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Archive for July, 2015

Montreal Trip to Bassin Olympique

28.Jul.2015 by Andrew Reed

The athletes competing at trials and I went on a two day trip to train at the 1976 Montreal Olympic 2k course late last week.  We left early Wednesday morning crossing the border at 7:30 AM and made it on site at 9:30.  We rigged the boats and went for a light row to check out the course and shake out the cobwebs.  The course is 7 lanes wide with no warm up zone.  Luckily, we had the course mostly to ourselves aside from a few elite canoe/kayakers.  The course was quite flat, but for the duration of our stay there was a moderate to strong crosswind that made for tricky steering and some inconsistent times.  After some Subway and a short nap at the Hotel Le Dauphin we hit the course again for some 1250m pieces.  We broke into two flights: one with the 4x and a second with the 2x, 2-, and 1x, which made for some fun racing in the small boats.  At night we made a brief sojourn into Montreal for dinner.  After, a lot of sitting in traffic we made it into the city and ate at first place we saw, an italian restaurant named Da Giovanni, which had simple, but good food.

Day 2 of the trip we started out with a full steam 2k down the course.  The 2- and 1x went down the course against a u23 4x from McGill University followed by the 4x and 2x.  After the solid piece we went for a delicious breakfast at Eggsquis.  Before heading home we finished off the trip with one more hard practice of 250m pieces focusing on making the boat move as fast as possible over the distance.  Most of these pieces we did four across with a staggered start making for some tight finishes between the different boat classes.  All in all, our short excursion to Montreal was great training experience that brought us closer to achieving our goals at trials and we hope to return in the future for more solid work.  Enjoy the collection of photos below.

Early morning departure



A view of the Montreal Biosphere from the course

A view of the course and grand stand

Dragon Boat drag racing

Dragon Boat drag racing


More Dragon Boating

Gondala rower, sign her up!

Gondala rower, sign her up!

Canoers have great glutes

Canoers have great glutes

Trying to translate the parking meter

Trying to translate the parking meter… it was in english

Team dinner at El Giovanni

Team dinner at El Giovanni

Un pre-practice croissant for Monsieur Pierre

Un pre-practice croissant for Monsieur Pierre

The trials squad

The trials squad

One last look at the course before heading home

One last look at the course before heading home


A Week with the International Biathlon Team

28.Jul.2015 by Susan Dunklee

Tonstad isn’t a very big town. Tucked against rocky cliffs in southern Norway, it has a grocery store, a bakery, a peaceful lake, narrow twisty roads, sheep ranging through bucolic pastureland, and a 30 point biathlon range. It also has some very talented visitors.

The French biathlon and xc ski teams have become a familiar presence at the Sirdal sports school every July leading up to the Blink Rollerski Festival. This year another group of international visitors has joined them, a group I am grateful to be part of. We have been calling ourselves the International Biathlon Team.

Organized by the Canadians and Norwegian shooting coach Joar Himle, our small group has athletes from four different countries, including 3 world championship medalists. We are united by our desire to become the best biathletes we can be. We are here to learn as much as we can from the staff as well as from each other. Along the way we’ve been able to do some training with the French team and Norwegian women’s team. Tomorrow everyone will travel to Sandnes together to compete at the Blink Festival.

Our International Biathlon Team, L to R: Matthias Ahrens (Canadian coach from Germany), Brendan Green (Canada), Nathan Smith (Canada), Katja Yurlova (Russia), Kaisa Mäkäräinen (Finland), myself, Rosanna Crawford (Canada), Joar Himle (shooting coach, Norway). Not pictured, Megan Tandy (Canada). Several pictures courtesy of Matthias Ahrens.

An afternoon ski with Katja and Rosanna

Running back to town from the shooting range

Team relay drills together with the Norwegian ladies

Agility and coordination drills

Rollerskiing with Megan and the Norwegians

Katja enjoying the scenery

Rosanna hiking toward the famous Kjeragbolten rock

The Kjeragbolten, suspended between cliffs 1000 m directly above the Lysebotn Fjord. This picture is actually from last year. After climbing out on this rock once and getting shaky legs, I resolved I’d never to do it again.

Exploring the roads above Lysebotn with Katja and Kaisa. We saw patches of snow.

An outing with the French to our host Frode’s farm

The French men enjoying a volleyball match in their spare time


View from the sports school where we are staying

More photos from New Zealand!

27.Jul.2015 by Ida Sargent

I’m back in Vermont now adjusting to the 16 hour time change, remembering what it feels like to sweat in humid weather, eating delicious veggies and berries from the garden, and swimming several times a day.  But before I get fully settled into summer, here are a few more photos from winter training camp in the Southern hemisphere.


Sophie, Matt, and Jessie on the edge of the Hanging Valley trail


On an off day we drove to Queenstown but a snowy morning made for a long drive and with many a few stops to chain up along the way.


The view from the beach in Queenstown. 

