Tuesday, January 29, 2013


We had a busy week in Liberec at U23s that finished up on Sunday with the Junior relay. After a long travel day yesterday, some of us continued on to the Scando Cups in Madona, Latvia. U23s was an exciting week of racing that started off with the classic sprint. After some impressive results from our juniors the previous day, the U23s were ready for our turn in the classic sprint. I was really happy with how my day unfolded. I qualified 5th in the prelim and ended up 9th on the day. It was my first time advancing past the quarter finals and it was encouraging to be skiing with some girls who I know are World Cup regulars. Erik Bjornsen also had a great day ending up 10th and we had a lot of people who were very close to advancing into the heats!

Watching the finals with Annie


Quarter final heat

Top 10s!
The next race for the U23 women was a 10k skate. We did three laps of a 3.3k loop and the course was pretty rolling until one huge hill at the end of the lap. I felt great my first lap and faded a little for my second and third lap but was overall very happy with how I felt and my result! I also took an unfortunate crash on my last lap that was 100% my own fault but that's part of ski racing. I finished 17th that day, which was my first top 20 in a distance race at a World Juniors. Caitlin and Erik had great days, both placing in the Top 15!

10k skate

Erik and Sam in the 15k skate with Skyler being an awesome cheerleader!
The last race for the U23 women was a 15k skiathalon. I was really excited for this race because I love mass starts and think skiathalons are neat races because it's the only time you get to skate and classic race in the same day! The pace started out really fast and the girls were very aggressive. I wasn't expecting it to be that hard to get into good position because the group of U23s wasn't huge, but it was. Part way through the second lap, Caitlin and I had gotten ourselves into pretty good position at the back of the lead pack but a Russian girl tried to ski directly through everyone and ended up falling in front of me, taking me down with her. It wasn't a bad fall but I was briefly disconnected from the pack and after that I got pretty tired out. I took another little crash in the exchange zone because I was so eager to start skating. The skate portion was much less of a disaster but it was hard to get back into the race and find that extra gear. Even though I was pretty disappointed with how the day ended up, I learned a lot and hope I got my falls for the year out of the way this week! Caitlin and Erik both had great days again, ending up in the top 20 and the Annie's both skied well too - I was able to ski with each of them a little at different parts of the race!

Start of the Skiatholon

Erik B

Caitlin leading me
Sunday was the junior relay day and it was fun to be able to get out and cheer them on! Early Monday morning we took a shuttle to Prague and flew to Latvia. We got in last night and we're staying in these awesome little rustic cabins that are on the ski trails. It should be a very relaxing week with great skiing right out the door. Unfortunately there have been some sicknesses going around the US team and I'm currently fighting one of them but hopefully everyone will be healthy and skiing soon before we start racing again in just over a week!

Au revoir Hotel Babylon

Cheering and face paint on relay day

Friday, January 18, 2013


January 8th was the skate sprint and final race at Nationals. It was an exciting day and I ended up 2nd behind Sadie. I felt very relaxed and fast in my qualifier and had the fastest qualifying time of the day! I felt pretty good in the heats but didn't quite have the pop I hoped to have in the final stretch and could never quite figure out the big downhill draft at the end of the course. For some reason, I would always get really flustered on that downhill and would come around the final turn in a less than ideal position, but I learned a lot and overall it was a great day!
Lunge for the line (fasterskier photo)
post lunge (fasterskier photo)
Sophie, Sadie, Jennie (fasterskier photo)
hugging it out with sadie after the classic race (fasterskier photo)
The day after the sprint race at Nationals, Sadie, Erik, Skyler, and I flew to Liberec to race in the World Cup that weekend. We arrived on Thursday and raced on Saturday so it was a quick turnaround but we were all psyched to be there! I ended up 38th in the sprint that day so I didn't make the rounds. I was a little disappointed at first but I was only about a second away from top 30 and while Sadie, Ida, and I all just missed the heats, I think we're all capable of qualifying. The course took us just over two minutes because there wasn't enough snow to use the original course so it was shortened to one 850 m lap while the men did two laps. The race was over before I knew it and I didn't have that lung burn I was getting in Utah so I'm going to work on getting my sea level speed back before the sprint at U23s on Tuesday! It was also really exciting to watch Andy finish 6th in the sprint! On Sunday I watched Sadie and Ida kick butt in the team sprint, qualifying for the finals and coming in 7th!
Onesie! (Skitrax photo)
Erik, Skyler, Gus and I stayed in Liberec this week rather than driving to Ramsau for the pre U23 camp. It would have made for two long days of driving and we thought we would have some decent skiing around here. It turns out that there is some decent skiing around here but there hasn't been decent skiing right here. One day we drove about 20 mins and went for an awesome ski with plenty of snow, lots of kms, and tons of people out enjoying themselves. The other days that we've tried to ski at the race venue haven't been as successful but we hear they are supposed to have 2.5km groomed this afternoon. Erik and I did manage to ski for 1.5 hrs on a 500m (that's being generous) out-and-back on the sprint course and yesterday I did some intervals on another section of the sprint course. We are staying in the WEIRDEST hotel I've ever been in, complete with a water park, bowling alley, casino, night club, multiple restaurants, a rain forest room, a wellness center, mini shopping mall, arcade games, and live animals. It's huge and I've gotten lost several times but I'm starting to get the hang of it and even found the most direct route to the parking garage and got to our car before the boys did. Our first lunch here was a terrible experience and Gus accidentally ordered fried cheese and had one of the least appetizing desserts I've ever seen but since discovering the meal plan it has definitely improved. Some of the US team arrived last night and the rest are arriving today and I'm especially excited for my roommate, Annie Hart, to come because I've been holding down a lonely single all week! I haven't taken many pictures and the internet isn't super speedy but here are a few from the past week. World Juniors kicks off with a classic sprint on Monday and my first race will be the U23 classic sprint on Tuesday!
Some perks of being in Europe - gummies and chocolate! 

