This weekend we have some pretty rad Supertour races in Bozeman. Skate Sprint on Thursday, Classic Sprint Friday, and a Classic Distance Race Sunday!! Race and shenanigans reports to come!
As the title might suggest, I’ve begun coaching at North Tahoe High School with their nordic team. I haven’t been an official coach of anything since I was in Utah working with TUNA when I was 19 years old. It’s interesting to see skiing as a high school sport because I grew up with it only existing as a club thing you did outside of school. I found I had to do a lot of explaining to my friends in high school about how racing worked in the Intermountain region, as it wasn’t a part of the normal school-sports scene. I like the extra sense of community and pride that skiing for your high school brings to the experience. I think its easier to be recognized and supported by your peers when it’s part of your daily school life.
Hopefully later today we will get some snow to go skiing, but for now the high school practices have been good-ole dry-land training. It seems like a lot of the athletes are coming off of xc-running season, and as a result, they are kicking my butt in all the running we have to do. Maybe it’s just that I’m getting older, but it takes me a good 20 mins of what I consider level 1 before I feel ready to push the pace at all. These guys are fast from their first steps onto the trail.
So that’s it for now,
Warning: there will be links. Here are three songs to which I’ve been listening. Here are three songs I’ve been listening to (sounds better, but ends in a preposition). The first is Atlas Genius’ Trojans. I like it because it has a beat and the pulse for grooving right alongside. The second song that’s been on repeat in my small shack of a house is Oh Woe by Ben Gibbard of Death Cab. I’ve read hipster descriptions of Ben’s new stuff saying that they were excited for him to come out with a solo album, post-Dechanel breakup, because they wanted a return to the depressed, angst ridden, vaguely worded songs of the Death Cab they fell in love with before they were mainstream, but I’m very pleased to announce that the hipsters are disappointed with the un-ironic, catchy tunes he’s producing. Maybe you could argue there’s irony in producing a song with an upbeat melody and marching-ly driven guitars entitled “Oh Woe”, but I don’t buy it. And third: the Blue Scholars have just put up a video entitled “Anna Karina” on their you-tube channel. I won’t link it because it has curse words and this is a family friendly blog, but I really can’t rep them (or any other NW hip-hop artist) enough.
Finally, I probably don’t have to share this link if you have skier friends because you probably saw it on Facebook yesterday, but here’s the trailer for the new Sherpas Cinema movie, Into The Mind. They’re the same guys who brought you the sick LCD Soundsystem backtrack in JP Auclair’s Street segment in All.I.Can.
Today I had a interesting experience that made me realize there needs to be more enticing answers to this common question. When approached by the standard master blaster a simple “extra blue” answer may be sufficient, however, when approached by an attractive skier or special someone such a response may be insufficient.
The following is a list of potential responses to “What’s the wax today?”
“I’m not sure but I’d love to put you on”
“Well it was extra blue, but once you showed up everything got warmer”
“Oh just some mix of you and me”
“How abouta base of you with a layer of me on top”
“I’m not sure but I’m feeling a little red”
In other news I took a great nap on the drive from West Yellowstone to Bozeman today.
I was lucky enough to have the support of both the Farm Team and my Family Team here in West this THanksgiving. Here’s a pic from the plateau, where there was just enough snow. Races were fast and fun and flat. Great to be getting back in shape. Nothing like skiing, home cooking, and playing guitar with the fam in west. Family Style (by the way, that’s the name of a good album by Stevie and Jimmie Vaughn).
So, while most people are sitting with their families, stuffing themselves with Turkey, I am sitting in a very empty house, eating pasta leftovers all by myself. This may sound depressing, but I am watching my beloved Patriots so I could not be more content. Now you might think that something is wrong with me (which is a valid argument), however, to be honest I’ve never really been all psyched about Thanksgiving mostly because, as a skier, I’ve never really celebrated it. In high school, I spent most Thanksgivings skiing in Canada and was lucky if I got to enjoy a token pumpkin pie. Perhaps my fondest memory of thanksgiving was a few years ago when I was in Nepal, and went to the US ambassador’s house and had miniature turkey sandwiches…I was just so thankful to eat meat that I actually recognized after 3 months of…?? So, to make a long story short, I am thoroughly enjoying watching football, which is the only thanksgiving tradition that I religiously follow. All that being said, Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!!
I have also spent this Thanksgiving working on the online course/test I have to take in order to be certified to coach at the high school. This course literally takes 5 hours…yup, 5 hours. Most of the test questions I could answer without actually reading anything but instead I am forced to page through endless lessons and demonstrations. That is not to say I haven’t learned anything. Perhaps the most interesting thing was reading about how to help athletes with anxiety before competitions. I will probably talk about this a lot this winter, but I have had serious issues with anxiety throughout my skiing career and it has definitely inhibited my ability to preform well on the race course. The more nervous I am, the worse I do, no exceptions. There is a very fine line between nervous excitement/adrenaline which is usually a positive and throwing up my entire breakfast minutes before my start time (yeah, gross, I know, but that was me…every single race last year). This course says that anxiety is all about how the athlete perceives the differential between their ability and the difficulty of the task. The bigger the perceived differential, the more anxious they are likely to be. This is only partly true, I think. I get more nervous when I’m in better shape and I care more. I thought I had learned how to handle my anxiety in college, until I got to my senior year. I had spent the summer training in Truckee and I was probably in the best shape of my life so I had higher expectations and I wanted all my work to pay off. Cue upchuck. So this season, my goal is to figure out how to turn nerves into excitement and just relax and have fun skiing. That is why we do it, after all. My other goal is to help my athletes to relax, embrace excitement and handle nerves. My biggest regret was not dealing with my anxiety earlier or talking to my coaches about it until the last weekend of the season (my best friend wasn’t racing so she was my personal shrink and skiied the warmup with me, distracting me with gossip. It worked, I didn’t throw up, and I had my best races of the season.)
One last thing- the ski season starts for real tomorrow!!! Good luck to everyone racing in West Yellowstone! And this weekend is the first World Cups of the season in Sweden. SO EXCITED!! If you are a young athlete, let me tell you, there is nothing more motivating and inspiring then following the US ski team (or canada or really anyone…pick someone cool) on the international stage (maybe even more exciting than football…and that is saying something coming from me:) If you don’t already, you should follow fasterskier.com- it has terrific and timely reporting from all the major xc races around the world. Also, if you are an early riser, check out frombar.tv (formerly sportlemon.tv)- they usually have all the live races from the world cups but only live (no replays) so you have to wake up for Euro time (disclaimer: not sure how legal this site is…but it’s awesome!)
I had the greatest mountain bike ride today. It made me real happy. I tend to forget how much my mood is reflected in my training schedule. Active=Happy. Food=Happy. Today was a good day on those two fronts. I’ve just finished feasting on some Turkey, and now it’s time for laying on the couch and listening to Harry Potter audiobooks. Here are some pictures from the ride today:
Also, I just saw a picture of the new FW Farm Team uniforms being used in West. I’m jealous that I didn’t go to West, and haven’t had a chance to get to get my hands on one yet. I’ll try to wait patiently
I have many things to be thankful for this year (and a lot of catching up to do on blog posts). Mostly, I am thankful to be a professional ski racer, and here is why. first of all, when you’re a pro skier, you don’t have to wax your own skis. You never have to drive a van, but you do automatically get shotgun. You are held to the timeliness standards of a J2….in other words, pretty much none. Sometimes, you get free stuff. Best of all, you are actively encouraged to nap. And high school and college skiers wonder how you pull all of these things off. On that note, my bed is calling….happy Turkey Day, errybody.