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Author Archive

Steamy Summer Training

3.Jul.2014 by Ida Sargent

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

Track intervals

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. 

BEND!!

31.May.2014 by Ida Sargent

Phew…. I’m tired!  It’s Friday night and I have my feet up with a cup of tea, enjoying a relaxing evening after a relaxing day where morning yoga was the main event of the day.  We just finished our first training camp of the new season and the heaviness of my tired legs has settled in inspiring new motivations and excitement through fatigue and sore muscles.  It’s funny how that irony plays out in the body and mind of an endurance athlete.  As in years past, the first training camp for myself and my teammates on the US Ski Team took place in Bend, Oregon.  The variety of workouts in such a cool location make this camp one of my favorites.  We took advantage of the late season snow on Mt. Bachelor with long skiing sessions in the morning and then enjoyed the warm weather in town in the afternoon for running, mountain biking, rollerskiing, and strength training.  Mother Nature spoiled us with incredible ski conditions and sunny summery weather.  And after a break for the spring, it was great to get the band back together. We hit the ground running, fired up and training hard for another season.

A typical day at Bend camp starts early as we race the warming temperatures for fast firm conditions on the mountain before the snow turns to slush.  All of the ladies shared a house and the alarms started ringing around 6:30am.  The first ones up started the coffee and a big pot of oatmeal.  Then a flurry of scraping skis, applying klister, drinking coffee, checking the webcam to see how to dress as the conditions on Mt Bachelor can vary significantly from our houses in town, eating breakfast, and more coffee drinking ensued before we loaded the cars and headed up the mountain.  About 30 minutes later we met in the ski lodge to discuss the workout for the day as well as look at video footage from World Cup races, cuing in on technique visions for the session.  Every morning we skied for two or three hours and thanks to Mt. Bachelor for awesome grooming and trail preparation for us.  After the ski we headed back to town for lunch and had a few hours off to put our feet up before the afternoon session which was usually also a couple hours long.  Then we took turns cooking dinners and each year the bar seems to be raised and from homemade pizza to gourmet burgers to delicious pesto chicken everyone did a great job cooking.  After dinner we had team meetings to discuss goals and the winter schedule among other things and then its off to bed and ready for another day.  Usually we have an off day during camp but this year we powered through ten full days of training in a row, maximizing our time on snow.  So I’m rightfully tired and while my body is ready for some well deserved recovery time my mind is excited about technique changes I made, goals we made as a team, and fun times exploring the trails around Bend.  Here are some pictures from the week

I traveled to Bend a few days before the camp started to visit with my aunt Laurie and uncle Bruce who live in town.  They were incredible hosts who spoiled me with a fun weekend filled with hiking, biking, kayaking, yoga, dancing, and great food.

Exploring the headwaters of the McKenzie River on a lava rock filled bike ride.
The biathlon team was in town and Hannah and I went for a ride with Bruce.  The mountain biking is phenomenal in Bend with fast and smooth flowing trails and a nice change from eastern roots and mud.
The Oregon edition of Hosmer Lake
There was a lot more snow than last year and the conditions were great for the entire camp.  We even got a few inches of fresh snow on the second to last day of camp.
The focus of this camp was technique and quality time spent on snow.  We switched up the normal routine with lots of drills like skipping on snow and one leg slalom.  We put an added emphasis on downhills, corners and transitions as these are areas to easily gain seconds with smooth skiing.  I definitely crashed more often than I normally do as I challenged myself to glide longer and fully commit onto a ski but when it’s warm and sunny, taking a face full of snow isn’t the worst thing.
But what goes down must go up and here I am working on my V1 technique
Big smiles after training one day
Frozen yogurt after a team meeting one night.  This is one happy family!
And I got to see my actual family too!  Elsa and Linden drove down from Seattle for Memorial Day weekemd and stayed with Laurie and Bruce.  They spent their days mountain biking and alpine skiing but we met up in the evenings.

This was my fourth trip to Bend and every year I hear stories of incredible crust skiing.  But every year the the conditions or our training schedule has not coordinated and I haven’t ventured off the groomed Nordic trails.  It was looking like this year would be more of the same but then on our last day of camp we woke to cooler temperatures.  We excitedly watched as the car thermometer dropped as we drove up to the mountain, calling out each time the numbers dipped.  It was 30 degrees and sunny as we pulled into the parking lot so we hurriedly grabbed our skis and checked out the snow.  YES!  There was a little snow on a thick crust!  It wasn’t the fastest cruising conditions but there was a crust so we set off from the Nordic Center, past Todd Lake and up to the bowl of Broken Top.  It was hard work and slow going at times but we found some endless meadows of crust and a panorama of phenomenal view, putting the cherry on top of a great camp.

