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Author Archive

Knockout World Championships

2.Mar.2015 by Ida Sargent

We skied for the last time this morning in Falun.  The fans were gone, the stadium was empty, the banners taken down, and us orphan Americans without a home to easily return to, were the only skiers out on the trails.  Another World Champs is finished and it was an incredible knockout week for the US Ski Team.  There were strong perfomances in almost every race and then having two American flags raised above the podium was unbelievable and a testament to all the hard work we have put down as a team! Congrats to Jessie and Caitlin for very inspiring races!

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PODIUM!!

A well deserved champagne toast after an incredible day!

A well deserved champagne toast after an incredible day!

I had the opportunity to literally open the World Championships, starting bib number one in the first race!  The eruption of the crowd when I tripped the wand is a moment I'll never forget!

I had the opportunity to literally open the World Championships, starting bib number one in the first race! The eruption of the crowd when I tripped the wand is a moment I’ll never forget!

The race didn't go as well as I had hoped or planned but that's ski racing.  There are some things that you can't control but I gave everything I could in the tricky conditions and kept fighting all the way to the finish as my pain face shows!

The race didn’t go as well as I had hoped or planned but that’s ski racing. There are some things that you can’t control but I gave everything I could in the tricky conditions and kept fighting all the way to the finish as my pain face shows!

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A TV screen shot before my quarterfinal heat

Sophie and I cheering with our awesome PTs Ana and Zuzana on the relay day.  A huge thanks to all the coaches, techs, and volunteers that helped the team this week!

Sophie and I cheering with our awesome PTs Ana and Zuzana on the relay day. A huge thanks to all the coaches, techs, and volunteers that helped the team this week!

Early last week I had my own knockout experience but of a slightly different kind.  I was finishing a workout with a few short speeds.  The snow was icy and fast and at the end of one speed, I poled between my legs and faceplanted on the snow.  The crash knocked the wind out of me but I was initially most concerned whether anyone had witnessed it or if I could pick up my broken glasses, watch, and other pieces of the yard sale fall without anyone noticing.  I finished the ski feeling a little shook up but nothing too concerning.  But as the day progressed a nagging headache refused to go away so I mentioned it to the team doctor mostly just hoping to get some Tylenol from the med kit.  I had an early flight the next morning to go to Slovenia for OPA cup races the following weekend and I didn’t want a headache to keep me awake.  Our doctor immediately ran me through a concussion test (which I thought I passed with flying colors but apparently not) and the coaches and doctor decided to cancel my travel plans.  Initially I thought they were overreacting as it was just a little headache and I was very much looking forward to seeing my US friends and teammates racing on the OPA circuit as well as some fun and sunny racing in Slovenia that weekend!  But within a few hours I was very thankful that our doctor had recognized the early concussion symptoms and the next day was grateful to be curled up in my bed in a dark room rather than trying to navigate airports and travel amidst waves of nausea, dizziness, and throbbing headaches.

A week has now past and I’m slowly emerging from the concussion haze and returning to some very easy training.  It has been extremely challenging to go from the feelings of peak fitness to feeling worn out or dizzy after only a short walk.  Hours and hours spent hanging out in a hotel room in the middle of World Championships and at first not even being able to read, watch tv, or surf the web have been equally painful.  My mom always says, “everything happens for a reason” and I repeat this to myself as I knit, color, or partake in other mindless activities to pass the time.  Each day I feel a little more like my normal self and am excited to return to racing.  Tomorrow our team is travelling to Lahti, Finland for World Cups on Saturday and Sunday!

Sunny Falun

8.Feb.2015 by Ida Sargent

After lots of snow over the course of our first week in Falun, the sun finally came out for a few beautiful days in Falun, Sweden.  It was a nice end to the training camp and the perfect energy boost for the last few hard sessions.  Tomorrow I travel to Ostersund, Sweden where I will meet up with my USST teammates and race in a World Cup there on Saturday.  Pepa flies home to Vermont to rejoin the rest of the GRP team.

Sunrise on my morning jog

Sunrise on my morning jog

Morning rays

Morning rays

Looking down the stadium

Looking down the stadium

A Swedish ski cafe

A Swedish ski cafe on the trails

Looking out over Falun from halfway up the Mordarbacken

Looking out over Falun from halfway up the Mordarbacken

Our cabin with the ski jumps behind

Our cabin with the ski jumps behind

Hanging over my poles after a hard interval.

Hanging over my poles after the “final” in my sprint time trial.  The training has been great but I’m excited for the races and ready to go!

Training camp in Falun

4.Feb.2015 by Ida Sargent

Greetings from training camp in Falun, Sweden!  I have two full weeks off from World Cup racing before a weekend of World Cup racing in Ostersund, Sweden followed by the 2015 World Championships here in Falun. This is the longest break since the season started back in November.  Most of the US team is in Davos, Switzerland but I needed to stay at sea level to prepare for speedy sprint racing so Pepa traveled to Falun to help me train and peak for the World Championships.  I am very grateful that she is able to be here during these important last few weeks of preparations!

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Hello from Falun!

I wouldn’t trade my travel and race schedule for anything but I must admit that the pictures of the skiing at home in Craftsbury this winter have made me a tad jealous.  There’s nothing quite like a tour around Ruthie’s and Sam’s!  The trails here remind me a lot of home and so I’m enjoying the opportunity to just go out and ski through the woods!  The snow conditions are excellent and the sun is even forecasted to appear for our last few days here.

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A bridge design that could possibly enhance the Craftsbury race trails?

