Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Nice Day at Home

Today was a relaxing and productive day at home for me. Tilly got me out the door for a short run in the morning. She is 14 now and can't run very long but she is just as excited to start as when she was a puppy. When we got back to the front Lieta was inside turning over a pan of fresh Carmel Rolls. This is her first Christmas away from her immediate family and carmel rolls are a Gustafsson tradition on Christmas morning. She wanted to have a practice run. I was more than happy to help in the testing. Mom, Dad, and I decided to ski in the afternoon so I had the morning off. Mark and Nordic Ultratune just ground several pairs of skis so I turned on the hot box and started an assembly line. The Gregg's have a lot of skis. I waxed over 20 pairs (although more than half were my own).

Tilly, Ready to go

Liet and the practice rolls, they were delicious...
but maybe we should practice once more before Christmas, I will help test them

Wax Room

Mom's New Mask

I have been skiing the Rendezvous trails the last few days which means moslty up and then mostly down. Today mom' came up with a thoughtful way to stay warm when you don't have any more clothes for the trip back down

Monday, December 22, 2008

Methow Valley Nordic Ski Camp

The last few days I have been a coach at the Methow Valley Nordic Ski Camp. The MV Nordic Club did a great job organizing a professional technique camp for skiers of all abilities. My groups ranged from 5-7 skiers and we really had some good dry land, on-shown and video analysis sessions.

Debbie, John, Me, and Robin getting ready for our afternoon session

This is the first year that I have been directly involved with the camp and it worked out really well. I was worried that the camp wouldn't really allow me the chance to train, but it would be hard on my body to be on my feet outside all day. I have had a bit of a cold from the end of last week. My health was at a point that I felt good enough to go out and ski, but not great while I was out training. My first interval session since the Silver Star races was on Thursday with the MV Junior Team. Sam Naney, Erik Bjornson and Trond Flagstad led the group in a hard interval 4*4min interval session on Thursday. The intervals were hard for be but I think they did a good job cleaning out my system.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I coached at the clinic which was more or less active recovery. I have a hard time taking it easy as I come back to training after not feeling well, and the camp offered the perfect distraction. I went out for a ski on my own Sunday afternoon and felt great.

Working on getting our hips forward by bending at the ankle

Chad capturing our technique on video

Tara, Video Station #2

The whole Gregg family was involved at the camp. I coached, Tara and Chad filmed, my Mom was on ski patrol, and my dad was the photographer. I will post the slide show my dad put together of the camp shortly.

The 120 person camp opened for registration in September and filled in 3 weeks. This is the premiere technique camp for skiers of all abilities. Check out the MV Nordic Club's web site at www.mvnordic.com for more information.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Cookie Tradition

As long as I can remember my brother, sister and I have gone over to Ardis' house to become elves. We decorate a serious amount of cookies. I am a bit afraid to ever count the cookies, because I feel like I eat the majority of them, way more than is healthy. To give you some idea of how many there are, Ardis' has everything ready to go and we usually decorate for a good 2.5 hours. Each year there is a bit of a contest to see who can make the coolest and the ugliest cookie. I usually win one of the competitions.

It is also a bit of a tradition for me to eat so many of them that I get rather sick. This year I was feeling a bit ill before we decorated and presently I am good and healthy. It is taking a lot of self control to stay away from the big box of cookies though. There are gingerbread and sugar cookies decorated with an almond frosting. Yum. Merry Christmas.

Albino Reindeer

Tara, Chad, Ardis, Alieta

This might be half of the collection

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Best race this Season, Almost a sub-60 FIS Point race

With the Whistler Nor/Am's moved to Silver Star, BC there was a small change to the races. Instead of a 20km pursuit race on Thursday (racers ski 10km classic, switch equipment, and race 10km skate) the race was a 20km mass start freestyle, my favorite.
CXC Men in Black relaxing near the back of the lead pack

My mom and dad arrived on Wednesday night after a short 5 hour drive from where I grew up in Washington State. I seem to race better when they are on the course cheering. I woke up feeling fresh and good to a beautiful cold sunny day. It was so nice out that I spent a good portion of my morning jog just taking pictures.

