before Christmas, and then it is on to the National Championships in Soldier Hollow!

Racing!

Today’s race was a tough one. First off it was debatable whether or not temperatures were warm enough to hold the race, which is -4F….

Maybe if we all huddle around the thermometer it might warm up enough to race.

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Despite ambiguous temperature legality, the crew at Bohart did a great job taking care of some very cold skiers and spending long hours outside themselves. Someone from the race crew checked me for frostbite mid-race today. As ridiculous as that is, I was impressed on how hard everyone was working to pull off the races.

 

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I still can’t quite feel some of my toes.

That being said we had some great skis thanks to Tim Whiton, former Bates skier and Bowdoin Coach. Who bravely stood around in  the cold waxing our skis.

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If Tim looks cold, that’s because he is.

The race itself went alright for me. I was glad to be back racing post-concussion, but have some catch up training to do before the next Supertours.

Live from Bozeman

Live feed from Bozeman

Today we tried to wax some skis in order to test waxes for the race Sunday, but it was so cold the iron wouldn’t turn on, which for reference happens around -12 F. We almost always do some intervals the day before a race, as this has been shown to boost performance. Although when the air is this cold, breathing hard can do some serious damage to your lungs. With a High of -10F today, we got a little creative to do a pre-race workout.

 

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Park skiing and stone grinding

Got in some rare Reno skiing around Ranch San Rafael Park near my house. Actually decided to ski the road on the way to the park. Then, because I liked stone grinding my skis on asphalt, I took the Tahoe XC kids up to Brockway summit to ski the road in the late afternoon. Nice sunset up there but wicked cold.

Reno Skiing

Reno Skiing

 

Sunset on Brockway

Sunset on Brockway with the kids

Bozeman is colder

 

 

Patrick and I are here in Bozeman getting ready for the races this weekend and it’s really cold.

bozone weather

We’re planning to do some harder level 4 intervals today and are going to wait until noon (when it’s hopefully warmest) so we don’t turn our lungs into icicles. Both of us will be racing the 15km Classic at Bohart Ranch Sunday.

With some extra down time, watching world cup races can be a lot of fun and great visualization for your skiing. This site (http://crosscountryski.us/) has all of the world cup races in their entirety you can watch for free.

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Things you see in West Yellowstone

Frosty tips

Frosty tips

Hobbit hole

Hobbit hole

 

young n oldyoung n old

 

Kitchen skis

Kitchen skis

Master BlastersMaster Blasters

 

Little man wax bench

Little man wax bench

Bird in a bag

Bird in a bag