This was me the first day of Bend camp and no - I wasn't posing for the picture. I left AK during a winter storm warning, complete with fresh snow & temperatures around 20F.
Here I am with my teammate, Ida.... this picture pretty much sums up most of the weather we've experienced for the camp past day ONE:
I have to say it's funny that Bend actually manufactures plastic bags to ski in that say, "Mt. Bachelor Fun to the Last Drop" All of us Alaskans are constantly getting a hard time about the weather in Alaska yet everyday when we drive up to Mt. Bachelor it's a blowing sideways and vacillating between snow and rain. I've never used my Salomon Zeros more. Ironically during our time in Bend Anchorage is experiencing perhaps the best weather window of the past decade. Apparently every day is beautiful and temps are upwards of 80F! I do find it ironic that I'll go home and probably look pale in comparison to all the other Alaskans. When's the last time that happened?
While it's a bummer to ski around in tough conditions (one day was like skiing circles in a giant puddle of Elmer's Glue) it's good practice. Yes, there is a silver lining. The coach's go-to saying during these tough days are, "Great Championships Conditions!" While this could be seen as blind optimism it is, in fact, brutally realistic. The Vancouver Olympic snow was skiing in slush sometimes over my boots, the fog of 2011 World Champs Oslo had visibility of about 10 feet and this year @ Val di Fiemme we faced some difficult waxing conditions. So, if the championships aren't going to be straight extra blue, perhaps skiing in glue & rain is good for us?
First big interval set of the year - 5x6 minutes uphill skating intervals with the girls. (Photo thanks to MBSEF)
The windshield wiper standard on the way to am training
Remember that game pick up sticks as a child? We play it everyday on the ground of the parking lot trying to find our own equipment!
Opening training camp means we're hungry athletes! Healthy meals and group meals are a fun part of living together. A recent house favorite is frozen bananas. Try it before you knock it.
Even coaches get hungry at training camp. You might not be able to see it but here's Matt eating an entire plate full of Tillamook ice cream in front of the fire place :)
Mixing it up with a little team mountain bike session!
In addition to all the training & meetings we hosted a Fast and Female event at the Bend Athletic Club. We had approximately 45 local girls as well as girls that traveled from Portland, Leavenworth, WA and other places to take part. I was lucky enough to lead the older group (ages 15-19) and we had an awesome goal setting session. Individually we each made goals that fell into four separate categories: Short term, long term, quantitative & qualitative. Afterwards the girls had the opportunity to share goals (if they wished) with the group - thought being that if you actually vocalize your goals, one is able to draw support, encouragement and ideas from friends and peers. It was a really cool session!
Here are some anonymous comments from girls that attended our event via Facebook:
"Those days you'll never stop smiling.
Best day of my life."
"Today. I am completely speechless. I have always had a passion for skiing and I couldn't love something more. Today changed that. It is one thing to look up to someone but to meet them and talk with them is more then I could ever hope for in my whole life. I can't thank the U.S. Ski Team enough. This is why I do what I do. Because of you."
"Yesterday I got to spend the day with the greatest friends anyone could ask for and with all the women I idolize. The women that I have posters of, the ones my team looks up to, truly are inspirational. I couldn't thank anyone enough. The ski community is incredible."
It was AWESOME getting the chance to meet the girls from the Leavenworth Ski Club: Becca, Julia, Lydia & Keiren... these girls have a great thing going on with their club - keep up the great spirit ladies!
Complete switch of topics but here are some of us in our One piece leisure suits in between training sessions in front of the fire :)
And - because I don't think I've done it publicly yet - I wanted to officially congratulate my coach, Erik Flora on being named USSA Cross Country International Coach of the Year AND USSA overall (out of all disciplines) Coach of the Year! Congratulations Erik!
With Erik training here in Bend
Erik officially receiving his award from Dexter Paine - USSA Board of Directors.
Tomorrow is our last day in Bend and then Friday it's off to Park City - home of the USST for tests and a short altitude block before heading home.
..... 252 days until Sochi :)
Have an awesome day,