Sunday, November 1, 2015

Less than two weeks till Sweden!!!

After an incredible training season which include half of my time at home and the other half up above Park City, Utah (plus a short stay in Truckee and Norway) I am now 10 days away from flying across the Atlantic for my first season as a member of the U.S. Ski Team!!! It was sad to say good-bye to some members of the team who will be staying in the U.S. for the start of the season in hopes of qualifying for some World Cup starts (Brian is in this boat too!) but also exciting to realize that we will have some Super Fans back home cheering us on!

The Team!!!
My fellow rookies Julia (left) and Katherine (right) have been really fun to get to know. Although there is 15-17 years between us we still have a ton in common and I love absorbing their contagious excitement and attitudes!!! I can't wait to see these girls on the World Cup circuit soon!
Head Women's coach Matt Whitcomb and the "rookies"
Before leaving I had one last altitude block in Park City. Last season I found that a few weeks up high in altitude (Frisco before World Champs, etc...) made a huge difference in my fitness and this year we decided to try it throughout the preparation period. I think the time living up at Deer Valley (8,300 ft) worked really well and as soon as I returned to the condo we have been renting (much thanks to the generous owner who has helped make the location ideal and affordable) I immediately felt like I could acclimate quickly and easily. This was a huge bonus as we had a number of intensity workouts and a Mini-tour at the end of our USST Camp combined with lots of long workouts and hard strength sessions throughout. 

Start of my sprint heat! Photo: Tom Jorgenson
Our USST Camp (plus lots of other speedy club skiers) came to an end but Brian, Tom and I stayed for another 5 days to complete a solid 3 weeks of living up high. Since our camp ended with the Mini-Tour we opted to take advantage of the remaining days with so many beautiful places to train and we put in an additional 18 hours of mostly volume training to absorb all the intensity. I felt great for the Mini-Tour and practiced all of my recovery, refueling, racing and re-focusing strategies that I have been working on this fall. We have a number of "Tours" on the World Cup this season and I think the format will really suit me well! One of my biggest goals is to get an opportunity to compete in the Tour de Ski this coming January!!! Without an Olympics or World Championships it will be a huge focus for many athletes!

Training around Park City Photo: Tom Jorgenson
First, however, I need to start the season with a bang! I have been feeling great lately and Tom, Brian and I have been spending countless hours on planning our training, working on technique and reviewing our sessions to make sure we get the most out of them.
Following Tom and learning how to glide!
Classic skiing has been a huge focus for me this summer and fall and after Norway I knew I still needed lots of technique and power application work. This most recent camp confirmed that our hard work is paying off! I still have a ways to go before I consider myself a classic skier over a skate skier...but I am happy that I can finally use my strength and fitness when I need to go fast.
Climbing one of numerous canyons we skied for our volume block. Photo: Tom Jorgenson 
Although skating is a strength of mine, there is always room for improvement. Tom has helped me refine and dial in my skating even more and I cannot be more excited. This fall has been all about technique and speed development. I have been putting in a lot of accelerations and speed varying workouts in hopes of increasing my overall neuro-muscular comfort and ability to deal with lactate acid during races. We had a skate a sprint during the Mini-Tour and I was really excited about how good it felt!
Still climbing! Lots of V1 Photo: Tom Jorgenson
Since we have been focusing so much on changing gears and adapting to undulating terrain (thank you Mid-West terrain!) we decided to throw in a few canyon climbs! We skated up Big Cottonwood Canyon and classic skied up Immigration Canyon. Getting into a rhythm and just working on V1 and striding felt amazing. I really like to climb and these were some epic workouts to put in our bank of training hours and technique focus, not to mention they had some of the most beautiful backdrops and scenery I have ever seen!
Still climbing but now surrounded by snow :) Photo: Tom Jorgenson

Working with Tom has been incredible! Each workout (even distance sessions) has a goal and purpose. 
My camp was a huge success thanks to the awesome support of Brian, Tom and all of our amazing sponsors and partners! Brian has been working very hard on our sponsor-ships, partnerships, fundraising and the business side of Team Gregg while Tom has been focusing on helping us have our best season's yet. I have been working hard too, but for the first time the majority of my energy can be focused on training, recovering and preparing for the start of the World Cup season. Thanks to the countless individuals who have donated to our Fundly Campaign we are stressing much less about the costs of the upcoming race calendar!

Ready to start racing! Photo: Tom Jorgenson
The season is fast approaching and I am feeling more prepared and more confident than ever before. I am headed home to Minneapolis for my final sea level preparation phase and some serious packing. As much as I love traveling and training in so many beautiful places, nothing compares to my favorite training routes and training buddies in the Twin Cities. Thanks for following and I promise to leave it all out on the courses this winter! My season will start with FIS races (Classic Sprint and 10K Skate) in Galivarre, Sweden on Nov. 21st and 22nd and for many reasons...I love training and racing in Sweden :)