Monday, December 31, 2012

Here We Go Again.

        Round two of three is coming up this week. First trimester didn't go as planed, but I like to think it made for a good warm up.
same face / new lens
still need a hair cut
I guess it will just make any good results from here on look that much better. The trek home for Christmas was pretty smooth and worth it. There was some snow to work which was a nice plus. This year I left a little early to get a head start on preparation for Oberhof. A couple of our other guys and I are in Ruhpolding at the moment.
       It was snowing when I landed in Presque Isle and was snowing even harder when I left. I take full responsibility for bringing winter to the county. So... you're welcome. I did three hard sessions as I said I would. A couple of strength sessions and few good classic days on the Stockholm trails were in there to. Only one of the hard sessions had shooting in it. That was a convenient change. The first two were back to back days with a focus on tolerance. The last one was more of an effort to expand that top end speed zone. I did the strength sessions at what used to be the Stockholm school. First grade, second grade and some easy maintenance strength all in the same room. I guess times change. I do love classic skiing in Stockholm. I made sure to get in a nice four hour distance in before packing up.
        Unlike my teammates the flight back over was pretty uneventful. Ruhpholding has plenty of snow at the venue. It felt nice to put the rifle back together. It felt even better to see some great shooting. I finished today with a minor one miss in prone for the whole workout. Maybe that time away / confidence building paid off. We will get a confirmation on that later on this week. First race in Oberhof is a relay. The weather forecast doesn't look very appealing, but when has it ever in Fogerhof?
Honey comb taste better with actual honey.
        Christmas was nice. Had a lot of good food. Procured some nice gifts. I got some games, some almond butter, the sister got engaged, and a pair of socks! Also, happy new year! A couple of our wax techs are having a party. We were told to pick up some fire works. That shouldn't be too difficult. Stay tuned, because 2013 could be an interesting one.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

From the Hotel Balcony.

**There is an actually update below all of these. It's was just easier to just separate them.**
guten Morgen.

Am starting to like the pencil sketch option. 

Water seemed pretty clear that day. 

Probably not the safest bike rout this time of year.

Pokljuka is also home to my most favorite biathlon venue on the circuit. 

Ahh shucks! but can I at least put my hair dryer in it? 

If the bridge isn't brook don't fix it.

