Spring editions plus a race calendar!

Ironically I know I’ve been going on and on about how much I love the sun, but this week I started getting up earlier and training earlier in the mornings and later in the afternoons to avoid the hottest part of the day. I was loving the warm Spring days, but now that the mercury is sitting on 30C most days I’m feeling like a turkey in an oven roasting away! My body clearly isn’t use to heat and at times I feel like I’m running around like aqua man, I’m that hot and sweaty (too much info?). Hydration has become pretty important and so I’m like a baby with a bottle constantly carrying one around after each hot session.

As it gets warmer these guys seem to spend a lot more time hanging around.

As it gets warmer these guys seem to spend a lot more time hanging around in our yard.

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Heart Palpitations

Spring has been glorious at home, sunny, warm and ideal for training. I’m waiting to get my visa for the US. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas, wanting to open that present they know is sitting under the tree, but being held back by their parents. I know an announcement is coming but I just can’t wait. There is still the off chance that my stocking will be filled with coal and I’ll be rejected by the US immigration, but I’m hoping it will be fine. The up side of me bouncing up and down, waiting for my visa like a kid that’s eaten too many candy canes, is that I’ve plenty of time to enjoy the Aussie spring!

Nice view from Feathertop down to the ovens Valley

Nice view from Feathertop down to the Ovens Valley

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The end of one winter and the beginning of another.

So as fast as the winter kicked off it has ended. I was hoping to write a lot more about the season in sections through out all the racing, but I was too busy and never got the chance. So instead Im going to do an overview with some photos to help spice it up! It was a pretty good winter for me and I’m really happy overall with how the season turned out!

The serious racing started in Perisher with the first round of National champs. A classic sprint on Saturday and then a 10km skate on the Sunday.

Both days were solid for me, I was third Australian and 4th overall. I took a lot of confidence out of the races and really started to look forward to the next round of races back in Falls Creek.

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First win of the season!

So winter has certainly continued with heavy snowfalls! With a base of around a metre and a half we are set for the season! All I’m after now is sun!

Amazing amounts of snow and pretty perfect conditions.

Amazing amounts of snow and perfect conditions.

So after the Australian team camp, the training kicked on and with most of the coaches still staying up at Falls, the camp basically seemed to continue on an extra week which was awesome! It was great to spend a session a day with coaches either working on technique or just being pushed during intervals.

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A wild wintery start.

So winter started wet, warm and slow. Pretty much describing me and my efforts with my pile of laundry from this weeks national team training camp. No one wants to be around that or likes it…

Classic bag explosion living with skiers...

No this is not my room… Classic bag explosion living with skiers…

May and early June weren’t looking too good at all for winter and snow. It seemed like I was going to be doing a whole lot more wet “dry land” training, running in the rain. Then around three weeks ago the Snow Gods decided it was time to do their own washing and get this wet, steamy winter into white fluffy awesomeness! So like a bag of training gear exploding, it’s been pretty much non-stop snowing since! It’s been amazing how quickly it has spun into winter. As we approach the 2 metre mark with snow falls, it’s been amazing training and living up top.

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The start of the Australian winter… sort of…

So as promised the second blog for my Australian winter series! It almost feels like winter at home. All the leaves have turned and then fallen. The days are short and the weather has been grey with some serious storms thrown in. It’s just come into June. Everything is indicating winter, apart from the temperature! Every day it’s 15 degrees and just so warm. A week ago as I did intervals on Mt Buffalo there was a thunderstorm, with torrential rain. I was just in a long sleeve shirt and shorts. It was too hot for anything else. It felt like training in the tropics! It hasn’t fallen below zero on any of the mountains now for a few weeks, which isn’t ideal!

Love running at home even on the wet trails.

Love running at home even on the wet trails.

Enough with the weather worries for the time being. Two weeks ago I participated in the Mt Beauty half marathon weekend and an Australian training camp. I was really looking forward to the run on Saturday morning and I’d opted to do the 10km because it’s all on road and I haven’t been off single track for running yet.

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Hopefully the start of a few Australian blogs

So during the southern hemisphere winter I generally don’t keep a regular blog but I’m hoping to do a few (I think I say this every year!). It’s now my fifth week back in Australia and my last trip seems so long ago. I am already deep into mapping out and planning my next season and trip. I am really keen to get over to America again and start working!

That being said, I’m in Australia so I should talk about Australia! I am back into hard training, and with it my love of running! There is something about running, which I love. Since I’ve been back, I’ve been doing a bunch of runs with some ultra running athletes to keep me on my toes, which is awesome! They have really changed my perception of hard training and it seems a 2-hour mountain run is just a warm up for these mad cats! If it doesn’t require poles because the terrain is so rugged and steep, or a head torch because you decided to run before work which means we are all out there in short shorts at 5:30am, then it’s a fairly boring, standard run!