The race started at 1:00pm and it was a large pack for the first 10km of the race. There were several crashes around me. There were a few skiers in the group who did not ski very smoothly with others and were the cause of the majority of the crashes. Luckily I stayed out of trouble and relaxed near the back of the group.

Men's Start

With 7.5km to go things started spreading out and I moved up into 3rd position. I became a bit too excited as we climbed to the top of the course and found myself not skiing relaxed enough to maintain the pace. I dropped to the back of the lead group. While I was at the back of the group I saw an attack forming off the front, but I could not quite push my body to stay with the group.

Brent McMurtry and I trailed the main group by 50 meters going into the final 2.5km. I relaxed behind Brent and attempted to make a few pulls, but Brent always came back around me after only a few seconds. Looking back on one of the uphills I could see my teammate Garrott Kuzzy leading a pack of other skiers and closing in on us.

Men's Finish

I crossed the line in 8th, Garrott Kuzzy 10th and Bryan Cook 14th for a solid day for the CXC men's team. One of my goals for a long time is to have a sub 60 FIS point race. Races are scored based on who finishes in the top 5 and how far you finish from the winner. On Thursday I earned 60.46 FIS points...getting closer.

Caitlin On Top of the Podium

The CXC women had a strong day as well. Caitlin Compton powered to a 27second victory and Kristina Owen finished strong in 13th, Johanna Winters in 17th, Maria Stuber in 21st, and Heather Zimmerman in 24th.

Men's Results
Women's Results

Monday, December 15, 2008

Soveriegn Lake Sprints

Gregg, far left in Quarter Final

My race prep and the qualifying all went smoothly. I finished the time trial and felt pretty good. The course was fast and short and I didn't really feel like I left it all out there. A bit disappointed, I did my normal cool down and started to prepare for the heats.

Results came out and I qualified 31st just missing the heats. I was not happy. I knew I didn't go hard enough earlier. The results were a little funky, Kevin Hochtl who is a fast qualifier and sprinter won by 7 seconds. Rumors were flying around the the results were off. After about 20 minutes I went back and checked the board again, I had actually dropped to 34th. Disappointed I decided to go back to the hostel and rest up for Sunday's Skate 15km.

Kristina (qualified 32nd) and I hitchhiked back to the hostel. When we got back to the hotel we got online to check the results to confirm nothing odd happened which would move us into the heats. The start list was the only thing online. I ate a sandwich then took a nice long shower. Walking back to my room in my towel I saw Kuz (fell in qualifier and just missed top 30) walking quickly toward me and instantly knew that leaving the venue was a mistake.

I threw on my windbriefs and ran out to the waiting van. Thankfully we have some good snow tires on the van because the trailer was swinging us a bit from side to side. I turned the heat on for a 'warm-up.' With the van still rolling I hoped out into the parking lot and sprinted for the start line.

Running towards our Toko wax bench I could see the men out on the course and realized I hadn't made it. Fish told me he had my skis, bib and poles. Confused, it took me a while to realize that I wasn't in the first heat. I put on the bib and checked my poles. They were both mine, but one was 157cm and the other 160cm. Oh well. I grabbed the skis and ran to the line. Putting my skis on I realized that they were Fish's test skis. Fast, but pretty soft for me. Kuz ran up with my matching set of poles and said he would go get my skis. Halfway through the pre-race commands, Kuz came and helped me switch skis. Racers to the line...Bang.

I started conservatively and moved up through the field on the first downhill. I was in 4th going into the final turn, I wanted to be further up. I made the bad decision to take the corner wide and didn't move up at all. I lost a bit of time in the final stretch and finished 5th in my heat. 25th for the day.

