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Archive for July, 2011

Every June, hundreds of communities across the United States join an international celebration of Olympic Day to commemorate the birth of the modern Olympic Games.  Olympic Day events vary from site to site, but they are all designed to promote fitness and well-being, as well as Olympic ideals, such as fair play, perseverance, respect and sportsmanship.  Craftsbury hosted its own version of Olympic Day on July 2nd, a little later than most communities.  20 kids converged on the campus of Hosmer Point summer camp (formerly Windridge Tennis Camp) and spent the afternoon trying out a variety of sports and meeting some Olympians.

Many thanks to Hayley Quinones of Hosmer Point for the pictures.

The weather could not have been better, and with the help of Hosmer Point’s wonderful staff, the event went off very smoothly and I think everyone had fun.  We designed our event to run like a mini Olympics for kids ages 9-14.  Participants were assigned a country and marched into the opening ceremonies with their flag.  Following the lighting of our torch, the kids tried out a variety of sports (soccer, track and field, tennis, laser biathlon and canoeing).  Olympian Andy Newell (xc skiing ’06 and ’10) gave a short rollerski demonstration and answered questions, and Carlie Geer (sculling ’84) brought her silver medal for the kids to see.  At the completion of closing ceremonies, every participant received a medal.

As kids, Ida Sargent (a Craftsbury teammate and a current member of the US Ski Team for xc) and I competed in a “Kid’s Olympics” that Craftsbury used to host at the end of the ski season.  We drew heavily from that event for Olympic Day inspiration.  I remember it being one of the most fun events of the winter.  In addition to xc skiing, we would compete to see who could slide down the hill furthest in a sled (luge) and who could get the most air off a little ski jump.   I think we might have had to weave through a slalom course made out of ski poles, and compete in a tennis ball biathlon race.  Then we’d change into skates and race around the hockey pond.  Our overall score for the day would be tabulated from all the different events, and the winners got hats as prizes.  The day usually ended with a big cookout in the spring sunshine with maple sugar on snow.

On a separate note, another interesting event that happened recently was a video contest issued by the cross country US Ski Team women.  Women’s training groups from around the country were invited to make 3 minute videos showing their summer training and post them to You Tube.  Many ski clubs and teams participated, and both of my teams (US Biathlon Team and Craftsbury) posted videos.   Check them out:

US Biathlon

Craftsbury

 

 

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Such a typical scene.

It’s mid-June and I’m in Lake Placid, struggling to put one foot in front of the other to finish a long skate workout. In front of me, two of my biathlon teammates are discussing how to make the perfect stir-fry. “You start out with a simple mixture of sliced onions and grated ginger in olive oil,” Annelies Cook explains to Corrine Malcolm. “Then you put that aside while you cut up the vegetables. It makes a difference how you cut them.” She proceeds to describe julienning carrot strips, separating broccoli and asparagus stalks from their faster-cooking heads, and the precise order vegetables should be added to the wok for even cooking. As we round a corner on River Road, the Olympic ski jumps appear in the distance. It doesn’t look like we have too much further to go, but when you are bonking, even a mile can be too far. Annelies has moved on to the stir-fry’s sauce. “You should include something sweet, something salty and something bitter. For example, maple syrup, soy sauce, and apple cider vinegar go well together,” she suggests. I have long since given up on participating in the discussion- it would require too much energy. But I can still hear it, even over my rumbling stomach. Why do our conversations always turn to food at the end of the hardest and longest workouts? It is mouth-wateringly torturous.

A day earlier, I had gone biking with Laura Spector. After an arduous climb up the Whiteface Mountain toll road, we were rolling down the back side off the mountain towards Bloomingdale and Saranac Lake. As we descended towards Franklin Falls Pond, I asked Laura what she was planning to do that afternoon since we didn’t have training.
“I’ve got a butternut squash that I need to cook,” she replied. That, of course, served as a launching off point for the next twenty minutes of food-related discussion.
“Have you ever heard of Kabocha?” Laura asked me.
“I don’t think so,” I replied.
“It’s a small squash that looks like a patty pan or an ornamental gourd. You wouldn’t think it would be good to eat looking at it, but it has a deep yellow flesh and such a sweet flavor. You don’t really need to add anything to it.”
I was curious about this Kabocha squash, so I researched it up when I got back to the training center. It looked very familiar and I’ve probably had it before. Kabocha, also known as Japanese pumpkin is a variety of winter squash. In spite of its name, it didn’t originate in Japan, having been introduced there by Portuguese sailors in the 1500’s. In fact, Japan actually imports a large amount of Kabocha from the US and New Zealand.

As you can see, one of the most frequent topics of conversation among the US women’s biathlon community is food. We like to discuss our favorite cheeses from the farmers market, where to get a hold of fresh rhubarb, and the pros and cons of a gluten free diet for athletes. Cooking and baking are common hobbies on the national team. One evening this spring, I caught a whiff of roast bear and rosemary drifting out of the OTC’s kitchenette. Sara Studebaker and Zach Hall were cooking some meat they had brought back from Alaska and were nice enough to give me a taste. Our coaches also share an interest in homemade food. Jonne uses his own special recipe to bake Pulla (a traditional Finnish bread) and lately Pat has been experimenting with different flavors of homebrews.

After thinking about, talking about, and dreaming about high quality food for over two weeks in Lake Placid, I was psyched to return to Craftsbury and the land of wonderful food. Eating in the Outdoor Center’s dining hall will never get old. It’s also exciting to see how the gardens have progressed in the weeks I was away.

Lunch in Craftsbury overlooking Great Hosmer Pond.

Craftsbury's garden

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