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Author Archive

Alaska summer training with the USST camp

13.Jul.2016 by Caitlin Patterson

Since last Tuesday, July 5th, I’ve been in Anchorage, Alaska. This city is where I attended high school, and where I returned during the summers between my college years. So it’s familiar, though different without my parents here anymore (they’ve relocated to Montana), and it’s great to visit the places and people I know up here. But really, I’m in Alaska primarily to join the US Ski Team training camp – we’ve had a week of dry-land training in town, and tomorrow morning we’re flying up to the Eagle glacier for a week of on-snow training. During this week we’ve fit in quite a few running workouts, classic rollerski speeds, L3 skate rollerski intervals, L4 bounding intervals and strength workouts. And a week of Alaska summer wouldn’t be complete without a few extracurricular evening activities making use of the long hours of daylight. Below is a summary of the week’s activities, in photos:

Catching the guys' interval sessions, after I've finished my own. Skate L3 intervals with speeds/sprints at the end. Enjoyed the opportunity to frame the guys with flowers.

Catching the guys’ interval sessions, after I’ve finished my own. Skate L3 intervals with speeds/sprints at the end. Enjoyed the opportunity to frame the guys with flowers at Kincaid Park.

When you've been away it's easier to notice the details of a place, like the mini AK tundra, as highlighted when blueberry picking

When you’ve been away it’s easier to notice the details of a place, like the mini AK tundra, as highlighted when blueberry picking

Low bush blueberries, not easy to pick but tasty!

Low bush blueberries, not easy to pick but tasty especially by the handful!

Bounding session, great to follow these 3 speedy women - Rosie, Liz, Virginia, me (in pink). Screenshot from USST video clip

Bounding session, great to follow these 3 speedy women – Rosie, Liz, Virginia, me (in pink). Screenshot from USST video clip

Classic rollerski speed session. Screenshot from USST video clip

Classic rollerski speed session. After getting used to the quiet Vermont roads, it was kind of eye-opening to return to the city-scape of Anchorage, where there are so many more cars, intersections, obstacles, terrain. All fun but a little overwhelming! Screenshot from USST video clip

Finishing off a skate interval with the strong women's group. Screenshot from USST video clip

Finishing off a skate interval with the strong women’s group. I’m in the neon tank with the circle-cedar leaf on the back. Screenshot from USST video clip

Powering through the flats in skate intervals. Screenshot from USST video clip

Powering through the flats in skate intervals, myself followed by Virginia (Italian World Cup skier guest of this camp). Screenshot from USST video clip

Becca focuses on the rocky problem during an evening climbing session with Scott and I on the Turnagain Arm near Anchorage

Becca Rorabaugh focuses on the rocky problem during an evening climbing session with Scott and I on the Turnagain Arm near Anchorage. Thanks Becca for hosting me during the dryland section, great company, food, and training!

Scaling the rock

Scaling the rock. I don’t have much experience rock climbing but every time I’m able to dabble in it, I’m freshly hooked to want to climb more!

Scott on belay, and giving us advice about how to figure out a way up the wall

My brother Scott on belay, and giving Becca and I advice about how to figure out a way up the wall

On the top of Wolverine peak near Anchorage

On the top of Wolverine peak near Anchorage. Photo: Matt Whitcomb

Women's camp crew near the start of our ridge run above Symphony Lake

Women’s camp crew near the start of our ridge run above Symphony Lake. Photo: Matt Whitcomb

Rosie Frankowski cruising the ridge

Rosie Frankowski of APU, cruising the ridge on our running OD past Symphony Lake

My brother and I, (not) nailing the jump. Scott decided to pull a best-girl-imitation jump, and I just didn't make it very far off the ground or something.

My brother and I, (not) nailing the jump. Scott decided to pull a best-girl-imitation jump, and I just didn’t make it very far off the ground, or something…

Bounding down the springy tundra towards Symphony Lake

Bounding down the springy tundra towards Symphony Lake

Must cool off! With about an hour still to run, most of us resorted to the head dunk rather than a full swim in Symphony Lake. We swam in a creek once we made it to the parking lot.

