Thursday, December 27, 2012

Home for the Holidays

I'm currently in the Albany airport on my way out to Utah for Nationals. Hopefully my flight will depart on time because we just got a huge snowstorm in the northeast and I know a lot of people traveling today who were not so lucky. I had a very nice trip back home that ended up being a little more relaxing than I had planned because I caught a cold the day I got back. My legs were very tired after Canmore so I was happy to take a little break from training but it's never fun to be sick, especially when you have skiing in December for the first time in three years! I flew into Boston and visited Dan for a few days before coming back to Vermont. I had a great time and spent just enough time in each place to spread my cold through both of our families. Just kidding, so far no one else is sick!

Heading east!

Getting in the Christmas spirit
I started to feel better after about a week and was able to get some great skiing in the past few days. It was fun to catch up with friends and family while being home and in addition to skiing I baked a lot of cookies, ate delicious food (thanks mom!), and spent some quality time with my cats. I wish I could have stayed home for a little longer but I'm looking forward to being in Utah and racing at Nationals. Here are some photos that sum up my week at home. See you in Utah!

Christmas evening with my sister

Awkward family photo

Reindeer cookies
Dad's cinnamon bread



more cookies with Dan

looking festive with Red and Dudley Rose
Christmas tree

a Peru sunrise

Dudley Rose with her catnip

and one more cookie photo

Monday, December 17, 2012

Canmore World Cups

We just finished up a full weekend of racing in Canmore and everyone is now on various planes heading many different directions. Thursday kicked off the World Cup weekend with a 10k classic mass start. About three minutes before the start of mass start races on the World Cup, the entire field files into the stadium at once. The coaches told us this the night before but Rosie and I still made the rookie move of being a little too nervous and overly cautious about getting to the start on time and we were the only two in the stadium for about 10 minutes before the rest of the field paraded in at once. I tried to focus on skiing my own race during the 10k and although I wish I had started a little more aggressively, I never blew up and still had something left in me for a little double sprint to the finish. I thought it was a solid start and it's one of the only times I haven't gone out too hard in a distance race. Some of the other American women had great days, highlighted by Kikkan's 5th and Sadie's mid 20s result - her first distance points!

catching a ride behind Chelsea Holmes (fasterskier photo)
Gus was very proud of his new snow pants but they turned out to be a little too hot at times
My second rookie move was making friends with the Russian wax trailer. I'm not sure why this happened but it did … several times. Maybe I was on my phone (don't text and walk!) or just thinking about other things while walking to our wax trailer in the mornings but for one reason or another, I kept walking into the first wax trailer (ours was the third) and not realizing that it wasn't the US trailer until I was inside of it looking up at a bunch of Russian men dressed in blue and red. Each time I quickly apologized, covered my face, and exited as quickly as possible but it was pretty embarrassing. 

Beautiful venue

 Saturday was another individual skate sprint and this was probably the race I was most excited for after Quebec City. The day before the race I did some pickups on the course and talked some strategy with Matt Whitcomb. It was a shorter course but it was pretty hilly. My strategy in the prelim was going to basically be to go very hard the whole way because the uphills were at the beginning and the recovery was at the end. I executed my plan but my legs felt super flooded at the top of the first hill so I think I had to yell at myself a little in my head to get up over the second hill - something like, "get your butt up this hill right now or else you can't have your jelly beans later." I was pleasantly surprised to hear I had qualified in 21st after my legs had felt less than stellar so I put my feet up for awhile and got a massage from Michael to flush out my limbs. Kikkan qualified in 1st and I qualified in 21st so we were in the same quarter final. Kikkan is a very smooth, strong, and smart skier so my ultimate plan was going to be, "just follow Kikkan!" My legs felt a lot better in the quarter final than they had in the prelim but there were a couple little tangles, then a small gap formed, and I didn't have enough in me to bridge it so I ended up 5th in my heat and 23rd for the day. I was still very excited to be in the top 30 and learned a lot from my heat. Kikkan went on to place 2nd, Ida was 10th (AWSOME!), Andy was 5th again, and Skyler scored his first world cup points so it was a very exciting day!

Sprint (Rob Whitney photo)

Sprint finish (fasterskier photo)

The final race was on Sunday and this was a 15k pursuit so we started out by doing 7.5k of classic and then switched equipment half way through and did 7.5k of skating. I was a little worried going into the day because my legs were starting to feel tired and there were some sicknesses going around but Eric Packer always says that his results never reflect how he's feeling when he wakes up in the morning and sometimes he has his best races when he wakes up feeling like crap so I tried to take his word for it and ignore any signs of feeling tired. I started this race a lot more aggressively than I did in the 10k and was skiing around the top 30 for some of my classic portion, which was awesome!! I got to ski next to Ida and Rosie for awhile and my legs felt great for most of the classic leg. It was a long enough race that I felt like I had multiple highs and lows throughout it (most of the highs being in the classic leg and the lows being in the skate) but I thought overall it was a good race and it was fun to be able to ski with so many different people. It was also very exciting to watch Noah, Kris and Tad get 8th, 10th, and 28th, respectively, and to see Ida have her career best distance race, coming in 14th!

Pursuit (Rob Whitney photo)
The past two weekends have been very exciting and really eye-opening experiences. It was fun to be in the same place as a lot of my good ski friends who are from all over the country and to be able to be there to witness the success of the US team this season. Thanks to Gus and all the other coaches for making it possible and enjoyable! I'm currently on a plane back to Boston where I'll be for a few days before heading home to VT for Christmas. Even though I'm going to miss rooming with Jessie and getting 10+ hours of sleep every night, I haven't been home since the beginning of November so I'm really excited to get back and see my family and friends. I don't think we have much snow but hopefully some will come and even if it doesn't, my legs are looking forward to a little break before heading out to Utah on the 27th for Nationals.

