Saturday, August 23, 2008

538 days until Vancouver 2010

This morning I had the opportunity to watch the closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics and what a spectacular show it was. With the extinguishing of the Flame came the realization that I have less than 538 days left to prepare for the upcoming Games and, as such, I must be focused on training to my fullest potential each day. As an athlete I've been inspired by the incredible performances of the past sixteen days and I hope that one day I'll also be in a position to inspire those who will come after me. Just as these Olympics have provided new energy to fire my goals, I find it remarkable that they have also given rise to new discussions regarding the future of our planet. I am amazed at the ability of the Olympic movement to transcend conflicts by displaying an image of global unity to which we as individuals and nations can aspire.

Much has happened in the past three weeks. At the conclusion of my last post I mentioned that we were headed to Jericho, VT to train on the roller loop there and to get in some racing. The weather, typically extreme, was actually fairly mild and allowed us to train in relative comfort. My training sessions were focused and I was able to get in valuable technique training with my two coaches. The two biathlon races, a sprint and pursuit, went well given the time of year. I was third the first day, missing only two shots. My shooting wasn't great during the pursuit, but I was very happy with my ski times. At the conclusion of the week and a half camp in Jericho I got to be part of a New England Nordic Ski Assoc. x-c race. I was tired from the prior two weeks of training, but managed to finish in 2nd place. Check out the video and picture below from the races.

From Jericho the team traveled to Jackson, N.H. to do a distance training camp in the White Mountains. Jackson is a special place for me because it is where I first competed in the Junior Olympics and where my dream of one day competing in the Olympics actually began to take shape. Jackson was also the site of the 2007 NCAA National Championships that Dartmouth won so the quaint little mountain village will always rank high on my list of great sites for training and racing.

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.

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