Mass Start: Stage 3 shootingToday, after a long day of travel and jumping several time zones, I arrived inFrankfurt, Germany. We're here in Europe to race in European Cup competitions in Germany and the Czech Republic. The two weeks of racing will be amazing international experience on their own, but I'll also be competing against two other American biathletes for one spot on the World Cup 6 Italy roster as well as the World Championships Team, which will travel to Korea in February. I'm very happy with how my training is progressing and I can't wait to get back on snow.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
While in Lake Placid I had the opportunity to put in a few quality sessions on the brand new roller ski loop and rifle range at the Olympic Complex in Lake Placid. What a blast! The loop has a couple of screaming down hills and a tough steep uphill into the range. We now have the ability to do shooting with close to max heart rates, which is a huge asset for training. In my short tenure as a biathlete I’ve lacked consistent shooting with heart rates similar to those seen in races. That is now remedied.
Training on the new Lake Placid range.
Unfortunately the hunting trip only netted us pictures and no meat for the freezer, but it was a great time. Other notable AK moments were calling in a giant bull moose to within 15 feet while on a training run in the mountains and having a grey wolf eye check us out for several minutes from a ridge on the edge of the city.
The trip home to AK was a well needed break before the season starts getting really busy. It was fantastic to spend time with my family.
A walk with my niece & nephew
I'm in Heber City, Utah now for an altitude training camp and a series of rollerski races. Adjusting to the altitude has been tough, but I'm starting to feel better after a week of training. The races are this week so check back soon for an update.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Welcome to Jackson!
A friend of my coach set us up with a great place to stay and we spent the week biking and running. There were several epic adventures that week including a 105 mile bike ride that took us into Maine and over the shoulder of Mt. Washington. We also hiked Mt. Washington one morning and got to see the famed Tuckerman's Ravine where an unofficial skiing competition happens each year featuring the Dartmouth and Harvard alpine skiers and anyone else brave enough to hike the head wall and then point their tips straight down.
A huge upgrade from military barracks.
Bear Notch after a long ski.
At the conclusion of our distance camp in Jackson, I was more than ready for a little recovery time. Sara and I made the short trip to her aunt and uncle's home in Maine to spend a few days with them and had a very relaxing few days. The weather, which has been unpredictable at best this summer, continued to surprise us with huge thunder storms and one cloudburst that dropped quarter-sized hail for nearly half an hour. We did luck out with one beautiful day that coincided with a sea kayaking day trip. Sara's aunt and uncle took us out off the coast where we spent the afternoon paddling between granite islands and searching for shells on the beaches.
We made it back to Lake Placid in the middle of this past week in time to get back into the swing of things with training and some work on the golf course. The US Olympic Committee and the Olympic Regional Development Assoc. recently completed a new roller ski loop and four-point range here in Lake Placid at the Olympic Complex so we will be spending lots of time in the near future training at the new venue. We've lacked the ability in the past to do high intensity skiing and shooting and that has now been remedied.
The coming weeks are will be full of training. I have two weeks remaining here in Lake Placid and then I'll make a long overdue trip home to Alaska. I'll spend the month of September in Alaska training and spending time with my family and then will go directly to Utah to meet up with the teem for our last camp before the season gets underway. There is still much training to be done between now and then.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
This past week was pretty tough. I had five days of intensity training, including two time trials and a couple of very hard interval workouts. I felt great throughout the week, but was most definitely ready for an off day today. I traveled to Jericho, VT on Wednesday after training for a week and a half long training camp. Nearly 40 athletes are here from all over the country to train on the rollerskiing trails built on the Ethan Allen Military Base. It's a great opportunity for coaches and athletes alike to work together and share ideas. We also have two biathlon races planned for the coming week and a rollerski race so there will be ample opportunity to see how our training is progressing and figure out what needs further tweaking in preparation for the coming race season. Jericho is always a grab bag for hot and wet weather and so far we've seen lots of both. We're hoping for somewhat normal days for racing, but it's not good to count on that happening here. I guess we'll see...
Saturday, July 19, 2008
This week was a solid chunk of training, but it felt like a cake walk compared to last week. I scored some personal bests in shooting workouts so I was stoked to see improvement in that aspect of my training. I've got to do some major work on my rifle stock this coming week to make it fit better and I'm hoping that will be a key to making more improvement in the coming weeks. I've also been working very hard on some new ski technique ideas with my coaches, which are starting to pay off. We've done a lot of video analysis in recent weeks and the work I've been putting in is paying dividends.
I have an easy week coming up and I'm going to kick it off by watching the Lake Placid Iron Man Triathlon. Over 2,000 entrants have converged on the town for the annual suffer fest. I'll get some pictures up next week.