Beamers muffins!

Jessie washing her laundry as well as herself


The perfect treats, courtesy of Ms. Diggins - she knows me well!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

First World Cups!

I raced my first ever World Cups this past weekend and the experience was awesome! I was lucky enough to witness Jessie and Kikkan win the team sprint, watch Kikkan dominate the sprint the following day, be on team Sodie for the sprint relay, and score my first World Cup points in the sprint! I found out I was going to be on a relay team with Sadie while I was flying over to Quebec from Bozeman and even though I wasn't supposed to tell anyone yet, I couldn't contain my excitement. Sadie and I have been skiing with each other for a long time and are great friends so it was a lot of fun to be able to be on a team with her. I thought we skied a great race aside from one minor mishap in the exchange zone and my tired legs the last lap. It would have been fun to move on to the finals but we also probably saved our legs a little for the next day by not advancing. We ended up 13th so we moved up quite a bit from our bib number of 21!

My little champion! (Brooke Mooney photo)
Ida, Jessie, and Sadie in the relay (Brooke Mooney photo)
Jessie just barely turned 21 so you'll have to excuse her lack of champagne spraying skills
The World Cups were held in Quebec city and this was very cool for many reasons, the most important being that tons of friends and family were able to come watch! Thank you to everyone who made the trek north, it was a blast having all those fans and getting so many hugs after the races. It was also a neat venue because it was held in the streets of the city. We skied many laps around a 850 meter course so it was great for spectating and attracted a huge crowd. I think I had one of the most impressive groups of fans out there!

SMS Girls!

Coach Liz

Some Dartmouth girls with the lovely sign my sister made

My sister and brother

Isabel, Twinkle, and Mom

My favorite fan and grandmother, Twink!

Cami and Kristina getting into their cheering
Saturday was the individual skate sprint. I started with bib 50 and had no idea where I would stack up but wanted to try my best to qualify in the top 30 in order to advance to the heats. It was a pretty long sprint course that consisted of two 850 meter laps so I wanted to stay fast and relaxed my first lap and then be able to pick it up a little the 2nd lap. I felt great the first lap and caught the girl in front of me! This is usually very good news but unfortunately it was very hard to pass on this course so I got a little stuck behind her and wasn't able to pass until the final stretch. I tried to stay relaxed and was able to qualify in 26th place! I was super excited in our quarterfinal heat and was lucky enough to have a good start and get out in third place. I knew the start was important because it was so hard to pass and I don't think the order of our heat switched around much after the start. I think I narrowly missed being lucky loser but I was thrilled with the day and ended up 14th in my first World Cup! After being knocked out in the semi-finals, Jessie, Dakota, and I screamed our heads off for Kikkan and Andy who both killed it in the A finals. It was a very exciting day and I was happy to be able to share it with so many friends and family members.

Prelim (Steve Fuller photo)


Made it onto the big screen!

I had some speedy skis thanks to Fischer, Caldwell Sport, and wax master Gus (Steve Fuller photo)

Coming into the finish (faster skier photo)
KIKKAN! (fasterskier photo)
I am currently at the airport in Toronto on my way to the next races in Canmore. Thursday we'll kick off the weekend with a 10km mass start classic race that will be followed by a skate sprint on Saturday and a 15k pursuit on Sunday.

A beautiful snowy last evening with my mom

Monday, December 3, 2012

Heading East!

We just wrapped up the early season super tours and have one more relaxing day in Montana before we're all heading back East. In the last 4 days we had three races so I'm looking forward to a couple of easy days before racing again next weekend. Thursday was a skate sprint, Saturday we had a classic sprint, and then we finished the weekend with a classic mass start 10k on Sunday. As a team I think we had a great weekend and everyone came out with some very good results as well as some things we still have to work on. I felt great for the skate sprint on Thursday and had my first Supertour win! Saturday was solid for me but I still need to work on building strength so I can become as strong as those APU girls! Sunday was a really fun race and I think it was probably one of the better distance races I've ever had. It was encouraging to be able to ski with Sadie, Rosie, and Cheslea for the first two laps and then hang onto 4th place on the last lap. Results and summaries from the three days can be found here:

Classic 10k
Classic Sprint
Skate Sprint

Skate Sprint

Team meeting with Coach Gus

Post Sprint Sophie, Parker, and Annie

Classic sprint start (Erika, Annie, and I were all in the same heat)

First Supertour Win! Sodie (Sadie and Sophie)

The boys - Go Packer!
SMS people - Sophie, Cambria, Erika, Parker

 Tomorrow we are flying into Quebec City where I'll be competing in my first World Cup EVER! Skyler and I both qualified for the World Cups where we'll be joining our teammates, Jessie and Andy, and the rest of the US team. I'm very excited and I'm sure that excitement will turn into nerves in the next couple of days but it will be an awesome experience. The sprints are taking place in the streets of Quebec City and we have a lot of family and friends who are coming up to watch! The SMS team will be there to cheer us on and have a camp of their own (do a little snow dance!). According to the SMS Blog and updates from Liz, they seem like they've been having a BLAST in Craftsbury and kicking butt in the time trials. They even made us a video! The week after Quebec we are heading to Canmore, Aberta where there is a sprint and two distance World Cups. It will be be a busy two weeks and I can't wait to see my friends and race against some of the fastest people in the world! Here are a few more photos from the past week and I'll be sure to write an update from Canada!

Paddy had a great classic race!

Classic 10k podium - Sadie, Chelsea, Rosie, Sophie, Caitlin, Kate

Classic mass start (fasterskier photo)

Happy 23rd Birthday to Erika

my Parkey!

Bakers with their galettes!