Sunday, December 19, 2010

Western Race Tour Complete

CXC Elite Team post race in Silver Star, BC
Garrott, Gus, Bryan, Brian, Caitlin, Jennie, Brooke, Jason, and Jessie (photo: Rob Whitney)

The 'Western Race Tour' as I like to call it came to an end today. It has been a great start to the season with 8 races in 3 venues. Here is a short synopsis of period 1 of the race season.

West Yellowstone, MT
Arrived 12 days early to adjust to the altitude and get on snow.

4 races in 3 days kept the body working hard.
Day 1: Classic and Skate 1.6km Sprints- 15th and 8th solid sprint qualifying positions for me.
Day 2: 10km Skate- 9th went out hard and paid for it. Result a bit disappointing but felt great.
Day 3: 15km Classic- 3rd best FIS points race ever, felt great (especially after skiing alone most of the race)

Popped the big question to Caitlin during our weekly over distance ski... she said yes... very happy guy.

Stayed in West Yellowstone for a big week of training. Plus a lot of planning and dreaming with my wonderful Fiance.

Silver Star, BC, Canada
Easier week of training in prep for a big race performance

Day 1: Skipped Classic Sprint Race- decided to save some energy in the tank for the next day and the next week of racing.
Day 2: 15k Skate- 3rd- went out conservative and skied progressivly faster. Lars caught me from 30 seconds back at 6km, I picked up the pace and hung with him almost to the finish. Very good result/race for me.

Rossland, BC, Canada
A lot of racing but also a lot of training in preparation for US Nationals the first week of January.

Day 1: Skate Sprint: Qualifed 22nd, Finished 18th- slow qualifying, but went for it in my heat race led until final 200m. Felt good but out skied.
Day 2: 10k Skate- 29th place- fast course and competitive field. Tight time gaps, fell on a hard left corner. Felt good but 1:08s out of first.
Day 3: 15k Classic Pursuit Star- 8th- Went out hard and hungry to make up time I had lost. Great race/result for me in a super competitve field. 27sec out of the win for the day and 7sec out of 3rd.
Overall Tour- 14th

Merry Christmas
Caitlin and I are off to the Methow Valley tomorrow for a 8 days of training and enjoying the holidays before flying out to Rumford, Maine for US Nationals.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Training Week

3rd Place in the 10k Classic SuperTour and my best FIS points ever (44.11)

After a great start to the race season, plus an engagement, My CXC Teamates and I have stayed in West Yellowstone, MT for a week of solid training. It has been a tough, but good week with just under 24 hours of training in six days.

Cisco working on his 'ups' in a relay at the West Yellowstone School. Caitlin and I spend two afternoons helping the kids stay active.

Bear Walk Race

My favorite is playing outside. The school plows up the playground to form perfect 20' sledding hills.

After a solid week of training Caitlin and I ski toured in to Yellowstone National Park for a nice easy long distance ski.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

After Training and After School in West Yellowstone

My CXC teammates and I are in West Yellowstone for just under a month this year. That is a long time to be living in a hotel room. This is my 5th winter in West Yellowstone and I arrived with the goal of making a greater connection with the local community during my stay.

Caitlin and I gave a presentation to the after-school program about life as a professional ski racer and the big Yellostone Ski Festival and Super Tour races in town.

Happy Thanksgiving pop-up cards. My mom made pop-up cards with me when I was younger and they were awesome. Although the finished products from Annie, Lillith, and Mason were really cool.

Show-and-Tell of Skis and Poles

Drawing Biomes

Having fun training, living, and playing in West

It has been a hard week of training. Visiting and working with the kids was a great way to add energy to the day and take a mental break from training. It was fun to see the excitement in the kids eyes for the first big snow storm. Plus I like seeing how new kids respond to my favorite games of Squirrel Olympics, Last-Man Standing, and Speed Tag.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tie Dye Art

Estasha, Alison, and Sariah Rockin' their new Tie Dye T's

One year during High School our cross-country running team warm-ups were misplaced so we decided to Tie Dye long sleeve shirts for the Team Uniform. One of the guys on the team Pete had done a fair amount of Tie Dye and he helped everyone create some sweet shirts. It was a lot of fun and something I have wanted to do with the kids at the Lac Courte Orielles Boys and Girls Club. Again Pete coached me along about where to get the best dye and get the project started.

Aaron working on his spiral shirt
A huge thanks to my neighbor and friend Kay for helping keep the chaos organized

Tomorrow I hit the road for 2 Months: Nov 11 - Jan 11. After a great spring, summer, and fall of training I am excited to get back on snow and to race. One of the things that I will miss is everyone at the Boys and Girls Club.