Must cool off! With about an hour still to run, most of us resorted to the head dunk rather than a full swim in Symphony Lake. We swam in a creek once we made it to the parking lot.

That’s the week in a nutshell, and now it’s glacier time, can’t wait!

Ski Tour Canada Spectating

10.Mar.2016 by Caitlin Patterson

(By Hallie, not Caitlin)

Last Wednesday, Mike, Casey, Ethan, and I, along with Ollie, Annie, Sam, and Brayton piled into the small Sprinter for an across-the-border spectating excursion. With World Cup racing as close to home as it gets, we made the trip to Montreal to see the second stage of the Ski Tour Canada. After a snowy drive, we pulled into Montreal just in time to see the women take off in their 13k classic mass start race. The course wound through the trees of the Parc du Mont- Royal and some of the sketchier corners led to several large pileups and some broken equipment. After a quick trip to an underground mall, we watched the men’s 20k race.  There was a large Vermont contingent watching the races throughout the whole week, which was really cool!

kait and ida striding montreal

Ida and Kait striding up a hill in Montreal.

After the race, Ollie, Annie, Sam, and Brayton went home, while the boys and I drove with Pepa and Nick to Quebec City. Watching and helping the coaches and techs back up the wax trailer in Montreal reminded me of a traveling circus. There were tons of ski bags and boxes and benches that were all carefully divided between huge trucks that were taking classic equipment to Canmore and skate equipment to Quebec City. After we arrived in Quebec City, we entered the hotel we stayed at armed with a crock-pot of chili, a portable grill, a box of food, and a cooler of more food. Ready for anything!

hotel lobby

Grill, crock-pot, rubber boots. Fitting in nicely.

Thursday was an off day for the races, so we took the opportunity to ski the race course on the Plains of Abraham. After some research, we learned that the Plains are named after a fisherman/ farmer who may have owned the land during the French and Indian War. We were the only ones without athlete or service bibs on, but no one said a word to us as we skied for two hours. The course had a two really steep climbs and it was quite windy the day we skied, making the gradual hills seem hard as well. I got to ski a bit with Annika Taylor, who graduated from UNH last year and is racing for Great Britain now, which was really fun.

With frigid temperatures on the off-day morning, we did some hotel exploration, where we found the outdoor swimming pool, the gym, and the revolving roof top restaurant. Later that day, we had dinner at the roof top restaurant, which offered us a 360-degree view of Quebec City. We could see almost the entire racecourse from our perch! We thought it could be a great place to watch the races if you wanted a bird’s eye view without ever setting foot outside.

restaurant

Restaurant view.

Friday morning brought an action packed skate sprint day. It was awesome to watch Ida in the quarterfinals, and a bummer that she narrowly missed out on a lucky loser. For the qualifiers and quarterfinals, our spectating location was about half way through the course, right across from the imposing city wall. We thought it was a good place for some mid race cheering. For the semifinals and finals, we moved to a slope where we could see the start and the finish, as well as some of the middle parts of the course. There were hordes of people cheering and running around.

ida and wall

Ida cruises by the city wall.

 

kait and wall

Kait in her first city sprint!

Friday also marked the true debut of the Kaitlynn Miller Fan Club, complete with trading cards. We kept the creation of the cards a secret from Kait and she didn’t know about them until two unknown kids came up and asked for her autograph!

kait autograph

Signing autographs left and right.

Saturday was the last Eastern Canada stop of the Tour and was a pursuit start race. It was a beautiful day with bright shiny sun. In the city square, there were picnic tables and fire pits to toast marshmallows and lots of people milling around before the races started. It made ski racing seem like a popular spectator sport!

blue skies and marshmallows

Roasting marshmallows in the sun.

