Ruka Threshold Intervals Video

Here is the video from a classic intensity session I did this morning here in Ruka/Kuusamo, Finland. The session was supported by coach Matt Whitcomb. Today was only my second day on snow since September. The workout was 4 by 5 minutes at a very controlled pace. It was not designed to be hard, nor was it hard. I am doing more intensity tomorrow, but this whole week is about getting fully recovered from travel and ready to race a World Cup on Sunday.

An Open Letter

An open letter,

As a person who travels internationally and represents the United States of America, the implications of the coming Trump presidency worry me. I fear being viewed through the lens that our president-elect represents, a lens of intolerance and nativism, divine privilege and arrogance. Rather, I’d like to be viewed through a lens of inclusivity, compassion and tolerance. Although I am an American, I do not stand with Trump when he diminishes our fellow humans, incites violence or belittles his critics.

Please understand that I, like so many of my fellow citizens, do not condone the devisiveness of our next president. I do not accept racism. I will not be misogynistic or sexist. I understand that human-caused climate change is an immediate threat to global stability. I prioritize peace. I believe in equal rights and equal protection for the LGBTQ+ community, the disabled community, and peoples of all nationalities, skin colors, socioeconomic statuses and education levels. I welcome immigrants. I believe in the right to worship and represent your religion in any way you see fit, as long as your actions don’t limit the ability of others to do the same. I honor our veterans and our relationships with our allies. Most of all, I dream of a world where every human is valued and has the opportunity to live a happy and fulfilling life.

Know that I acknowledge the division that has split our country, and I recognize that I come from a place of great privilege. I am working to understand the anger and pain, hopelessness and abandonment that so many of my fellow citizens feel. I recognize the need to heal deep and painful wounds and lift up those that are disenfranchised. I, as a U.S. citizen, acknowledge that our global and domestic actions have negatively affected so many lives. I will work to overcome the perils of globalism by finding progressive solutions.

I fear that I will be defined by the whims and tweets of our head of state. I simply ask for your understanding and reservation of judgement.

Sincerely,

Noah Hoffman

Comparison of Classic Time Trials

Yesterday afternoon I repeated the 15 kilometer classic roller ski time trial that I did with my teammates two weeks ago. I did the same course on the same roller skis in similar temperatures. It was an individual start race last time, so it worked well to repeat it even though I was alone yesterday.

The race was at Soldier Hollow and I was supported by U.S. Ski Team coach Matt Whitcomb.

In the first effort I did a great job of using my aerobic capacity, but I did it with tempo based skiing. I did not effectively use my power. Here is the heart rate graph from that first effort:

15k-classic-time-trial-soldier-hollow-october-2016

Video from the first effort is here:

My goal for yesterday’s effort was to ski with way more power and to focus on the flatter parts of the course that require more power. I successfully executed those goals. Consequently, I went almost 20 seconds faster. Interestingly, as I changed my focus, my aerobic effort looked and felt much less impressive. Here is a look at the heart rate data from yesterday’s race:

15k-classic-time-trial-soldier-hollow-november-2016

The heart rate profile does show that I have much better intensity based fitness than I did during the last effort because I am recovering much faster when the terrain permits. Here is the video from yesterday’s race:

(The text in the video is repeated several times. It is not correct until the last time it appears.)

With the change of focus, I also had better pacing. Here are my lap times from the first race:

Lap 1: 10:07

Lap 2: 10:08

Lap 3: 10:22

Lap 4 (half lap): 6:38

Total: 37:15

Lactate: 13.9 mmol

And here are the times from yesterday’s race:

Lap 1: 10:10

Lap 2: 10:11

Lap 3: 10:06

Lap 4 (half lap): 6:30

Total: 36:57

Lactate: 10.0 mmol

I am very happy with the changes I made from the first race to the second. I want to carry the lessons I learned through to the season, and I am excited to test it on snow against a World Cup field.

Piece from Zach and Piece for the NNF

Here is a piece from my coach Zach Caldwell about me and Noah Hoffman Fantasy Cross Country. Per usual with Zach, it’s  both extremely complimentary and a little disparaging. It’s also very well written. I highly recommend it. Click here to view it.
Here is a short piece I wrote for the National Nordic Foundation’s Drive for 25 Fundraising Campaign. It went out in their newsletter today:
The National Cross Country Ski Education (NCCSEF) became the National Nordic Foundation (NNF) just as I was breaking through to the international level of cross country skiing, around the time of the Vancouver Olympics. This transition was part of a cosmic shift in U.S. Cross Country Skiing, and I could not have timed my career better if I’d had a choice.
The creation of the NNF meant that there was finally a platform for the U.S. ski community, which is bigger, more passionate, more supportive and more generous than anyone previously knew, to make a difference in the success of this country’s best skiers. Not only did the community take advantage of this new platform as a way to show support, but we, as a U.S. ski community, saw an almost immediate return on our investment.
Soon after the creation of the NNF and the increased level of support to the best skiers, it became almost laughably apparent that we had found the missing link. With the increased funds we, as a country, went from World Cup points (top-30) being a great day to having a three-time World Cup Crystal Globe winner (Kikkan Randall), three different athletes that have World Championship medals (Kikkan, Jessie Diggins and Caitlin Gregg) and five different athletes that have World Cup or Stage World Cup wins (Kikkan, Jessie, Sophie Caldwell, Simi Hamilton and me). We also now have a women’s relay and sprint relay team that expects to be on the podium every time they toe the start line.
The impact that the U.S. ski community’s support has had on results could not be clearer, but we still have a long way to go to get to where we can and should be as a country. We still have not won an Olympic medal since Bill Koch won silver in Innsbruck 1976.

