Turkey Trot

Saturday was the famous Donner Lake Turkey Trot. I was third in the 7-mile running race around Donner Lake, the top skier behind some speedy high school runners. Spencer was the next nordie in 5th, and Anja won the women’s race to claim the huge frozen Turkey for her first place prize! It was a beautiful day and a tough workout for us skiers who, at this time of year, focus more on rollerksiing than running!

Thanks to all who came out to compete in this fun even that’s also an Auburn Ski Club fundraiser. There were 200 or so racers with the Turkey Trot, Mashed potato mile, and walkers divisions This is one of three main fundraisers for Auburn Ski Club, the others being the Squaw Mountain Run and the Firecracker Mile in downtown Truckee.

Turkey Trotting

Turkey Trotting

Is it really 90% looks?

October 31st, time trail this morning and snow in the forecast. It smells like racing season!

I’m in the middle of our last volume week at home in Truckee. Next up is a recovery week, then low altitude camp, another recovery week and after that, it is already time to head to WEST YELLOWSTONE. Four weeks from today, we are going to be racing! Maybe this is a good time to blog about some of the little things that can help us get faster.

I like to claim that racing is 90% looks. Glitter, ribbons, hairdo and team tattoo are especially important because if you look good, you feel good and if you feel good, you race fast.

Since it is Halloween I tried the cat look this morning for the time trail, with ears stuck to my helmet. We left our house at 6.15am this morning, so that’s why I look a little sleepy. Emmy improved my makeup a little after the first picture was taken:


According to the look-good, feel-good, race-fast logic, psychology must play into racing. My roommates are pretty awesome. Here is how they help my confidence:

Speaking of my roommates, they are also great teammates and I am convinced being part of an awesome team and having a good support network makes the difference. Check out this delicious BLT Emmy and Spence delivered to me on the couch the other day. Yummy. Thanks guys!

I want to give a little shout out to all my other friends too. Thanks for snapping, texting and poking me every once in a while. Virtual hugs can do wonders!

Let’s not forget about training. It really helps. Look what Chris Mallory wrote on my log. It’s really nice to know that he is still having an eye on me and it’s also kind of cool to know that I have stepped up my game from last year!

With all this good training behind us, I plan to do lots of this before the first races:

I’m a big fan of early bed time and sleep and rest are very important to get into racing shape. So is eating well! And every once in a while, desert does really good things to you – just like these delicious pastries Wilson made for us:

At this point, we also want to thank all our sponsors – You can most definitely ski a whole lot faster with good equipment!

I think this could also help:
Or how about the cat café? (all credit for finding this goes to Emmy)

If you have any secret tips that I don’t know about, make sure you send me a message or a smoke sign. And get excited for the next Far West Elite Team post, probably about real skiing… Maybe as soon as tomorrow??

Oh, so is it really 90% looks? I have no idea!

Happy Halloween! Saftey first!



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.





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


How to avoid a cold…

Winter is coming! It’s inevitable, and I’m excited! In short, every nordic skier this time of year is switching to power based explosive strength, are fine tuning their weaknesses, and are logging serious ski-specific hours. That’s a given, so let’s talk about something else!


I was sick with the typical change of season cold last week, as many of you I’m sure are experiencing. My sister, Lea Davison, a London Olympian and Specialized Global athlete, was asked to write up some of her tips for getting over this change of season cold. I followed them religiously last week, and guess what… they worked wonders.   Have a read below!!


IMG_4215 IMG_5986tree


My sister came to visit me in Tahoe City. It’s been amazing to have my favorite person in the world meet the elite team and see my new stomping grounds. Lea and I used to race and train together every day, as we were both perusing careers as professional cyclists. Now that I’m focusing on nordic, we use each other’s sports to get each other fit in the off season. So naturally, Lea and I have reunited and made single-track exploration our main business. We also rounded up a few of our friends on Team Luna to ride help show us some of the best trails.   I have to say one of the crowning achievements from the week was not training related, it was learning how to make maple marshmallows.   They are incredible, and you should make them immediately!





