Racing Season Underway

It’s hard to believe it, but racing season has officially begun here in the Far West region despite the lack of snow. ASC has done an incredible job working to keep some trails open for all of us, and many local volunteers have helped by shoveling snow. It’s super cool to see athletes come together like that, and really see the strength of a community effort. It was the community shovel party on Monday that enabled Wednesday’s classic sprint to take place.

Wednesday’s race went off without a hitch despite the tough conditions. I had a busy waxing day as a coach, and my attempt to pull double duty as both coach and racer proved to be super tough, as I ended up with about 2 minutes of warm up before my prelim race, despite going out last. For those who haven’t tried it (and I recommend highly against it!), take my word for it that doing an all-out sprint race with no warm-up is ROUGH and PAINFUL! Legs and arms seize up quite quickly and it becomes quite a challenge to try to move them fast. Lungs feel the pain too, as they burn unhappily when they haven’t been “opened up” before hand. But, it was (somehow!) still fun, and it’s always nice to put in a good hard effort, even if you’re not prepared. I’m glad I was able to jump in, though next time I hope the circumstances will be different! Being both a coach and a racer certainly has it challenges, but it has advantages too. Since Wednesday was a JN qualifier, the kids’ races were undoubtedly more important than my own, so waxing right up to my race was an easy choice that I made happily.

On another note, the first few races of this season have provided me with a platform to combine my journalism skills with my passion for skiing and racing. Check out my first two race reports, published in the Sierra Sun, Here: http://bit.ly/vJFkJg, and Here: http://bit.ly/vw6zhR!

Where’s the snow?

So most people are probably wondering where all the darn snow is. I just came home to Boise, Idaho for Christmas break and it’s as barren and dry as I’ve ever seen it – just like reno and the rest of the northern sierras. I guess a lot of the intermountain west is hurting as well. I’m sorry but I think I might have just brought a little too much of the east back out here with me. At least they don’t have snow back there either. Haha. Just kiddin.

But with my extra time I’ve learned to bake bread. I’m considering a long mountain bike ride on dry trails trails today as well. So there’s still a lot to look forward to even if it isn’t on snow.

Popcorn!

This is what I came home to in Utah. Now that’s my idea of a graduation present. I have such a weakness for popcorn. I’d say about 80 percent of why I watch movies is an excuse to eat popcorn. I thought about making this a sports nutrition blog post, but it’d be a lie. I just wanted to tell you how stoked I am on the food. I ate the whole bag in one sitting and now I have none left for the rest of the holiday. I know what I’m asking Santa for… a refill.

happy holidays,

-Gus

Today I have a random find for music. I think it’s a Chipotle add, but I love this rendition as well the original Coldplay song. Check out the Zidane video with the coldplay backtrack. It’s a real good pairing of the beauty of sports and music.

Grand Rapids, MN 15k Mass Start

 

This morning I had a tough 15k mass start.  I ended up visiting the penalty 13 times, so that is almost 2k extra added to my race;-( I had a very poor end result for the day, but I’m actually excited that I felt great racing and was able to push hard on the up hills and the flats.  My next biathlon races are the North American Championships Mid-January in Jerico, VT so I have work to do the next few weeks to fix my shooting errors.

Bentleyville Tour of Lights

Post race my father and I made the trip from Grand Rapids to the big city of Duluth for some tourist action.  First we visited the shores of Lake Superior for a shore hike on the beautiful lake. After our hike we stumbled upon a Holliday light show called Bentleyville.  The exhibition included lights, ice-skating, popcorn, hot chocolate, coffee, and cookies.  Classic Mid-west entertainment it really turned on my Holiday energy.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Far West Girls’ Cookie Party!

