It’s time for the biathlon national team’s annual European training camp. We will spend the next three weeks training at various locations across Scandinavia. I flew over a week early to enjoy some time on my own first. I did a four day hiking trip through Norway’s highest mountains (check back soon for photos) and visited some American friends living in Lillehammer.
Greta and Henrik, US Biathlon’s 2 newest fans
It’s a mini Ida Sargent!
Greta’s school assignment during Sochi- draw your two favorite Olympic heros- hangs framed on the wall, complete with phonetic spelling.
Greta made sure I had a good visit to Lillehammer- she showed me the ’94 Olympic ski jump (we counted over one hundred and thirty-ten steps walking up), the Maihaugen open air museum, and she warned me about the local trolls who live in the mountains.
I also lucked out by visiting in prime raspberry season.
Greta sent me off with a fresh jar of homemade raspberry jam that she made. She doesn’t realize it, but I think Greta will have two new fans of her own as soon as I share the jam with my teammates Hannah and Annelies. We all love fresh raspberry jam!
Thanks for a wonderful visit Erik, Emily, Greta and Henrik! I hope to come back again soon.
A few days ago the GRP skiing boys set off on a long dirt road cruise. We didn’t really have a plan of where we were going but wanted to get as close to the windmills on top of the Lowell mountain range as possible. After riding some dirt roads and some class 4 roads we ended up pretty close to the windmills.
The windmills from a distance
At this point, this was as close as we could get to the windmills using only dirt roads so we started up what looked like an old unmaintained trail.
Heading into the old unmaintained trail
The trail ended up not really being ridable so we just got off our bikes, picked them up and started hiking straight up the mountain. After about half an hour of bushwhacking we finally made it to the top!
The windmills are massive at about 450 ft tall!
Gordon and Alex next to the windmill for a little perspective
The crew minus myself. There are 21 wind turbines in total.
Trying to get everyone in the photo….
Not a bad way to spend a Friday morning!
After exploring the ridge line, we ripped down the access road. It heads down the other side of the ridge and is about a 6 minute fast fun downhill!
Well, the M4x is alive and well and thinking of Spinal Tap as we have left England for Switzerland.
While there’s plenty to relate about the upcoming World Cup in Lucerne, I’ll start by giving you a quick crash course about our Henley trip. The main point of going to the Royal Henley Regatta was to be over here and away from home for longer in an effort to be more acclimated, prepared, and ready for the World Cup. While we wound up having only one race at Henley, it was a valuable and important one against the GB squad’s quad that won the second World Cup.
The flight over went well. Oars and all.
Love that the cokes which say Jim and Phil in the states say “Mum” over here. Let me tell you though, 3 meter long cases that are lime green turn some heads.
We started to settle in to the regatta quickly with some rigging, some eating, some sleeping. All of them in more than ample amounts. At Henley, a massive chunk of the competitors rent rooms from locals as there are not many hotels in town. It’s a unique setup that works for the regatta. We sweetened the deal with some syrup and GRP hats.
We kept make adjustments to the boat as the week went by and got some quality rows in before Dan showed up to put the final touches on the Friday before our race. I have to say racing on Saturday at Henley is a pretty crazy experience. The course is a little longer than 2k. It’s about 2112 meters. Every meter packed with spectators. Although the regatta has a lot of fanfare that even within our boat has varying degrees of worth, stacking up against the GB quad to jumpstart our engine was very worthwhile. Here’s a quick recap from my personal blog:
the Brits were on average almost 2 stones heavier than us per person (28lbs). that’s a huge difference. we had the favorable lane (berks). i think it’s favor at the start is debatable with any amount of wind, but it is a help at the finish where the river bends and the part of the course you’re on has the inside of the bend. off the start, we were neck and neck through most of the island (roughly the first 200m). i would say our start was decent, but didn’t seem like our ultimate. it was actually when we settled though that we started moving on them, which is great to see and feel. i mean the fact that we didn’t move on them by simply out-rating them is a great thing. we were ahead by the first major mark, the barrier, which is a little over 500 into the race. i’d love to give you times, but got no time right now. we went very similar speeds for all the marks to thos ethat we did in practice, which is interesting. between the barrier and foley, we feel that we got more length than ever was reported. i believe we were up at least half a boat during this chunk of the race. however, just before foley, they started to move and closed the gap some by that major mark. our main error in this race was the fact that we didn’t react more to their move. they were loud, deliberate, and seemed almost anxious about their move. we should have countered with confidence. after foley, which is around halfway sort of, they pulled ahead of us. we stayed in contact and shortly after the 1 mile mark we started to sprint. it was a decent sprint and all of us were yanking on it, but it just wasn’t enough to catch them even in the better lane. we closed back and finished just half a length down. we came rather close to the booms several times, but definitely during the sprint. that steering probably cost us a little bit. we just needed to sprint the whole last 500m at like a 40, or so a few people think and i agree to a degree.
A lot of people enjoyed watching the race and have talked about it since. Even so, all we want to do is keep the speed coming in the races to come.
Speaking of the fanfare, it was kind of neat that it was the 175th anniversary.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just announced that May was the hottest May recorded across the globe ever ( http://time.com/2917053/may-hot-temperature-noaa/ ) And as climate change advances, I think June and July are following suite. Summer training is in full swing and as the heat and humidity increase to record levels, we are sweating!. It’s the time of year where I swim three, four, five, or more times a day to escape the hot stickiness. Visions of lemonade and ice cubes keeping me going on long workouts. I find the existence of new sweat glands with every workout, pumping out salty sweat from every inch of my body. Our coach, Nick Brown, brings a plant sprayer (clean of course since we have an organic garden) filled with ice water and sprays us down between intervals. But we haven’t let the heat or humidity get in our way as we train early and late, logging high volumes of training and dreaming of cooler months this winter.
Swimming in the river in Stowe after a long run
Looking out at Camel’s Hump from Smugglers Notch
A viewpoint during a recent OD run on the Long Trail
Little Hosmer Pond
A peaceful evening at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center waterfront
Pete, Susan, and I leading an Olympic Day event last week
Almost 90 kids participated in an afternoon of sports, fun, dancing, and stories at Hosmer Point.