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Posts Tagged ‘GRP’

Crash Landings and Wooden Medals (or, my first year on the GRP)

27.Apr.2016 by Heather Mooney

Ski racing professionally has been a dream of mine since I was in elementary school. It was the “light at the end of the tunnel” of school, because in that case, it meant I got to be doing my favorite thing, all the time, without the nuisance of homework or things that I knew were good for me but that I didn’t like as much. As a result of many years of built up excitement, I had also built up a lot of expectations for how it would be, what it would feel like, how happy I’d be to be finally “there”. Rather than having to wait through class to go skiing or running afterwards, I imagined that I’d suddenly be able to spend my whole day in the exuberant feeling I had found previously in my few hours of ski practice. Little did I know that it was the context and balance of those other things that buoyed my excitement for skiing so much.

I do not love skiing any less now. I’ve just had a harder time finding my excitement for it this year. Plenty of people counseled me that the transition would be challenging, if only for the reason that I struggle with transitions, but I didn’t believe them. I thought of course I could defy the odds, that for me the first year out of college would be awesome.  I’ve been skiing since I could walk, racing since I was six, keeping a training log since I was 13, and have raced in Europe since I was 16. I’ve been through transitions; I know enough that I shouldn’t have to have another year like my first year of college; I should be “better” than that by now. But, sure enough, I wasn’t, because it was a transition totally different from any of the others I’d experienced. The variables were different, and furthermore, I was closed minded to the idea that it even would be hard. Previously, the only thing that had changed was the format of how I went to school; everything else remained constant. Now, in Craftsbury, my life was suddenly structured by the thing I used to do in my “free time” and the things that used to be the main structure in my life, I now needed to create for myself.

I thought in this new life I was going to need to focus harder and more on skiing, because that’s what I was doing, that’s why I’m here, to get faster. I tried to shut everything out, and push harder. This was my job now, I needed to approach it with a tougher mindset than just a “college kid”. It turns out that was the death of me. I got tired, and frustrated, and had nothing else to turn to, where previously I subconsciously relied on lots of other intellectual things. It took me a whole year of suffering to realize I was missing a basic structuring of my life that made me feel good. I was floundering to find any order whatsoever, one that I had very much taken for granted in the structure that school provided. My life wasn’t school, or skiing, or any one specific thing then, but they coexisted in a way that made me happy.

Now, I was trying to make one of these many pieces, skiing, fill up the whole routine that was my life, discounting the necessity of other aspects. I wanted to become my best at skiing by letting it become all encompassing. But, to my dismay, “that ain’t me”.  To be able to bring myself to skiing with the same enthusiasm that defined me in my career to this point, I needed to stoke the fire elsewhere too, something I totally ignored in trying to fit myself into the “pro skier life” this year.

One of my previous coaches recommended that I just had to hold tight and make it to the end of my first 12-18 months out of college, still happy, still skiing, and I’d be ok. I didn’t really know what he meant by that, and I really didn’t want to hear it, that I was going to be miserable for a whole 12 more months, but I trusted it, since it was a promise that I’d be in a better place eventually, and that sounded a lot better than the prospects of it not getting better. I understand better now, or at least have given my own description to it, that by “then” I’d make it through my own rebalancing. All the pieces were still there; it would just take me a while to reorganize them.

 

Objectively, the year was not that bad. I got to stand on the start line proud in the green suit that was frequenting the podium, I raced at U23s World Championships and OPA Cups, and had some good sprint qualifiers. On paper, it shouldn’t have been any different than the year before. I trained nearly the same number of hours, and even less intensity, I shouldn’t have been as tired and wrecked as I was.

Subjectively, I was seriously struggling. I wasn’t happy. It was obvious in my comportment as I showed up- the one who was frequently late, constantly crashed on her roller skis, and couldn’t make it through a 3 hour rollerski workout. This only added to the frustration, as this wasn’t the me I knew. Having prided myself to this point as one who routinely had my life in order, for the first time in my life, I resembled more of a “shit show”. It took me about until February to have any sense of reordering, and it took all of my deflated self to just focus on what I could control. I made it through the season, and salvaged what could have been a lot worse.

