Monday, November 21, 2016

Collaboration



The National Nordic Foundation is the leading grassroots Nordic sport development organization in the country. We are transparent in our funding, from revenues collected to the allocation of our funds.
The NNF Mission is to support athletic excellence in developing Nordic athletes in the United States
You can read more about Team Gregg's experiences BEFORE and AFTER the National Nordic Foundation was created in this piece written by Brian: Caitlin's Story 
Thank you to the National Nordic Foundation for believing in Team Gregg and helping us reach our goals! 

Brian and I are forever grateful for the support we have received from the National Nordic Foundation. We will support this organization and it's mission for the rest of our lives.


Brian and I are still in Canmore, AB. We have now been here a month and we are both feeling great! The focused training and even more importantly the focused recovery has allowed us to make huge gains as we enter the season. With less than two weeks to go we are both excited to see where our fitness currently is.

Last week we encountered some of the warmest weather ever recorded in Canmore during the month of November. Frozen Thunder was beginning to show some large dirt areas and rocks were starting to appear. We switched back to our training skis and even decided roller skiing would be the best workout option one morning.  Although we also wanted a sustained v1 climb for intervals.

Of course as soon as we brought the roller skis and road ferrules out...it started snowing!!!
Back to the Rollerskis :(
We had a great group of athletes join together for the workout. Athletes from Capitol Regional Training Group, Rocky Mountain Racers, Enevoldsen Sports and of course Team Gregg. The workout was 6 x 4 mins at L-4 uphill. There is a great road called Silver Tip that was steep and allowed us to get in 2 intervals before we hit the top. Thanks to Camille Cheskey who once again stepped up and supported the workout as our awesome driver and photographer!!!

Starting the interval.

Re-grouping before the second interval of the set.

Brian was on fire and charging hard!
AHHHHH!!!!!! No wonder why he was skiing so FAST!!!


By the end of the workout the snow was coming down hard!

Adam, a junior from Edmonton enjoyed watching the older athletes breathing hard while he finished a distance ski.

Finding a dry spot in 'Timber' to test my lactate.
By the last interval the road was starting to get pretty slick but we finished the workout!
By the next morning we found winter once again and were blessed with tons of fluffy snow! Apparently our roller ski snow-dance worked.
Since we arrived in Canmore, Brian and I have been welcomed and included in numerous workouts and adventures with the numerous teams based out of Alberta as well as athletes who were in town for the Biathlon and XC trials two weeks ago.

This week CXC arrived and it has been awesome to have them in town to train with. They made the drive out just before the storm and timed it just right to have their first couple of skis be absolutely prefect out in Lake Louise! We spent 3 solid weeks training in Marquette this fall with CXC so it was fun to catch up with everyone.


Kyle Bratrud, Andy Keller and Oscar Friedman. Not shown are Jan Ketterson and Felicia Geisor who are also in town.
Kyle Bratrud and Oscar Friedman.

Karen Messanger ready for some intervals out in Lake Louise! She is taking on some inspiring marathon racing around the world this winter!
Mike Mappin and his wife Judy (who was training in the gym this morning) are some extremely talented ski fleet analyzers. I have been having a blast sharing my knowledge and passion for all of my Madshus skis with them and the Canadian athletes who race on Madshus :)

Robin McKeever the head coach of the Canadian Paralympic XC Team and his brother, Gold Medalist Brain McKeever have been huge resources for technique and training advice. 

Annika Hicks and Patrick Stewart Jones of the Alberta World Cup Academy. The Alberta World Cup Academy has allowed us to join in with their athletes for workouts and been very supportive with video from those sessions.

The Rocky Mountain Racers and my awesome friend Andrea Dupont (who has perhaps taught me more about sprint racing than anyone else!?!?) let me join their group for a challenging Classic Sprint workout last weekend! Luke McGurk coached the session and Camille supported me with dialed classic kick!

Sprinting hard with Emma.
Camille waiting with multiple pairs of classic skis for me to test each interval. He has helped me find the ideal wax pocket and grip for each ski.

The sunrises and sunsets in Canmore have been wonderful

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Week in the Life of Team Gregg at Canmore Camp


A week in the life of Team Gregg at Canmore Camp 2016.

Monday: 
AM - OD Run 3.5 hours. Nice and easy trail/road run in and around Canmore, AB. Leaving from our condo and finishing at the Canmore Nordic Center Trails. 16 miles total with an average heart rate of 120 bpm. My energy felt really good, a great to kick off turning 36 years old!


PM - Yoga for 1.25 hours. Brian and I signed up for a special one month introductory subscription to a local yoga studio. Yoga is something we know is good for us but we simply don't make the time during the spring, summer and fall at home.

