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Posts Tagged ‘Elinor’s’

Quality time in Craftsbury

3.Feb.2012 by Clare Egan

For the last two weeks or so, I’ve been holding down the fort here in Craftsbury as my teammates travel and race all over God’s white acre. In the short span between January 19th and February 2nd, the CGRP has been represented at races in Italy, Germany, Estonia, Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Russia, Norway, and the western United States…AND at the Craftsbury Marathon, of course. While the adventure of travel is unbeatable, I’m happy to be staying close to home this winter. This is my first season of full-time training and racing, and that alone is plenty of excitement for me. Plus, I need all the help from Pepa I can get!

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Holding down the fort at 739 Town Highway 19. That's 9 empty bedrooms, if anyone is counting.

So, am I losing it? (REDRUM). Well, not exactly. Though in the absence of no-dust Dylan and everything-in-its-place Pat, I have seized the opportunity to overtake the entire living room and have subsequently started to lose track of my own stuff. The only saving grace is that other, less well-organized teammates are also missing and so there is no one else’s crap with which to confuse my own. Clutter aside, as the single resident of the house, my newfound sense of propriety has inspired me to higher levels of responsibility: I regularly keep the stove alit. I bring in the mail every day. I have even felt the tinglings of an urge to clean the whole place, though they are as of yet unfruitful.

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office/living room/music room/breakfast nook/napping couch/game room/fire place

Luckily, most of my time ‘alone’ here has not been spent in true solitude. For the first week, Nils Koons, our training partner and friend from the Rossignol team, kept me company in the house. Together, we forgot to get groceries every single day until we were eating questionably bygone raisin bran with unquestionably bygone yogurt for breakfast. (Raisin bran with yogurt is not good, even when both are decidedly un-rancid.) My friends Maura and Kenny drove up from Boston for a well-timed visit during the sunny and snowy weekend of January 21-22, during which we skied, shot biathlon rifles, and enlisted Lucas Schultz  to jump their completely dead car. (“Not to worry, I know someone who will be over here in 3 minutes to rescue us.”) Another well-timed visitor was my friend Dan from Burlington, who came to Craftsbury last Saturday night to celebrate my marathon win (and winnings). You may not believe this, but Parker Pie (local favorite pizza/bar establishment) was HOPPIN’… it was like a club scene in there! Not wanting to disturb Lucas a second time, I enlisted Brian Gluck when we needed to pull Dan’s car out of the ditch. (“Not to worry, I know someone who will be over here in 3 minutes to rescue us.”) Last but not least, our surrogate pet grouse, Mo (separate blog entry to follow), has been unwavering in his quest for human social interaction, in what seems to be an adamant rejection of the behaviors one would typically expect from his species.

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During the week I have been at least somewhat diligent about getting work done around here, ranging from helping out in the Hosmer Point camp office (who knew that a person could get sore from doing a bulk mailing?) to visiting Greensboro Elementary to give a presentation about skiing and getting outdoors. I have also entertained the possibility of doing the compost for Brian, which delights him almost as much as when I actually do it.

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Getting in some office hours. Rhetorical question: Is it possible to get any work done if Pepa is sitting across from you?

Training has been going really well, now that I can show up 10 minutes late and have only Pepa yell at me instead of the whole team. And, we have SNOW! I’ve done some good quality interval workouts with our junior extraordinaires, Hannah and Lauren, as well our visiting South American contingent, Federico (Argentina) and Leandro (Brazil). Communcation between the Brazilian and the Bulgarian is something to behold and is one of my favorite parts of our daily workouts. And, no surprise here– hitting the gym: even less sweet when you’re alone.

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Lonliness is an empty gym.

I have succomb to accute, late-onset, residual hunger from the 50km. For some reason, this did not set in until Tuesday, after racing on Saturday. But it has continued full-force even into the wee hours of this morning (Friday), when I was forced out of bed at 4:30am by hunger pangs for a snack of fruit leather. The kitchen staff have been invariabely understanding of my issue, and generous in their provision of leftovers. Success: being greeted at the back door of the kitchen by a staff member who preempted by maple sausage prowl and had set some aside for me.

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The staff shelf, God be praised.

The best part about staying home in Craftsbury? Getting to spend a lot of quality time with this person:

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My First Summer in Craftsbury, and other Firsts

21.Sep.2011 by Clare Egan

I arrived at “Elinor’s,” as our farmhouse-turned-athlete-compound is known, in the first week of June. My first impression of my new home was highlighted by Hannah’s remarkably good paintings of local scenery, which line the living room walls, and ‘infused’ by the distinctive smells of stale chain saw gas and sweat mingling in the stairwell, emanating from the drying racks outside of Pat and Dylan’s Man Cave room. With this impression, I began an endless list of firsts. Not surprisingly, my transformation from college runner-skier ( I put “runner” first on purpose) to Green Racing Project skier required a major overhaul of the intensity, variety, and quantity of my daily athletic commitments. What I did not expect, however, was the extent to which my lifestyle outside of training would change upon moving to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont (should’ve known!).