From the Hotel Balcony

Better Luck Next Year

         While my personal results were nothing to write home about, there isn't much else to complain about regarding Pokljuka, Slovenia. As nice as everything was, the highlight of the week was Tim's performance in the Mass Start. I was really hoping to leave the first trimester with some better memories. Unfortunately I'm back to playing the problem solving game.
        The trails and venue are in Pokljuka. Most of the teams stay in Bled. Bled may be a solid 30 mins down from the trails, but that's nothing I'm not used to. In fact, Bled might be a hidden gem. I haven't done much eastern Euro tourist trips, but I suspect that this place might be underrated. The run around the lake is worth the 40 minutes. Storming the castle makes for a good afternoon recovery. We found out there are some nice restaurants and a full blown casino on the weekend. We were the only team at our four star hotel, which might be a first. The staff was always glad to see us and the internet was blazing fast! As a I said there isn't much to complain about. There's a reason why Pokljuka is one of the better respected WCs. Aside from the crowd numbers I don't understand why this place doesn't have an annual stake in the IBU calender.
         I was hoping the good feeling of being in the area would carry over into the sprint race last Thursday. The course fits my style and the snow was about as perfect as groomed snow can be. So what happened? Not much happened on the first lap. I paced myself well. I had a plan for the whole loop. There was a lot of places that to be lazy on and I wasn't going to give up time in those parts. Prone went well. One miss isn't clean, but four for five in 37 seconds is solid for me. Confidence was high on the second loop. I knew the standing had been going pretty well this year and wasn't about to be head case. In the end it really didn't matter if I had my head screwed on right or not. When the wind picks up enough, there's not too much you can do to defend yourself. At that point you're gambling and I'm pretty much a wild card as it is, so the wind gust that came in almost exclusively for my standing help put me in the penalty loop three times too many. I did what I could but the damage was done. I would not be racing in the pursuit; much less the mass start. To add more salt to the wound ski speed mediocre  I felt good and had a smooth but aggressive approach and couldn't still didn't muster up a sub 90 seconds from Svendens fastest ski time.
         I was initial overwhelmed with frustration. There was absolutely no solution to this problem. I was going to have to sit it out and watch the rest of the field race on Saturday. The more I thought about the past month of racing the more confused I became. I wasn't expecting perfection, but a point or two at the very least. I wasn't tired or sick this time. It was obvious that the field was tight this year, but there no reason why I shouldn't have been contributing to that high standard a little more than I did.
        I came up with a whole bunch of possible solutions. Per and I had a good meeting and shared our thoughts. We both agreed that the bulk of my slow start to the season was in my head. I went on the explain that I knew better, it was more a matter of convincing my subconscious to have a little more confidence in my ability  This might sound strange, but that's just how it works for me. Anyone can tell you that staying clam and focused on the process is the best way to go, but when you want something that badly it's hard not to get swept up in the fear of failure. Unfortunately this kind of thinking (conscious or subconscious) tends to lead to failure. We debated whether or not bring home the rifle was worth it. The goal is to resettle and come back to Europe with a better focus. I don't think 800 rounds in seven days will do the trick, but not having any rifle time isn't realistic either. I'll have access to my rifle when I'm home if I so choose.
       Per thought that the lack of satisfaction in ski speed might also be a head case issue. I'm more inclined to think it's a matter of early season racing. I've had some decent races in December before, but more often than not I'm slow to start. Even when I'm feeling good, the very top end zone is lacking. What I also know from experience is there's always the "January reboot" turn around. Maybe it's the Christmas break or maybe it just takes a month or so of racing for me to warm up, but ski speed almost always comes around after December. I'll do a couple of hard sessions at the red line before heading back over the Atlantic pond. That should do the trick.
       With only one race to participate in I was feeling like dead weight. This was compensated by offering my service to the wax techs. I'm not much for choosing skis, but I when Gara tells me to ski nine km in two pairs of skis, it's pretty simple. It was basically just distance training with race skis. The rain on Saturday was a bit of a turn off and a half. Enough cold rain and I'll reach my breaking point. Once my second pair of gloves were soaked I was at my threshold. Tim and Lowell help justify the cold hands with some solid racing. It was a good feeling for the whole team to see Tim land one on the podium the following day. He was in the lead group the whole race and held off Emil and Martin on the last loop. That's never an easy task. Tim has had decent edge on me all season, but never really out of striking distance. If he can do what we all want to do, then I should at least be able to make the mass start. Or at least that's how I see it. I guess Oberhof can't come soon enough.
       Conversely, it feels pretty grand to be home for the holidays right now. It's snowing outside. With out much to do at the moment I couldn't ask for better weather. I'll be around for the Stockholm caroling party for the first time in years. After Christmas it's off to Ruhpolding. As usual my new year's resolution will probably having something to do with this crazy sport that I find myself in day after day. Thanks for keeping up with this blog for the December shenanigan.

P.S. Tom: Stop reading this and go groom the trails... please.