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Classic striding from afar (Bernie Gardner photo)

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Anouk and I working on classic technique with some no pole striding. (Bernie Gardner photo)

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The snowy white landscape! (Bernie Gardner photo)

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An ominous cloud bank rolls in over the lodge. The exposed landscape at the Snow Farm made the sunny days incredible and the stormy days as intensely extraordinary. We were lucky and timed both of our off days with the storms, escaping skiing through the extreme whiteouts and howling winds. (Bernie Gardner photo)

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Sophie leads the train in a classic distance time trial with myself, Anouk, and Jessie in hot pursuit. (Bernie Gardner photo)


Clear skies and fresh corduroy for a late afternoon ski. We couldn’t have been any luckier with the snow conditions an finished the camp with more powdery fresh snow. (Jessie Diggins photo)

Skiing into the sunset

Skiing into the sunset


The clouds outside the lodge on the last evening made it hard to leave!

Wintertime down South

20.Jul.2015 by Ida Sargent

There’s an old saying the XC skiers are made in the summer.  But sometimes, it’s best to find winter in summer.  Rollerskiing is great but it’s not skiing and the time spent on snow, working on technique and logging quality kilometers is invaluable.  Every time I start skiing after a few months break, I’m amazed by how awkward, long, and slippery my skis feel.  Little stabilizing muscles immediately scream out after being dormant and unused on the stable and firm pavement.  The classic rollerski ratchets are gone and it’s time to remember how to make wax work again.  And of course there is always the pure enjoyment and love of skiing, the blissful feeling of a ski gliding along the snow.  For the past few years the US Ski Team has traveled to Alaska in July for some glacier skiing.  This year we decided to go to actual winter and so we made the longer southern journey down under to find it.  I quickly lost track of the hours spent traveling, especially when we crossed the international date line and jumped into tomorrow.  But many many hours later we arrived on New Zealand’s South island and all the hours on the plane were immediately worth it.   I’m also a competent plane sleeper and was in snooze mode for over eight hours of the twelve hour flight from San Francisco to Aukland, so I arrived relatively fresh and was ready to ski!

We flew into Queenstown, New Zealand and then drove up into the mountains to the Snow Farm, New Zealand’s only Nordic ski area.  The lodge, where we are living for the camp, is 14 kilometers up a road that serves as a rally race course in the summer time.  The switchbacks can be treacherous, especially for those susceptible to car sickness but at the top the landscape opens into an unreal panorama of white rolling hills backed by views of the larger Southern Alps.  Apparently it is the best snow year in over a decade so the skiing has been incredible with over 30 kilometers of trails open.  The first week was cold and clear and we had a long string of extra blue conditions.  Then a front came in with some warmer temps bringing klister conditions for a couple days but the warmer weather was followed by more snow so we should finish the camp off with more hardwax skiing.  We live directly on the trails which creates the perfect training environment conducive to large amounts of skiing, eating, and sleeping and not much else.  Most days we spend over four hours skiing and logging lots of easy distance.  The altitude here is only 5000′ which isn’t too high compared to many summer skiing destinations so we have a couple time trials and interval sessions built into the training plan each week. There is a small gym up here too but we usually drive into Wanaka, the nearest town, a couple times a week to go for a run and hit up a larger gym.  On our off days we’ve had time to get off the mountain and explore the local area but with this much training it isn’t possible unfortunately to head off on any bigger adventures or sightseeing trips.  We have four more days of training left here before debarking on the big journey back in time and north to summer.  How’s that for confusing?

Here’s some pictures from the week so far.

New Zealand from the air!  After so many hours of travel, these views were an energizing start to the trip.

New Zealand from the air! After so many hours of travel, these views were an energizing start to the trip.

SKIING!  The morning fog burns off on the Hanging Valley trail.  (Sophie Caldwell photo)

SKIING! The morning fog burns off on the Hanging Valley trail. (Sophie Caldwell photo)


The girls enjoying a sunset ski at the Bob Lee hut. Anouk Favre-PIcon from the French National team (far left) joined our team for the camp which has been awesome! Her English has made huge improvements and I’ve tried to speak a little French as well. (Chris Grover photo)


Jessie puts her feet up to take in the view


Here is the view from my bedroom room. We’re lucky to have such great training just out the door. It’s just like Craftsbury in the winter time with great skiing, eating, and living, except with a few less trees.


Down in town in Wanaka, it feels like fall. Sometimes we will run in shorts and tshirts and other times it’s a little colder and even the teapot needs a sweater.  (Anouk photo)


The floating tree in Lake Wanaka (Jason Cork photo)


The floating tree without us in the way.  We heard it was the most photographed tree in the world from some locals but further research has showed that it might have some competition.  


Feeding the ducks in Wanaka

We didn't see a single cloud for the first five days and then the next morning we awoke to this incredible sunrise!

We didn’t see a single cloud for the first five days and then the next morning we awoke to this incredible sunrise!

It was a shock to go from lots of summer daylight to midwinter darkness.  Now instead of waking up with the sun streaming through the windows, it's still dark when I get up but the bonus is lots of incredible breakfast sunrises like this one here.

It was a shock to go from lots of summer daylight to midwinter darkness. Now instead of waking up with the sun streaming through the windows, it’s still dark when I get up but the bonus is lots of incredible breakfast sunrises like this one here.