What does Brian do when he is not at the Boys and Girls Club?

I gave a presentation to the kids about my travels, struggles and triumphs of last season. Plus, my plans for the next two months on the road.

"I want to see what my shirt looks like!"

We tie dyed over 60 unique shirts on Monday night. It was fun to see them all. I was hoping to get the kids the shirts on Tuesday but it took me over 2 hours to cut/pull out the rubber bands and rinse the shirts. There were a lot of curious kids yelling at me as I walked down the hall on my way to Mrs. Johnson's 5th Grade classroom.

Mary, "Check out my Shirt?"
Adding letters and drawings to the shirts with Sharpies
It is still pretty warm here in Wisconsin. Bad for skiing, good for flashlight tag

I had a great final night at 'The Club' tonight. The kids loved the slide show, were super excited to see their shirts, and we had a huge game of flashlight tag down at the Pow Wow Grounds.

Tomorrow we head for snow.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

One Last Big Week at Home

Enjoying one of my few weekend at home in Hayward, Home of the American Birkebeiner.

Birkie/ActivEdge Clinic in Seeley, WI analyzing video immediately after skiing. Last year I bought a Netbook with a 10hour battery life. The screen is small but the portability is fantastic. It is great to go over video while the workout is fresh in your mind.

Santi and Eric cooling down after 3(6*60s) HARD. We saw every kind of weather on this workout: rain, snow, sun, wind.

Alright I didn't stay at home all week, I drove down to Minneapolis on Saturday after dinner to surprise Caitlin for her Birthday. We enjoyed our 4 hour Sunday OD with the large group of Vakava skiers. There were over 40 skiers out on the road together.

Let the snow fly.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Nature's Playground

Check out our Fort. Helena, Caitlin, Idanias, Brian, Jayden, Shaina.

I am settling back in to life in Hayward after Lake Placid and Chicago. This is an important recovery week for me to absorb all the training from the last three weeks. With several afternoons off I have been enjoying spending time with my kids at the Boys and Girls Club.

Enjoying a good meal around the table: Jayden, Kaynen, Brian, Idanias

We built a little village out in the woods. Complete with living quarters, kitchen, table, cupboards, gates, doors and windows. We braided grass for rope and used it to tie the sticks together.

The kids loved having Caitlin come to visit

My favorite playground is nature’s playground. It is amazing what you can build with just what you find in the woods. I think more playgrounds should be like this one…

Friday, October 8, 2010

Climb to the Castle Rollerski Race

We awoke to a crystal clear day here in Lake Placid for the Climb to the Castle roller-ski race. On Wednesday we had to move out of the OTC and it rained for 48 hours in a nice reflection of our disappointment to leave the comfort of the cafeteria, laundry, ice baths and warm showers. We did move in to a really cool house though. Jenny has a college friend with a beautiful place on Lake Placid. I wish we had played hide-and-go-seek there, it was huge. Each of us had our own bedroom. On the downside the place had already been winterized so we were without water and such a big place took some time to warm up. (Thankfully we were able to flush one of the toilets by filling up buckets of water from the lake)

Beautiful Day in Lake Placid

It was fun to ‘race’ again today. Newell, Liebsch and I skied most of the race together. We had a fun last kilometer to the finish with the strong headwind. The draft was pretty intense and it took awhile for us to break apart. After several failed attempts by each of us Newell was able to pull away. When he went it was very decisive and impressive. The guy is fast. It was great to race again. The day also marked stage 2 of the Liebsch/Gregg Tour de France (Stage 1 was the City of Lakes Half Marathon). Matt has the yellow jersey by just 2 seconds.


The Finish

Karl and I are enjoying the free wireless in the Albany Airport. Our flight is delayed a bit but we are hoping to make it to the second half of the Bulls/Wizards game in Chicago tonight. After a solid 17 days of training camp I am looking forward to taking a break.

Karl and I will be leading a clinic for Chicago XC on Saturday and Sunday. If you are in the Chicago area come to our presentation Saturday night at the Univerity. Email me for details.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Work Hard, Play Hard

Cooling down with the boys after a Classic Sprint Simulation 4*3min All Out.

The Boys and Girls Club is closed for staff in-service these past two weeks. I have taken advantage of this 'vacation' time between Summer and Fall to train hard. My days have been increasingly busy and it was nice to be at home in Hayward and enjoy some good recovery between sessions. One night the mercury dipped to 33 degrees. The colors are changing and Fall has arrived.