Monday, December 10, 2012


       Behold the internet in all it's glory! Das Interweb auf Hochfilzen was almost nowhere to be found. It's 2012! Wireless ins't in diapers anymore. What I'm trying to say is that I haven't been able to update the old blog due to poor connections speeds. This is me trying to play catch up on my adventures in "Snow"filzen, Austria.
Left the flash on and it turned out alright.
        The travel day from Ostersund to Hochfilzen wasn't all that bad. Most of our bags made it and there wasn't too much for shenanigans in general. Somehow, through all this success I managed to get sick. Not sure where or how, but there is simply no escape from the common cold. I could feel it coming on Tuesday morning. By mid afternoon I was in full blown lock down mode. I ran through the normal battery of methods to bum rush the cold out. Don't ask me what these were. Let's just say I was the annoying one with a thermos looking for hot water at every meal. If I can muster up the motivation someday, I'll list the details on dealing with being sick. The point is, I wasn't going to let this set back get in the way of the sprint race on Friday.
        Friday was overcast and somewhat cold. I say it was cold, but my fingers maintained enough circulation to feel the trigger. So by that logic is wasn't really cold at all. The plan was to focus on good trigger squeeze. If I think about that perfect text book trigger pressure progression leading up to the shot then I won't have the time to focus on the pressure of trying to hit the targets. Makes sense right? The legs felt fine and mostly unphased from being sick. My face still had that congealed knot feeling but those fight or flight beta endorphins can go a long way when they need to. While I made it out of prone with no more than one penalty I might have as well missed another one with my range time. My normally slick bolt was sticky and lead me over eject a round. I went into my spare rounds to hit that last target. I was determined to keep my head screwed on straight for standing. The goal was successful if you only count the first four shots. Unfortunately I folded and took another penalty on the last shot of the day. Ski speed wasn't stellar, but was decent. Two penalties ins't terrible but my range time sure was. At the end of the day I was tied with 56th, narrowly making it into the pursuit.
       Despite a race the day prior I woke up feeling slightly better for the pursuit. I was one step closer to being done and over with the obnoxious cold. It was supposed to snow that day like it always does at least once in Hochfilzen. Surprisingly it held off and was even warmer than the day before. Pursuits, relays and mass starts are a different race from the ski speed side. If you're in a group and there isn't anyone ahead of you for a ways, don't bother leaving the group. More likely than not it will only make it worse. I hate having to hold back, but I hate bad results even more. Some parts felt like sprinting while others had me standing up to break wind. Overall ski speed was the best it could have been that day. Not great, but in the mix for where I was. Shooting was much better. After taking two in the first stage I came back with a clean. From there I had one miss in each standing stage. 80% isn't as great as it used to be, but it's a step in the right direction after Ostersund. I moved up a spot or two and was generally please with the result. On another note Lowell managed to work his way into the top 10!
       I was stoked to find that I would be the third leg in the relay on Sunday. I hadn't done a relay since U26s in 2011. Relays tend to favor fast shooters so you can see why I'm not always the top pick. It was cold and dry when we tested skis. We all went with a cold grind. My cold grind was undoubtedly the faster ski in my choices, but the flex was a little on the soft end. Gara and I decided the four grind was the best choice even if it was on the soft end. Tim tagged off to me in no mans land. There was one athlete a ways up and one not too far behind, but with no draft it was a lone race. Missing your first shot in prone isn't easy to cope with, but I was able to hit the last four and only use one extra. Standing was a different story. Instead of missing my first shot I missed the last one... again. This is worse than missing the first. It took me two extra to knock it down. Some better focus going into that potential five for five clean could have made the difference  Instead, I made the classic mistake of thinking about the result. I gave the team behind me enough room to stay ahead of me on the last loop. It wasn't a great day for the US team, but a decent one for me. For the first time in my relay history I had the best shooting on the team! Lowell had to tag out due what we found out to be a broken toe. Thankfully Jay was able take up the last leg.

Hochfilzen: Where renegade shooting ranges show up in the back country fields  
       Overall it was much better weekend than my time in Ostersund. The speed wasn't on top. On the other hand, I did race semi sick in the middle of December. World champs are in February, so the racing season is still in diapers. Aside from the Wednesday training day there wasn't much for the Snowfilzen blizzard. A fair race is usually hard to come by around there. The rooms were nice, and the food was great. Internet, not so much. The fresh honey comb for breakfast every morning help compensate though. Now I'm in my room in Bled, Slovenia with the wireless router blazing right in front of me.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Gloves Didn't Work

       Well that sucked. It was a bad race on all fronts. I'm not a fan of sugar coating the bad days and not don't have much respect for those who do. Some days are off. Some decades are just off. It's easy to spot the bad days, but the past ten plus years are questionable.
        I had positive thoughts all morning. I went out of my way to convince myself that it was going to be a good day. Ski speed was in a good place, and contrary to popular belief shooting was to. I so badly wanted to prove that. It's was a cold one today. The temp was only -8 Celsius, but with the humidity you could call it close to -20. I went with a thicker pair of gloves today. I'm very specific about how my gloves and pole grips feel when I racing. These one's were not optimal, but I wasn't going to take any chances.
       Despite all efforts, there was only minor feeling in my trigger finger. The first shot didn't even make it on the target box. I was doomed to the penalty loop before I was even aiming at the target. I took another miss. Standing had high hopes that didn't hold up. I missed another two targets. I could tell that range times were slow, even for me. That's not good. The coaches weren't giving much for positive feedback which kind of hinted that I wasn't even skiing well.
        Maybe I should have spent more than an hour dry firing every day when I was a junior? Maybe a 780 hours a year training plan isn't enough? I've done my homework and studied and still fail the exam. Should I take a page from today's winner and go on a tropical vacation in the middle of June? I guess I've never had the time (or money for that matter) to do that because I've always been too busy TRAINING! In terms of "things I've done wrong" I'm pretty sure "lack of effort" can be removed from the list. It's days (or decades rather) like these that scare me. They make me think that it all comes down to genetics and dumb luck. How can a country of 300+ million not have a medal in this sport while others with a fraction of our population dish out one generation after another of world champions? Positive thoughts and hard work have failed me and now I play the waiting game. Next chance is in Hochfilzen.