An afternoon race provided the perfect opportunity for Ethan to fire up his grill again. We had a lovely meal of sausages and grilled pizza, our spot marked by the waving American flag.

team america

Flag? Check. Grill? Check. USA jackets? Check. Racers? Almost

We were able to get right next to the course, which was ideal for cheering as well as taking pictures and video.

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The first 18 women started individually based on their time back, while the rest of the field started in waves, either 3:30 or 4 minutes back. This made for some pack skiing and many US girls skiing together.

It was a pretty similar scenario for the men. There were a few nail biting moments when skiers almost got lapped by the leaders- but everyone made it through to Canmore!

fans

So many fans!

Green beginnings at the Supertours

12.Dec.2015 by Caitlin Patterson

If you’re among the curious ranks of friends and family, you’ve probably seen a few skiing race-recaps on our GRP news page – thanks for the interest! (And for those of you who haven’t found it, we post news updates for races by our athletes around the world here: http://greenracingproject.com/news/).  A combined report on the start of the season for skiing World Cups and Supertour is here, and results from weekend 2 are here.

Results never tell quite the whole story, so I’ll take a moment here to share photos and a bit more commentary on the start of the Supertour and domestic race season for Kaitlynn, Heather, Liz, Alex, and myself (Caitlin).  Most of these pictures will focus on the skiing part of our trip… we did do many other things besides ski, like eat nice meals including Thanksgiving dinner together, knit hats and scarves and mittens, read books, go on walks, visit with family and friends, and many other day-to-day small tasks, but most of the daily life escaped getting photographed.  It was great to get to West fairly early, acclimate and readjust to being on snow. But when the races hit, I know I certainly felt like it was a shock to the system, to be back in a bib and racing.  Overall we had some solid results and most especially signs of good things to come, but none of us were overwhelmingly happy with the start, merely content or dreaming of bigger things to come. Driving over to Sun Valley we were concerned about rumors of low snow, but otherwise quite excited for classic skiing and racing at a new and different venue.  We skied up high at Galena Pass once in training, but then due to the dedication and hard work of local volunteers, the race organizers were able to open the Lake Creek trails near town for the race weekend and a few days of preparation leading up to it!   Racing at Lake Creek was great, nice hilly courses and fast descents, and especially for the four of us GRP girls, we definitely hit our stride with classic racing!  We had 3 women in the top 10 each day, and all of us see even greater potential to improve our skiing in the future. The photos below are in a semblance of order from the trip and will walk you through some of the best moments and race days…

Heather, Liz and Kait out on an easy afternoon distance ski in West Yellowstone. Photo: Caitlin Patterson

Heather, Liz and Kait out on an easy afternoon distance ski in West Yellowstone. Photo: Caitlin Patterson

Synchronized skiing in West. Photo: Caitlin Patterson

Synchronized skiing in West. Photo: Caitlin Patterson

Heather with a backdrop of fiery sky. Photo: Caitlin Patterson

Heather with a backdrop of fiery sky. Photo: Caitlin Patterson

In green on the far side, Caitlin and Heather start their quarterfinal heat. Photo: Margaret Hillhouse

In green on the far side, Caitlin and Heather start their quarterfinal heat. Photo: Margaret Hillhouse

Caitlin starting the semifinal of the skate sprint in West Yellowstone. Photo: Kaitlynn Miller

Caitlin starting the semifinal of the skate sprint in West Yellowstone. Photo: Kaitlynn Miller

Alex lining up to start a sprint heat. Photo: Caitlin Patterson

Alex lining up to start a sprint heat. Photo: Caitlin Patterson

The start of Alex's quarterfinal heat - he finished 2nd in this one and ended the day 6th overall

The start of Alex’s quarterfinal heat – he finished 2nd in this one and ended the day 6th overall

Alex nearing the finish line in a heat of the skate sprint. Photo: Caitlin Patterson

Alex nearing the finish line in a heat of the skate sprint. Photo: Caitlin Patterson