Weight Vest Strength

Our next training camp is in Lake Placid, NY at the US Olympic Training Center in 11 days. I have found that it is important for me to take some time to recover after hard training camps. This weekend I have been enjoying spending some time down in the Twin Cities with my girlfriend.
Cherry and Spoon at the Walker Art Museum

Caitlin and I have been having a great time in Minneapolis enjoying some creative dates. We kicked things off by cutting each others hair. This might make many people nervous but check out the picture above, I think we both did a pretty nice job. There are a lot of things you can do that cost very little but are still a lot of fun.

Yesterday while at the local library we came across the Museum Adventure Pass Program and got free tickets to The Works: Hands on Minds on Museum. We played with gears, mirrors, lasers, robots, pulleys and more. Everyone at The Club would have loved it.

One of our friends, Audrey, had told us about how you can check out tickets to local museums at the Library. This is awesome. With your library card you can check out two adult tickets to a museum/organization which are good for 1 visit and can be used up to 7 days past the checkout date. Who wants to go on a free trip to the zoo? There are plenty of cool places to check out in the Twin Cities.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Eagle Glacier Camp

APU invited me to their summer home, the Thomas Training Center on the Eagle Glacier. The training center alone is a remarkable facility nestled on the ridge 5,500 feet above Girdwood, Ak about 40 minutes south of Anchorage. The real gem however, is the 7.5km loop of skiing meters outside the door.

Mikey and I super excited for our first helicopter ride.

Day 1: Awesome

Several Sun Valley skier: Mike Sinnot, Colin Rogers, and Nicole Deyong and I joined up with the APU team. It was really fun to catch up on everyones summer training and endeavors. Through years of training and racing together we are all good friends. I think I spent a bit too much time reading the trashy Cosmos laying around the Thomas Training Center (yes 30 minutes is too much time). In addition to staying in tough with the feeling of snow one of my main motivations for this camp was to train with the many strong athletes who make up the APU and SVSEF elite teams.

Most mornings I drank my tea outside and enjoy being surrounded by mountains

The beautiful days are burned into my memory, but 75% of the time the weather was more akin to this. We might not have had good weather, but we had great skiing every day

The drying room, important to staying comfortable and staying healthy

We had beautiful days for our first and last skis of camp

Is that a Thule rack?

Last season I felt I made a big jump in my ski racing. There were a number of factors contributing to that but I felt getting on snow in the summertime was huge for me. Last year Matt and I went to the Haig glacier. Classic striding has been a focus of mine and skiing on snow in the middle of the dry land season has helped me make some major efficiency improvements.

It was a challenging decision for me to miss the first 10 days of the CXC Team Vertical Limit camp in Ironwood, MI. Especially when the glacier camp cost about $1,000. It is an investment in my ski racing which I hope to regain this season. I did make it back for a few days of August camp. There is a V1 roller ski climb in Ironwood which is worth flying in from Alaska for.

Go Training! Classic Intervals in Afton before heading up to Ironwood. We don't have a lot of big climbs in the Midwest be we have some and they are awesome

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Waxing Every Month of the Year

I skied every month of the year last year, this year I have waxed each month. I haven't skied in July or June, but today is August 1 and and I am going skiing tomorrow!

Grinding everything this spring at Nordic Ultratune

I have always had a good ski quiver, but this year a goal of mine is to have a really good quiver. I worked with Mark and Nordic Ultratune to touch-up all of my skis with fresh grinds for the 2010-2011 ski season. I have a big ski bag this year but feel good about everything that is it. I am really looking forward to trying the new pair of zero skis Salomon sent earlier this week. they are a bit shorter (201cm) and softer that what I have used in the past.

Yesterday on the Eagle Glacier

I flew up to Anchorage, AK yesterday thanks to my United Airlines credit card miles and $10. My good friend and college roommate Paul picked me up from airport. Paul is the man. He picked me up right on time and brought me back to his place for some left over steak and potatoes. Something about flying and airport food is that pretty much the first thing I want to do after flying is go get some regular food. After a quick lunch we wasted no time and headed out for a run/hike up O'Malley. I love being back in the mountains.

We are going to try and fly in to the glacier this evening and get settled before getting after 7 days of solid training. Casey and Erik are up on the Eagle getting everything ready. It is overcast and drizzling in town here, but Casey sent me these photos from his iPhone from last night.

Thomas Training Center, ready for skiers!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Canoeing to Disney World

Mondays and Wednesday afternoons are special days at 'The Club,' we get to go canoeing on the Namekogon River. Many of the kids have experienced canoeing in the fall on the lakes surrounding the club, but that doesn't even compare to the experience of canoing down a river which eventually reaches the Gulf of Mexico. We have been going for the 3-4 hour afternoon float but I am already looking forward to the first kid who follows their dream of canoeing to Disney World.
The Boats more than ready to go. Thanks Mario for catching the escapee.

