Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Last Few Months - Part I

I want to take a moment to say hello and welcome to those of you visiting my blog for the first time. Thanks for stopping by and please, don't be a stranger in the future.

Since this will be my first real post I'm going to take a little time to catch you up on events from the past few months. It has been an exciting year. Since much has happened in recent months, catching you up will probably take a couple of posts. Hopefully I can hit all the major things without putting anybody to sleep.

I'll pick things up with my return to Dartmouth in late December for a final quarter of studying and my last season of collegiate competition on the Nordic ski team. I had a fantastic fall of training and was excited to get the season started. Despite thin snow cover for training in Hanover, the team was extremely focused thanks to great leadership from the older guys. Poor training conditions can easily become a psychological stumbling block for athletes, but that was never an issue this year. We hit the trails in high speed and never slowed down, winning all six of the regular season carnivals and qualifying five Nordic men and four Nordic women for the NCAA National Championships. I qualified for the first time, but unfortunately didn't get to compete since only a team's top three qualifiers can race. No matter though, the NCAA team went on to perform brilliantly, bringing home our first NCAA National Team Title in over thirty years. Perhaps most amazing was the fact that we achieved so much without European imports. Being part of making Big Green skiing history will always be a highlight of my career at Dartmouth. I wrapped the ski season up with the Rangeley Lakes Loppet 50k Marathon. Lots of fresh snow made for challenging conditions, but I was able to capitalize on an early lead and turn it into a win by nearly two minutes.

I finished my coursework at Dartmouth in early March and received a B.A. in Psychology & Brain Sciences. About the same time I decided to apply for the U.S. Biathlon Development Team program and left on a six week backpacking adventure in Central America. Jamin, my older brother, met me on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and together we traveled south through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. What an adventure and a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with Jamin while also seeing another part of the world and practicing my Spanish.

Towards the end of the trip in Central America I found out I was named to the U.S. Biathlon Development Team and would be moving to Lake Placid, NY to live at the Olympic Training Center. (For those of you not familiar with Biathlon, it is a sport that combines competitive Nordic ski racing with precision target shooting with .22 calibre rifles). That was an exciting notification! I think Jamin and I ate an extra pineapple and bag of mangoes that night in celebration.

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