I consider that a success given the circumstances. Thanks to Kuzzy and Fish for helping me make my start. Unfortunately Kristina also moved into the top 30 (they took out some juniors in both the men's and women's race). Kuz didn't know this when he came and got me and she didn't make her start.

Not a very smooth day. The team was hungry to make up for it in Sunday's Skate Race.

Results at www.Zone4.ca

Moving to Silver Star

The Bozeman and Soldier Hollow races were canceled due to lack of snow, so we decided to make the drive up to Canada for the Nor/Am races at Sovereign Lakes Nordic Center. This was a good move because the Whistler Nor/Am races on our original scheduled have been mover here as well. The skiing was good when we got here, now it is even better. It feels awesome to be skiing at a lower elevation (more oxygen).

Cook and I enjoying the view from Silver Star Summit

Cook and Kuzzy

We are staying in the youth hostel at Silver Start Mountain resort. It is a nice place and inexpensive too. The change in race schedule has been tough on the budget so this place helps out. There is a great common room/kitchen downstairs to hang out in. My focus has been on skis, training, racing and eating and that has kept me pretty busy. This is my first real off day (meaning no travel) and I am starting to get on top of things. Lots of web posts today. Also, I finally got some batteries for the Flip Video and will try and take some video over the next few days. I am looking forward to clean laundry today too.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

West Yellowstone Race Pics and Report

Katie Ronsee snapped some pictures of the CXC Train getting ready to start the 8km Freestyle race. Check out her blog for more pictures from West. Also check out this YouTube video from the skate race. I am not in the video but you can see most of my CXC teammates. The final kilometer of the race was up a good steep climb. Combined with an elevation of over 7500' it was a tough last few minutes. Prior to the races Kuzzy and I did intervals up the climb. We didn't know what the course would be but I think it was a real advantage knowing how to ski that hill.

CXC Train

Ready to Go

Photo from Ian Harvey and Toko USA

West Yellowstone SuperTour Women's 8.5km Freestyle from FasterSkier on Vimeo.

Thanks for the pictures Ian and Katie and the videos YouTube and Fasterskier.com

Classic Results

Skate Results

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Best Thing about West Yellowstone... Bears

Sorry for the lack of updates. There isn't much snow for cross-country skiing out West so things have been pretty busy. I will have a few posts from the last few weeks coming shortly. There has been some debate about the coolest thing in West Yellowstone. Guess what it is? On one of my off days I went to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center.

I tried to take pictures where it didn't look like the animals were in captivity. None of mine turned out, but Kristina took this one. Guess how much the bear above weighs?

I really like bears, I could watch them walk around for hours, although it is cooler when they run and play.

There were two wolf packs at the center. This one was the scariest looking. Kristina would limp around on the sidewalk and that really captured their attention.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Snow Conditions in West Yellowstone

A big question on many skiers minds is what are the snow conditions? Here in West Yellowstone, MT there is some snow, but not very much. What is wrong with this picture?


Most of the snow we were skiing on in town is gone. There are some sections of the Rendezvous trails that have snow but only 500 meter sections. We did a specific strength workout on them Thursday afternoon.

CXC Women Double Pole Specific Strength

The section we were going back and forth on was pretty good, but the rest of the trail was so thin that the team ran for the cool down. Driving up the mountain a few hundred feet makes a pretty big difference.

Cook and Kuzzy up on the Plateau, Wednesday Morning

There is plenty of snow up high to ski on, but it is ungroomed so we have to ski in our own tracks.

Cook in Yellowstone National Park

Roller skiing into the park is still an option with the roads nice and dry. We saw a few herds of elk and some trumpeter swans. It looks tiny in the above photo, but the elk behind Cook was HUGE.

