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Onward to Sverige.

29.Nov.2010 by Tim Reynolds
Boys Team.  Thumbs Up.

Boys Team. Thumbs Up.

While the rest of the GRP took off early Monday morning last week, I managed to grab an extra hour or so of sleep before embarking on a marathon of bus rides to Aare, Sweden.  In fact, my teammates made it back to Craftsbury on Monday before I made it to my friend’s house in Sweden.

16 hours on a bus actually turned out to be not as bad as it might have been.  I caught the last bit of Sherlock Holmes, found the wireless connection for the 42 minutes my battery lasts, and managed to take a few hot laps from the upper deck to the lower deck to ward off the kankles I tend to get on long trips- long legs do have their drawbacks.

I arrived in Östersund late Monday night after a taxi and 6 different buses to meet the Swedish version of my real mother.  She gave me a ride the last hour into Aare, a small ski town where I spent 9 months after I graduated from high school 5 long years ago.  I spent a lot of time with Karin (mom) and her family while I lived here, and while I had seen her and her husband at my college graduation, I hadn’t seen their three little kids in 5 years.  They’re much bigger now- but that hasn’t stopped them from hanging off any vacant part of my body when I move around the house.  It’s quite lovely to be back here to catch up with old friends and family alike.

I’ve also managed to train quite a bit aside from lugging small children around.  It’s been snowing every day since I arrived, and mediocre tracks have improved to mid-winter perfection.  It’s been great to be able to keep this streak of on-snow days rolling, as the forecast in Vermont calls for rain, rain and a little more rain.  This coming weekend I’ll make the hour long trek across the border to Meraaker, Norway for a weekend of Norway Cup racing.  A 30km individual skate and 10km individual classic are on the schedule and I’m looking forward to both- they’ve got some really tough courses over there that suit me well and it will be fun to get some more high level FIS racing in before heading back stateside.

All in all it’s been a great tour in Finland and now Sweden, and soon to be Norway.  Here’s some pics from the Finland days and Aare.

Snowy Åre at sundown.

Snowy Åre at sundown.

Don't mess with Big Dilly.

Don't mess with Big Dilly.

IMG_5404
Pepa chases Reindeer.

12.Nov.2010 by Tim Reynolds
Ida leading out her quarterfinal.

Ida leading out her quarterfinal.

First of three races down for the weekend this morning against one of the deepest fields I’ve ever raced.  Ida crushed the qualifying again in 5th just behind the likes of Petra, Kikkan, and Justyna Kowalcyk.  A pretty impressive performance for her, and we’re all hoping she gets the nod for a World Cup start while she’s over here.

I still haven’t seen results but it sounds like our crew fared alright skiing even with or above their rankings.  I can’t read the Finnish google results so I guess we’ll have to wait for them to come up on FIS.  We stuck around after the prelims to cheer on Ida and catch most of the heats.  It was fun to watch the top skiers up close on a really tight course in the rounds, and especially seeing Kikkan ski to a big win over Kowalyck and Majdic.

Hopefully we’ll be able to mix it up ourselves  in the top 30 next weekend in Rovaniemi in our last sprint start when the rest of the World Cup skiers head North to Gällivare.  We’ll be back with results but I just wanted to post this picture of Ida hammering up the first wall on the sprint course leading her heat.  Check back in again soon.

Sprinting and Running. Raining and Snowing.

17.Oct.2010 by Tim Reynolds

The unseasonably beautiful weather during the Lake Placid camp broke hard on Thursday night and the blue skies and warm days turned to the more typical cold, cold October rain.  Our last two workouts in the Adirondacks were a classic sprint simulation on Friday and a long OD run on Saturday.  They were also two of the coldest training sessions that I can remember.

During the sprint on Friday I went through my entire training wardrobe trying to stay warm.  Along with the USST, NEG, Sun Valley, Vail, and the NENSA crew, we ran a classic sprint from prelim to finals.  The mildly uncomfortable 40 degree rain turned to extremely uncomfortable 32 degree rain and then finally snow by the time we were warming down.  Staying warm was basically an impossibility, no matter how many times I changed into dry clothes between heats.

Dylan coming through one of many puddles on the sprint course. (Photo: Topher Sabot)

Dylan coming through one of many puddles on the sprint course. (Photo: Topher Sabot)

The rain aside, it was a good day.  Dylan and Pat both looked really strong in their heats, and despite a crash in my semifinal, I felt good all day long as well.  It was fun to mix it up with the National Team boys and build a little confidence before heading to Europe after a secluded summer in Craftsbury.

Tim chasing up the finish hill in the quarters. (Vordenberg)

Tim chasing up the finish hill in the quarters. (Vordenberg)

Saturday we headed out for a long run in Keene Valley.  Simi, the brothers Rodgers, and the rest of the Sun Valley crew and I opted out of the rollerski and decided to brave whatever the Nor’Easter had left behind up high.  It proved to be too much for us to finish the original loop we had planned out over Wolfjaws, Hedgehog and Rooster Comb back into Keene Valley.  Instead, we hit about 18″ of snow at around 3000′ and it took over two hours to bag the first peak.  We opted to turn around at the top and it still took over 3 hours to get back to the car. Unfortunately we didn’t get any pics from this one- it was full on winter up there, but we were also full on freezing and didn’t stop for much on the way down.

A huge thanks to the McClelland family for hosting me and Sylvan during the camp and also feeding a handful of hungry skiers after a long run, not to mention having the sauna burning hot when we got back.  I’m home in Craftsbury now for a week and then it’s across the pond to Finland for first snow and the season opening races.

Patty crushing his heat. (Sabot)

Patty crushing his heat. (Sabot)

NY Livin’

12.Oct.2010 by Tim Reynolds

It’s coming in on almost a week now that I’ve been training in Lake Placid with the USST’s last dryland camp of the year.  Things started off big last Friday with the Whiteface Hillclimb, a brutal reminder of how much rollerskiing in general sucks and also 45 minute uphills on bumpy pavement against 50mph headwinds.  All things considered though, this was the third year I’ve done the race and it was the best weather and the best I’ve felt by far.  It was great to be on top of Whiteface and actually get to check out the ‘360 degree panoramic views’ they advertise for the Climb to the Castle.  We had the whole Craftsbury crew over here for that including Mama Pepa, so it was nice to have our whole team get in on a race like this with high national competition.

Since then, it’s been a speed workout, a day off, and two more days of really hard intervals with the USST and their NEG/NTG squads.  Yesterday we had tough V1 max skate intervals up Schaeffer Rd. in Keene with shuttles bringing 30+ rollerskiers down in between sets of intervals.  It was quite a scene on that hill but fortunately the traffic was low and all the drivers more awed than annoyed with what was going on.

Tim, Pat and Sylvan just a little tired at the end of the workout.

Tim, Pat and Sylvan just a little tired at the end of the workout.

Today was 6×4 minutes of vo2max bounding intervals up Whiteface.  It was a tough workout and everyone here is definitely looking forward to an easy day tomorrow before rolling in to two more days of big speed with a prologue and a sprint time trial.

Tim, Sylvan, Dylan and Pat charging on our 4th interval today.

Tim, Sylvan, Dylan and Pat charging on our 4th interval today.