36 and still going strong :)
After Yoga we enjoyed Apple Pie in the hot tub at our condo and had fun pretending to not be getting older.
Thanks for the Pie Bri!

Tuesday: 
AM: Skate Distance Ski 2.25 hours

Brian and I hired Camille Cheskey from the Canadian Training Center in Thunder Bay. He just moved to Canmore and we are extremely lucky to work with him. With so many pairs of skis here and with a lot of new ones to test it has been really important to dial in each pair. Camille arrives early, selects multiple pairs for the technique, workout and conditions and then prepares them so they are ready when we arrive!  On the World Cup the US Team has a 2 athlete to 1 tech ratio and let me tell you it is wonderful.

Camille reviewing flex, camber and grind information to dial in the ski for the day.
Camille always smiling!
PM: Classic Distance 1.75 hours.
During the workout Brian and I ski laps testing each pair of skis. Camille brings putty knives, klister or hard wax and other tools to help perfect the kick pocket for each pair. If we come back and need more kick on a pair we drop them off with Camille and he adjusts them while we test another pair.

Wednesday:
AM: Moosehoof Intervals (on the World Cup 5K Course at the Canmore Nordic Center.)
3 x 20 mins (5km)  L-3 quick and light on the uphills and running fast on the flats and downhills with 3 minute recoveries.
2.5 hours total.
Brian after warming up one lap of the 5K!

The workout went great and was a huge confidence booster for me and my preparations for the 30 km at the the World Championships. We both ran negative splits each interval and kept our lactates in zone 3 despite speeding up quite a bit by the final lap. We use a analyzer called the Lactate Plus which can read our blood lactate level with a small drop of blood in 13 seconds. Brian and I test ourselves and have been very consistent with our testing all year.  We make bets and penalties for eachother if our lactate is too high or too low to keep each other focused and competitive.

Post Interval Celebration.
 PM: Double Pole rollerski with 10 x 20 sec speeds. 1.5 hours

We love the opportunity to switch our training up a bit with some continued roller skiing from time to time. Although we do double pole only laps on the snow loop it's nice to get out for a continuous Double Pole workout on the rollerskis too! We double poled towards Banff will Bill Bowler and then had fun doing closing speed contests during the second half. This meant I got a few second head start and the boys would try and catch me before the 20 secs was up!

Thursday:
AM - Easy Trail Run 2.0 hours.

Awesome Trail Run with my friend Andrea!!! We cruised for 2 hours and then enjoyed a special birthday cake she made me and smoothies while we stretched.

Mountain Selfies.
Every run has a gorgeous view!
Friday:
AM - Classic Skiing speed day. 3 x ( 6 x 30 seconds on 90 off). 2 hours total.


Adjusting the kick during warmup! 
Camille keeps a detailed notebook on each ski in our fleet and has all of the info about where each zone should be for certain conditions and how thick the wax should be!!!

PM - Run 1.5 hours.

Saturday:
AM - L-3 Skate Intervals with the Alberta World Cup Academy and the Capitol Training Group.
2 x 20 mins (10 min DP only + 10 min skate) 1 x 10 min Skate only with 3- 4 mins recoveries.
Total Workout 2.25 hours

This workout was a great opportunity to practice skiing with other athletes and follow tempo and technique changes on snow. I have been focusing a lot on technique this year and it was great to have Camille step in as videographer and photographer for the workout! Again we tested lactates during this workout and aim to keep them between 2.5 mmol and 4 mmol for L-3 sessions. My first effort was a little high at 5 mmol so I made sure to dial it back for the last 2. Brian was right on at 3.5 mmol.

Brian during the workout.
Working on keeping my hips forward.

video
Video of the double pole only 10 min portion.


video
Video of the 10 min skate portion.



PM: Strength + 1 hour Run. 2 hours total.
Brian and I worked really hard this summer and early fall to improve our strength and we can really feel the difference on snow this year. We are now focusing on our volume and intensity but that doesn't mean we ignore strength. We either start of finish each session in the gym with a distance workout too depending on the focus for the week.

Arm strength, core strength and balance all at the same time.

Range of motion and activation exercises.
Of course there is always more core work
And more core work.

and then more core work ;)

Sunday:
AM: OD Run 3.5 Hours with Emily and Annika.

It was fun to have some locals take me on another small adventure. Although we really didn't get too far away from town and they referred to the trail as the tourist highway...I was still grateful to have fun company as we tromped through the same woods as the bears and cougars.

Emily, myself and Annika at Grassi Lake.
Anikka exploring the massive pipeline.
The view down to the reservoir with the mountain we climbed earlier in the camp in the distance.
Total for the week: 25 hours

Saturday, November 5, 2016

On the Road Again



On The Road Again!

