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Posts Tagged ‘russia’

Quality time in Craftsbury

3.Feb.2012 by Clare Egan

For the last two weeks or so, I’ve been holding down the fort here in Craftsbury as my teammates travel and race all over God’s white acre. In the short span between January 19th and February 2nd, the CGRP has been represented at races in Italy, Germany, Estonia, Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Russia, Norway, and the western United States…AND at the Craftsbury Marathon, of course. While the adventure of travel is unbeatable, I’m happy to be staying close to home this winter. This is my first season of full-time training and racing, and that alone is plenty of excitement for me. Plus, I need all the help from Pepa I can get!


Holding down the fort at 739 Town Highway 19. That's 9 empty bedrooms, if anyone is counting.

So, am I losing it? (REDRUM). Well, not exactly. Though in the absence of no-dust Dylan and everything-in-its-place Pat, I have seized the opportunity to overtake the entire living room and have subsequently started to lose track of my own stuff. The only saving grace is that other, less well-organized teammates are also missing and so there is no one else’s crap with which to confuse my own. Clutter aside, as the single resident of the house, my newfound sense of propriety has inspired me to higher levels of responsibility: I regularly keep the stove alit. I bring in the mail every day. I have even felt the tinglings of an urge to clean the whole place, though they are as of yet unfruitful.


office/living room/music room/breakfast nook/napping couch/game room/fire place

Luckily, most of my time ‘alone’ here has not been spent in true solitude. For the first week, Nils Koons, our training partner and friend from the Rossignol team, kept me company in the house. Together, we forgot to get groceries every single day until we were eating questionably bygone raisin bran with unquestionably bygone yogurt for breakfast. (Raisin bran with yogurt is not good, even when both are decidedly un-rancid.) My friends Maura and Kenny drove up from Boston for a well-timed visit during the sunny and snowy weekend of January 21-22, during which we skied, shot biathlon rifles, and enlisted Lucas Schultz  to jump their completely dead car. (“Not to worry, I know someone who will be over here in 3 minutes to rescue us.”) Another well-timed visitor was my friend Dan from Burlington, who came to Craftsbury last Saturday night to celebrate my marathon win (and winnings). You may not believe this, but Parker Pie (local favorite pizza/bar establishment) was HOPPIN’… it was like a club scene in there! Not wanting to disturb Lucas a second time, I enlisted Brian Gluck when we needed to pull Dan’s car out of the ditch. (“Not to worry, I know someone who will be over here in 3 minutes to rescue us.”) Last but not least, our surrogate pet grouse, Mo (separate blog entry to follow), has been unwavering in his quest for human social interaction, in what seems to be an adamant rejection of the behaviors one would typically expect from his species.


During the week I have been at least somewhat diligent about getting work done around here, ranging from helping out in the Hosmer Point camp office (who knew that a person could get sore from doing a bulk mailing?) to visiting Greensboro Elementary to give a presentation about skiing and getting outdoors. I have also entertained the possibility of doing the compost for Brian, which delights him almost as much as when I actually do it.


Getting in some office hours. Rhetorical question: Is it possible to get any work done if Pepa is sitting across from you?

Training has been going really well, now that I can show up 10 minutes late and have only Pepa yell at me instead of the whole team. And, we have SNOW! I’ve done some good quality interval workouts with our junior extraordinaires, Hannah and Lauren, as well our visiting South American contingent, Federico (Argentina) and Leandro (Brazil). Communcation between the Brazilian and the Bulgarian is something to behold and is one of my favorite parts of our daily workouts. And, no surprise here– hitting the gym: even less sweet when you’re alone.


Lonliness is an empty gym.

I have succomb to accute, late-onset, residual hunger from the 50km. For some reason, this did not set in until Tuesday, after racing on Saturday. But it has continued full-force even into the wee hours of this morning (Friday), when I was forced out of bed at 4:30am by hunger pangs for a snack of fruit leather. The kitchen staff have been invariabely understanding of my issue, and generous in their provision of leftovers. Success: being greeted at the back door of the kitchen by a staff member who preempted by maple sausage prowl and had set some aside for me.

food steal

The staff shelf, God be praised.

