Sunday, December 20, 2009

Back in Washington for Christmas

The first period of racing is complete for me and I drove down with my family for two weeks of training at my other 'home' in the Methow Valley. Driving up the valley, snow conditions were pretty sad and thin. Thankfully fresh snow fell overnight and although coverage is thin skiing has been great.
Caitlin and Hons waxing up the boards

One of my favortie things about visiting home is skiing and catching up with friends. Caitlin decided to stay in the Pacific Northwest between Silver Star and US Nationals and has been an excellent training partner. I have also really enjoyed skiing with my good friend and climbing partner, Hons.

Fresh Tracks

We even saw a Reindeer out on the trail (my brother)

The Methow Valley Nordic Camp was held this weekend. One of the best technique camps/clinics in the country. I have coached at the clinic before, but opted out this year in order to finish up a good volume block of training. My brother, Chad helped out with Ski Patrol and I matched many of my workouts to ski around with him. I always enjoyed getting on the trails and skiing around looking for 'someone who looks like me, with reindeer antlers and an orange vest.' That hat, and my brother are awesome.

It feels great to train hard and be in one place for more than a few days

Tara, Simon, Me and Caitlin

Last night we enjoyed a community theater presentation of 'It's A Wonderful Life.' The play is great and going dressed up made it even more fun. Thanks Sis for some excellent curry and thank you Tim for the tickets.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The last 5 weeks I have been very focused in my training, racing and recovery. The races in West Yellowstone were a strong start to the season, and I felt even better about my performances in Bozeman. No spotlight races, but very consistent across distance, sprint, classic and skate which has been a major goal of mine the past few years. We are now up in Silver Star, BC getting ready for this weekends NorAm. All of the non-World Cup skiers from North American are here. It will be a highly competitive race. It is my understanding that for the Canadians, the winner of the race earns a spot on the Olympic Team. After a good hard day of intervals in the morning and strength in the afternoon on Wednesday, today was a recovery day. Matt, Karl and I went for a long circumnavigation ski adventure of the Silver Star and Sovereign Lake Trails.

Today was a warm day at 10F. It is nice to wax inside and Matt is excited to try his new Nordic Ultratune XC02

We can get on the trails right from the door to our condo.

3 inches of fresh powder turned us into downhill skiers

Silver Star allows you a few trips up the chair lift.
Normally I prefer to ski up the hill, but today was a recovery day and it was nice to gain the vertical

Matt, Karl, and I enjoying Alder Point. A beautiful spot even on a cloudy day

We finished our 3 hour ski by skiing down main street which is actually a groomed ski trail. This town really is a skier's paradise. I really wish I had brought some money to hit up the Bugaboo Bakery

Sunday, November 22, 2009

2 Months on the Road

I left Hayward on November 12th and will return, at the earliest, over two months later on January 25th. The travel plans include:

West Yellowstone, MT
Bozeman, MT
Silver Star, BC, Canada
Methow Valley, WA
Anchorage, AK
Methow Valley, WA
Minneapolis, MN

I do get a chance to go 'home' to Washington for Christmas, so it really isn't two months on the road.

I packed only have 5 shirts, but the 12 pairs of skis keep my bags full.

I am in West Yellowstone, MT right now for the Yellowstone Ski Festival. 'West' is know for dependable early season snow and over 3,000 skiers take over the town to celebrate skiing, snow and the start of winter.

'West' is also like Christmas for many 'pro' skiers with the arrival of new skis, boots, poles and the latest colors and styles for hats, gloves, jackets, pants, and tights.

Enjoying Blue Skies and Fresh Snow in our new Vertical Limit Gear

Filling up the tub for a little ice bath after a hard week of training.

The first race of the season is Wednesday.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sean McCabe: a Friend, a Teacher, an Inspiration

I decided that I wanted to be a professional cross country ski racer when I was 15 years old, during a 72 hour fast in the High Sierras of California. Sean my friend and teacher made the trip possible. Every year he applied for a scholarship for two high school students to attend an Outward Bound course. He and his wife Laura are two of my greatest role models and inspirations in life. Sitting near that stream many of the life goals I wrote down were a reflection of my goal to be like Sean. I still have my old journal and list of goals, several of which have been achieved. In May, Sean was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and given two weeks. Sadly Sean passed away last Saturday. Sean has made a great influence in so many lives and I will miss my friend greatly.

