Birkie Fever

Holly’s first Birkebeiner and my second was just splendid. We stayed with a bunch of Colby alums and managed to take part in a bunch of great Birkie traditions, like waiting for a bathroom before the race in the famous Telemark Lodge (thanks to Brandon’s Coffee) and enjoying the post-race festivities at the soup tent followed by the Moccasin Bar (which has the world record Muskie on the wall). We both skied to top 50 finishes on some fast Farm Team wax. Warmer temperatures this year were welcomed – I didn’t even have to stop once to warm up or put on a sweater.

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sprinting.

Farm Team contingent looking good after a dominant performance at the Tahoe City Cobblestone Sprints yesterday.

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Spencer keeps it spicy even among fierce competition from Far West’s best.

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Kikkan and Jesse know how to get it done too.

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(the key is wearing neon.)

#goodweekendtobeamerican

Let’s Go Ski

Because sometimes you gotta mix up the disciplines. Here are photos from skinning up Pole Creek and the Silver Peak area with another farmer, Noah.

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I’m logging it as Over Distance training.

Music: KEXP’s song of the day today. Jenn Grant “I’ve Got Your Fire”

Road(Race) Trip

Beth and I (with Wyatt partially in tow) are just wrapping up a epic racing road trip and figured a recap was in order.

First off the three of us raced the Boulder Mountain Tour (BMT, not to be confused with the sandwich) in Sun Valley last weekend. If you haven’t raced the BMT race yet put in on the list of ones to do. A fast net elevation loss course combined with a ton off pack skiing and drafting is a blast, especially if you have fast skis and wily tactics. Beth finished 6th, with wyatt and myself 25th and 22nd. We owe a big thanks to the Fereday family for hosting us for those races.

After convincing another Tahoe skier from the BMT to give Wyatt a lift home (he doesn’t take up that much room) Beth and I headed off to Vail for some SuperDuperTour action. We were generously hosted by Gus’s parents in SLC, which broke up the drive quite nicely. Once in Vail we were able to stay with the Woods’ family, if you haven’t already noticed a theme of great generosity we have been very fortunate.

We raced the Teva Mountain games a 10km Nordic Freestyle on Friday, which despite not being a supertour brought out a very competitive field due to a hefty amount of prize money. Unfortunately the race didn’t go quite so well for either of us, but I did get to ski in a pack almost exclusively made up of men ranked in the top 10 of the supertour points standing for a few kilometers. While doing this I probably (well almost certainly) was going too fast, it was awesome and I can’t wait to ski a whole race with them. (photo by Fasterskier: Vail does have some nice mountains)

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The Supertour races were in Aspen, a bit of a drive from Vail so we were able to stay with some of Team Homegrown in a very nice house they got to crash at. If you didn’t already know the Vail team does an amazing job networking, rallying support, and generally getting hooked up i.e. private jets, crashing in some very nice second homes, oh and their ski academy has their own stone grinding machine. There is a fair amount to be learned from how well they have been able to win some amazing support from the community. The Vail coaches were amazing and took care of all of our waxing giving us great skis for the Teva games and Supertours. Saturday I had a 10km classic featuring a lot of early hills in the 5km loop. Focusing primarily on pacing paid off well for me and I was able to pick up the pace on the second lap finishing strong to pick up some more places. The women raced a 5km and Beth finish 7th just seconds out of the prize money.

Sunday was the Owl Creek Chase a 22km point to point supertour from Snowmass to Aspen. This was easily the toughest ~20km course I have ever skied with some long grinding climbs. After racing two 10 km races the two consecutive days before I was pretty tired to start the race but ground my way through. Beth, feeling a bit run down, toured the race with a bib on, much to the jealously of some other racers. For a difficult course it was still a bunch of fun with some awesome mountains, a couple long downhills, some fun S-turns, and an narrow bridge spanning a canyon. We owe a huge thanks to the Vail coaches and skiers who took care of us like their own and they take very good care of each other.