The girls were in a canoe for the first time ever and although they flipped several times they wore some big smiles by the end of the day.

At the halfway point we take a little snack and swim break.

Shaylena, Cheyenne, and Me full speed ahead

Kiera and Shana enjoying summertime

A canoe trip down river requires many more logistical challenges than lake canoeing. Thankfully we have had the additional support of community volunteers and our summer teen staff to make it happen. Thanks especially to my sister Tara, who was in town visiting and joined us for the day. Kiera and Shana had a great time sharing a boat with you sis. I have witnessed the kids talking about a lot of big ideas and dreams while we are out on the river and it makes me smile. The Namekogan flows into the Saint Croix River which makes its way to the Mississippi river, there is a lot of river to explore and adventures to be had.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

We're Going to Valley Fair!

'We are going to Valley Fair!' The kids have been talking about it since April. The weather was beautiful and everyone was up early for the big 'Club Trip of the Month.' Over 40 kids packed into the school bus at 6:45am for the drive to Minnesota's best amusement park Valley Fair.
Shana, Michela, Paige, Soriah, Kiera, and Brandon up early and exited for the trip. It is a long 4 hours on the bus to Valley Fair when you have so much energy. Thankfully my brother Chad helped provide me with plenty of riddles and car games to keep everyone thinking throughout the trip.
Cheyenne, Shaylena and Aaron ready to get wet on the log ride
My group The Blue Eagles spent most of our time on the water rides and in the water park. My clothes were soaked after the first ride and pretty much stayed that way until we loaded back on the bus.

Valley Fair is Fun, but now I am tired. The entire bus pretty much took a quick nap before it was time to stop at McDonalds for dinner and a game of tag.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Olympic Day at 'The Club'

2010 Olympian Garrott Kuzzy starting the relay

June 23rd is Olympic Day in celebration of the birth of the modern Olympics. The LCO Boys and Girls Club celebrated the day with 2010 Olympian Garrott Kuzzy and several members of CXC Team Vertical Limit.

Getting Fired up watching highlights from the 2010 Games

Santi cheering Delilah on in the Pineapple Slalom

Ardepol Puppin.

One of the most challenging legs of the relay was Ardepol Puppin. I am nearly positive I am spelling it wrong, but one of the funniest and most challenging games was Ardepol Pupping. Everyone had to set a potato on a chair, sit down and pick it up, waddle over and drop it in a bowl. This was a fun one to watch.

Running the Jump Rope Gauntlet

Potatoes make you strong

Refueling our hardwork with fresh Pineapple. 90% of the kids were enjoying fresh pineapple for the first time

Saturday, June 19, 2010

CXC Team joins Minnesota Youth Ski League Practice

CXC Team Vertical Limit had a great training camp in Marine on St. Croix, MN. The old mill town was quiet and peaceful allowing us to get our work done. Roller skiing, running, biking and weight lifting were the names of the games.

2010 CXC Team Vertical Limit

One of the highlights of the week for me was joining the Minnesota Youth Ski League Practice. We brought our agility and coordination strength equipment and with a little imagination has some great ski specific games, relays, and activities. 30 of us enjoyed a beautiful afternoon.

Diggins and the girls warming up

Tad getting some air...The hurdle jump station was a big hit.

There is more than one way to get over a hurdle. Bryce, getting after it.


I will be brining the hurdles and ladders to the Boys and Girls Club this Wednesday, June 23 for 'Olympic Day'. Who is ready to show they have the ups?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Final Ski in Washington

I have been in Washington State the past 3 weeks. I come out each spring to take advantage of some late season skiing on snow. It snows a lot high in the mountains and it takes all that snow a long time to melt away. During my trip I had 12 days of skiing on snow. It is also very nice to be able to go back to where I grew up and visit with my friends and family. I also like to be able to help my mom and dad out around the house and with the yearly firewood. There is a lot more work to be done on the wood pile with nearly 30 cords left to cut and split.

Lots of snow up high but I decided a roller ski would be a better workout for the day.

Dad setting the pace

My brother Chad, my favorite all-time training partner

Why am I roller skiing with all this snow around?

The Boys and Girls Club opened for the summer on Monday and I am ready for some summer fun. I will be at
'The Club' next Monday. I am excited to check on the plants in the club garden.

I am currently putting in a solid week of training with CXC Team Vertical Limit teammates in Marine on St. Croix, MN. We are roller skiing, running, weight training and canoeing. Check back for pictures later in the week.