Sean McCabe working on a Self Portrait (
Photo by John Hanron)

Sean turned one of the unfinished classrooms into the best rock gym I have ever been in. He would pick my brother and I up at 6:30am and we would go to the climbing gym at school. My brother and I pretty much lived in the gym, trying to work up to the incredibly challenging routes that Sean would pump out. Climbing with Sean there just made it more fun. Sean was usually the last teacher to head home at the end of the day and often we would climb after cross country running, ski or soccer practice and catch a ride with him. Sean spent long days at the office but always loved being home with Laura and their two beautiful girls Novie and Dashe. Although he loved his students he relished the summer months and the family's climbing trips.

In September I made it back to the Methow for my brothers wedding. Sean was having good and bad days, so wasn't sure if he would be able to make the celebration but was certainly going to try. Just before the ceremony started I saw Sean with the girls out in the driveway. Already so happy for my brother and Alieta, I was amazed that I could smile any bigger.

Chad, Alieta and Sean

A few days after the wedding I stopped over at the house to bring the McCabes some of the fresh apple cider we had pressed at the wedding. Sean and I had our last face to face conversation. As a testament to Sean's character he was more concerned about me and my well being than himself. Although he did talk about his illness and the changes in his life. He talked about staying positive and of his love for his girls: Laura, Novie and Dashe.

The McCabe Family: Dashe, Laura, Novie and Sean

For my birthday this year my mom and dad gave me a print of one of Sean's paintings. Like the good twin brothers we are, Chad and I selected the same painting, 'Cutthroat Pass'. Sean told me that he painted it from memory after running the 30 miles from Rainy Pass to Harts Pass solo. Cutthroat Pass, the name of the piece and one of the features of the run, is one of my favorite spots. It is a beautiful painting but holds even more meaning once you have run there early in the morning. I have yet to complete the full 30 mile journey, but I did get to run with Laura and Leslie the first few miles back in September.

"Cutthroat Pass" by Sean McCabe

Check out more of Sean's work online at In addition to the originals, canvas and paper prints are available as well.

Thank You Sean for everything. Everyday I try to be more like you. I will always look out for your girls. My thoughts and prayers are you, Laura, Novie and Dashe.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Excited to give Slacklining a try?

Kiera, ready to give it a go

Balance is an important part of any sport, especially in cross country skiing when you are gliding on one ski. Slack lining is one of my favorite balance training exercises. Similar to tightrope walking climbers started this sport of walking on climbing webbing. The webbing is flat so your foot doesn't roll off and the line has a bit of give to it similar to a trampoline.

Delila making the 20 foot gap. The world record is over 200m.

Ross and Jolyn supporting Koons. He is pretty close to being able to cross unassisted

Shanna without much help

We had a large group today, so we didn't spend too much time on the line. Everyone did get a try and be assured that the line will be back. We took advantage of the warmer weather for an epic game of Hide-and-go-seek throughout the Pow Wow Grounds.

As our balance improves, youTube provides a few ideas for some tricks we can work at mastering.

Check out this video on how to set up your own slackline:

Sunday, October 25, 2009


On Saturday, people in 181 countries came together for the most widespread day of environmental action in the planet's history. At over 5200 events around the world, people gathered to call for strong action and bold leadership on the climate crisis.

What is the Deal with 350?
350 parts per million is what many scientists, climate experts, and progressive national governments are now saying is the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere. Scientists have concluded that we are already above the safe zone at our current 390ppm, and that unless we are able to rapidly return to 350 ppm this century, we risk reaching tipping points and irreversible impacts such as the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and major methane releases from increased permafrost melt.

