Arriving in Ruka

I’ve been struggling to put up this blog all afternoon. The internet here is really finicky. Sometimes it’s great, sometimes it’s nonexistent. It’s driving me nuts.

When I was home in Aspen at the beginning of this month, Nordic Combined athlete Michael Ward and I stopped into Aspen Public Radio to do an interview. I’ve had the privilege of doing several public radio interviews over the last couple of years. They are my favorite type of interview to do because I enjoy listening to public radio, so it’s a thrill for me to be on it, and because the interviewers tend to go more in depth and ask better informed questions than other media outlets. This month interviewer Marci Krivonen delved into the fundraising aspect of being a professional athlete in an Olympic sport in the U.S. The story released yesterday. Check it out here.

Yesterday my teammates and I departed Muonio, Finland, where we’d been for a pre-World Cup training camp for the last eight days, and headed towards Kuusamo, Finland, the venue of this weekend’s opening World Cup races. The drive was snowy and the roads were slick.

Arriving in Ruka 001 (1024x683)

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Reduced Strength

Yesterday afternoon, after my long ski in the morning here in Muonio, Finland, I went into town with Caitlin Gregg and coach Bryan Fish to do a strength session. Last week was my first week doing the new in-season strength program from my strength coach Tschana Schiller. The session is really comprehensive. My first time through it took me an hour and fifty minutes. In an effort to cut it down, I halved the time of the aerobic warm-up and got it down to an hour and forty minutes for the second session. Because I’m prioritizing great energy heading into the race season, my coach John Callahan and I felt like the strength program was still too long, so we asked Tschana to cut it down. I went through the new trimmed-down program yesterday and it was great. It’s still really high quality and only took me an hour and fifteen minutes. I think it’ll be great for my maintenance program for the first half of the season.

It continued to snow all day yesterday and last night.

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Night Skiing and Muonio Life

It’s awesome to be back on the road and kicking off the race season. I’m in Muonio, Finland, north of the arctic circle, with the U.S. Ski Team for a training camp prior to the opening World Cup races in Kuusamo, Finland.

Our clothing supplier Bjorn Daehlie now makes three quarter length training pants. The only one of my teammates who chose to pack them for Europe was Ida Sargent. She was rocking them on the way to training yesterday afternoon. (I’m struggling to take good pictures in the Muonio darkness. I tried taking this picture without a flash, but it was way too dark. My apologies.)

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Departing the U.S.

It’s been a really long day. Please excuse any errors I make in this post.

I’m currently sitting in the Helsinki, Finland airport. Yesterday my technique coach Zach Caldwell dropped me off at the airport in Hartford, Connecticut, an hour south of his house in Putney, Vermont. I then flew from Hartford to Dulles airport in Washington D.C., from Dulles to Munich, Germany and from Munich to Helsinki. I have one more flight, up to Rovaniemi, Finland, and a three hour drive from Rovaniemi to Muonio, Finland, which is north of the arctic circle.

The technique block I just finished in Putney ended on a positive note, contrary to how it began. I mentioned in my last post that my sole objective on Saturday, the final day of technique work, was to simplify the task of skiing well. Zach and I were not trying to add anything new. I just need to be able to consistently reproduce the good skiing I demonstrated in Vermont (as opposed to the bad skiing that I also demonstrated at times in Vermont). We were successful in simplifying the task of skiing well, and I left Vermont feeling confident in both my skate and classic techniques. I wrote down simple clues that I can refer back to when I start to struggle.

Here I am skate roller skiing during Saturday afternoon’s session, followed by Brayton Osgood:

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