Sunday, March 6, 2016

The final push of the season

The past few weeks I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do with my life. I have not been feeling very motivated to train hard and become a better athlete. This season has had lots of ups and downs with both training and racing. I have seen success with qualifying for the IBU Cup in January and having pretty good consistent shooting throughout the year. I contribute almost all of this to the hours I have put in over the years practicing shooting and training mentally to be disciplined and focused. My training has also been successful in ways. I have come back from being in the hospital and unable to sit up in bed to training at an internationally high level. 

I have been struggling this season with my motivation to train and my ski speed. In basically every race I have done I have felt like I have been stuck in 3rd gear and just don't have the ability to go hard and fast and really push it on the skis. This has forced me to question my motivation even more and has made training tough. Training and motivation are pretty closely linked, the more motivated you are the better you train, and as you train better and more you become a faster skier. 

This makes me ask myself what can I do to motivate myself to train more, better, and harder if I want to continue racing? I have also been asking myself is lack of motivation and therefor training entirely the problem with my lack of ski speed? Last spring in my crash I punctured my lung and even though it is now healed it is hard to say if it is or will ever be back to a race performance capacity. 

There is three weeks left in the season and the good news is that I found some, at least, short term motivation by going to Canada and watching three days of World Cup ski racing. Myself and three Craftsbury teammates went to Montreal and Quebec City to cheer on two of our other teammates who were racing. Our teammates racing were Kaitlynn Miller and Ida Sargent, we also enjoyed cheering on the rest of team USA. Overall it was a great event with plenty of excitement and it was tons of fun!

I now have 10 days of training in Craftsbury before I travel back to Quebec City for the Canadian Nationals and then finish the season with the US Nationals in Fort Kent, Maine. My plan is to train and race the best I can through US Nationals.  Then I will travel home to enjoy Spring, my favorite time of the year, and try to figure out what to do with my life and biathlon racing career. 

The Sun set view from our 14th story hotel room in Quebec City
We staked out a place right next to the wall around to city to watch, cheer, and grill for the Sprint day

GRP teammate Kaitlynn Miller racing the sprint qualifier 

One of the women's heats with GRP teammate Ida Sargent

Our spot for the skate pursuit race

Therese Johaug and Hedi Weng two of the best skiers in the world at the front of the race

The home crowd cheering on Canadian Alex Harvey and the Norwegian yellow bib holder Martin Sundby.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

IBU Cups 4 & 5

I am have almost been in Europe for two weeks now and it has been quite an exciting trip so far. We arrived in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic 4 days before the first race just a couple days short of enough time to get adjusted to the time difference but I tired to make the most of it and forced my body at get adapted. This was going well until the night before the first race when I was awake all night with stomach pains feeling like I was going to puke. Despite feeling pretty terrible I decided to race because I figured that I didn't have a whole lot to loose if I placed badly and if nothing else racing while feeling like I was going to puke would just make to tougher. Not surprisingly the first race, a 10km sprint, didn't go that well. I felt pretty terrible skiing but my shooting was solid only 1 miss in prone and I cleaned my standing. The night after the race and the next morning I spent lots of time on the toilet. The next day I raced again and had an almost identical race, good shooting with only 1 miss but slow terrible feeling skiing.

After Nove Mesto we drove to Ridnaun, Italy for the second weekend of racing. It was a 10 hour drive and feeling totally sick didn't make it go by any faster. The first three days in Italy I felt sick to my stomach and spent almost all my time on the toilet. Finally the day before the first race I drove into town and got some stomach medicine which really helped a lot. With the stomach medicine fully kicked in I felt like I was pretty much able to race at 100% and placed 55th in the sprint race with clean shooting (no misses). My goal for the day was to place in the top 60 so that I would qualify for the next days pursuit race, I was really happy to have snuck in to that top 60.  For the pursuit race I was feeling much better and overall had a decent race that I was happy with. I moved up to 49th place with 3 misses. Two of my misses were my last two shots of the race, I was unable to keep my focus through the final shooting stage and did not execute the shots properly which caused the misses. Even though my skiing was not super fast it was consistent and good shooting in the first three stages made for a fun race. There was a pack of several guys that I was going back and forth with for the whole race which made the skiing quite fun.

Tomorrow is the final race in Italy which will be a mixed relay with two girls and two boys. Relays are always fun races and I am looking forward to it.

On the drive from Munich to Nove Mesto we ran out of gas but coasted to within 300 meters of the gas station. Through the windshield you can see Vlad (our coach) running back with a gas can.

Driving the drive from Nove Mesto to Ridnaun we had to go over the Brenner pass where it started snowing very hard. We were stopped on the road for about 45 minutes and had to put chains on our van to get over the pass. 

Wynn and I putting on the chains

Wynn in the wax room with all of our skis and the wax bench

The town of Ridnaun where the races are held is in the snow covered mountains in the distance.