ActivEdge hosted Garrott and I for a CXC/Birke XC Ski Clinic and 350 Campaign

I tried to embed the show on this site, but I couldn't get it to work, So you should check out to view an amazing slideshow of some of the best '350' photos from around the world yesterday.

I have read on the web that some of the highlights from the day included a planet-scale game of Scrabble, with citizens in Wellington and Sydney forming giant human 3s, London and New Delhi enormous human 5s, and Quito and Copenhagen massive 0s. “The point was you had to put them together across global borders if you wanted to solve the puzzle,” said media coordinator Jamie Henn. “Just like the climate negotiations set for Copenhagen in December.

Working on 'Dryland' Technique

The sport of cross country skiing depends on snow and we all need to do our part to make sure it continues to fall. As a cross country ski racer I travel frequently and sometimes by plane. Although jets are one of the fastest modes of transportation they are also amongst the most inefficient. One way I do try to limit my CO2 output as much as possible it by organizing my travel to be as direct as possible and to include carpooling, ride sharing, public transportation and hitchhiking. What changes can you make in your lifestyle to reduce CO2?

Getting ready for winter, snow and skis

For more information, visit

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mt. Triumph: Climbing with the Boys

It might be obvious that I love cross country skiing and playing tag on the playground because I do those things a lot. One of my less known passions is climbing. When I was in Junior High I used to climb 1-3 hours every day. I have drifted away from climbing recently so it was a real treat to join my best friends and climb Mt. Triumph in Washington State's North Cascades. It was my first time on rock for the year and just my second real climb in four years. For me a trip into the mountains is very refreshing and a great way for me to recharge.

Me in front of Mt. Triumph. Our route followed the North East Ridge (above right)

It is hard to tell, but I am standing on a big patch of snow which is shaded my a mountain. I have now been 'on snow' every month of the year so far.

Thornton Lake with Mt. Triumph peeking out from behind the Col directly above the lake

The climb took us a really long time, unfortunatly the view from the top was from inside a cloud

Chad and Hons halfway up the ridge with the spectacular Picket Range behind them. The Pickets are considered one of the most remote mountains in the lower 48.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Guess Who is Married Now?

Plenty of people have been telling me congratulations this past week, but they have the wrong twin.

Chad and Alieta were remarried with a Methow Valley wedding last week, hence my trip to Washington. Over 140 guests enjoyed the celebration. Surprisingly, the only repeats from the August wedding were the bride, groom, their parents, Ardis and me. We had a cider press to make fresh apple cider, a live band, home grown pork and great company.

My dog Tilly was the Ring Bearer

The 'Big House' as we call the Gregg Homestead, really looked good for the big event. When I left Wisconsin to fly to Washington someone told me have a great vacation. The trip really was a lot of fun, but certainly not a vacation. We all did a lot of work in the yard to make the place look great. The pond really looks good.

With two wedding there are a lot of pictures. More than I really know what to do with. My favorite is
the ones of me pretending to be Chad. There are some great ones. Below are a few shots from Chad and Alieta's August wedding.

Chad and Alieta are looking forward to their honeymoon in Disney World in November. Congratulations lil' brother and my new lil' sister.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Getting Lean

Sometimes you need to burn off a little extra fat. My most recent training partner and I have been working on this. After our September training camp I took advantage of a $59 Sun Country flight to Washington for my brother's second wedding. Pork is on the menu, we are down to one bag of food and the pig Chad and Alieta bought in the spring should feed about 140.

Pigs are intelligent animals and it is relatively easy to train them to walk, turn, and stop with a cane. Pork has a rather high fat content so taking a pig for a walk or run and leaning them up before they go to market can make a big difference.

Back in high school, the Gregg kids had a little known talent for raising, fitting, showing and selling hogs.

The pigs gained about 200 pounds in 4 months (photo from June 1)

Tara and I gave the newlyweds a RolyPig Composter to help ease the loss of the real pig. These things are pretty cool. Check out the demonstration video

Fall is a busy time of year for me, hence the lack of posts. The more serious and focused the workouts the fewer pictures I take. The wedding preparation and celebration is done now and training this week is relatively easy so more updates are coming soon.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What does a cross country skier do in September?