 

So what am I doing about it? What changed from the floundering freshman-at-life that showed up last May, to a self-proclaimed more-sure-of-herself-Heather now? Craftsbury is in an awesome place with world class athletes emerging every where you turn, and I’m excited to be a part of it. I’m excited to feel like I’m making my own life routine again. I’m beginning to find my niche in Center work projects, feeling like my skillsets can be useful in a way that I’m happily absorbed and feel good about for their greater purpose in our small Outdoor Center community.  I am also really lucky to have part time work at Pete’s Greens, a way to use my mind and body in a totally different way from skiing, toward something I believe in, the idea that “Vermont Can Feed Itself”.

 

I started out writing this blog, intending to write about the places I got to race, a summary full of pretty pictures of my experiences of my first year of what I hope will be many living the dream on the GRP. Despite training in Austria, Utah, racing in Montana, Idaho, Michigan, Romania, Germany, Italy, the formative parts of the year for me were the emotional ones. I feel silly that my conclusions of my first year as a “pro skier” are something so ethereal; I would love to be able to say I overcame all these physical challenges and am a changed body with new strength or technique. For me though, it was the emotional hurdles of re-learning the basics of what keep me going as a happy person, recreating a structure that supports my passion for skiing and drive to reach my potential as a racer and person.

The most exciting, (or maybe just best documented), of my many skinned knees this year…

Craftsbury F&F 3.18.16-0461-2480x1653

“Almost, maybe next time.” (Reese Brown).

 

 

SuperTour Finals Week

31.Mar.2016 by Kaitlynn Miller

Despite the dismal winter we’ve had, SuperTour Finals was a resounding success and a fun end to the 2015/16 race season for the GRP skiers. It’s always great to race at home with friends and family lining the course! The groomers did an impressive job farming snow and we were able to race on a hilly and challenging 3.5k loop composed entirely of manmade snow. The weather cooperated, freezing overnight, and the many enthusiastic volunteers made the whole event run incredibly smoothly. Here’s a smattering of photos from the week. You can read, in more detail, about the first two races here (the individual skate and classic sprint) and the second two races here (the relay and the 30/50k classic). Also, you can view results here.

photo: Caitlin Patterson

Prior to the races, we hosted a Fast and Female event at the Center. We had over 80 girls in attendance! It was awesome to have so many women from other elite teams (as well as the U.S. Ski Team) help out as ambassadors. (photo: Caitlin Patterson)

photo: Reese Brown

Heather leading some of the Fast and Female participants up teaching hill (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Caitlin Patterson

Hallie and Katrina Howe heading up the “biathlon” station (photo: Caitlin Patterson)

photo: Caitlin Patterson

It was great to have so many Craftsbury juniors participating in the event! (photo: Caitlin Patterson)

photo: Reese Brown

Group shot! (photo: Reese Brown)

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Some of the elite team (and U.S. Ski Team) men hosted an afternoon speed camp for both boys and girls. Here are some participants heading through the snow tunnel in the upper soccer field.

photo: Reese Brown

Also prior the “real” races, was another fun event – the Dash for Cash. Here are Kait, Heather, and Quincy (Craftsbury BKLer) in their quartfinal heat. (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Reese Brown

And Caitlin and Hallie (in the fancy red one-piece) during their quarterfinal (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Reese Brown

Caitlin avoiding some chaos around the cone (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Reese Brown

Ida sending it through the snow tunnel (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Reese Brown

Both Ida and Heather made the final with Ida taking the win and Heather placing fourth (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Reese Brown

SuperTour Finals kicked off with a 10/15k individual skate race. Here’s Caitlin sporting the overall leader bib. (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Reese Brown

The skate race was followed by a classic sprint the next day. Here’s Liz striding up Moss Run in her semifinal (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Reese Brown

