Monday, February 18, 2013

Davos & ROB!

The Davos race weekend just came to an end and today is the first full day in Val di Fiemme. The sun is out, the weather is gorgeous and of course, I'm not allowed to ski today.... Especially at this time of year, off days are needed but they're not always necessarily fun.  

I was the sole USST member who raced both races in Davos this past weekend while all of my teammates opted to rest up for World Champs.  I've been struggling with some fatigue lately and I felt that I needed to test my race fitness after a period of rest.  Lucky for me I was able to turn in solid results in both the classic sprint on Saturday as well as the 10k skate on Sunday. In doing so, I fulfilled one of my season goals to score World Cup points in all four disciplines: skate sprint, skate distance, classic distance and classic sprint! 

APU Girls with Coach Erik Flora 

 Coach Matt with a van pull of full-sized bike pumps! Everyone that raced at Swiss National Championships got one as the "race present."  They are super sweet.... the only problem is transporting them home! 

Maybe I raced well this weekend because I took some rest ..... or..... maybe it's because Rob is finally here for a visit!  I won't sugar-coat the situation. It's hard to be married and spend months on end away from my husband.  This go-around it had been two months since seeing him last.  Between my lack of a world-wide phone, the 10-hour time difference to Alaska and the simple fact that the Internet crashes everywhere we go, it's the equivalent of a full time job to stay in touch.  He's been working his tail off at home in order to be here and it is SO GREAT to see him.  Even better, in addition to visiting me & watching the races he was able to catch up with an old friend from college who lives in Germany.  While I can't downhill ski with him, Rob and Flo had an awesome time and I was really grateful that he had a ski buddy! 

Rob and Flo dining on Fondue after a "hard" day of skiing! 

 Somehow Rob found this in Davos.... I'm not really sure what it is but he thought it was maybe a playground? 

 The grooming is spectacular in Davos. Here is the Piston Bully literally pulling up to the gas station across the street from our hotel! 

The skiing infrastructure in Switzerland is unbelievable. Davos is a giant maze of trams, gondolas, chair lifts, palma lifts, trains and buses that you can link together for some amazing lines and tours. Here's Rob on the train after some skiing.... 

Flo using the streets of Davos to extend his ski run! 

 I feel incredibly lucky to have the best, most supportive husband in the world. It's corny, I know. But it's true.  When we got married almost four years ago he had no idea he was signing up to be a perpetual "bachelor", spending up to 7 months a year home, alone.  (Five month race season and 2 months out of town @ training camps.)  Rob was actually on the US Ski Team when he was young so it's interesting watching him be pulled into the scene yet once again. It's full circle in a funny but different way.

Here is a picture that Rob took from Sunday's 10k skate race in Davos. The Swiss track is traditionally my favorite as last year it was my top result of the season.  This year I finished 20th which in my mind was decent, yet un-spectacular.  I skied into the race, emphasizing pacing and knowing that efforts at altitude pile up and hit you like a ton of bricks if you're not careful.  The race "feeling" and result was a huge improvement over my mid-season distance racing slump and I hope that I'm returning to form. With just a few more days rest I hope that I can get my level of performance up another level. Time will tell! 

 The USST has been staying at the Kulm since the mid 1980's.  Heinz, the owner, is absolutely fantastic, calling each and every person by their first names the second they walk through the door.  The food is fabulous, the atmosphere exquisite and you can ski in gorgeous classic tracks right out the door!  If you're lucky, Heinz will even bust out his Swiss Alps Horn and play it for you...... 

 One of the best capps in the world at the Klatsch... 

 While in Davos we also celebrated a big birthday.  Erik Flora tried to let it slip under the radar but he had no such luck!  We surprised him with 40 cans of Coca-Cola classic, balloons and a plate full of Swiss chocolate.  Good thing he's doing a lot of ski testing over the next two weeks! Happy Birthday Erik :) 

Literally two hours after Sunday's 10k we hopped in the vans for five hours and drove directly to Val di Fiemme where World Championships will kick off Thursday with the classic sprint.  We're staying in a hotel that we've stayed in the past two years for the Tour de Ski so it feels familiar and comfortable. The Cross Country crew is joined by the Nordic Combined guys and special jumpers so there is a huge USA contingent here.  

A walk in the sun with my music to stretch the legs..... more soon and thanks so much for reading and the supportive words of encouragement! 

Ciao, 
Holly ;) 


PS: 


A couple words to live by..... the same message can be "translated" to other aspects of life beyond sport. Think work, family, friends, goals, dreams, adventures..... 

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