The best part about staying home in Craftsbury? Getting to spend a lot of quality time with this person:


Fun things to do and see in Europe

31.Oct.2010 by Ollie Burruss

I love to people watch.  Absolutely love it.  One of my favorite pastimes, without a doubt.  Europe, as you can probably imagine, has proved to be an ever expanding collection of awesomeness for someone with my affinity for checking people out.  During our layover in Paris, I spent the entire time posted up in front of one of the security lines with Matt, just watching the people come out.  I don’t know exactly, but I’d say we spent at least two hours cracking jokes about everyone we saw.  I loved every minute of it.

Here in Muonio I get to combine people watching with one of my other favorite activities: skiing.  So far I’ve seen an Estonian who is a dead-ringer for Glenn Randall and a Swedish biathlon coach who strongly reminds me of my dear friend and former coach, Peter Graves.  Every time I see Estonian Glenn Randall I wonder what will happen when American Glenn Randall gets here and they ski past each other.  I imagine meeting your European doppelganger would be somewhat jarring.

Skiing laps on a 3.8k loop with dozens of other skiers has also given me time to come up with a few conclusions about Europe, which I will now share with you:

Finns love Finnish-made equipment.  I’m talking stuff that has never been seen in the US outside of Minnesota.  Rex poles (notable because they are Robin Hood green), Peltonen skis, and the little-known Karhu racing ski (complete with a neon orange base and an awesome name: Volcans.  I can only imagine they meant to call them Volcanos?  Or maybe Vulcans?) are all represented in force here.  I’ve got half a mind to try to trade for the Karhu drink belt I saw this morning.

Russians train really hard, all the time. There are tons of Russians here right now.  Pepa said there were clubs from Moscow and Saint Petersburg, in addition to the national team, whose van says “Russian National Ski Team” in German on it (thumbs up for usage of the word “mannschaft,” always a crowd pleaser).  The women in particular seem to be skiing wicked hard all the time.  There’s a great clip of Matt being rolled up by a tiny Russian girl just hammering her brains out.  Ask him about it.  One girl I saw was wearing full warm-ups that she had sweat all the way through.  She did not smell great.  But, they are fast, so maybe there’s something to their methodology.

Eastern European coaches hate skiing. Not the sport, but the actual physical act of skiing.  So far I’ve seen national team coaches from Estonia, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and I think Latvia (in addition to numerous club coaches from Russia).  None of these men ski.  They stand around, often together, in big jackets, watching.  Always watching.  Sometimes they’ll whip out a video camera (the Estonian guy especially likes his camera).  Often they’ll shout something at a passing athlete.  But seldom do they move and even more seldom do they ski.  Groups of them will congregate at trail intersections to chat, smoke cigarettes, and drink from thermoses.  I like to think that it is a hold over from the days when the Soviets used to post up guys in the woods to keep athletes from defecting.  Poor guys probably don’t know what to do with themselves anymore.  Since they are so often in the same places, I’ve taken to nodding to them as I pass, hoping for a nod back.  Most give it to me, but the Belorussians have been resisting.  I’ll break them, though.

Pepa is the most popular person on the trails. This should not surprise you.  She’s a babe and the only female coach out there (I think the Swedish biathlon team has a few female staff members, but I can’t figure out exactly what they do).  All the coaches like to chat with Pepa.  It’s been especially great for Chelsea, because she’s scored a few choice interviews through Pepa’s connections.  All I know is Pepa better watch out or she’s going to find herself beating off suitors like Odysseus’s wife Penelope.

That’s all I’ve got for now.  Gotta get back to my tiny cabin to eat some duo spread (think cake frosting mixed with Nutella) and put my feet up.

Note: I’m just making a joke about the post-communist coaches.  I’m sure those guys actually know a lot about skiing and are doing a good job.  The difference between the way they conduct themselves on the trails and the ways American coaches act just begs the comparison.  No offense meant to Eastern Europeans.