This camp is a great opportunity to train on the race courses, familiarizing myself with all the big uphills and fast twisty downhills.  These courses are some of the most challenging that we race on.  One hill is infamously named “Mordarbacken” which translates to the Murder hill and climbs steeply from the stadium all the way to the top of the K120 ski jump.  Today Pepa skied up it twice and without poles either time so she could get video on her Ipad!  So I am not the only one who is in training camp right now.  Pepa skis every morning, runs on the treadmill whenever I am lifting in the gym, and walked several miles to town and back one afternoon when it was too snowy for our rental car tires to make the trip.

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Stopping halfway up the “Mordarbacken” to watch the piston bully groom the ski jump.

Lots of Concept 2 skiergs to choose from while warming up for strength at the local gym

Lots of Concept 2 skiergs to choose from while warming up for strength at the local gym

We’re staying in cabins that are just a few hundred feet from the ski trails making it easy to roll out of bed and get ready to train!  The cabins were advertised as two bedroom but turned out to be just two rooms with one room room being the bathroom.  Each cabin is one room with a couple bunk beds and a kitchen and living area.  We’re spending a lot of time together but Pepa wasn’t keen on being bunk mates.   Quick Bulgarian negotiations later and we now have two separate cabins and haven’t gotten sick of each other yet.

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Big snowflakes falling on the Swedish cabins

Along with Pepa’s heavy training she has been paying closer attention than normal to nutrition and I’ve been impressed with her culinary skills.  She still doesn’t trust anything I cook, preferring to eat salami and Swedish meatballs on those evenings but she has cooked a couple delicious and nutritious dinners of roasted potatoes, sauteed veggies, chicken, salad, and more!  I even witnessed her snacking on carrot sticks yesterday afternoon!  But don’t worry, our freezer is still full of ice cream, our chocolate supply is no short supply, and she unsuccessfully searches for chicken wings every time we visit the grocery.

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Pepa in the kitchen!

 

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A Bulgarian salad that is topped with lots of delicious feta.  We might not be quite up to Craftsbury Outdoor Center dining hall standards but we are eating well.

The town of Falun is only a few minutes away from the ski area so we’ve had a couple shopping trips to ward off cabin fever.  While I can easily stay ahead of Pepa on the ski trails I have trouble keeping up when we start shopping!

A new jacket for World Champs?

A new jacket for World Champs?

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A view from the square in the center of Falun

And the banners in the city center provide inspiration for tomorrow’s training!  It’s easy to be motivated for the upcoming World Champs when you’re surrounded by these images which decorate just about every corner of town!  I will be doing solo intervals on the sprint course but “staying ahead” of this pack of Swedes!

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Can’t wait for World Champs to begin!

On the road in January!

29.Jan.2015 by Ida Sargent

February is quickly approaching and I have not written a blog yet this month even though it has been an action filled January!  After a quick count I realized that I have skied in seven different countries this month!  Here’s an update from the start of 2015 on the World Cup. Happy trails and thanks for reading!

Opening ceremonies at the Tour de Ski.  We surprised the crowd by performing a quick line dance on the stage!  This was my first time starting the Tour de Ski and it was a blast!  Kikkan’s face exhibits our excitement!
Once the racing starts it’s a whirlwind of racing, recovery, and travel.  Here I am racing the 3km Prologue in Oberstdorf, Germany.
The first two races were in Germany and then as soon as we finished the second race, we hopped in the van and drove to Switzerland for the third stage.  This picture was taken at a pee stop along the way which also served as a sightseeing opportunity.
The sun came out for the third stage, a sprint in Val Mustair, Switzerland.
Swiss cheerleaders
After the sprint in Switzerland, we drove to Toblach, Italy and raced a 5km classic the next day.  Along with most of my USST teammates, I ended the Tour after that race, but Liz Stephen continued and finished an impressive 5th place at the end of Tour!  Here she is racing the 15km pursuit in Toblach.
My parents traveled to Europe to watch the races and spend some family time together after the races.  I was pretty exhausted after all the races but a few relaxing days with my parents was the perfect recovery and a very nice change of pace.
We spent a few days in Ramsau, Austria after the Tour and I enjoyed my first extra blue days of the winter!  I trained in Ramsau with my GRP teammates this fall so it was fun to return in the winter and explore new trails in a familiar place!
It was a short break and then quickly back to racing in Otepaa, Estonia.  I first went to Otepaa when I was 15 for the J1 Scandinavian Championships so it was fun to return 11 years later for World Cups
I raced a classic sprint and a skate team sprint but the biggest event of the weekend was the tech sprints.  Our team’s goal was top 12 and we finished 11th which also happened to be first place on reverse podium.  It was a blast to cheer for these guys who work hard day in and day out all winter long!
Next we traveled to Rybinsk, Russia and our first real taste of winter. We were welcomed by temperatures of -25C so here are my blue faced roommates preparing for a day of skiing.  Most of the GRP has raced through a lot of cold temperatures this winter so I shouldn’t be complaining but after spending most of the winter with temperatures barely dropping below freezing, the cold Russian air was quite the shock!
The highlight of the weekend was Liz’s first World Cup podium.  It was an inspiring race showing that hard work pays off! Congrats Liz!

There are two weekends off from World Cup racing so I am currently in Sweden for a training camp with Pepa. I’m missing having the rest of the GRP over here as well for this camp but thanks for this birthday card and American goodies!  Good luck in the SuperTour races this weekend in Craftsbury! Pepa and I will be cheering from Sweden!