On the Road with 'Timber', our new Ford Escape from Timber Ford of Hayward!
It's that time of year again! Brian and I packed up our house and hit the road (literally) for a winter of racing around the World (hopefully). As we have mentioned before we are thrilled to partner with Timber Ford of Hayward and to represent them well throughout the next two seasons! If you are thinking about upgrading or getting a new car I cannot emphasize how awesome Curt and Amy are at Timber Ford, especially since they are way into all kinds of healthy activities.  Plus, Timber Ford is a major supporter of community events throughout Hayward (and Midwest). You will also see their generous support at all of the American Birkebeiner Events as they are the official vehicle of the American Birkebeiner as well :)   Our car, which we nicknamed 'Timber' is awesome.  The miles on the road click by comfortably and quietly in our new ride.  One of my favorite features is the separate passenger temperature controls which allow Brian and I to both be comfortable without him in his underwear and me in my down jacket.

We also Love their motto!
Speaking of the American Birkebeiner...the full 50 km race is now full but there is still opportunities to get in on the fun and experience the multiple events. Both the Kortelopet and Prince Haakon races, which are now on Friday, have space left to Register and its a great way to get introduced to the atmosphere if you've never done the race before! Or if you are supporting a racer in a Saturday event, a great opportunity to get a race in yourself ;) If racing isn't what you enjoy or you are looking to get a great long supported ski on the course come out and join Brian and I at the 2017 Birkie Tour! We will have our car there as well ;)

We packed up the car and realized that we needed a Yakima Box to carry all of our Madshus skis (more on the number we brought later) and luckily we partner with Hoigaards who had the perfect one in stock and ready to go! We also gathered our other essentials like our sports nutrition from Infinit Nutrition. We have a complete system dialed specifically for our energy and electrolyte needs as Cross Country Skiers! They are a blast to work with and we love it when they bring out new and seasonal flavors for their mixes :) If you are interested you can also purchase the exact mix I use here!

Love Infinit!  You have to try MUD, the coffee chocolate recovery drink
We do love road tripping together! My Polar V800 watch told me it was time to move about 10 times during our 20 hour road trip!
We spent the night in Dickenson, ND before heading North.
We left the Twin Cities about a week before the snow for Frozen Thunder was going to be rolled out and completed. The idea was to get a week at altitude before we got on snow. We spent the first week running in the mountains and roller skiing on the local roads and on the roller ski track at the Canmore Nordic Center. One of the best parts about being in Canmore is the opportunity to train with so many high level athletes from Canada. We love connecting with different groups and learning from each other.

Acclimating.
Deciding the peak wasn't worth the risk so Brian made a decision his wife would be proud of.

Gorgeous views and scenery everywhere, zoom in and you can see the snow in the middle of the photo which is the Frozen Thunder track.
Getting a mountain tour from my friend, Andrea Dupont.

Feeling like I am on top of the World. Crushing the mountains in my Hoke One One Infinite shoes ;) They are my favorite!
Our awesome friend and now technique coach Jon Arne breaking down some classic stride technique.

5 hours of double pole later and still smiling.
Our first week was a blast and right on schedule the snow was laid out, groomed and ready for skiing! Frozen Thunder is snow that has been saved from the previous season and stored under a pile of wood chips to insulate it from the warmth and rain of summer. Dump truck loads of the snow are laid out and groomed with a piston bully each morning so that the course is in perfect condition. The weather has been variable enough so that the conditions change and mimic multiple conditions we might find during the season! It's great practice and such an awesome opportunity for North American skiers! We are very grateful for the financial backing and effort Cross Country Canada puts into this camp.
Final preparations on the 2K loop of snow.
Happy to be on my skis again!
Brian and I both race on Madshus Complete systems. This means we use Madshus Redline skis, the Super Nano boots and the Nano Carbon Race 100 UHM Poles.  We love our Madshus equipment, the only problem is that the new skis getting better.
No Pole classic skiing in the afternoon.

Testing my new Madshus Skis.
A big focus of this trip is to get some early on snow time and to test out our new Madshus Skis. I am always amazed with the improvements Madshus makes each year. I also feel like my skis are the fastest they could possibly be and then I am pleasantly surprised with the new additions to my fleet. Brian and I traveled out to Canmore, AB with about 45 pairs of skis and Sun Valley was gracious to bring up another 15 pairs of new skis for us. So in total we have 60+ pairs of skis here in Canmore to test and of course...WAX!!! We put fresh grinds on our skis and then saturate the base with Toko NF Hot Box wax.  We then apply a layer of NF Blue and the skis are ready to test.  We used to put 10+ layers of wax in our skis before we would put them on snow, but we have found that they can be fast right out of the store with just a saturating layer and a hardening layer.  We zero all of our skis with NF Blue so that when we are testing skis we know we are testing the ski not the wax.  We also make sure that the skis receive a fresh layer of wax after each use.    We love Toko's simple yet complete line of waxes and have partnered with Toko for our entire professional skiing career.

