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Posts Tagged ‘Airplanes’

When life hands you lemons

2.Jul.2013 by Patrick O'Brien

Go visit your friends in San Fran!

As a cross country ski racer I spend a fair amount of time traveling on airplanes. The past two summers I have made my way out to Alaska for training trips up on Eagle Glacier. It is an amazing facility and a great way to get good volume training and some quality on snow time during the off season. This summer I wasn’t able to get up on the glacier but instead am headed to Alaska for some dry land training and general adventuring.  While staying in one place for a solid chunk of the training season is important I think it is also beneficial to move around a bit to change up venues and training partners to prevent the mental and physical burnout that can accompany training in the same place for several months in a row.

I have always had a love hate relationship with airline travel. I like going to different locations and don’t regret my travel choices once I am finally there. But despite logging a fair number of hours in airplanes during the year, it never becomes very pleasant. In fact I might be one of the worst travelers I know. I hate sitting for extended periods of time, always feel cramped in airplanes, and am that person that is always pacing and headed straight for the gate like the plane might not be there unless I get there two hours early. I have been trying to become a better traveler since it is a necessary evil in ski racing. Unfortunately for me United handed me some nice lemons yesterday when the plane I was supposed to board was several hours late out of Denver and I found out while en route to Logan. Since Alaska happens to be really far from everything except the Western most tip of Russia I couldn’t catch another flight until 5pm the following day. Not what I wanted to hear but at this point I was faced with two choices. Get really angry, make a scene at check in and try to get the lady behind the desk already having a terrible day to get me on an earlier flight, or try to be the calm travel and accept the fact that I wasn’t going to get to Alaska until 26 hours later than I was planning. Luckily for her (and perhaps everyone in that line) I have really been trying to make good on my vow to stop being quite such a grumpy old man and went with the second option.

So I am in SFO waiting for my flight after a great (and unexpected) extra day in San Francisco. My good friend and former teammate from Dartmouth, John Gerstenberger was kind enough to pick me up from the airport and let me stay at his apartment for the night. We went for a nice run this morning and I got to walk around and checkout downtown San Fran on my wandering journey back to the airport since all the BART trains were shut down from a Union strike. It has been great to enjoy some California sunshine (however brief) after a June that seemed to bring nothing but rain and thunderstorms to the Northeast Kingdom.

So remember when you are traveling and life hands you lemons, try to be nice to the ticketing and lost baggage agents! As bad as your day is going I’ll bet their day has been a bit worse…

The Best Way to Switch Time Zones

27.Feb.2011 by Chelsea Little

After racing the Birkie in Wisconsin yesterday, I hitched a ride to Minneapolis and flew to Europe. It was a pretty crazy move, one that I am temporarily regretting because my legs really seized up in the car and then on the plane, and I am currently unsure whether I will ever be able to ski (or run, or move) again.

I’m usually really bad at sleeping on planes, but this time it was no problem. I was exhausted! The few minutes I had to wait in between eating the dinner they served us and them collecting the trash seemed like eternity; I just really wanted to pass out.

But I was kidding about regretting the trip – I am definitely sure that I made a good decision! I am currently in Amsterdam waiting for a connecting flight and watching the men’s World Championships pursuit live on TV. Tonight, I’ll be in Oslo, and tomorrow, I will be right there in Holmenkollen stadium watching the races and helping FasterSkier with reporting. Since there aren’t many races in New England next weekend, I don’t have to feel guilty about missing them, and honestly, watching the biggest races in the World in the most packed, electric venue in the world is going to do as much for my love, understanding, and appreciation of the sport and get me more excited about skiing and racing as doing another ski race myself possibly could.

So anyway. I have a lot to look forward to in the next week.

But the last week was pretty good too – I had a lot of fun at the Birkie! I actually felt horrible for the first 10k, and was really slow, so that was a bummer, but after that I had fun, much more fun than last year. And I managed to avoid getting frostbite, which was something of an accomplishment after hearing stories of what happened to some other racers. Regardless of the fact that I seem to be a really poor marathoner – for some reason I’m much worse at marathons than any other race – I am planning on doing quite a few more Birkies.


2.Nov.2009 by Matt Briggs

Train, Eat, Sleep.  Train, Eat, Sleep.  Thats what people always talk about on training camps.  That’s all you do.  Sometimes you mix it up, but that’s the basic formula.

We hear a lot about the training, and I won’t get into that now.  We don’t hear too much about the eating and sleeping though, so I’m going to try to attack these lesser understood parts of the training camp.  I actually won’t talk at all about sleeping either.  So really, this is about eating.  And that’s good, because we all like to eat, and really, it’s more like eat breakfast, train/eat a powerbar, eat a recovery snack, eat lunch, eat a snack, sleep, eat before you train again, train, eat more recovery stuff, eat dinner, eat dessert, eat a snack, eat before you sleep, and sleep.  Thats two for training, two for sleeping, and eleven for eating.