This is what happens when I post updates shortly after a race.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Full Spectrum

       Strangely enough, as I type this one up there is a full spectrum lamp blasting into the corner of my eye. The days are a little short right now, but that hasn't stopped me from artificially recreating July. The real reason why "The Full Spectrum" is an appropriate title is because Wednesday's individual had a little bit of everything.
       That first race of the season always takes a lot out of you. This is increased when the first starter doesn't go out until 5:30 in the evening. I'm not much for sleeping in, so I had all day to mull those 20 kilometers over. That's the other part of the stress. Tomorrow's sprint is half the distance of the individual. 20 is just the right amount of distance to really push it before you can't sustain that hard race effort. The best part of the day wasn't finishing the race. The best relief came when I left the starting gate. Just having the opportunity to finally do the things you've been thinking about all day is a good feeling.
        Putting your intentions to action is the hard part. I didn't really plan on taking five for five penalties in the first stage. The temperature decided to drop significantly on race day. Cold enough to remove all sensation from my hands. I know for a fact that my trigger squeeze is world class and I've been working to make it even better this past fall. All that work goes out the door when your hands feel indifferent from the wood the stock is made from. Try going from a trigger that almost responds to the subconscious thought of shooting, to using an old rusted black powder rifle. I over held the sight picture while waiting for the shot to go off. The point is, I missed five before my first standing and that's a surreal way to start the second loop.
       While prone was a let down and a half standing was better than ever. Seriously this might have been my first full clean standing in a four stage race! After prone, there wasn't much to loose. "Just don't squeeze the trigger until you're on the target" I thought. Sure enough, if you keep it simple and follow the equation the targets will go down.
        The hands were functional shortly after the first stage. This is common trend by the way. There were other minor reasons for the first stage catastrophe. I knew where the trigger was on the second prone stage and that didn't stop me from taking on another three minutes. I don't have the energy to go into these minor reasons, but can promise that I'm tweaking them out of the way.
       And then there is the other half of the sport. Ski speed was decent. Maybe towards the better end rather than the slow side. I went with a pair of skis from last year. Per and I went over the course the day before and found a few corners that were worth timing better than I typically do. The coaches managed to compile a lot of video. Not just of our guys, but other countries as well. After watching myself ski I could that my arms and shoulders could use some improvement. Ski rank was 42nd. Almost within two minutes of XC world champion Lars Berger, whom I suspect is at a minor peak.
           So as you can see, I successfully crammed a dirty, two cleans, decent skiing, some flaring shoulders, and a threefer all in one race! Based off of race one it's evident that the mens field isn't any less competitive than last year. It was tight! When breaking down the results I was glad I took the corners better. I've already started experimenting with warmer gloves. This weekend is on pace for the Ostersund or "Coldersund" that we all remember. It's also snowing. In retro spec I take back what I said about the snow and temperature problems in the last post.

Stay tuned! Tomorrow is another opportunity.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Closing the Bolt

        Finally. The circus is back in town. After today's mixed relay training there is no doubt in my mind that racing season is back in full swing. Seeing all of the other teams cluster into a four km loop was more than enough to remember what it was like last February. Technically we have not had a world cup yet and the question of everyone's shape is still an unknown. As for me, I guess it depends on how you look at it. I'm pushing for the better point of view and hope to confirm that on Wednesday.
Can you tell me what's wrong with this picture?
       When the US team set out on the trail about a week and a half ago there were only a few other teams to share it with. The Canidain XC team, Russians, and Japanese to be more specific. Truth is, the trail probable can't handle any more athletes for that amount of time. It was below freezing once last week and has rained twice. This is not the Ostersund I've come to remember. The bulk of the snow came from the annual pile the organizers stock up in the spring. This ribbon of snow snaking through the woods still has wood chips in it from said pile. With or with out the winter spirit, it's not roller skiing, so who am I to complain.
Proof that I'm in Ostersund!

