Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Back To It!

After a long spring of adventures, the US Ski Team has reconvened in Park City for our kick off camp of the year! Unfortunately, I caught a bit of a cold on my way back from Mexico, so I'm taking a couple extra days easy to recover before the training begins tomorrow. It's a funny feeling to go from having been on the beach a few mornings ago to jumping into training, but I'm psyched and ready to get going. That must mean vacation was the perfect length!
Climbing in Mexico

After spending most of April in Vermont, Simi and I headed to Mexico in the beginning of May with the goal of trying to see a little bit of everything. We started out in northern Mexico and went climbing for a week with the rest of his family. I had been climbing a couple times before, but this was my true introduction to climbing and it was a good thing I enjoyed it, because it was quite the introduction! We were in El Protrero Chico, which is just northewest of Monterrey, Mexico. We went on a few adventure runs, but spent most of our days climbing. Luckily, everyone was very patient while I learned the ropes (no pun intended). I learned a ton and it was an incredible place to see.

Rocks for days!

A view of Hidalgo from the top of a rock

Al being Al

Jenny on top of one of the climbs

Simi and our tarantula friend

Jenny and our little friend, Aztec

Up, up, up
Where should we go tomorrow?

Saying goodbye to El Protrero Chico
After a week of climbing, we flew to Tulum for the wedding of a good friend of Simi's family. It was a very different setting than the previous week, but beautiful in a new way. After the wedding, we headed to Saladitas beach for a few days of surfing and relaxing before heading back to the states. The trip was a nice balance of different activities. I feel like we were able to experience many sides of Mexico and I returned eager to jump back into summer training.
Beach wedding

Ocean sunset flying into Zihuatanejo

Sunset at Saladitas beach

Papaya and lime - the best snack!

Bye beach, time to head back to the mountains!
The weather in Park City has been a little cold and rainy so far, but I'm enjoying being back with all my teammates and getting ready for the year ahead of us!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring Things

I've been back in the U.S. for a month now, but until the other day I hadn't been back to Vermont. So after five months on the road, it feels good to be HOME! I flew back from Colorado on Wednesday and was greeted in Albany by my dad and a mix of rain and snow coming out of the sky. It continued to produce a "wintry mix" for the next two days, but spring finally hit a few days later. After Sun Valley, Simi and I drove back to Aspen for a few days before a quick trip to Boston with most of our other SMS T2 teammates for a YES Kids fundraiser. The T2 Foundation, the title sponsor for our SMS T2 team, is a big supporter of the Boston Youth Enrichment Services and we were able to meet a bunch of the kids who had tried cross country skiing over the winter and also attend a fundraiser in the evening. This fall I helped set up a program where I could personally be in contact with the YES Kids by email throughout the winter. It was nice to meet the kids in person and I'm looking forward to becoming more involved in the coming winters. Another nice surprise was that the SMS T2 team won the T2 Foundation Community Service Award at the event. As a team, we place a huge emphasis on community involvement, particularly with getting kids outside and active, so we were honored to receive the recognition!

Some of Boston's future XC stars!

"Skiing" by the YES Tram

Packed into the YES Tram
Our trip to Boston was a whirlwind and after 36 hours we were back in Colorado for some resting and adventure time. I enjoyed one last week of back country skiing and sunshine with friends out west before heading home.

Summit Sistas selfie
A little piece of wonderful

Some wind

And a lot of sun

After flying back home last Wednesday, I had exactly one day at home before heading back down to Boston to hang out with some of the Eastern Mass skiers and attend a US Ski Team fundraiser. I stayed at Mark and Pilar Doughty's house while in Boston. Mark is the principal of Thoughtforms, which is my teammate Noah's headgear sponsor. The timing was perfect because Noah was in town for the weekend, so we were able to team up for a busy couple of days. I am very grateful to Mark and his lovely family for letting us stay with them and organizing the weekend. On Friday afternoon, Noah and I headed out to do a Q&A and pizza party with some of the CSU high school kids. I was impressed with the questions the kids asked and enjoyed meeting them. After the Q&A, we headed back to Mark's house to get ready for our USST Fundraiser. We had a good showing of supporters at our fundraiser and it was a pleasure getting to know some new people.

Grace Bird with her new pink jacket and bib we auctioned off

Thank you to everyone who came out and a special thanks to Liz Arky, our good friend and USSA Trustee Board member, who put the event together. Here we are with Liz signing some wine bottles for our auction. (photo from noahhoffman.com)
After a good night of sleep, Noah and I woke up to an early pancake breakfast made by Mark and Pilar's children, Nathan and Anneka. After chowing down on some tasty chocolate chip pancakes, Noah and I hosted a practice for some of Eastern Massachusetts's younger kids. We led...actually more like chased the kids around the track for a warm up run and then led them in some stretching and core. After the warm up, we split into two stations. I led the agility and speed ladder station while Noah led the dry-land drills station. After an hour and a half of running around, we went inside to answer questions and sign autographs. Jamie Doucett captured some awesome shots from our practice.

Introducing ourselves to the kiddos. Check out that SMS summer camp shirt!

Warm up stretches

Push up challenge!

Speed ladder pros

Explosive jumps

Check out that form!

Demonstrating one of my favorite agility drills, the speed ladder

Noah leading the kids in some dry land drills
We ended the practice with a game of sharks and minnows, or as the EMBK kids call it, wolves and reindeer. Noah and I were the first set of wolves.

Who are we going to eat next?

The crew!

Thanks for having us!
I drove back to Vermont on Saturday afternoon and finally started to settle in. Soon after arriving, my brother and his girlfriend came home for the weekend, my sister got home, my grandmother came for dinner, and my room was a mess...just how I like it. It's nice to be home!
Leroy is even warming up to his long lost sister

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sick in Sun Valley

I didn't realize it at the time, but I guess the end of my season was after my sprint in Drammen a few weeks ago! Unfortunately, the evening we arrived in Sun Valley, I started to feel a little tickle in my throat that soon transformed into a full blown nasty cold. Depending on the year, spring series can be a really fun time to race, or it can be really miserable if you're blown out and ready to be finished. I actually was looking forward to racing in Sun Valley this year, but maybe my body was sending me a signal that it was ready to be done. After a few days in bed, I was able to go out and cheer my teammates on in the races. The Sun Valley weather lived up to its name and we saw bright sun every day except for one. Although the majority of the SMS T2 team was plagued by some kind of illness (I believe there were about three going around), those who were healthy made us proud and those who were sick had a good time being cheerleaders. Now it's time for a little break. Happy Spring!
I was able to celebrate my 25th Birthday while in Sun Valley! Being sick on your Birthday is a bummer, but my teammates made it a very special day.

Hanging out at the races with Erika and Liz

Hugging a Rose buddy after the 30k

KO continued to impress all week long!

Thanks to Sun Valley Resort and SVSEF for the alpine passes!

Crew on top of Baldy

On the way back we stopped to see my friends Parker and Hannah and their cute new pup

Pit stop in the desert! Pretty crazy to be skiing one day and in shorts and a t shirt the following day

We put on a clinic and fundraiser our last day and night in Sun Valley. Here Sadie and I practice backwards skiing with our new friend Sophia

One pole skiing with Jay
Morning agility group at the clinic

Team photo shoot in our new L.L. Bean and Craft gear!
We're THIS psyched to be working with Craft and L.L. Bean!
Thanks to Steve and Diana Strandberg for hosting us and hosting our fundraiser. And a big thank you to the Sun Valley community for being so kind and supportive.

And to the best teammates I could ask for...see you in a couple months!