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The last Northern Hemisphere blog.

Well it’s been a little while since my last blog. The last few weeks have been great and I’ve had an excellent mental break from racing and the regimented training regime. Spring in Alaska I’ll admit is pretty amazing. For basically a month straight we had perfect sun and great temperatures hovering around 0 degrees C. My day would generally consist of getting up to a perfect blue bird day, having a lazy breakfast and then planning the days adventure with Lauren. Generally this would be a hike, crust ski, back country ski or run through the forest. Pretty much heaven for me. In the evenings I had an awesome opportunity to get into a wood working shop, so I had a great time being creative and literally whittling away the hours. There was a sign on one of the walls of the shop that said “The hours I enjoy wasting aren’t wasted hours” which seemed very appropriate for that period of time.

Before I let photos do the rest and give you a visual of what I’m talking about, I need to talk about skiing once more. But just once, I promise.

Without question for the last two years I’ve rapidly improved as a skier and have reached a whole new level of racing. A level where I am able to race on the World Cup circuit and World Championships and  be a member of the Olympic shadow team. This is mainly due to my coach “The Boss” August Teague. He is by far the main reason I’m skiing where I am today and sadly this has been his last winter with us. I hope he might work with us from time to time in the Northern Hemisphere. He is moving on to his own business and other coaching opportunities. He’s set the bar high for my future expectations, as a coach, and the last two years have been great. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors!

The Boss feeling on top of the world training with me on Mt Buffalo in Australia in 2013 Always fun adventures!

The Boss feeling on top of the world training with me on Mt Buffalo in Australia in 2013 Always fun adventures!

So now I’ll let photos do the rest of the talking.

Top of the Glacier looking at an amazing view!

Top of the Glacier looking at an amazing view!

Myself and Kate, Big thanks to Kate and John for hooking me up with gear! Photo Credit Lauren Fritz.

Myself and Kate, Big thanks to Kate and John for hooking me up with gear! Photo Credit Lauren Fritz.

The crew skinning up to the top of the glacier. Photo Credit Lauren Fritz.

The crew skinning up to the top of the glacier. Photo Credit Lauren Fritz.

The crew, back country buddies.

Back country buddies.

A Panorama of the view. Photo Credit Lauren Fritz.

A panorama of the view. Photo Credit Lauren Fritz.

Great views.

Great views.

Warm in the sun but still frozen in the shade.

Warm in the sun but still frozen in the shade.

The view for my last run in Alaska

The view for my last run in Alaska.

Lauren on Bird Ridge.

Lauren on Bird Ridge.

One of my endeavors, a cribbage board.

One of my projects in the wood shop, a cribbage board.

I’m actually writing this as I sit in front of the fire at home in Porepunkah, Australia. I finally flew home on the 14th of April. Alaska feels very much like home and seeing as the sun was coming out so much, I’m a little sad to be heading back to autumn and winter when the summer activities were getting so good! I’m already starting to plan my next trip, so I’ll be back again.

 

Train hard, rest easy, live for the moment.

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A philosophical blog for a change.

I started writing about chasing the unicorn a few years ago. A simple metaphor of trying to ski the perfect race, catching the uncatchable beast. Mainly due to a terrible race in Australia where I managed to break the same pole twice and crashed in a separate incident. It led me to start writing the odd philosophical blog about life on the road and as an athlete. It’s been a while since I wrote in the chronicles but seeing as the season is drawing to a close and I have been reflecting on the season and trying to work out if it was a successes, a failure or somewhere in-between, I thought it might be a good chance to jot down a few notes into a blog. Not to mention hopefully straighten some of my own thoughts because whether a season was a success or a failure is not clear-cut and a simple “yes or no” answer is clearly not sufficient.

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In the bush, Alaskan style

I find myself in a peculiar situation as I write this. I’m lying on a bare mattress in school music room in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness waiting for a snowstorm to blow over. How did I end up here? Well like most of my stories, it all started with a ski race. At the award ceremony of the American Birkebeiner a few weeks ago, one of Lauren’s teammate’s sister, who works for one of the Native corporations, asked us if we would consider volunteering and head into the Alaskan wilderness to teach children in remote schools how to Nordic ski through a program called NANANordic. After a quick check of dates we both jumped on the idea and after just a week spent in Anchorage we boarded a small 20-seat plane and headed to a town called Aniak.

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