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Archive for November, 2012

One reality of being a ski racer is that you are almost never home for Thanksgiving. You have either already begun the racing season or you are chasing after snow in far off places. This year, like last year, I am spending my Thanksgiving holiday in Östersund, Sweden.

To Americans, Thanksgiving is one of the most important holidays of the year. It is a time to spend with family and dear friends, eat lots of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie, and reflect on everything you have to be thankful for. I also like it because it is one of the least commercialized holidays in America.

I am thankful for my supportive family back home. They all raced in the Turkey Trot 5 km run in my hometown of Barton this morning; it is a family tradition. Then my parents, my brothers, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, family friends and sometimes cousins get together for a giant dinner. When I am on the road I try to call them on Thanksgiving around dinner time and they pass the phone around the table to I can say hi to everybody.

I am also thankful for my other family- my teammates, coaches, and our staff. I got to celebrate with some of them this year. The wonderful staff at Camp Södergren where we are staying heard about the holiday and cooked us a Thanksgiving feast.

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There was turkey, squash, brussel sprouts, green beans, and lingonberry sauce (Sweden’s version of cranberry sauce)

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There wasn’t pumpkin pie but there was apple crisp and carrot cake for dessert

I don’t think the other teams staying here (the Japanese and the French) quite understood our excitement about dinner tonight.

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Sara and I bought some wine to celebrate…

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…And share with our team

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Soon it begins. On Tuesday I will be traveling to Sweden to start another winter of World Cup biathlon racing. It means four months living out of a duffel bag and braving airports almost every week… The thrill of putting on a race bib and standing on a start line in front of TV cameras and screaming spectators… Weathering the tremendous ups and downs that are biathlon’s emotional roller coaster… Laughing at the antics of teammates, wax techs and coaches every night at dinner… And skiing, on snow, everyday. I can’t wait!

The first World Cup biathlon race of the season takes place in Ostersund, Sweden on Sunday, November 25th (9:30 am eastern US standard time). It is a mixed relay, meaning that we will have two women and two men competing together on one team. You can watch it live on your computer by going to Biathlon World TV. Put it on your calendar.

In the meantime, watch replays from last year on Biathlon World TV to get fired up. The 2011/2012 World Cup 9 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia has some good ones- scroll to the right and click on the one titled “pursuit women replay”.

I have spent the past week at home in Craftsbury trying to catch up with friends and family and get organized before the long winter away.
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A few items that are coming with me to Europe this year that I didn’t have last year: a travel size guitar, a sunlamp, maple syrup, a foam roller, a German grammar workbook and a 3D puzzle.

The Outdoor Center is closed for the fall off season, so it has been quieter than normal, but I have had no problem staying busy. Even though my GRP skier teammates are away training in Canmore, I have had a great time getting to know the new GRP rowers. We even trained together in the gym one morning- I did strength circuits while they lined up 7 or 8 rowing machines next to each other for an interval workout.

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Dinner with the rowers and friends at Faraway Farm

The Outdoor Center started blowing snow last week, which meant I got to dust off an old pair or rock skis and carve some turns. Later in the week we had 15-20 BKL kids and juniors swarming over the pile like ants. It doesn’t matter how old you are, the season’s first snow never loses its magic.

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Davis, a COC staff member, took the first sledding runs down “Mt. Craftsbury” (photo: Judy Geer)

GRP skier Ida Sargent was also around for a few days before heading to Europe for the cross country World Cup season. We visited our elementary school together to talk to Barton’s seventh graders about training, racing and traveling the world. The most interesting question we were asked: “Have you ever seen a lion?”

I also visited my high school, St. Johnsbury Academy and talked to the students about what it takes to chase after big goals. Watch the YouTube video

I never got around to writing a blog post about our recent national team training camp in Utah (3 weeks in late October/ early November) but here are a couple pics:

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The US Women and guest star Andrea Henkel from Germany enjoying Utah’s mountains (photo: Hannah Dreissigacker). Read about what it has been like to train with and get to know an Olympic champion over the past few years here

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Some of “Jonne’s Angels” enjoying our last week in Utah (photo: Armin Auchentaller). For more camp pictures and a recap from Utah, check out my teammate Hannah’s blog post here

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