Monday, September 4, 2017

Life Down Under

We've been in New Zealand for two weeks now and I'm currently enjoying our final day off before putting in one more solid week of training. As the hours add up, each day our eyes get a little glassier, legs a little heavier, and it becomes a little harder to get out of bed in the morning. Eh, I take that back. It's not very hard to get out of bed in the morning when you're waking up to this.
It's weird knowing that summer is pretty much over. It sounds like temperatures are dropping back home and when I get back to Vermont, it will hopefully be my favorite season - the transition from summer to fall! I was able to celebrate the end of summer in style at my cousin Lucy's wedding before flying down under. It was the first time all the Caldwell cousins had been together in years, and we had a great time tearing up the dance floor and went our separate ways with happy hearts after a weekend full of hiking, swimming, and family celebrations.
All ten Caldwell cousins!

Family hike

My favorite wedding date
When we arrived in New Zealand, we were greeted with mid-winter conditions. After a few days of colder snow, we had our fair share of warm, slow snow, and we're currently settled somewhere in between the two where it's warm enough to wear spandex, and cold enough for the snow to stay fast. Pretty perfect if you ask me!
Easy classic ski with a mix of sun and clouds (Jessie photo)

Skate speeds (Matt Whitcomb photo)

After a week or so up at the Snow Farm, we went down to the town of Wanaka for a few days to do some running, live in a house, and recover at sea level. I love life up at the Snow Farm, but it was nice to live in town for a couple days and switch up the routine. We went on two beautiful runs while we were down below.  The first run was along the edge of Lake Wanaka and the second followed the Matukituki river up through the different New Zealand landscapes of mountains, fields, and forests.
Running the Matukituki

Day off in Wanaka

Running along Lake Wanaka (Jess photo)

Jessie at the beginning of our Matukituki run

Matt trying out a moss wig

After our stint in town, we returned to the Snow Farm for another week and a half of skiing. We are mostly focusing on logging some volume on snow, but we've done a few interval sessions, speed workouts, and several of us jumped in various versions of the Merino Muster race over the weekend. The Merino Muster offers a 42km skate marathon, a 21km skate race, and a 7km skate. Jessie and Simi took the wins in the 42km races, and I was happy to cross the line in first in the 21km race. I got to ski the whole race with Caitlin Gregg (mostly following her) and had some of the most fun I've ever had in a long skate race!
Classic speeds with Brian Gregg (Matt photo)

Merino Muster 21k podium! (Julia photo)
We had a long ski on our schedule Sunday morning and we woke up to perfect crust conditions and couldn't help but send it into the mountains. With the help of our local guide, Nils Koons, we had a very memorable crust cruise and ventured further than I've ever gone off the trails here. After today's rest day, we have a few more easy skis and a few races before heading back home. It's been an incredible trip and I can't believe how quickly it's flown by. Thanks for following!
Chris Mallory on our crust cruise

There they go! (Matt Whitcomb photo)