Men's skate sprint podium, Alex in 6th

Men’s skate sprint podium, Alex in 6th

Women's skate distance podium, Caitlin in 6th

Women’s skate distance podium, Caitlin in 6th

Smiling if rather tired, after the skate distance race in West Yellowstone, left to right Kait, Heather, Caitlin, Liz. Photo: Margaret Hillhouse

Smiling if rather tired, after the skate distance race in West Yellowstone, left to right Kait, Heather, Caitlin, Liz. Photo: Margaret Hillhouse

Kaitlynn charging at the front of a classic sprint heat. Photo credit: Hank Dart via Fasterskier

Kaitlynn charging at the front of a classic sprint heat. Photo credit: Hank Dart via Fasterskier

Caitlin following Chelsea in the distance classic race. Photo: Fasterskier

Caitlin following Chelsea in the distance classic race. Photo: Fasterskier

Kaitlynn taking a corner during the Sun Valley distance race. Photo credit: Hank Dart via Fasterskier

Kaitlynn taking a corner during the Sun Valley distance race. Photo credit: Hank Dart via Fasterskier

Caitlin rounding a fast corner right on the heels of Chelsea Holmes during the Sun Valley distance classic. Photo credit: Hank Dart via Fasterskier

Caitlin rounding a fast corner right on the heels of Chelsea Holmes during the Sun Valley distance classic. Photo credit: Hank Dart via Fasterskier

Nick, Alex, Anna packing up after a race. Thanks a bunch Nick and Anna for all your hard work testing skis in Sun Valley, and Nick and Ollie in West Yellowstone!

Nick, Alex, Anna packing up after a race. Thanks a bunch Nick and Anna for all your hard work testing skis in Sun Valley, and Nick and Ollie in West Yellowstone!

Alex was really into this truck we saw after the race, and made me take a picture of it for him. I'll let you tell him what was so cool about it...

Alex was really into this truck we saw after the race, and made me take a picture of it for him. Nice truck, but I’ll let you tell him what was so cool about it…

Top 3 in the women's classic sprint, Kaitlynn and Caitlin putting Becca R in a green sandwich!

Top 3 in the women’s classic sprint, Kaitlynn and Caitlin putting Becca R of APU in a green sandwich!

Group hug with Pepa and the girls after a great day of classic sprinting. Photo: Alex Howe

Group hug with Pepa and the girls after a great day of classic sprinting. Photo: Alex Howe

Pepa, Alex, and Anna watching the men's distance race in Sun Valley. Photo: Caitlin Patterson

Pepa, Alex, and Anna watching the men’s distance race in Sun Valley. Photo: Caitlin Patterson

Women's classic sprint podium, Kaitlynn 2nd, Caitlin 3rd

Women’s classic sprint podium, Kaitlynn 2nd, Caitlin 3rd

Women's 10k classic podium in Sun Valley, Caitlin 3rd, Kait 6th

Women’s 10k classic podium in Sun Valley, Caitlin 3rd, Kait 6th

This weekend is off from racing for Liz, Heather, Kait, Hallie and I, as we navigate the crowded snowmaking loop back in Craftsbury, interspersing skiing chaos with running and strength.  Meanwhile, we eagerly await checking in on the results from our teammates who are racing elsewhere – World Cup biathletes Susan, Hannah, Clare in Austria; World Cup skier Ida in Switzerland; domestic biathletes Emily, Alex, Ethan, Mike and Casey in Canmore, Alberta – good luck team!

Sharpening focus, training at the Park City USST camp

1.Nov.2015 by Caitlin Patterson

Most of the GRP ski women (Heather, Ida, Liz, Kait, and Caitlin) just returned from a great camp in Park City, Utah.  With coach Pepa on hand to video, take lactates, and drive us around to USST-organized workouts, and with only 5 athletes from our team, it was a smooth-operating and fairly successful camp.  Only fairly successful, because we did have a few instances of lost-skin while rollerskiing or running, a few close calls to losing more skin, and a bit of impaired health – still, for the most part the camp was extremely beneficial and we left Utah extremely tired in the best possible way, and each with some accomplishments as well as plenty of things to work on in these next few weeks.  And we had a great time during and in between training sessions, getting plenty of hard work rollerskiing, bounding, and with frequent strength workouts, but also posing for silly photos and enjoying cooking and hanging out with each other.