I’ll attack breakfast and dinner some other time.  I wouldn’t dare get into snacks or recovery stuff.  Here, I’ll discuss the one that’s forgotten the most.  The middle child to older brother breakfast (the nerdy overachiever of the meal family) and younger brother dinner (needs all the attention but isn’t even that great all the time).  That’s right, here comes lunch.  Served hot with a side of sun-chips.

After 22 years on earth, I’m ready to say that I’ve got lunch figured out pretty good.  I’ve learned from others, checked into new ideas, kept some, trashed others, and came out on top.  And most importantly, I found a teacher; a guru; a sensei in the lunchtime arts.  Wyatt Fereday taught me one day that it doesn’t really matter whats in your lunch, but how many things there are.  In this case, unlike so many other things, its the quantity that rules supreme while quality takes a back seat.

It was Wyatt that told me to get a big wrap or some nice bread slices and just pile things on.  I’ve seen walk into a dining hall, put a wrap on a plate, and on the wrap he piled mayo, cream cheese, mustard, pepper, salt, ham, turkey, salami, tuna, roast beef, lettuce, tomato, carrots, beets, grapes, potato salad, fruit salad, coleslaw, melon slices, steak, thai peanut noodles, french fries, fried chicken, pizza slices, hamburgers, ketchup, cheddar, american, jack and mozzarella cheeses, cheerios, frosted flakes, the contents of a teabag, sour cream, soft serve, moose track ice cream and topped it off with sprinkles and thousand island dressing.  By the time he was ready to eat, he had a trail of ingredients from the serving area to the table, and a grin from ear to ear.  The wrap would not wrap.  He just picked it up, dunked it in a cup of Pepsi, opened wide and wasn’t seen for an hour.

Not really.  I’ve never seen him tear open a teabag.  That’s gross.  But you get the idea.  I took that lesson and that example with me here, to Lake Tahoe, land of the 99 cent avocado and leftover lasagna, and have been working to perfect my mid-day excursions to lunch-land.  Today, I finally put it all together.  I was what you would call in sports “In The Zone.”  Nothing was getting in my way and everything I needed was within my limits.  If you’ve ever had a race where you just couldn’t tire yourself out, a game where everything is in slow motion for you and you just can’t mess up, a spelling bee where the right letters practically fall out of your mouth, or a day when you need to sign a bunch of credit card receipts and your signature looks like it should be on a baseball glove and the pens are always full of ink and the paper never rips, you know what I’m talking about.

Here’s your spoiler alert.  I’m about to describe this sandwich.  If you want to try to figure out the perfect lunch by yourself, stop reading.  For the rest of you, you’re welcome.

I start with two slices of brown bread.  I spread whipped cream cheese, thick, on both slices.  Then I put a bunch of pepper on one side.  Then  4 slices of turkey on one side, a half an avocado on that, and maybe 25 1cm cubed pieces of tri-tip steak, cooked the night before on a charcoal grill and pre-rubbed in a universal Raley’s Foods steak rub.  On the other piece of bread, I put a layer of lasagna down.  I do this by cutting a bit off and cutting it into ribbons and spreading it over the bread.  Then on top of that is a layer of mashed potatoes (skins on, not my choice, but it worked).  I forgot to mention though, there’s a pretty thick layer of mozzarella off the block under the lasagna, over the cream cheese spread.  So that’s the ingredients.

the Sandwich(sorry for low quality)

Now the next step is complicated.  I had an oven and broiler, a toaster, a microwave, and a George Foreman grill as cooking options.  I also have the charcoal grill, but there’s no charcoal left and that’s a pretty big hassle.  Before any of this goes on though, I needed to turn two big sandwich sides into one tall sandwich.  I preferred to flip the cheese/lasagna/potato side because the steak bits are really loose.  Good thing the potatoes secure them (premeditated).  So I flip it without much trouble and slide it into a shallow bowl because it’s going to get messy.  Don’t doubt it.  It goes into the microwave for a minute to warm everything up and melt the cheese some, then into the George Foreman.  That’s tricky, because the bread is limp, but it needs to get grilled.  It maxes out the Foreman, but it works and about a minute to a minute and a half later it’s ready to come out.

ready to eat

I made a mess getting it back into the bowl, but once that happens, I know I only have one more roadblock, and that’s getting this thing airborne and then into the hangar.  By hangar, I mean my mouth.  I know planes don’t go airborn and then into the hanger, but that’s not my fault.  The metaphor just isn’t any good.  One it’s up though, it never touches down.  So I guess it doesn’t go into the hangar.  It’s sort of a kamikaze mission for the sandwich-it has no chance of survival.