Just a boy and his skis.  Yes, we brought more skis than socks 

Thanks Toko!
Our other goal for this training camp is to get in some intensity and race efforts on snow. We find that there is no better way to test your skis and fitness than to test them at speed! The Canadians were holding their final Men's World Cup qualifier event so we had 3 chances to put on a bib and see where our fitness and fleet was at! 

I had a blast racing and am really happy with my results. Brian also raced well and although he wasn't as satisfied he knows where he needs to improve. We loved getting the feedback and splits from numerous coaches on the course and technique advice from Jon Arne. We also love being able to represent our home club Loppet Nordic Racing. You can find all of the results from the week of racing at Zone4.ca


One down two to go! The first one always hurts so good!

Brian during the distance race.
Back at it in the Skate Sprint Qualifier.

It was great to have more Americans in town for some training and the races! I especially love having more athletes on Madshus Skis!  Congrats Kelsey on winning the Classic Sprint!
If you haven't heard already the National Nordic Foundation is having their annual Drive for 25 Campaign now through the 15th of November! The NNF organization has been one of the major contributors both financially and spiritually of our sport around the country.  The NNF has lead to the success we have seen on the international stage in recent years. I know for a fact that I would never have been able to win a Bronze Medal at the 2015 World Championships in Falun, Sweden without the NNF.  When I received the bill from the USST for the World Championships in 2015, the NNF stepped in and covered the entire bill.  They also covered all of the unfunded athletes representing the USA at the World Championships.  The Drive for 25 did not exist in 2007 or 2009 and the World Championship bill of $4,000 back then was a major hurdle in my racing career which led to me skiping numerous World Cup starts and even declining a selection to the 2011 World Championship team.  I am so proud that the US skiers of today have the support of our US skiing community. This is only a small example of the reach and impact the NNF has had on so many athletes competing to reach their goals and dreams! Brian and I have every intention of supporting this organization and it's goals way beyond our own careers as athletes! If you are interested in supporting this organizations goals too please visit NNF.ski and become a D25 suporter!
Thanks NNF and Toko for helping us reach our goals! Chelsea Holmes and I both scored World Cup points here in Canmore  during the Tour de Canada thanks to the support from the National Nordic Foundation. We are also showcasing our favorite Toko Mitten and Glove models for this coming season!

Chelsea leading the way wearing her Toko Insulated Drink Belt on our OD run from Canmore to Banff.

Fun on the Run!

In addition to training we are spending a lot of time reviewing and refining technique, preparing healthy home cooked meals and of course having fun together.

Comparing my technique to World Cup technique.

Brian thought he was getting a massage but ended up being "cupped" and bruised :) I think it was really good for him! 

Preparing dinner early so it is ready to go after our second session of the day.

Goofing off on our morning runs.
                                       
Focusing during our morning core routine with our warm Fits Socks! If you haven't tried this brand of socks yet you have to this winter! They are absolutely the best!!! I also like seeing Brian in pink and purple :)

The weather has been a bit warmer than usual here in Canmore but we have had plenty of cold nights to firm up the ski track and just enough precipitation to have fresh snow falling up in Lake Louise! Yesterday, Brian and I ventured West to Lake Louise and had an awesome distance classic ski up high in the mountains. It was so beautiful and refreshing (not that any other day in Canmore isn't beautiful and refreshing!).  The sun here is bright and we were glad to have our Bliz glasses for the journey! With no new snow in the forecast we are looking forward to mixing in even more rollerski options and mountain adventures in the next couple of weeks! Glad we packed our Marwe roller skis and Bliz Helmets too ;)

Happy to have our Bliz Rapid Model sunglasses on a day like this!
This year we are once again working with Bjorn Daehlie, now known as Daehlie, clothing for both our winter kit, under-layers and dry-land training gear. We love the quality, durability, look and performance of their products. Although we will be keeping our Legend Jackets and warm-ups from last year (we just love them so much), we will also be debuting the new Raw Collection this season. If you are curious about styles and fit be sure to stop by Hoigaards to check them out or ask us if you can try ours on :)
Best Training Buddies :) Psyched to be working with Daehlie clothing again this season!
Made it to the end! It was quite cold at the lake!
So happy!
Thanks for following!