Thursday, January 16, 2014

Smiles, Sun, Salsa.... then SOCHI!

What's new? Well, my cover is blown - I'm taking a short state-side break before the Olympics. 

And yes, I'm finding smiles, sun AND salsa! 

Originally I had planned to return to the US over Christmas for an altitude camp and training break. However, when I changed my plans to stay and start the Tour de Ski my break fell by the wayside.  After the Tour I opted to take that break that I originally planned.  There is something really really nice about taking some time in the States - recovery and Independence that you can't get in a hotel room, eating 3 meals a day in a restaurant or even renting a place and cooking your own food. I find that even my subconscious can rest when I can read street signs, drive cars, find familiar food in the grocery store and call people on my PHONE! 

My first couple days were spent in Boulder, CO visiting my sister and brother in law along with my two nieces.  There is something simultaneously exhilarating & exhausting hanging out with a 2 & 3 year old.  Since both of them were born after my International ski racing career started I've spent very little time with them so this was a special surprise! 

One thing that was pretty cool is that the nearby ski area, Eldora is the first place that I EVER skied in my life. It felt full circle skiing with my nieces: 

 Skiing with my mom - take notice of my hat..... little did we know 29 years later I'd be prepping for Sochi! 

 SO SO cute!! 

This is one of the big reasons I came to Utah. The grooming at Soldier Hollow is absolutely WORLD CLASS everyday.  Not only is the grooming fantastic but the terrain is good training for the hills of Sochi...... Maybe they should move this weekend's World Cups in Poland to Utah :) 

Yesterday I walked into the COE kitchen to find Allen, the USSA Nutritionist/Chef preparing for Sochi. This is his AMO case with 70 lbs of Siracha hot sauce. Yep, 70 lbs!!!!  Apparently I'm not the only one that likes Mexican food.  Unfortunately for us (the XC team) Allen will be down in the valley somewhere at a USSA house, far, far away from where the Nordic team is staying.  We're going to be living on TOP of a mountain, right next to our venue that is accessible only by gondola.  It's called the "Endurance Village" and only XC and biathletes will be there.  While I'm excited that it will be easy to get to our venue (walking) it's going to feel really far removed from the whole Olympic movement. I'm hoping there are some good opportunities to get to the Olympic village and other places that aren't so confined. 

I have a couple more days here in Utah before heading back "over the pond" to Europe. I'm stocking up on Vitamins from the COE, getting my fair share of sunshine, filling my tank with Mexican, thanks AL (!) and preparing for the fun ride ahead. 

This weekend my teammates are racing in Poland and I'm pretty psyched to cheer them on. The Norwegians, Swedes & Finns are all having their National Championships this weekend so it should be a GREAT opportunity to score some good WC points. 

One last exciting thing before I sign off for the week.... 

My friend Romney is an Alaskan artists with many talents but one of her specialties is hand painting clogs.  Most recently she's made an Olympic, Sochi-specific clog!!!!!!  If you choose to purchase a pair part of the proceeds also go to my club (and Kikkan & Sadie's) APU Nordic Ski Center. Thanks Romney! You can find them here: 

Thanks for checking in and as the Olympics grow closer (21 days and counting!) I'll be posting more often. 

Until later, have a GREAT day! 
Holly :) 

PS. Thanks so much to Frank & Erin for hosting me in Boulder and Morgan and Chris for letting me crash in PC. Also to Dave & the NNF for letting me borrow a car in Utah!