This past Saturday, I led a “Girls’ Day” for the Far West girls after skiing up at ASC. I thought that it would be great way to get all of the girls together to spend some time with one another off the snow, and I thought working on a fun project together would be the best way to do that. From my perspective, it was a definite “success.” There ended up being 10 of us — 4 athletes from ASC, and 5 from Sugar Bowl Academy, plus me. We made gingerbread and sugar cookies from scratch, and then had a decorating extravaganza, with colored frosting, sprinkles, chocolate chips and more. The cookies actually turned out great! I was a little skeptical during the preparation process ;) Once we had everything mixed up and ready to go, we baked the cookies by the dozens in the oven, and then went to town with our decorating. The juniors came up with some seriously cool cookie designs. I was impressed! There were Christmas trees, rudolphs, angels, and even a whole snowman family! As pretty as they were, we enjoyed digging in to the masterpieces when we were done — and maybe a little bit along the way too! :)

The cookies were delicious, but it was really the process of making them, all together, that made the day special for me. I truly believe that the importance of setting aside some “team bonding” time, outside of workouts, cannot be overstated. A team that can laugh together, enjoy spending time together, and be there for one another is truly a strong team. And, as we all know, a strong team is a fast team! More importantly, while Nordic skiing does so much for us in the way of our physical shape, we also love it because it provides us with lifelong friendships. I know from my experiences as a junior that while my Nordic career did so much for me athletically and scholastically, it is also responsible for some of my most cherished memories, and strongest friendships. But even though Far West is a small division, we are so busy in the winter that sometimes we don’t get as much time as we’d like to just hang out with our teammates, rather than train with them. So hopefully “Girls’ Day” provided the juniors with a chance to better get to know those they don’t know well yet, and strengthen the bond they already share with others. As Nordic skiers, we work so hard alongside one another all year long, sharing the same challenges and similar victories; generating sweat, tears and smiles. In my mind, there is no better basis for friendship.

And while the juniors and I are separated by years, our experiences when it comes to skiing are still very much the same. And while I know I’m not the fastest skier out there, I truly hope that the person and friend I am both on and off the snow provides a positive influence for our juniors — girls in particular. I know that, for their dedication, effort and more importantly the heart they put into not only skiing, but one another, they sure do give me something to look up to, despite being younger. There are few things more valuable than a strong, kind female role model. So thanks, Far West girls, for being just that! (And yes, while this post is focused on the girls and the girls’ day, you boys are pretty awesome too! Thanks, also, for your impact on me as an athlete, coach and person. And of course, for always making skiing fun!)

Paco’s Fun Race

Hey Skiers!

Yesterday I was able to race at ASC for the first time this season in the Paco Sprint/Distance races. What seemed funky at first with the three prologues followed by a 6k, turned out to be an attractive competition for both racers and spectators. It was motivating to beat your own times in the prologue and be able to see how much the times vary between the first and the third run. I thought the race course was extremely fun with two killer uphills that provided enough chances to make up time.

Now I’m ready for some snow!

 

This is a picture from back home in Switzerland:

 

 
Happy Holidays!

Grand Rapids, MN 12.5k Pursuit

Pursuit Race Start

My pursuit race today was super solid, Finished 6th hitting 16 of 20 shoots(1,1,0,2).  This is a PR shooting percentage for me!  This is also the first race I cleaned a shooting stage so I’m totally excited!  The skiing half of the race was solid, it was not the fasted I ever skied but I was able to push myself on the hills and flats.   I learned from my sprint race to ease up before the range so I could hit my targets.

Post-race I went for a little hike at the Sugar Hills Nordic ski trails with my dad.  I hike helped clear the lactic acid from my legs for the race tomorrow.  If you are ever in the Grand Rapids area and there is snow, Sugar Hills are where you want to ski the trail are really fun and skiable unlike Mount Itasca.

Phill Violett Pursuit Start

Phill Violett pursuit Prone1

Phill Violett pursut prone2

Phill Violett Pursuit Standing1

Phill Violett Pursuit Standing2

Phill Violett Penalty loop

Tomorrow is a 15k Mass Start