Here’s Ida in her semifinal followed by Caitlin and Kait (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Reese Brown

Ida crossing the line in second! (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Reese Brown

So much excitement! (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Reese Brown

Classic sprint podium (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Reese Brown

After a day off, racing action resumed with the team relay. With all the GRP men racing at Biathlon Nationals (which you can read about here), the GRP women had to compete on mixed relay teams.  Liz and Hallie formed the Green Buffalos with Colorado University skiers Petter Reistad and Mads Stroem. Here’s Liz tagging off to Mads. (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Reese Brown

Hallie skied a very strong anchor leg crossing the line in fourth. (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Reese Brown

Ida and Caitlin formed the Vailbury Green Team with Ski and Snowboard Club Vail skiers Noah Hoffman and Tad Elliot. Here’s Caitlin heading out on her anchor leg after being tagged by Tad. They finished second behind APU! (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Reese Brown

SuperTour Finals wrapped up with the 30/50k classic. Here’s the start of the women’s 30k. (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Reese Brown

Heather getting off to a good start (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Deb Miller

Lots of green suits in the chase pack! (photo: Deb Miller)

photo: Reese Brown

Liz leading Erika Flowers (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Reese Brown

Hallie striding up Screaming Mimi (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Reese Brown

In a 9-lap race, there are many opportunities to feed! (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Reese Brown

Craftsbury junior Phoebe Sweet raced the 15k and finished 5th! (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Deb Miller

Heather and Hallie skiing together mid-race (photo: Deb Miller)

photo: Deb Miller

Kait, Ida, and Caitlin at the top of Screaming Mimi (photo: Deb Miller)

photo: Deb Miller

Jumping for joy in the finish corral! (photo: Deb Miller)

photo: Reese Brown

Jessie Diggins won the 30k with Ida finishing second and Caitlin third!! (photo: Reese Brown)

photo: Deb Miller

One last team photo to finish out the season. Thanks to Pepa and Nick (as well as Ruth, Jake, and Anna – not pictured) for their support! Our skis were fantastic all week. Also thanks to Susan for coming out to cheer despite feeling under-the-weather. (photo: Deb Miller)

GRP in California

8.Feb.2013 by phil.henson

Three lightweights from the Craftsbury GRP  (Kyle, Phil, & Phil) left Vermont just before the massive snowfall and flew out to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA. It is sandwiched between San Diego and Tijuana, only 10 miles from each, and we have already been warned about potential encounters with border patrol if we go off running by ourselves in the woods. Because it was designed as a distraction-free training site, the OTC has a somewhat isolated feel to it, but it has all the facilities and amenities an elite athlete would ever need. Aside from boats, oars, ergs and bikes, there is a full weight room with video analysis, a dining hall almost as good as the one at Craftsbury, and an athlete lounge with ping-pong, pool, an XBox 360, and Jumbling Tower (a blatant Jenga knockoff).

There are twelve lightweights here for the camp, 6 from the national team training center in Oklahoma City and 6 invited from elsewhere. This morning we did about 15k of steady-state and technique in straight fours, and if the weather holds up we will be back out there this afternoon. The next few days are a sort of a re-introduction to rowing, especially for those of us who haven’t been on the water since November, and next week we’ll get into the fun (race pace) stuff.

Aside from rowing, there are other sports represented here as well including field hockey, track and field, and soccer. We see them around training, in the dining hall, or the athlete lounge, where Kyle coincidentally ran into a girl he went to high school with – she is on the national field hockey team now and went to both the Beijing and London Olympic games.

It’s too bad we have to miss out on all the new snow, but we are definitely excited to be out on the water again and the warm weather is a nice change for now. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!

– Phil Henson, Kyle Lafferty, and Phil Grisdela

Welcome to Chula Vista!

It feels like a different country after walking around in a T-shirt, sweating, and seeing palm trees line the road.

A view of one of the BMX courses here. Should have brought the staff bikes!

They call these distant mountains “hills” here, so they are fair game for “hill workouts.”