The only way we can continue to achieve our loftier and loftier goals is by continuing to rely on the NNF. Thank you for continuing to support the NNF and for having such a huge impact on our nation’s success.

Noah Hoffman Fantasy Cross Country is Back

I am super psyched to announce the return of Noah Hoffman Fantasy Cross Country! Again I’ve been working with programmer Adam Mahar to get the site ready to go for the 2016-17 World Cup season! In addition, I have brought in Muffy Roy to help me with the marketing and day-to-day management of the site.

We have made some exciting upgrades for this winter including a new Concept2 Team Challenge in which the winning team will receive a top of the line SkiErg from Concept2. We also have developed a new platform for the Lahti 2017 World Championships in which you will be able to select athletes for each race rather than a single team of athletes for the entire event.

All of last year’s sponsors of the league are back for this season plus new additions including Discrete Clothing, NiteRider Lights, L.L. Bean, Gear West and Canadian WinterSports. All of our great sponsors mean we have a ridiculous prize list, which you can check out here.

I hope you will follow the World Cup season with Noah Hoffman Fantasy Cross Country! Learn more, login or create an account and pick your team here!

Noah Hoffman Fantasy Cross Country Logo 1

2016 Aspen Nordic Fundraiser and Sendoff Party

Join us for the annual Aspen Nordic Fundraiser and Sendoff Party at The Limelight Hotel in Aspen on November 17th from 5-7pm! This year we are celebrating all of the coaches and athletes, past and present, that have been an integral part of Aspen Nordic. We will have free pizza and beer and a huge silent auction. I’m super excited to get to go to Colorado before heading to Europe and I hope to see you at the Limelight!

fall-2016-rmna-aspen-fundraiser

Skiing Does Not Define Me

This afternoon I received an email from one of my good friends. Here is part of the email:

Okay are you doing okay? BE HONEST! I have been reading your blog and it just seems like you are starting to believe this sport is you and defines you. Don’t lose perspective, skiing is something you do not who you are. You are a son, a friend, and a good person (to name a few) and some day you won’t have skiing as the center of your life so if there is anything I can say it’s don’t get too wrapped up or bogged down with sport. 

Not only do I think this message is apt and valuable, it also resonates deeply with my beliefs. In my mind, I have never been defined as a skier. Cross country skiing is the vehicle that I have chosen to pursue excellence, it is not my lifelong passion. I am very excited for the end of my career when I will spend my time very differently than I do now.

It scares me to hear my friend say to me that “it seems like you are starting to believe this sport is you and defines you”. I don’t believe that this sport defines me and I don’t want other people to believe that either.

On the flip side, I think my friend’s observation, which is based on the honest writing that I’ve done recently in this blog, is true. I have been feeling sad and lonely and lost, and the only thing I have to focus on is my skiing. On the one hand, this narrow focus is exactly what I need in order to handle the high load that I’m training. On the other hand I feel one dimensional.

I want to expand my horizons. I want to get an education, have a social life, have hobbies, play recreational sports, give back, adventure, experience new things, push my limits, get out of my comfort zone, etc…

Although I don’t like feeling and for the most part being one dimensional, I have done it intentionally and with deliverance and I know that it’s the right decision and the right way to live my life right now and that it will only happen for a finite period of time and I believe it will help me achieve my goals.

Searching for my Identity

This morning my teammates and I did a 15 kilometer classic time trial on the roller ski track at Soldier Hollow. My goal for the race was to find a good balance between tempo and power and to put down a good hard complete effort. I feel like I accomplished both of those goals.

This was the second roller ski time trial that I’ve done in a week, after the skate 15k that I did with Alex Harvey last week.

My post race lactic acid today was measured at 13.3 mmol, the highest number I’ve seen in many years. This built on the high number that I saw in the race against Alex. With my high training load, I am very happy that I am able to elevate my lactic acid so high.

Here’s a look at my heart rate graph for today’s race:

I did not accumulate as much EPOC during today’s race as I did last week. Here are the text messages that my coach Zach Caldwell sent me about the EPOC accumulation of today’s race compared to other races. (Zach uses Firstbeat Technologies to analyze my heart rate.)

Today’s race was 7.23 ml/kg/min for 37+ min
The one with Alex was harder
The Alex one was super brutal -like 8.5
You also just didn’t put your HR quite as high today
You were coming off a slightly higher recovery score (nighttime heart rate data) with Alex, but not enough to be significant
For comparison – last year in Toblach (Tour de Ski stage, I finished 19th place) you were at 6.5
Alpe Cermis was 7.56
I don’t think it’s exactly an index of how “good” the effort was. But there’s no question you’ve got access to going “hard”.

My teammate Simi Hamilton won today’s time trial. I was second, 20 seconds behind Simi. Roller ski results don’t mean a lot and I’m not too concerned about today’s result. I am not a good roller skier. However, I think Simi skied really well today. I believe he will be good in distance races (as well as sprints of course) this season. I’m very excited for him and for our relay team!