Happy belated Halloween from the “US Figure Biathlon Skating Team!”
My teammate Hannah has competed in the Climb to the Castle uphill rollerski race four different years. She is known for always racing in a different figure skating outfit, which she finds in a Lake Placid thrift shop. This year, she brought all four outfits out to Utah so we could have Halloween costumes. I wonder if any figure skaters have ever dressed up like biathletes for Halloween?
Speaking of thrift stores, we listened to Macklemore’s music a lot last winter on the road. “Thrift Shop” and “And We Danced” are some of our team’s favorites. We couldn’t believe our luck when we found out Macklemore and Ryan Lewis would be playing in Salt Lake during our Utah camp on the evening before our rest day. We went, and we danced, and we had a really, really, really good time.
One of our tasks this week has been to teach our Italian coach, Armin, how to carve a Jack-o’-Lantern. (His lantern is second from left.)
That got us wondering about the origins of moden American Halloween traditions. Apparently Irish and Scottish settlers brought over the Jack-o’-Lantern idea, but they originally used turnips. Pumpkins, after all, are native to North America.
A few weeks ago, I was nominated to become an Athlete Ambassador of the US Olympic and Paralympic Team for Tomorrow program. I am honored to be joining 11 other Athlete Ambassadors from around the country to give back to our communities and promote Olympic ideals and healthy lifestyles. On Wednesday, I visited Parley’s Park Elementary School in Park City and had a captive audience of 400 kids. We talked about Sochi and how cool it is that a common love of sport brings the whole world together. I shared my love of biathlon and why I love training and spending lots of time outside.
In the coming weeks, my home club team, the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, will be visiting several schools in northeastern Vermont to talk about skiing, goal setting, and environmental sustainability. Ida Sargent and myself will be returning to our hometown elementary school in Barton. Some of our teammates will be visiting Greensboro, Irasburg, and Lamoille. Stay tuned for future outreach opportunities. We hope we can continue to expand these visits in future years.
One of the highlights of our National Team training camp in Utah every October are the rollerski biathlon races. This year was particularly special for me because my Craftsbury teammates were all out here. A few of them raced, and the non-biathlon folks cheered really, really loudly. They brought posters and sidewalk chalk to draw on the track. Thanks guys!
I was psyched to “clean” one of the races! (Cleaning means you hit all your targets.)
Training has been phenomenal out here. We’ve done tons of rollersking, running, hiking, lifting, and mountain biking. I really enjoyed biking Park City’s Mid- Mountain trail.
Towards the end of a long, hard training camp, it can become a struggle to roll out of bed in the morning. We were feeling tired at the start of this workout a few days ago, but after an hour climbing up a canyon, we hit the snow line. The valley floor was quite drab, but high in the Wasatch foothills we were energized by a magical snowy wonderland. Winter is coming!