My first workout of the summer, with my new team and my new coach, was an 80-minute classic roller-ski the morning after I moved in. I am a novice (though not outright first-time) roller-skier, and in the beginning, I spent about as much time roller-skiing as I did filming my teammates from Pepa’s passenger-side window, as they skied for twice as long as I could. Ah, those were the good ol’ days. Within the first week, I tried rowing, ski erging, hill bounding, and Pepa’s ab-wrenching hill jumps for the first time. “And on the 7th day,” I slept for 10.5 hours and began a 20-day bout with semi-paralysis which required that I sit myself up in bed each morning using my arms. By the end of June, as NENSA’s junior development camp was underway at the Outdoor Center, Pepa thought I was ready for my first roller-ski intervals. Of course she was right; I managed to evade both physical catastrophe and mental ruin, staying ahead of most, if not all of the J2 age group participants. In early July, I survived my first “speed week,” comprised of at least seven (7) interval sessions, including my first 15km running race. Admittedly, the comments section of my training log from that particular week contains the entry, “OMG HORRIBLE,” but hey, I made it. It had been a struggle for me to finish those 80-minute roller-skis when I first came to Craftsbury, but on the last Sunday of July, I completed a 3-hour and 45-minute death march roller-ski odyssey to Lake Willoughby, closing out my first “volume week” with a grand total of 20.1 hours of training success. The comments for that day were “Felt good! Surprise.” I am capable now now of things that I never would have thought possible a year or a month ago, or even yesterday. Most days, in fact, I find I do at least one impossible thing before sitting down to lunch!

My days and hours off from ski practice have been flooded with a torrent of exciting, new activities and opportunities to learn. Writing this blog entry is undoubtedly the most time I’ve spent indoors since coming to Craftsbury. In the garden I have learned to seed, weed, water, identify, harvest, wash, and store no fewer than 15 kinds of edible plants. Thank you, Anna Schultz! I fulfilled a life-long dream by assisting in the care of 4 piglets at Hosmer Point, the summer camp down the lake which is newly affiliated with the Outdoor Center. I fed them at least once every day, and cried honestly upon their recent demise. Brian Gluck, the Outdoor Center’s carpenter and maintenance guru, taught me that every life form is worth crying over, and also how to put on a metal roof. In the evenings, after spending some quality time with my porcine friends at Hosmer Point, I often partook in whatever absurdity was underway at camp. Most notably, perhaps, was my on-call appearance at Carnival Night as a gypsy fortune teller. I knew I had succeeded when two weeks later, on the last night of the session, a camper confided to me: “My fortune came true!…About the treasure!!” I can only hope that my achievements in gardening, farming, and fortune telling might be equaled on the trails come wintertime.

My first impression of Elinor’s hasn’t changed; it has been supplemented by gems like that time we stayed home and cooked local beef and artichokes and sweet corn in the middle of the summer and sat around the campfire in the yard eating it all, and how on days when we were up early enough we could see the cloud of morning mist floating in the valley between our house and the Creek Road, and the way the house smelled when our ingenious Vermonter girl teammates made and preserved 10 jars of pickles during hurricane Irene, and by finding scrawled messages by the communal phone like, “Pat your uncle Bob called he says congrats on the big win.” It is true that the deer flies were abominable (and immune to deet) for approximately three weeks in the middle of July, and it seems that the power goes out for a day or so at least once a month here, and the staircase scent did for a brief time become truly intolerable due to an unfortunate and critical misunderstanding of our septic system’s layout. But for the most part, the grass isn’t greener on any side that I know of. Here’s to hoping that my summer of firsts was the first of many. Happy Fall!

Posing proudly with the world's first documented Beet/Swiss Chard cross-breed, grown in our very own organic garden.

Posing proudly with the world's first documented Beet/Swiss Chard cross-breed, grown in our very own organic garden.

Susan (Left), Hannah (vintage skating costume), and I working together in the Climb to the Castle roller-ski race up Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid.

Susan (Left), Hannah (vintage skating costume), and I working together in the Climb to the Castle roller-ski race up Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid.

High Rollers: Susan and I "working" at Casino Night at Hosmer Point.

High Rollers: Susan and I "working" at Casino Night at Hosmer Point.

Feeding Spots his last supper.

Feeding Spots his last supper.