The crew heading out with Bachelor behind us
Heading up

Sparks Lake in the distance
Todd Lake

Taking some turns on the way down

 

Olympic Reflections

4.Mar.2014 by Ida Sargent

After a whirlwind three weeks, the Olympics are over.  The finish lines have all been crossed, the medals spread out to nations around the world, the fireworks which blasted over the stadium during closing ceremonies leaving those of us inside with the feeling of being in a war zone have ended, and the Olympic flame was extinguished.  For many of us, though, the racing has continued and there has barely been a moment to catch our breath and recover from the excitement, adrenaline, emotion, and action.  Finding time to reflect on this big moment has been hard as we immediately jumped back into the World Cup season and are continuing racing in Scandinavia. This continuation of movement had reaffirmed to me that the Olympics was not a destination or an endpoint but rather an amazing stop along this incredible journey.  I left Sochi with more excitement than I brought with me and treasure the memories from these Olympic Games.

 

It was a rollercoaster Olympics with the full spectrum of emotions and sensations.  From the extreme heat in the 10km classic race to the bone chilling cold of the airport terminal in the middle of the night for our Sochi departure, I felt it all.  But the emotion that resonated the strongest and the one that propels me forward with new beliefs, goals, and insight, is inspiration.  Inspiration from the complete exhaustion that I felt racing over the top of the last hill after having pushed harder than I ever thought possible.  Inspiration from watching Sophie smoothly ski into the final in the sprint.  Inspiration from being so nervous that I could barely talk before the first race.  Inspiration from the pride of being apart of team USA as we walked into the opening ceremonies dressed in our over the top flag sweaters.  Inspiration from the sound of the stadium during this unforgettable march.  Inspiration for watching medals hung around the necks of fellow athletes.  Inspiration from the disappointment of standing on the sidelines in events which I believed I could do my best.  Inspiration from cheering myself hoarse for teammates as they put their all into the snow, slush, and ice.  Inspiration from the never ending smiles from the friendly, helpful, and colorfully clad volunteers who made this event possible. Inspiration from the peace which prevailed through the Games despite warnings of violence and threat.  Inspiration from the support I received from so many caring friends and family at home.

 

Thank you to all who supported me along the way and made this unbelievable experience possible.

 

Olympic Stadium panorama

 

The Endurance Village

 

The village under a full moon

 

 

Rings and mountains: What a backdrop

 

Susan, Hannah, and I in the rings

 

The chalets where we stayed

 

Team training before the sprint

 

Sprint heats

 

Snowy Rings

 

Go USA! Relay cheering

 

Buddies

 

Watching Hannah and Susan in the Women’s relay and Mixed Relay

 

 

 

Not just sunny weather

 

Palm trees in the Coastal Village

 

The torch!

 

Holding up the flame

 

Closing Ceremonies

 

 

Craftsbury in the front row

 

Let the Games Begin

9.Feb.2014 by Ida Sargent

For a long time, I’ve tried to imagine what it would feel like to walk with Team USA into an opening ceremonies, to conjure in my mind the sights, sounds, and emotions that I would feel.  Finally two nights ago, I had that chance and the experience blew away any hopes or expectations.  Even with the tightest and itchiest turtleneck around my neck, the goosebumps were chilling.  I still have not found the words to describe the how unbelievable it was but I will cherish the memories of holding on to my teammates Sophie and Jessie as the three of us screamed, jumped, danced, and laughed in a burst of happiness, shock, excitement, elation, tears and more.  Even a sweater that we once considered laughable has now become my favorite piece of apparel.  Without any knowledge of the Russian alphabet, we couldn’t understand the order in which the countries marched which just added to the excitement watching each new country emerge into the special stadium which was designed specifically for these ceremonies, and then join the other countries, adding to the cheering and energy filling the space.  “Hot Cool Yours! Hot Cool Yours,” the motto of these games rang loud and clear, chanted in unison as the lights flashed and music blared, bringing everyone together.  And when the Russians walked out the sound of the cheering was deafening, and my excitement and joy reached a new level.  The 2014 Games are less than 48 hours old but it has already been an indescribable experience.  I feel very lucky to be in Sochi with my teammates and coaches and to have such wonderful support from friends and family at home. And most importantly, I am very excited to compete for Team USA and officially become an Olympian.  My racing starts this week on Tuesday with the freestyle sprint and then again on Thursday with the 10km Classic.

 

Sophie, Randy, and I with the rings in the stadium

Perfect ski conditions every day so far!
USA Nordic team dressed up before we left the Endurance Village for the Opening Ceremonies
Team USA athletes showing their skills while we waited for the ceremonies to begin.

Inside the stadium

 

Team Jamaica entering the stadium

Russia enters under thunderous applause

A little TV time on NBC!  It was so fun to hear from everyone who was watching from home.
The outpouring of community support has been unbelievable.  Thank you all!
Looking forward to these next couple weeks of racing with this incredible team!
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Watching Susan and Hannah in their first race right now and I must say I’m more nervous than for most of my races! Go GRP!