          It's nice to finally start in on that race season taper. Work outs are becoming shorter, and the legs are starting to feel anxious.  Lowell and I did some intervals yesterday. I didn't feel great and I didn't feel awful. If I did an intensity like this in July I would have give a better review. If this session was in February before world champs I would be a little concerned. There is more than one reason to feel confident in the shape right now. Especially considering that we're still working our way through November in a race season that stretches to March.
Woke up in a dark cloud this morning. 
         The real multi perspective part comes down to the shooting range. I would like to be able to leave this sport saying that my shooting is as strong as my skiing. That is, of course assuming that my skiing is fast and competitive at that distant point. Unfortunately, as of now you could argue that Russell Currier is still not a talented shooter. You could also argue that Russell has plenty of chance at success and has made clear progress on the shooting front. I am choosing to defend the second option. Since our arrival here, I can only recall three combo workouts that I've been pleased with. The rest have ended with frustrations and confusion as to why the percentages are not where they should be.
"Look you can see the mountains!"
"Per, I think those are just more clouds"

       For every problem there is a solution.  It's just a matter of finding that solution  Historically, when the shooting is in the gutter the coaches and I try something new. Afterwords, more often than not the percentages go up and all is well again. Three too four weeks later the touch wears off and I'm back where I started again. After a while with no success we try another change. And so the cycle continues. I suspect that this might just be a confidence issue more than anything mechanical, but what difference dose it make? The trimesters are only three weeks long. If there is any value to my theory than I should be fine for the next three world cup series. On Wednesday I gave this a lot of thought and talked the coaches into letting me use a larger sight ring. That, coupled with some self assuring confidence talk should be enough to do the trick... Right?

        The mixed relay is on Sunday. I will be watching from the TV, streaming internet, and the window behind my couch.  I'll probable do an easy classic distance in the morning on an 800 meter loop until I get dizzy and opt for some dry land running. The individual on Wednesday is just another day at the office. This isn't triathlon where a race season can be done in over in a single seven hour effort. This sport's season has about 30 or so 30 minute efforts. The opportunities will keep coming. Over stressing one day won't do much good. Never-the-less I expect you all to be tuning in on the 28th at 17:30 central euro time. That's 11:30 in the morning if you're in the county.
It's hard not to overdo the water tower pics when it's the most abundant source of color around. 


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Going Right

      Less than two weeks ago I was roller skiing through wide open terrain on over sized roads or sealed pavement. After enough travel I was back in the east. First in LP then back home in Stockholm. Yesterday I was in the original Stockholm for a brief time before our final connection to where I am now which is Ostersund. Here is the run down of life since the last update. I may not have a lot of time on my hands these days, but I sure do have a lot of ticket stubs and receipts.
       We left the house in Midway around nine Sunday morning. It was about 1:30 in the morning when we rolled into the OTC. I was pretty certain I was going to go for and make the trek early Monday for Maine. One thing led to another and before I knew it it was two in the afternoon. The plan was push forward 24 hours. And that's how spend three days getting home.
       I only had a narrow window of time to catch up with everyone, tackle some hunting, and start in on a race season semi peak. I did get to spend some time with the family. We had a pirate themed early Thanksgiving for my sister's birthday... Just don't ask. It was a fun time had by all. Try as I may hunting was not as successful. Due to photographic evidence (which I forgot to copy to my HDD) I can not deny that there was no deer in the specified kill zone. There was just simply no deer there when I was in the stand. One of these year the stars are going to line up and I'll claim my own venison! just not this year.