Today, Friday was the first day on groomed snow. Doug was up on the plateau and groomed 3-4km. The tracks were soft for both skate and classic, but when it gets a chance to set up overnight it will be great. I am planning on training on my race skis tomorrow.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Real Stuff

Driving into West Yellowstone, MT there isn't very much snow to be seen. Standing at the Rendezvous Trail head there is still more brown than white. When you get into the woods, everything changes. The trails were rolled back when there was more snow and that has done an excellent job preserving the track. We arrived to town at 4pm on Saturday, just in time for a quick evening ski. It is great to be back on real skis and skiing real snow. I am one very happy skier. The trails could certainly use some more coverage and the forecast doesn't look promising. Still, for now it is sunny and beautiful.
Cook and Kuzzy skiing out from the Biathlon Range

Brian, enjoying the view on Windy Ridge and the first classic ski of the season


It was a long drive out here, but the skiing is worth it. I am glad that I had my teammates and some Swedish Fish to keep me entertained

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Getting Ready for the Big Trip

The good news this week is that I am excited to hit the road and begin the race season, but the bad news is that Wednesday was my last day at the club for the next two months. I brought in my bags and had the kids guess what a ski racer takes on the road for a 2 month trip. It is fun to bring skis, boots and other gear to show and tell.

Over 40 kids gathered in the Art Room for Cross Country Skiing Show and Tell Check out those Salomon Skis
One Way Poles

A helmet is one of the most important training tools.
Josh checking out my ITA Blog so that we can stay in touch while I am on the road racing

Thanks In The Arena

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Castle OD

Sunday's are over distance training days. This means that they are typically the longest workouts of the week which is usually a good ingredient for an adventure. Today's roller ski was scheduled as a 4 hour classic ski.
There was fresh snow at our door, not enough to ski
but plenty to make roller skiing interesting.


We made several calls and tromped around a bit...

The big guy captured Heather

I went to the Castle to see if any of the Knights there would help rescue her so we could finish our workout. I was taking a while and Heather eventually got herself free and took a picture of me and the castle.

3 hours in to the ski I was starting to get tired,
but seeing different cool mailboxes kept me entertained

So we kept going. Hopefully next Sunday's workout will be on snow with real skis.

The Big Swiss Ball

Last week I brought in one of my favorite training toys to 'The Club." A giant swiss ball. The ball provides an unstable surface that we use to challenge our core strength and balance. A new toy is always exciting, but a ball that is nearly as big as you offers endless play opportunities.
Things were pretty crazy at first with everyone wanting a chance to play with the ball at the same time. We played a modified game of soccer where each team tried to score a point by hitting the wall at either end of the gym.
When the soccer game finished a few of us hung around and worked on balance. I showed them how cross country skiers stand on the ball and play catch to work on our balance. This is a pretty advanced move but both Josh and Brandon were able to stand up on the ball when it was stabilized in a corner.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

So I was planning to go as a Scott for halloween this year but our Scottish roommate has been MIA the past few weeks and I felt a bit awkward rummaging around in his room for a skirt. So I decided to go as a Moose. I danced into the LCO cafeteria after school on Wednesday in my full moose getup only to look around and see that I was the only one in a costume. I felt a bit awkward, but the kids were way into it. Thanks Heather for letting me use your moose hat. I even turned my brown Toko hat into a tail although I don't think anyone noticed. When the carnival started at 5:00 there were lots of people in costumes. I was in charge of ghost darts and had a solid line of kids all night long. Whoever was counting calculated that there were around 500 kids at the carnival.

Over 30 Games were set up in the Gym and Cafeteria for the LCO School Carnival

The night was so busy that I forgot to take many pictures. Luckily Kuzzy snapped this one of me getting ready to write a post. Tonight we went and did a little trick or treating before pizza at the Ideal Market. Donovan and Kuzzy were hunters and I was a moose.


I haven't posted much about training in the past few weeks, but that doesn't mean we aren't getting after it. Last week was a 22 hour week with a lot of rain so not many good pictures. Next week will be another big one. I really enjoy skiing by the larch trees because it makes me feel like I am in an alpine environment. The only larch trees back in WA are alpine larch which only grow up high.


This time of year we are spending a lot of time on the County Road OO climbs.