I stopped by 'The Club' on friday and Kiera asked me when I would be back to stay for a while and hang out with her. What do I do when I am not at 'The Club'?'The Club' re-opened for the fall this week after the bi-annual two week closure for in-service. This week, all of my teammates are in town for our monthly training camp. The harder training of camp makes it so that I have only been able to stop by 'The Club' for a few minutes to say hello before taking off to meet my team for afternoon training.

When I am not at 'The Club' I am usually: running, biking, roller skiing or strength training. I am a ski racer and in order to be fast and improve I must train a lot. Sometimes, I work out 2-3 times a day and it takes all day. These are my hard days, on my easier days I may only train once or not at all and these are the days I am usually at 'The Club.'

My teammate Gus doing a strenth workout with 90lbs added to his waist.

That is the same weight or more that many of the kids at 'The Club.' Maybe I will try to do a pull up with you on my back next time we are at 'The Club.'

Waxing skis in September?

Skis are an important part of ski racing. I have over 10 pairs of skis. Athletes and coaches spend a lot of time on their skis. It is not unheard of for a pair of skis to have over $250 of wax put into them for a single race. Right now I am only working on my skis so that I can flex them and see how them compare to the new 2010 Salomon skis.

Kevin Johnson of Salomon USA flex testing skis

I am looking forward to being back at 'The Club' this fall. Unfortunatly I have some travel scheduled for the next few weeks so I won't be back at 'The Club' until October 10th. Still, I am excited for the trips. I am flying to Washington State tomorrow to visit my family and for my brother's wedding. My brother is a good person to have an adventure with and I will post some pictures of my trip.

After two weeks in Washington I fly to Lake Placid, NY for a 10 day training camp at the Olympic Training Center. I will post pictures and stories from my trip on this blog so keep checking for updates.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Flip Video from Copper Falls Hike

Check out the video from our adventures in and around Copper Falls State Park. Click the image above or click here.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Copper Falls State Park Trip

Which one is Brian?

We had a great trip to Copper Falls State Park. My twin brother joined me for the adventure. We had a good time switching up with kids. Late in the afternoon I shaved my beard and we both wore In The Arena shirts to make everyone really think.

10 of us took an Epic hike which included 2 miles of river hikining

Brandon, Me, and Sequia leading the charge

For a Twenty you won't have to go the long way
Actually Leroy was all about going for the full adventure. I brought my backpack to keep a few of our things dry. Including Leroy's cash.
The 'Epic Adventure' Group all went for a 3.5 hour hike.

Everyone had a great time hiking, swimming, and scrambling the big loop around the park. Thanks Chad for joining us. Also, thank you Becky for waiting for us to get back and having lunch ready for us. Hamburgers never tasted so delicious.

I pulled the photos above from my Flip Video. I will post the video tomorrow.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Long Trip Home

We had a great trip to the Haig Glacier with ideal conditions and great weather...Joel and Matt looking off at the French Glacier

Except our final day. We woke up early so that we could get in a quick ski before the 18km run back to the cars. When I opened my eyes and looked out the window I knew we would be sleeping in. The strobe of lightning made me nervous to walk from the bunk house to the dinning house. This meant no skiing, but more unfortunatly it meant the helicopter wouldn't be bringing our gear. Thankfully my friend Kit who was also on the Glacier lives in Canmore and let me spend a few days with him.

Kit about to enjoy our post glacier camp Ribs

The clouds hung low for several days and I had to miss my original flight back to the midwest. Thankfully I awoke to beautiful blue skies on Friday and was able to make it home for my Cousin's wedding.

Our skis and clothes are wrapped in these big nets for the helicopter to fly them to the glacier. 40 skiers have a lot of stuff so it took several trips.

This has been a busy week for me. Helping my brother get ready for his wedding. I will post pictures from our trip to Copper Falls State Park soon. Plus some picture from the wedding. I will be curious if you can tell Chad and I apart when we are all dressed up.

Chad, Brian or Bullwinkle?