Friday, June 27, 2008
At the conclusion of last week Sara and I drove over to Dartmouth's Mt. Moosilauke Ravine Lodge for the wedding of two good friends from college. The rustic lodge sits about halfway up Moosilauke Mountain and serves as the end point for Dartmouth's first-year wilderness trips each fall and the start of the famed Moosilauke Ski Team time trial (a brutal 3.6 mile run to the summit) among other things. We attended the outdoor ceremony and then hiked with the bride and groom and a large group to the summit before returning to the lodge for dinner and dancing. Getting away from the Training Center for a couple of days was a fantastic way to start the easy week.
Sara and me at the summit of Moosilauke
Sara and I returned to Lake Placid Sunday evening. A friend had asked us to take care of his parent's home while they were out of town for a couple of days so Sara and I got to look after two great dogs and utilize their yard and kitchen. Both Sara and I share one room doubles at the OTC so it was a blast cheffing it up and kicking back on a porch with a great view for a couple of afternoons. Monday evening we were treated to a fantastic lightning storm that played itself out over the distant mountains. The following evening another storm rolled through and left a beautiful rainbow, which we enjoyed while cooking up gluten free crepes with fresh mint and strawberry yogurt fillings and a spinach salad with fresh strawberries from a small farm in VT. It's not often that we are able to slow down enough from training to take the time to cook so we really enjoyed the opportunity.
Gluten free gourmet
I got back into the training routine for the second half of this week. There isn't much more to report other than that I'll begin a big block of training starting Monday morning. I'll be in Jericho, VT for the early part of next week training at the Ethan Allen Biathlon Range. A rollerskiing loop with a small firing range is being built here in Lake Placid, but until it's completion we'll probably make the trip to VT every week or two in order to do rollerski combos.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Last week featured one of the toughest interval workouts I've ever done. I didn't have pictures or video for my last post, but you can check out a video by clicking on the link below. In this particular video I'm the skier at the front of the line.
This weekend Sara and I are driving over to the Dartmouth Outing Club's Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, a rustic lodge and cabins situated on the side of Mt. Moosilauke in the mountains of New Hampshire. Friends of ours from college are getting married so we're looking forward to getting away from the Training Center for a couple of days and helping our friends celebrate a special day. Next week is a much needed easy week so I'll spend a fair amount of time resting and will also get some hours in working on the traps at the golf course. Should be a blast.
Friday, June 13, 2008
This past week has included a plethora of tough workouts, several of which were made even tougher by less than favorable weather conditions. Monday and Tuesday were exceptionally hot and it was all any of us could do to just stay marginally hydrated. In Monday's afternoon workout the combination of high temperatures and humidity was especially hard to handle because we were rollerskiing on a section of road that was in the direct sunlight and there was not a hint of wind. I had downed nearly a gallon of liquids in the first 45 minutes and was still overheating. Another of the guys on the team who suffered heat stroke last year in a similar situation spent a fair percentage of the workout running down to a nearby creek to dunk his head and wet his clothes in an effort to get through the drills. By the end of the session most of the team was making laps to the creek. Wednesday's workout, as I mentioned in my last post, was a 7+ hour combined run and bike ride and Thursday featured one of the toughest interval workouts of my career.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Although training is always the focus of my day to day planning, I do occasionally have easier blocks of training that allow me to catch up on chores and get in a few hours of work on the side either as a trap keeper on the Lake Placid Club golf course or doing other odd jobs that I'm able to scrounge. On one of my recent easier weeks my girlfriend and I spent the week painting her grandfather's home in Providence, RI. Suffice it to say, the 'easy' week didn't end up being especially easy, but it was a great experience and a nice change of pace and scenery. We even managed to slip out one evening after work to see Strauss's Die Fledermaus at the Providence Opera. We always jump at the chance to wear something other than training clothes.