Today we drove back to SLC and are spending the night in Alta, which means some highly anticipated hot tubs and more awesome mountains. Below is a map of the route we took, I can now say that I’ve traveled around the West a fair amount.

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The Lessons of Coaching

I was inspired by Beth’s awesome road trip lessons post to share a few lessons that I have learned these past few days (plus, i’m way overdue on posting). I have just returned from a terrific few days at Soldier Hollow, Utah coaching the Far West Juniors at the Super JOQ. This was my first weekend as a “real” coach…by which I mean I had to apply some wicked expensive, cancer-causing stuff called fluoros and actually test skis instead of just guessing. It is a very steep learning curve but under the tutelage of the older, wiser Far West Coaches, I managed to survive the week. Here are some handy lessons for newbie coaches:

1. Being in charge of making sure athletes don’t miss their start times is harder than it sounds- it may include running and screaming and waving your hands to get an athlete’s attention who is zoning out listening to pump up music as they do their 500th lap around the Biathlon range with no concept that the announcer has been calling their bib number for the past three minutes.

2. Just because you’re not racing, doesn’t mean you don’t get nervous and anxious too.

3. Coaching is more exhausting than racing: you stay up late applying fluoros and wake up early to test wax. and brushing is a serious arm workout.

4. Testing wax is a good interval session. Log it.

5. Wearing a red coach’s bib would be cool except when you are 5’0″ and it looks more like a ridiculous dress

6. If the bib doesn’t do it, you are constantly reminded of your height when waxing next to Ambrose all day

7. Carrying a radio IS wicked cool and a huge part of why I became a coach in the first place.

8. Boys don’t know how to scrape their skis…or just get distracted in the process so you’ll probably have to do it for them

9. Being a coach, and therefore all mighty and powerful, doesn’t mean you’re good at bowling.

10. When you are a coach you automatically get to either drive a large van (totally sweet) or get shot gun…which sounds sweet except on a ten hour drive with ridiculous high school boys pestering you the entire way.

11. Coaching is the best job ever because you get to chill with awesome kids all day.

 

Coaching is pretty much as sweet as it looks (photo: Stacey Herhuskey)

 

Road Trip Survival Guide as taught by Ben Grasseschi

after spending the last two days driving from Sun Valley, ID to Vail, CO, Spence and I have realized how much we have learned about surviving long road trips from ASC and Farm Team coach Ben Grasseschi. The top ten Grasseschi nuggets of wisdom….

1. Swedish fish are a necessity.

2. In emergencies (example: more than 12 hours of continuous driving and/or at least one empty gas tank incident), resort to Red Bull.

3. Never trust the gas light.

4. Always stop for taco trucks.

5. “Hey Cow” — a game in which members of the vehicle yell out the window at nearby livestock, winning points for how many cows actually look up.

6. Always prioritize fresh tracks, regardless of which side of the road the freshies may be on or whether they are even on the road.

7. Stock up on fireworks while driving through Nevada.

7.5. Do not allow August to have possession of the lighter and/or smoke bombs.

8. Sing out loud to yourself about what is happening in the van; no tune necessary.

9. Whenever you are stopped, relocate to the top of the van for some quick Vitamin D.

10. Rumble strips are built for your personal entertainment.

The Luckiest High-Schoolers Around

This past weekend I went with the North Tahoe Nordic teams to Mammoth Lakes, CA to help coach at the high school race, and- in the process- have a really, really, really, good time.

First we raced on Klister (which I like for the good kick and glide it provides):

 

 

 

 

 

Then we ice skated:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we alpine skied at Mammoth Mountain:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we came back home to a beautiful Tahoe sunset:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which has me thinking that these guys, and myself as coach, are the luckiest people around.

-Gus

Music: This song came on in the van, and I was a little afraid that the guys wouldn’t know who Weezer was. I was glad to find out that some of them did.