It has been a busy couple of months since my last post. Since then, I have had a two-week camp in Park City, had a training block in Anchorage, went to visit my old team in Fairbanks, and now I am in Bozeman recovering after another two-week camp in Park City. When I originally started this blog, I didn’t think I would have enough to write about, but now I am overwhelmed with what I have done since my last post. I will try keep you engaged by “telling” with pictures.
The first Park City camp was amazing. I have been to Park City three times, but only once in the summer, so it was great to go back and enjoy some hot weather and some sun. Even though Alaska had the best summer in the last century, we had one of the worst falls on record and we were able to get out for a good chunk of it.
The camp was a pretty normal training camp, the biggest difference though was that we lived just above 8000 ft and trained mostly between 5000-6000 ft. It was an amazingly ideal situation and so valuable considering the majority of the important races next season will be at altitude.
We had a few critical workouts including a sprint time trial. My coaches, Erik Flora and Sam Sterling, spent most of the day before searching for the perfect course and they found it in a new neighborhood about 40 minutes outside of Park City. It is incredible how much dedication they have for this team.
We finally made it back to Alaska for an easy recovery week. At the beginning of the week, Reese Hanneman and I had the opportunity to join in a golf scramble fundraiser held by Girdwood 2020. Both Reese and I received a “Go for the Gold” grant for this season from them so we were very happy to join in. I had never golfed before, but I was lucky enough that we played the best ball of our group.
The team also put on a fundraiser dinner for the winning bid from the APU gala earlier in the summer. We do not get the opportunity to make such good meals that often, so I was a little nervous on how the meal would turn out, but my more experienced teammates pulled through and it went really well.
Since this is an Olympic year, the pressure is high for the whole team, but we get the unique experience of a lot of media attention. Cross-country skiing has not been the most popular sport in the past, but with the success of the US woman’s team in the last year, the team is getting a much stronger media presence than ever.
Towards the end of the Anchorage training block, Anchorage started getting nicer and nicer. Since I live less than a mile from Kincaid Park, I spend a lot of time there, especially when training alone. These three pictures basically sum up what Kincaid means to me in the summer: moose, the Cook Inlet, and overlooking the Chugach. It does not get much better to me.
For my last recovery week in Alaska, I decided to go up to Fairbanks with my former UAF teammate and current APU teammate, Lex Treinen. I have a lot of fond memories of Fairbanks so it was great to go up and see my old team and do a few workouts in my old territory.
Back in Southcentral Alaska, my teammate Reese Hanneman and I got the amazing opportunity to talk to the kids at the Girdwood K-8 School. Opportunities like these are major motivators for me. The passion and excitement kids have when they get to listen to what we do is humbling and really makes me forget all of the trivial aspects of the sport and causes me to remember why I actually started.
This was my first school presentation and I definitely need more practice, but I am excited for the next ones after the season ends. Ms. Cook and her class will be following Reese and me this winter so the pressure is on us to perform well this winter or we will have a lot of disappointed kids back home.
Finally, we just finished up our last Park City altitude camp. It was a pretty hard camp for me, getting food poisoning the first day and trying to get back on track. The camp ended really well though with some nice weather and a large group of guys to train with. In total, there were over 25 top US men in Park City for the two weeks so we were able to butt heads in a few workouts. I am pretty excited about where this country is headed in the world of skiing.
Now, I am taking a much needed recovery week visiting my teammate David Norris in Bozeman for a few days and family nearby before heading back up to Anchorage for the last training block before the race season. I can hardly wait, but I’m glad there are a few more weeks to tune up.
For more on our Park City camp, check out Reese Hanneman’s blog.