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Archive for July, 2011

Whittier Sightseeing!

31.Jul.2011 by Ida Sargent

We had an afternoon off during the dryland portion of the camp and it was the perfect timing for a Dartmouth reunion and sightseeing trip with Anchorage native Eric Packer.  Eric took Sophie Caldwell, Rosie Brennan, and I to the port town of Whittier.  It was about a 45 minute drive to a  6 mile one lane tunnel through a mountain, finally arriving in Whittier.  Known for its poor weather, the saying goes, “It’s always shittier in Whittier” but we lucked out and it was definitely prettier on that side of the mountain.  The town is really little but we had fun taking pictures, eating ice cream, and lounging on the docks in the sun.  Especially during camps when the training load is high and intense, it’s great to get to get away and relax the mind and the body.

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IMG0792-MThe Portage Glacier

IMG0744-LVery green glacial water

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IMG0785-MEric went swimming and scared some tourists

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The road ends in Whittier, so any onward travel is by boat on the William Sound

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We flew down from the glacier yesterday evening and everyone is back in Anchorage, resting some very tired muscles.  The skiing was awesome and pictures and stories are on the way.

Blueberries

26.Jul.2011 by Susan Dunklee
The Hosmer Point Crew

The Hosmer Point Blueberry Crew

One of my favorite things about summer is fresh berries, especially blueberries and raspberries.  On Sunday afternoon, Clare and I joined some of the Hosmer Point campers to pick blueberries on a farm off the North Wolcott road.  Our group brought back over 60 lbs of berries for the dining halls at Hosmer Point and the Center.  I don’t have any statistics for how many pounds we ate while picking, but it was a lot.  (“Blueberries for Sal” anyone?  One for the bucket, one to eat.  One for the bucket, one to eat.)

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The weigh-in station

Searching for an odd heart-shaped berry

Searching for an odd heart-shaped berry

So many plants to choose from!

So many plants to choose from

GRP's representation

GRP's representation

Don't spill!

Don't spill!

Are you hungry yet?

Are you hungry yet?

Alaska Dryland

23.Jul.2011 by Ida Sargent

The US Women’s team camp plan was changed this year and our summer snow camp was changed from New Zealand to the Eagle Glacier in Alaska.  The plan was to organize a huge women’s group with many of the top North American racers for a week of dryland training and a week of glacier skiing.  I had traveled to Alaska four different times before this trip for various ski races and I can’t say I really liked the place during any of those trips.  It takes a long time to get here (often a longer travel day than to Europe)  and then it was always either dark and below zero or dark with very little snow.  But I was ready to put those experiences aside and was looking forward to experiencing Alaska in the summertime.  And what a difference it has been!

I flew to Alaska a little over a week ago and was greeted by the sun despite it being close to midnight.  My last flight left Seattle at sunset and we had a continual sunset all the way to Anchorage.  If anything it was getting lighter as the time went on and we flew farther north.  Since then we have had perfect training weather with temperatures in the sixties and seventies, a fair amount of sunny days, and only one afternoon of rain!  The training group has been huge and lots of fun!  The US team, Canadian National Team, APU, and other top skiers from around the country are all training together so it has been awesome to train with people who I have previously only raced against during the winter!  For the past week we have been staying at Alaska Pacific University and training in Anchorage.  The APU team have been great hosts and have taken us all around Anchorage sharing their different training grounds.  We’ve put in lots of distance hours as well as a bunch of interval and speed workouts.

The stretch of beautiful weather is supposed to end today so we are heading up to the Eagle glacier a day early.  We are leaving tonight rather than tomorrow so we can fly in rather than having to hike in with all our gear once the gnarly weather hits.  It’s a 5-10 minute flight from Girdwood, Alaska and I’m really excited for my first ever helicopter flight.  Then I’m even more excited to be back on snow!  For the second half of the camp, we will be staying at APU’s training center on the glacier and will be skiing, eating, sleeping, and skiing some more!  I’m not sure what to expect but from what I’ve heard it’s the perfect place for putting in lots of quality hours on snow!  I’m sure there will be some great stories of what happens when 15 or so female Nordic skiers and a handful of male coaches live together in a secluded and rustic building on a glacier for 9 days.