Before the photos commence, a quick plea to you, the reader, to take a look at our CGRP fundraising page for the NNF (National Nordic Foundation) here and to consider donating even a small amount if you are able: https://support.nationalnordicfoundation.org/fundraise/team?ftid=60750

With limited resources available through USSA, the cross-country skiing governing body, the skiing community relies heavily on NNF to provide financial support for racing trips for developing skiers.  Many of us from the GRP have attended NNF-supported trips, from World Juniors to OPA Cups to World Cups, and we wouldn’t be where we are in ski racing if it wasn’t for the NNF. The financial support, covering of partial trip costs, is a big part but equally as important is the sense of the skiing community standing with and behind us as we race on the international stage representing the US.

And now, scenes from Utah… it’s difficult to capture many photos of the action while actively participating in the training sessions, but I managed to snap a few, and most especially we had Pepa take photos of us during several of the sessions.  Thanks Pepa for supporting us in every way at this camp and for the Craftsbury Outdoor Center and the GRP for facilitating such a great training experience by sending us out West! It definitely helped us start to sharpen our fitness towards racing shape, which is a good thing since our first ski races are at the end of November, coming right up!

Our GRP women's team Park City camp favorite pose... the crane kick! Inspired by the sandhill cranes in our back yard, and by the Karate Kid movie (which none of us have watched recently)

Our GRP women’s team Park City camp favorite pose… the crane kick! Inspired by the sandhill cranes in the back yard of our rental house, and by the Karate Kid movie (which, needless to say, none of us have actually watched recently)

Caitlin and Becca Rorabaugh of APU, striding up American Fork Canyon

Caitlin and Becca Rorabaugh of APU, striding up American Fork Canyon

Way up high on the Wasatch Crest trail

Way up high on the Wasatch Crest trail

Ski walking with Ida and Sophie Caldwell, nearing the end of the Wasatch Crest trail

Ski walking with Ida and Sophie Caldwell, nearing the end of the Wasatch Crest trail

Matching strength outfits and triple-climbing the wall after strength, just because we can!

Our favorite matching strength outfits (thanks Crafts Sportswear!) and triple-climbing the wall after strength, just because we can! Left to right, Heather, Caitlin, Kait

Chicken enchiladas! One of many mexican-inspired meals we ate while in Utah, and this one especially nice and plentiful because we invited our friends from the APU women's team over for dinner too!

Chicken enchiladas! One of many Mexican-inspired meals we ate while in Utah, and this one especially nice and plentiful because we invited our friends from the APU women’s team over for dinner too. This is only one pan of 3.

Pepa made us tasty moussaka and Bulgarian salad one night of our trip

Pepa made us tasty moussaka and Bulgarian salad one night of our trip

Caitlin leading a train of women from various clubs during a double-pole workout

Caitlin leading a train of women from various clubs during a double-pole workout

Ida pauses for a sip of water during a rollerski

Ida pauses for a sip of water during a rollerski

Training is most fun with friends and in bright-colored attire

Training is most fun with friends, and most safe in bright-colored attire

The guys did an out-and-back section to add a bit of time, and they didn't catch the lead women until nearly the end of the ski

The guys did an out-and-back section to add a bit of time to this rollerski, and they didn’t catch the lead women until nearly the end of the ski. Perfect timing so that we all finish in the same spot.

Meandering through western valleys

Meandering through Western valleys

Most of the crew, left to right Liz, Heather, Kait, Caitlin

Most of the crew GRP Park City crew, left to right Liz, Heather, Kait, Caitlin.  Look for future updates as the skiers and biathletes head to Foret Montmorency to get on snow in a few days! And stop by my (Caitlin’s) personal blog at caitlinpatterson.blogspot.com for slightly different commentary and more pictures from the Utah camp.