This past Monday was the beginning of a two week training camp with all of the teams in attendance. This week's focus is on high volume and has thus far been high-lighted by a 7+ hour run/bike workout. I made it through in one piece, but that's one of the longest days at the office that I can remember. The rest of the camp will include several shooting competitions, a mini-triathlon, and VO2 max test on the treadmill. Be sure to check back this weekend for an update and more pictures.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Catching my breath after the mass start
The newly completed range
The competitions open tomorrow with a 20K individual race. Friday is a day off and then we race a 10k sprint Saturday and conclude the weekend with a relay race Sunday. These races will be my last of the season before taking a few days to put down the rifle and skis for a little vacation time. More on that though after the races. Check back soon for updates and pictures.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
A lot of snow - volunteers in a timing shack
Last week my teammates and I took the opportunity to visit the jumping complex near the Training Center. The pictures below were taken from the top and bottom of the K120 jump. I always knew that Nordic Combined skiers and Ski Jumpers were crazy, but after visiting the top of the jump I can confidently now say that they are certifiably loco.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
We raced in the hills just outside of La Patrie at a venue that used a farming tractor as a groomer. Despite the odd choice of grooming equipment, the groomers know what they are doing and the trails were great. The weather couldn't have been better - sunny and around 20 degrees - so we had a perfect weekend for racing. The race organizers made sure to utilize every bit of uphill they could find so the courses were some of toughest I've seen all season. While my skiing was solid for both the sprint and pursuit races, I had a rough weekend on the range. I finished a disappointing 5th in both the sprint and pursuit races. I've been a little tired for the past week so I'm taking advantage of a light training week to rest and get geared up for the coming weekend of racing in Val Cartier, Quebec, a town just west of Quebec City.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Saturday's race was a 10 kilometer sprint. When I woke a little after 6 am, the temperature was hovering somewhere between 10 and 15 degrees below zero. Races are canceled if the temperature dips below -4 degrees so we wondered if the race would even happen. Officials decided to run the races as planned so we zeroed our rifles at 8 and prepared to start at 9. I think the temperature probably was reading somewhere between -3.9 and -4 when I started because it took a while to work into the race. The body is similar to a car when it comes to really cold weather in that you have to warm both up for longer than usual. Despite the cold, I felt strong throughout the race and finished in 2nd place, a mere 6 seconds out of 1st. I missed one shot in the prone stage and two standing to finish the day with a 70% average. I was really excited to have put such a solid race together. The picture below was taken during the awards ceremony. On Sunday we raced a 15 kilometer mass start, which equates to five laps of 3 kilometers each and four shooting stages - two prone and two standing. This was the first mass start in my short career as a biathlete so I was excited to be mixing it up off the line with the whole pack. The temperature was much more cooperative than it had been on Saturday, but the wind kicked up early and by race time it was gusting somewhere between 30 and 60 miles per hour. That renders most outdoor endeavors challenging, but at times it made shooting seem nearly futile. I ended the day with 12 missed shots of 20, but still managed to finish on the podium. There were a few racers who shot better than 50%, but the majority counted themselves lucky to be in that ballpark. That was definitely one of the most challenging raced that I've competed in this year and it will go down as one of the most memorable of the season and perhaps of my career as a skier.
I'm spending the week training here in Lake Placid in preparation for more races this weekend in La Patrie, Quebec. We'll drive north on Friday and spend the weekend racing. Check back in a few days for a recap of the racing and in the meantime, get outside and have an adventure!
Monday, February 11, 2008
Saturday's race was exciting as well. In the first lap I made up time on both of the racers who started in front of me and I shot clean in the first prone stage. I gained more time in the second lap but went to the penalty loop with two missed targets. Fortunately for me, most of the other racers were also missing targets so I was able to stay in the mix. I missed two targes in each of the standing stages as well to end the day with a 70% average (14/20). The last lap was tightly contested with the top 6 positions fighting for every second. I finished 5th overall just one second behind 4th and only a handful from 3rd. So, the weekend netted one podium and a 5th place. This weekend we'll race here in Lake Placid on Saturday and Sunday. Nearly a foot of new snow has fallen in the past week so the races should come off without a hitch. I'm looking to keep hitting targets and skiing fast. Check back in a few days for a recap of the races. Until then, don't forget to get outside to enjoy the white fluffy stuff!
Monday, February 4, 2008
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Despite a thin snow cover in the Anchorage area, I was able to ski on the hillside trails just outside of Anchorage. In the picture below you can see downtown Anchorage with the hillsides as a backdrop.
This next picture was taken from the Flattop ski area looking out over the City of Anchorage and the Cook Inlet. Although temperatures dipped pretty low on several occasions, it's hard to complain about the cold when you get great views like this.
I took this picture on my way home after a ski as the sun was setting about 3:45 in the afternoon. I don't recall if that was the shortest day of the year, but it was sometime around the 21st. For Alaskans, December 21st is the hump day. There aren't many hours of sunlight in the middle of the winter, but by Christmas the days are already getting longer again. For those of us who love the snow that just means more time to play outdoors and, for those that don't, there's at least a feeling that spring isn't too far away.
I got to spend Christmas at home on the Kenai Peninsula. There wasn't much snow there either, but my brother and I did manage to ski our 'sectret' trail from the house out to the bluff overlooking the Cook Inlet and the mountains on the other side. If you look closely an ice flow is visible behind the tug in the foreground. The Inlet is home to numerous gas platforms and tugs like the one pictured are always plying the waters in case of an oil spill.
Well, that's it on pictures for now, but I'll post more soon. I'm back in Lake Placid until the first week in February when the bulk of my race season kicks off. I'll race almost every week during February and March. In February I race in Vermont, New York, and two different locations in Quebec. An in March I'll race in the National Championships in Minnesota followed by the Canadian National Championships in Vancouver, B.C. This month I have plans to race cross country races in the Lake Placid area, but we're experiencing extremely warm temperatures right now that might wipe out the snow. I'm crossing my fingers that doesn't happen, but in the East you never can tell.