How to Avoid a Cold: Top Tips from XC Mtb Rider Lea Davison

Out smart the common cold by following Lea Davison’s top tips



2 weeks ago  Heather Irvine

Lea Davison is XC Mountain Biker who rides for the Specialized Global team. She just took third place at the World Championships and is an expert at avoiding illness. As we head into winter, we are surrounded by coughs and sneezes so why not follow Lea’s top tips to see if you can become as talented as she is at avoiding a pesky cold:

“If your friend’s second cousin has a cold or if someone coughs 10 rows back on the airplane you go into full cold fighting mechanics, full on assault. Here are my top tips to avoiding a cold:

  • Garlic – some people roast a whole bulb and go for it. But I usually do raw as I think it is more powerful. You don’t make any friends but at least you are not sick. I chop it up, put oil and salt on it and dip bread into it.
  • Ginger – I juice ginger and have a straight up ginger shot which is a little tough to take, it is very similar to a normal shot of alcohol, it burns in the same way but it’s good. Sometimes I combine it with apple cider but straight up if you are fighting a cold.
  • Zicam – I always have Zicam with me which is a zinc formula or just zinc tablets. I take that very frequently. You take it one every four hours until the symptoms reside but I will sometimes take two at once.
  • Probiotic – If I am really coming down with something that I need to fight off, I’ll take a pro-biotic.
  • Steam – If I am starting to come down with a cold I will steam my face so it is better for breathing and pop in some Olbas oil in there too. I have also heard a sauna is good to sweat it out.
  • Rest – If I have a cold, I just go for an hour light spin if I am feeling a little energetic but otherwise you are better not train and  just sleep it off. I used to freak out about taking three days off, but then I had hip surgery, took four months off the bike and I was fine, so taking a couple of days off won’t make a difference. It is way better to get quality training and take a day off and get rest than it is to run yourself into the ground. When you are ill, it is your body telling you that you are too tired. You get a cold because you need to rest.”

We also have it on good authority that Vicks First Defence is another must have for the winter season. The British riders never fly without it, and also bring along Strepsil throat lozenges and hand sanitizer when they are travelling.


Read more at http://totalwomenscycling.com/fitness/avoid-cold-top-tips-xc-mtb-rider-lea-davison-34975/#MJGCUgXYzSW7HB7B.99

Specific Strength

Specific strength workouts pretty much have to involve either skiing or rollerskiing. That’s why it’s specific. But there’s still plenty of room for diversity in these workouts. Try pulling a tire. Hint: start with the smallest tire you can find (like a honda insight tire) and use a roughly ten’ bungee chord.

US Biathlon National Team Camp in Soldier Hollow

My third biathlon camp of the year is in the books, and I’m back in Truckee after two weeks of hard, focused training at Soldier Hollow in Utah. While the first two camps were built around those of us in USBA’s Talent Identification program, and focused on teaching us the fundamentals of the sport, this camp was our opportunity to join with the national team and get our introduction to the training required to become a world-class biathlete/ This camp included the entire national team, including the likes of World Cup podiumers Tim Burke, Lowell Bailey, and Susan Dunklee. And despite being only four months into my biathlon career, my training plan for the camp was essentially the same as theirs. What this meant was lots of hours, lots of intensity, and lots of combination shooting- at this camp, except for when you zeroed, almost all of the shooting was with a pulse- often a high one.