        It was a somewhat mellow week of training. There was only two key workouts. The workouts that require careful planing to accommodate weather and travel. The first one was supposed to be a rollerski session. Due to too much snow to rollerski, but not enough to ski on it ended up being a long running interval session. Half an hour of running threshold around the stadium in Fort Kent doing 1st shot drills followed by 6x4 minutes of race pace. My legs held up better than I thought they would and good thing to because I was intent on doing the Mars Hill climb the following day.
Still waiting. 
       I've been running up that mess of suffer since I was 14. It's changed slightly since then and I've brought the time down some but, the desperate burning feeling in my lungs remains pretty consistent. This time was actually a little different from the rest. Snow was not meant to be run in. Even more so when you're going up hill. The coaches estimated at least a minute could be subtracted to get a better idea of your time. I wasn't too concerned with setting a PR (with a minute off I would have though), but more so just getting in a top end level effort before heading further right.
       Traveling to Ostersund, Sweden ended up being pretty smooth. All of our gear made it over on time and unscathed. So far so good. The last time I was here it was brutally cold and snow was plentiful. That's one good thing and one bad thing. This time it's mild and there's only snow where there has to be snow. Again, that's one good thing and one bad thing, but slightly different from past experience.
Training options are minimized when mother nature is in limbo... And yes after taking this picture I proceeded to act like a seven year old and stamp my feet on the ice crystals for the fun of it.       
No racing updates till the end of the month. It's hard to believe we're this close to another season already.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Roller Skiing in the Snow.

        I was looking forward to the annual Utah training camp this year. This was a late one. Those few weeks where it's almost cold enough to snow, but doesn't and rains instead. Yeah those ones, are not an issue in the wild west. That might be my most favorite part of this training camp,because we pretty much dodge those few weeks every year. There were some questionable mornings this time around, but for the most part I was right to look forward to this three week camp. Nothing to crazy occurred in that past three weeks. For the most part everything is on good pace.
Dry much? 
        First week was a solid 24 hours. By the time we hit the first Saturday I think we were a little nervous. The altitude wasn't helping and we weren't even half way through. Strangely enough I didn't feel any worse as the following week continued. The legs felt surprisingly fresh for the three hour ride on the second Saturday and for the first time in three week training camp history I can say I felt the best on the third week. Acclimatization can go a long way even after a large training load. Low and behold scrapping away at a cast iron pan for scrambled eggs every morning was starting to pay off. I usually don't hold iron well, so maybe this is a good sign.
Up through the pass to Park City.
        We had a couple of time trials. Two sprint formats to use for December team naming. I'm prequalified this year, so I ended up training right through them. Either way time trials are always a great way to gauge your current level. Both races pretty much confirmed what I already knew. Standing was solid, ski speed is doing fine and prone was a little shaky. Similar to last year the coaches and I sat down, looked through some video and gave it some thought. Unlike last year we didn't make any major changes to the prone process. Only a few minor tweaks. Thus far they have helped. The last week had the best shooting to.
       The camp ran on into November. There was almost a cancel for the second race because the snow wasn't melting off the pavement enough to roller ski. In other words the trail wasn't groomed. By the time I left the starting arm it was almost warm enough to wear a t-shirt. Gotta love training in a desert.
         It took me three days to get home. First to Albany, a day in LP, and then the ten plus hour drive to the county. I had to go through the states because my shiny new passport was mailed to my Stockholm address. I came into the camp with the motivation to work on a few issues and sure enough the coaches and I are feeling pretty good about the post camp level.

Cold mornings were plentiful. 

And now to go look for a deer.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Ying and Yang of Training

This is how you know you're a nerd.