mini euro beds

London - Prague

Sadie in front of the Liberec Town Hall

Ladies team sprint on a sunny day

Big Gus taking a little ride at the mall

My brother's favorite drink, super-sized!
back and forth at the venue (Erik B. photo)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Nationals Update

We have completed three races at Nationals and have one more race tomorrow.  It has been very cold each morning since we arrived in Park City but very cold is bearable when it's dry while that's not always the case back home where it can be both cold and humid. Erika's aunt and uncle have generously let us stay in their beautiful house in Park City again through these races (thanks Jeanne and Gregg!). It's been really fun staying with them and it's very nice being able to come back to a home each day after racing.
reunited with Erika at Soho!

Beautiful view of some elk from my window
Chilly morning

The first race of the week was a classic sprint on Wednesday. My qualifier in the classic sprint went very well and I qualified 2nd behind Sadie. I ended up 5th in the final heat and my striding and dpole in the beginning of each heat felt great but my double pole in every final stretch was a bit of a struggle. Overall I was happy with the day, I think 5th place is the best I've every placed in a Nationals classic sprint and I know what I need to work on. Congrats to Jennie Bender on the win! She has struggled with multiple sicknesses this year and it was really cool to see her push through and earn her first national title.
Sprint Prelim (Ian Harvey photo)

Skiing in the heats with former teammate Rosie Brennan (fasterskier photo)
Women's podium :Sadie, Jennie, Rosie (fasterskier photo)
The next race of the week was a 10k skate individual start on Friday. After talking with Gus, we decided I was going to sit one of the distance races out because I have a lot of racing and traveling coming up that I don't want to be super tired for. I was extremely stiff and tired after the sprint day so I decided I would skip the skate race and do the classic distance race (I also think mass starts are a lot more fun!). It was a beautiful and freezing day and I went out to cheer on my teammates and attempt to take some photos. It was awesome to see Erika have a great race, placing 8th and to see Rosie take the win!
Bundled up cheering section
Annie Hart

Parker Tyler

Erika catching a ride with Fitz

Artsy shot
Yesterday the women had a 20k mass start classic race. I think this was the first or second 20k I've ever raced - definitely the first classic 20k. I was excited because I think mass starts are especially fun and my goals going into the race were to stick with the lead pack and if possible, be as relaxed as I could. The group separated pretty quickly and part way through the first lap I turned around to see there were only 6 or 7 of us and that's how it remained for the rest of the race. I thought the pace was pretty relaxed the first two laps, it picked up a little the third lap, and the last lap was HARD! I had great skis and thought my kick was just as good as anyone else's, if not better, so I wasn't going to complain if we left the showdown until the last steep hill, Hermod's. That more or less happened but Sadie made a move on the hill before that and I think we dropped the group a little although I wasn't really looking back and I was just thinking, "stick on Sadie's butt!". It turns out I didn't have quite as much energy as I thought I was going to over the top of Hermod's and I faded quite a bit. Fitz passed me at the bottom of the hill and the final order was Sadie in 1st, Fitz in 2nd, and I came in 3rd. I was super excited about this because it was my first distance podium at Nationals and I felt great! Congrats to Sadie on the win - she is one of the most impressive all around skiers in my eyes. Video from the race can be found HERE.
Ian Harvey photo

the lead group (fasterskier photo)

Podium! (Fitz, Sadie, Sophie)
Tomorrow is the final race of the series and it is a skate sprint, my favorite! I am flying to Liberec Wednesday night and racing in the classic sprint World Cup on the 12th. Skyler, Erik B., Gus, and I will then stay in Liberec the following week until the rest of the group joins up with us for U23s. HERE is a SkiTrax interview of Sadie and me talking about the 20k and our upcoming races in Liberec!