There are a lot of potential adventures to choose from in the month of April. Across the board April is loosely the time of year when winter sport athletes take a break from the otherwise full time job of racing and training. For some this means the British Virgin Islands, or telly skiing out west. The list could go on. I'm convinced that one of these years I'm going to actually travel somewhere and do something that falls into the accepted vacation realm. The clutch is that anything the slightest bit out of my comfort zone turns into some sort of subconscious threat. There in eliminating the chances of a successful vacation. The solution? Don't leave your comfort zone. Stay home. Stay in the mother land. It's not perfect and the other guys are baffled that I do this every spring, but it's pretty much exactly what I did again this year.
Most of March resembled February more than anything. It was cold and the snow never stopped piling up. By the end of the month there was several feet of snow on the ground. This is the kind of weather you would want or expect in December. This was the second winter. I didn't mind. The race season was fresh from being over and every day had a sense of relief to it. There was no official training, no extra bag fees, no awkward Euro stairs, and best of all, I had every breakfast all to myself. Everything thing I did with my days during second winter were made by me and on the spot.
To be fair the White House trip shouldn't be left out. This was more proof of the difference between a world championships and an Olympics. As much fun as I had the airport and logistics involved were enough to reinforce my "do nothing" structured policy. When I got home I was anxious to get back into some training. Yeah it's April, but what can I say; I like being in shape. There's not much better than walking outside and skiing directly from the yard. If I retired tomorrow I would still seek out crust skiing. It's the best way to ski. I seldom actually enjoy training. Occasionally running and a good ride when the bike actual works can be nice, but no training mode can compete with crust skiing. When it hangs out above freezing during the day and drops below over night the surface of the snow hardens up so much that it can withstand a skinny pole plant. In other words grooming and designated trails are irelevent for a brief time of year. You can literally go anywhere that's white! Admittedly part of the fun comes with the relaxed time of year, but crust skiing is something no ski race should miss out on at least once a year.
It took a while for the skiing to get really good. Namely because we had too much snow. It wasn't cold enough during the day and it kept snowing once or more a week. This was the point where everyone had shrugged off the unseasonably weather of second winter and welcomed normal spring. Little did we all know this was the beginning of third winter here in northern Maine. Aside from the accumulating snow fall I recall a couple of days of -7 celsius in the morning. The trick is to check the forecast several times a day to make sure you know what mornings are going to be good skiing and which ones to sleep in on. "Sleep in" is a figurative expression to me. I never actually "sleep in" in the conventional sense. There was some downright grand mornings to had. I covered every field and clearing in the Stockholm area I could get to. The rule was that I wasn't allowed to drive to the skiing. It had to be out of the dooryard*. I made sure to take some pictures to better illustrate the best form of exercise planet Earth has to offer.
I didn't spend all of third winter / spring break training. That's actually not recommended by most coaches. This is the time of the year for physical and mental rest. Afternoons were littered with bread baking, long naps, video games, and some soup can target practice. It was nice to see some old friends and take a page from the old days for a change. Despite the lack of travel there never a dull moment. Afterall it is 2014! There's no excuse to be not busy.
The coaches assured us not to think about biathlon anymore than we absolutely had to. Training was to not officially begin before May 1st. The training season is still in the process solidifying itself. There is enough on that topic to be pushed to another update. The goal now is to break the threshold into some better results. Compared to previous month that's some decent contrast. In the back of my mind the goal was to finally be bored with what was in front of me. Seems that's becoming more and more difficult to do these days. We're not looking at a tropical paradise story here, but I sure was content with my average day for my off season.
* Is dooryard actually a word?