       A long time ago I read a book by a couple of US skiers from back in the nineties.  The book was "Pushing The Limits" by Marcus Nash and Scott Loomis. Per handed me a copy of it for helping out with the sportsman's show in Presque Isle. I was stoked and couldn't wait to read a book that was precisely about the crazy sport I was trying to understand. The most memorable part was the feeling of bewilderment I had when I finished the book and no one had won a medal. There was another chapter in that book though. At the age of 14 I didn't fully understood the point of it. Since then, I've come to respect what Scott Loomis was describing. The chapter was titled "The Ying and Yang of Training"
       I've said before that biathlon is a full time job. While I stand behind that, it should be noted that often times I only train about two to three hours a day. My mother works from eight too five with an hour for lunch. Who spends more time on the job? A two hour run can wear you down more than a couple of hours behind a desk can. That's why I often take an afternoon nap or seek out the team misuse if we're at a training camp. In other words the average day for an endurance athlete consist of going from one extreme to the other. This process coaxes the body into getting faster. This cycle is endless and is the foundation of the lifestyle as a whole. From doing max out intervals to structuring your next four years around an Olympic cycle versus resting between those max intervals to singing karaoke in South Korea, it's all the same. It should be noted that there is more than just a physical side of this to. The mental side of it is just as important.
        Some days I might find myself doing a six by eight minute race pace rollerski session. It's raining, but only because it's just a few degrees about freezing. It's only the half way point of a three week training block and my legs already have that lead feeling. My hands are so cold that I can hardly push that fifth round into the clip before my prescribed two minutes of recovery between intervals runs out. This sucks! Don't let anyone tell you that exercise in all it's forms is fun because this in an example of a time when it certainly is not. What makes it worth it, is not only the potential for great results in the coming racing season, but maybe even more so the warm shower waiting for you after the workout. The way I see it is the sooner and better I get done with the work out the sooner I get to the other side. The warm side.  The lunch and nap side.  Both sides are an essential part of success. One minute you're wondering how your going to keep up with Tim on that last interval in a ski tunnel during an August camp in east Germany, the next you're back home wondering if there is enough ice creme left to put on the batch of waffles you just made.
        There isn't much room for grey areas. To give you another example, the time I spent in Finland last February does justice to my point. It was cold! Very cold! One training session was going well. It was the pre-race workout the day before the mixed relay. Tim had to stop me at one point to inform me that there were white patches on my face! The next morning around 3:30am I woke up to an upset stomach. I didn't fall back asleep and had to duck out of the race. Warm and cozy, but ironically frustrated and bitter I sat inside all day trying to harvest what ever internet connection I could while watching the race on TV. I didn't have much of an appetite and had no idea what to think about the sprint race the following day. Low and behold I felt "decent" the next morning. I decided to go for it and thwart the cold weather and what ever parasite I might have had. I made it into the top ten for the second time of the season on that day. Later on that weekend we joined one of the Finish team members for sauna party. This consisted of sitting in excessively hot and humid cabin as long as you could tolerate, and then climbing into a hole in the ice outside. Sound familiar?  Hours later, the whole circuit is on a flight to their respective pre world champs training camp.
        The whole time spent in Kontiolahti, Finland serves as a perfect example of how the sport works. Perhaps the best example of that trip was the fact that I actually started thinking about how warm and sunny those five our distance session were going to feel months later in Lake Placid. When those five hour sessions did occur  all I could think about was how fresh and springy my legs felt during racing season, especially back in February. It really is from one extreme to the next.
       I could go on and on with other experiences that made me appreciate that chapter. I hate standing around. I would rather run for three hours or lay on the couch. Thanks to this sport I have no respect for grey areas. The forecast is calling for snow tomorrow out here in Utah. That should make our time trial a little more interesting. If nothing else, the harder it rain/snows the closer the leftovers in the fridge will taste to a gourmet dinner.

P.S. In retro spec, I think my sentences might be a little too wordy...

(yang ex)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fall 2012

       This is a little strange. Summer never seems to last as long as you would like it to and yet, for me summer has lasted much longer than fall did. Camp life out west will do that to you. After the Euro camp we had about a month home. Now we're in Utah. It's a little cold in the morning and could snow. By early afternoon it's almost 70 and and feels like June all over again. In the end I don't consider the Utah camp to be the fall season that I've come to know in the north east. So as you can see the past month has been my Autumn. 
Long story short: Ski speed is good. Standing is good. Prone not so much. If I can just get a better grasp on that eight ring then everything will coming up my way. 

Morning fog at 10th Mt.

From point A to point B in the county means a full tank of gas almost every ten days :(

Does this make anyone else crave oatmeal?

Try as I may, the mt bike is still in need of repair. Did manage to log a few good hours on the woods roads. 

 One of the reasons I like to be home this time of year is the hunting season bonus. There was no such luck for the geese, or any bird for that matter. There was some substantial deer sign to be optimistic for. I don't have much time in November, but it only takes one good morning.
So long early evening daylight. You will be missed.

This one tree really sticks out among the rest that were planted almost 30 years ago.

A brief amount of time was in LP. Like everyone else I was shocked to see ORDA actually extending the roller loop.  It only took about a decade.