Here are some pictures from the past week of camp.  Thanks a lot to Matt Whitcomb and Lauren Loberg for taking all the pictures during the workouts.  Visit www.nccsef.org or the USSA Nordic Facebook nordic page for more pictures!

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We did a 2 hour double pole along the bike path of Turnagain Arm.  A strong headwind on the way back made for a tough finish and a lot of pace lining.

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The second day of camp had 5x6min L4 double poling intervals.  Intervals with this big of a group are fun and tough.  It seemed like someone new was pushing the pace on each interval making for fast times and lots of hammering.  It’s also a good experience to ski behind different people and copy their tempo or technique.  Liz and I are working together on this interval in an unsuccessful attempt to catch Kikkan.

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Awesome scenery during one of the distance rollerski workouts!

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We did a 3:30 Tour of Anchorage OD which was a loop around the different bike paths of the city.  We skied alongside the ocean for a few long stretches and the clear weather gave mountain views including some of Denali.

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There were a few sections where the bike paths didn’t connect.  Jessie and I practiced our off-road rollerskiing skills because Sadie told us we were not allowed to take our skis off!

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Many of our afternoon workouts have been trail runs into the mountains surrounding the city.  On this run, we ran to Rabbit Lake which is where Kikkan’s husband Jeff proposed.

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Chandra and I went swimming as soon as we reached the lake.  The water was a lot colder than Big Hosmer so it was a chilly run home but totally worth it!

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Yesterday we did a short speed session.  We skied around a neighborhood where there was very little traffic and had great head-to-head sprints.  For me it was really fun to chase and be chased by Kikkan!

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All of our interval workouts have been in a big groups which has been great practice for mass start races.  This picture is from a workout where we did 6x10min at L3 with a faster sprint finish to each interval.

282589_222583437782911_124575080917081_599982_4597901_nGirls camp has of course had lots of pink and other bright colors.  Thanks to Rudy Project for all the neon!

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My moose count got so high that I lost track.  They are literally everywhere including right in the middle of the city.  I think the gold medal day was when I saw six different moose within about six hours!  We even have a couple that live in our backyard and were eating the rhubarb outside of the coaches apartment.  We haven’t seen any bears yet but we have eaten quite a bit of freshly caught salmon and halibut adding to the Alaskan experience!

White stuff

17.Jul.2011 by Hannah Dreissigacker

After at least two weeks of waiting for snow and getting really sick of having to choose between a long run/hike, a short run, running intervals, or strength on the back porch, I finally got what I wanted: SNOW!  And…more snow.  And more snow.  And lots of wind.  I should have been more careful with what I asked for–now there was so much snow and it was so windy and stormy each day that Karl up at the Snow Farm couldn’t groom–if he could even see where to go, the trails just blew back in right behind him.  One day I woke up to howling wind and pouring rain,  and after leaving for his snow-blower-testing job at 5:00 am, Nils was back by 8:30 because the road up the mountain was totally closed.   It was a tough time for me–I went running down in Hawea, surrounded by sparkly snowy white mountains, and just stared longingly up into them the whole time–if the rain stopped and the clouds were high enough to see them, that is.

Then finally on Thursday my mind was made up–I was going up the hill no matter what!  Even if it was miserable windblown skiing, I wanted to see it for myself.  I’d gotten wind that the Snow Farm was grooming, and it looked like it was going to be a nice day, so I caught a ride in to town, and then hitched up the hill.  And it turned out to be a beautiful day! Wahooooo!  What a great feeling to be GLIDING, and on top of the world too!

In the four days since then, I’ve skied about 14 hours, and its been getting better and better each day.  Nils and I have met lots of interesting people hitching up the road to the Snow Farm, and we haven’t had to wait longer than about 10 minutes for a ride.  Today there was almost no wind at all and it was a bluebird day.  Its hard not to ski yourself into the ground when its like that!

Here are some pictures from the past few days:

The view from my jumping hill--another of the things I did before I could ski.

The view from my jumping hill--another of the things I did before I could ski.

The view looking down the access road.  I never once saw the snow this low into the valley last year.

The view looking down the access road. I never once saw the snow this low into the valley last year.

So excited to be on snow!

So excited to be on snow!

Not bad skiing

Not bad skiing

This is how we get up and down the access road.  Would you pick him up?
This is how we get up and down the access road. Would you pick him up?