3rd time up Soldier Hollow's legendary Hermod's Hill in the middle of 6*7' L4, with each interval ending in shooting

3rd time up Soldier Hollow’s legendary Hermod’s Hill in the middle of 6*7′ L4, with each interval ending in shooting



For someone as new to biathlon as myself, this certainly meant this camp was going to be a challenging one. For example, on top of having limited experience shooting with a very high pulse, I also had barely ever combined rollerskiing with shooting before, which makes the task of getting on the mat to shoot considerably more complicated than when you are running/walking, as you have to find a way to quickly cut your speed (not a simple task, as anyone who’s been on rollerskis knows…), before, in my case, crash landing onto the mat. And hopefully this crash landing results in your body lying/standing in the same position every time, since the key to shooting well is doing it exactly the same every single time. While you are doing this, you of course have the coaching staff standing behind you, all of whom have experience working with Olympic medalists and World Cup Champions, watching every move and every shot, and recording it into a book.

But of course, this process, this trial by fire, as you might call it, is great experience for building the mental strength required to be a successful for biathlete. While the goal is to hit every shot, even the pros still have misses, and when the target doesn’t fall you can’t get flustered, you simply have to move your focus on to the next target or the next shooting bout. This whole camp was a great opportunity to work on the mental fortitude and focus required to be a shooter. There would be times that I’d ski into the range behind Tim Burke and take the point adjacent to his, and while it’s exciting and inspiring to see how fast and accurate a World Cup biathlete shoots, I wasn’t there to be a spectator, I was there with the hopes of one day being able to shoot like Tim. So in those instances I’d find a way to focus on my own task at hand, forget who I was shooting next to, and work solely on making those targets down my lane turn white.

After two weeks of hard training like this, I’m happy to say my shooting took some significant steps forward. On top of that, on the penultimate day of camp, I got the exciting news: I was being named to USBA’s Development Team! Before I know it I’ll be back on the road, first in West Yellowstone, followed by my next D-Team camp in Canmore, Alberta, and then it will be on to Mt. Itasca and the IBU cup trials.

Also for those who haven’t seen it, fasterskier.com posted an article about my biathlon endeavors here. I’m also doing some fundraising through RallyMe to help pay for some of my biathlon costs, you can find my page here.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like…October

One of the best things about fall is that it’s summer and winter at the same time.

Exhibit A: The first snow in the mountains, and a chilly morning run with Auburn Ski Club. This was on September 27:



Exhibit B: Sunbathing and swimming at the docks. This was on October 5:

This lake never gets old.

This lake never gets old.

It took a while to feel like fall was REALLY here. Autumn in New Hampshire is kind of in your face: brilliant leaves, morning frosts, pumpkins, apples, apple cider, apple cider doughnuts, etc.  Things are a little more understated in Truckee. There aren’t many deciduous trees to let you know that the seasons are changing. And since we live less than 200 miles from one of the most productive agricultural regions in the whole country, seasonal produce isn’t really a thing. (Not to mention that Washington State apparently has a monopoly on the whole West Coast apple production thing.)

But even though I was comfortably swimming last week, there’s no doubt that it’s fall. The aspens are turning, and there are a couple brilliant maples here and there. I even made applesauce!


Delicious applesauce…


….made with my new awesome $2 food mill!

Also, mornings are COLD. My pole tips scratch across the pavement while roller skiing, even though Wilson sharpened them for me (he’s the best). But that Sierra sun will get you and we’re stripping by the end of the workout.

Bras and tights

Bras and tights

Finally, the intervals are HARD. This morning, Anja, Wyatt and I did 2 sets of 6×1 min on, 1 min off at max effort. By the end of the second set, I needed to sit on the pavement because my legs were so wobbly. But the best part is, I felt stronger and faster than when I did the same workout two weeks ago. That’s a good thing, because winter may be here as soon as Tuesday, and ski racing is right around the corner.

Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 5.17.24 PM

Skis WILL touch snow this week (knock on wood….)

Finally, for all you blog readers not in Tahoe, I leave you with this….just to make you jealous:


The most beautiful lake in all the land


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!



Lab Strength

We on the Far West Elite Team are committed to getting the job done, at training, at work, or both. Here’s some proof.

Chicken with a Goat

photo 2-1

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.