After my accident I am into seeing if the venue has a good rescue sled set up, in Ridnaun they do!

The sunrising from the deck of our hotel room in Italy

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

IBU Cup here I come!

Today I was telling my mom that I felt bad because I have not written a blog post in a long time because I have not been very inspired to write lately so she said just put up a bunch of pictures and let them tell the stories. So thats exactly what I am going to do.... with a little bit of writing. 

I finally made it Canmore, Alberta where the skiing was great especially compared to the 1/2km loop in Craftsbury.  In Canmore I did a Noram race and a couple of time trials and we had our IBU cup trials. The IBU cup trials started a little rocky and I was a ways down the results page mostly because my skiing was not super fast. With each race my skiing felt better and my shooting stayed consistently good. The last two races I placed 3rd and 1st. I was really happy to finally pull things together at the end. My results were just good enough to get me named to the IBU cup team so I will be leaving on January 4th to race in Europe on the IBU cup circuit for 3 weeks.  I am now at home for Christmas enjoying the amazing winter we are having in the Pacific Northwest.

Enjoying a nice ski with my mom in Winthrop

Doing so shoveling on the ski trails behind my grandpas house
Revisiting the crash site in Canmore was pretty crazy, I flew threw the air much further then I thought probably about 50 feet before hitting the tree. The red arrows show where I left the trail and the tree that I hit. 

I went snowmobiling for the first time in a year and it was AMAZING, I couldn't have asked for better conditions 

Getting ready to start a race in Canmore, I started right behind Ethan my teammate

Skiing with some of the GRP rowers in Craftsbury on the manmade loop

The 1/2km loop in Craftsbury

Ethan and Mike shooting in Canmore

While in Canmore we watched Lindsey Vonn win the GS World Cup at Lake Louise

Racing in Canmore

The whole Craftsbury team enjoying the sunshine in Canmore

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Wishing and waiting for snow

Skiing is coming soon and I couldn't be more excited!! The last two weeks we (the GRP biathlon team) did a training camp with the USBA X-team or development team. For the first week of the camp we traveled to Lake Placid where we were able to train on the rollerski loop. This is an important training tool that we do not have in Craftsbury so it was very beneficial to put in some training where I could rollerski and shoot together. Unfortunately in the middle of the camp in Lake Placid I caught a small cold and had to back of on training for a couple days.  I was unable to do one of the interval works that I was looking forward to as one of the key workouts while we were there. Luckily I kicked the cold and was able to finish the week with some quality training. The second week of the camp the X-team came to Craftsbury and again we did some fairly quality training. 

Training with the X-team had two real benefits, one was we were able to work with their coach Jean Paquet. Jean used to coach the Canadian National team until last year when USBA hired him. I really like him as a coach, I think he has lots of knowledge and insight about biathlon to offer as well as he is always pushing you trying to get you to the next level. Hopefully I will have more opportunity to work with Jean in the future. The second benefit of the camp with X-team was that there was three more guys to train with so we were able to create a competitive atmosphere during workouts. Shooting in a competitive atmosphere is much more challenging but that atmosphere can be hard to create when not at competitions so having these extra guys around was some good practice. 

This coming Tuesday, November 3rd the team will be traveling to Foret, Quebec where they have saved snow from last winter and we will be able to ski!!! We will be there for four days doing intensity training. Hopefully we will be able to ski in Craftsbury soon after we return. 

The weather station on top of whiteface mountain in Lake Placid. It was a bit frosty. 
Running back down the from the mountain with Emily and Ethan
The last two days in Lake Placid we got some snow. First of the year!!
Back in Craftsbury we turned wood stacking into a race for the up and coming biathletes. It was a pretty fast way to get the wood pile moved. 
Our Halloween biathlon race. Costume required. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Stacking hay and wood (aka time at home)

My time at home was pretty great and I really enjoyed it. The first half of my visit I slacked off on my training a bit but I was still very busy. I cut up and stacked about three quarters of the firewood that my mom and dad will need to get through the winter and I hauled stacked enough hay in the barn to get the sheep through Christmas in other words enough hay until I come home again and can haul more. Usually getting hay and wood aren't the most fun tasks but I was so excited just to be at home that I was totally okay with doing them and bummed out that I didn't have enough time to get more. 

At the end of month two of my best friends Marc and Matty are going to take the Winter and ride motorcycles to the tip of South America. They were both at home getting ready to leave. Another good friend Remington who is living is Seattle came over for the weekend as well so the four of us had quite the reunion. 

Another highlight of my time home was a three day backpack trip that I went on with my mom. We started at Harts Pass and hiked to Shellrock Pass and then Johnny Lakes which I have been wanting to go to for a long time. I wouldn't say they were easy to get to but were worth it. I caught several nice fish and shot a grouse which we feasted on for dinner. 

