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:

SNOW!

SNOW!

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!

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Delicious applesauce…

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….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.

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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:

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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!

 

BEER TASTE OCT 2014

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

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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.

Ciao!

A Multitude of Reasons Why It’s Good to be Back

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.

Spencer returns home from rollerskiing, briefcase in hand

Spencer returns home from rollerskiing, briefcase in hand

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.

Spencer and I act as ballast  while Anja hangs onto our broom.

Spencer and I act as ballast while Anja pulls up on our broom

The smoke sure makes for beautiful views, though:

A low Truckee River

A low Truckee River

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:

Bye bye, ca$h money

Ca$h money (only on Craigslist):

for this:

My legs are worse.

Cuts and bruises (my legs look worse)

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.

Anja's scones, Spencer's roasted tomatoes for soup

Anja’s scones, Spencer’s roasted tomatoes for soup

Hausfrau  Anja

Isn’t she adorable?

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!

Housemates all dressed up for dinner!

Housemates all dressed up for dinner!

Donner Lake's public docks: the best part of Truckee?

Donner Lake’s public docks: the best part of Truckee?

California Sunshine!

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.

Enjoy!

Why to be a skier (in California)

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!
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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!
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I have also been playing with some other toys, nordork style. Getting better with these and they’re good fun too!
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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!


Pictures
– Here are my favorite artsy photo attempts from last week.
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R&R
– Rest and Recovery are a really important part of being a skier! Sometimes good recovery is not my strength but every once in a while I do a pretty good job, like here:
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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!
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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!
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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!
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Summer is not over yet
– lots more playing to do! Check back for more updates and hopefully some cool pictures soon!

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.

 

 

 

Lake Placid and the Adirondacks

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.

Transportation to the start of our hike

Transportation to the start of our hike

Heather graciously showed off her rowing skills as we headed across Lower Ausable Lake into the heart of the Adirondacks

Heather graciously showed off her rowing skills as we headed across Lower Ausable Lake into the heart of the Adirondacks

Lake Tear of the Clouds with Mt. Marcy in the background. Headwaters of the Hudson River... Also where Teddy Roosevelt learned he was becoming President

Lake Tear of the Clouds with Mt. Marcy in the background. Headwaters of the Hudson River… Also where Teddy Roosevelt learned he was becoming President

Summit of Mt Marcy! Highest point in New York, but still a little ways below the elevation us Far Westers live and train at...

Summit of Mt Marcy! Highest point in New York, but still a little ways below the elevation us Far Westers live and train at…

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.