I am now back in Craftsbury and trying to get and stay excited about training. This weekend is the second set of races that make up the trials to determine who gets the final start spot in the World Cups before Christmas. Based on the August races there is myself and three other guys who could qualify for the spot. Ultimately the choice for the spot will be based on discretion and I have learned that the only thing you can expect from USBA is nothing at all, regardless I am still going to do my best in the races and see what happens. After the races we, the Craftsbury biathlon team, will go to Lake Placid for a training camp. This will be good for me because I always train better and am more excited about training when I am in the training camp setting and environment. 

The barn my dad and I built this spring stacked with hay. 

The woodshed filling up with wood

Tomatoes that I picked from the garden

100% homegrown dinner of lamb, carrots, peppers, zucchini, and beets

Freds lake on the backpack trip with my mom, the larch trees had turned color and were beautiful

Some trout and the grouse I got

Monday, September 21, 2015

Austria part 2

Week two of Austria was full of good training and lots of fun but unfortunately not much skiing. After the first week the weather got very warm and sunny causing all of the fresh good snow to melt down to glacier ice and we were unable to ski. Even though we couldn't ski we did some very fun hike/runs in the mountains and did some good rollerski workouts on the rollerski track. Overall the training camp was a success, I really enjoyed being able to ski. Skiing on snow helped me get in some good technique training that I will hopefully be able to carry through the fall and into the winter. 

The last few days of the camp were pretty interesting in terms of current events, if you have been watching the news at all you have probably heard about all of the migrants traveling through Europe. Being in Europe close to where this was happening made a little bit of an unknown what the travel home across the normally open easily passable Austria German border was going to be like, I was hoping that the masses of migrants would hold off a few days before getting to Austria so that we would not have problems at the border. For the most part we were fine, driving to Munich we were in stop and go traffic for about an hour near the border but ended up not having the stop. The German border police was doing random car checks but luckily we were not selected. 

I am now headed home to Washington to visit my family and hopefully have some good adventures in the mountains there as well. 

On our mid camp off day we drove to Hallstatt, Austria to tour the town. It is right on the Hallstatt see and very picturesque and touristy. It was fun to see.

The side of a hotel in Hallstatt with a pear tree growing up the side. All of the branches were so close to the tree that all of the pears could be picked from the various windows. 

The last day of skiing things were a little bleak on the glacier, besides being a little wet the skiing was still quite good

The Stang Alm that we passed by on an adventure run

A nice mountain lake along one of our adventures.  Mike, Liz, and Ida

Mike and I enjoying the view of Schladming. Next time I want to bring my alpine skis and hit up the slopes.

Liz, Kate, Mike, and Ida trying to figure out where to go next

Mike and Liz enjoying some beautiful grassy mountain trails

The traffic at the Austria Germany border on the way home

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Austria Part 1

So far our (The GRP teams) trip to Austria has been amazing. The first couple of days was kind of rainy but since then it has been beautiful every day. We have been skiing on the Dachstein glacier which has been really fun. Ski conditions have been very spring like with the tracks starting out a little hard but softening up and getting nice a little later in the morning. To get to the glacier we take a tram up the mountain, the tram ride is quite spectacular with a really good view. Coming into the tram station at the top you are so close to the rock face you look like you are going to crash into it, it was a little scary the first time but after that you realize your not going to crash into the mountain it is not to bad. 

Besides skiing we have been doing some fun run hike adventures into the hills and mountains around Ramsau. We have done two intensity sessions both which have been on the rollerski track with shooting. The first time around the rollerski track was pretty intimidating because there are some big downhills with corners that are lined with crash pads. The crash pads make you think that the corners are going to be very sketchy and dangerous but because the corners are banked like a race car track you easily get pulled right around and they are quite fun. 

Since I have only been to Europe in the winter it has been pretty cool to see what it's like in the summer. There are cows and sheep out grazing in all the fields and farmers cutting hay preparing for the winter. Being here for a training camp and not races is pretty fun too, even though I love coming over here to race, the overall atmosphere is much less stressful and more relaxed. 

We have one more week of training here before we return home. Hopefully it will be filled with lots of skiing and fun adventures. 

Passing the down tram on our way up the mountain. You can see the tram station perched on top mountain above the rock face. 

The ski track loops back and fourth around an open area on the glacier and makes for about a 3km loop. 

Beautiful ski tracks with the tram station in the distance. 

The biathlon range at the rollerski track. 

Looking down into the valley of Ramsau. The Guttenberg Haus, a mountain rest stop where you can get lunch and beer in foreground. In the background you can see the Schladming ski area, home of the 2013 alpine ski world championships as well as according to my uncle Steve the fastest downhill course he ever raced during his racing career. 

Sheep grazing in the mountains near the Guttenburg Haus. 

The cows next to our hotel waiting to be milked.