The final post for the trip

Well this is going to be the last blog of my 2014/15 winter trip. I’m writing this in the Seattle Airport, the first leg of my three-leg journey back to Melbourne, Aus.It’s a little bittersweet to be leaving. I have had such a good time in the US and especially Alaska that I don’t really want to be going home. On the other hand however it’s been 10 months since I was home in Australia and I can’t wait! I’m also lucky enough to be coming back down with Lauren. She’ll come down for 6 weeks of training with a little beach holiday thrown in so it’s going to be a great month or two!

 

I experienced my first American Independence Day celebration/festival on July 4th. While the rest of the country has parades, BBQs and beer, most Alaskans head to Seward, a coastal fishing town two hours south of Anchorage, to watch a lucky 1,000 people (250 under-18, 375 women and 375 men) haul themselves up a 3,022 (~1000m) mountain with an average pitch of around 30 degrees and then careen down a long descent of loose scree and shale and then through a creekbed and finally scramble off a cliff before running 800m down Main St. to the finish. It’s standard Alaskan craziness. Lauren competed in her 9th race this year, so we went down together and I provided feeds on the mountain and moral support. It was epic to watch. Two international mountain running stars also made the trek from Europe this year and smashed both the men’s and women’s record. I’m not sure if it’s smart or not but next year I’ll try and race it!

Mount Marathon. It takes the best runner 31 minutes to get to the top and 10 minutes down. It's amazing how fast they can move
Mount Marathon. It takes the best runner 31 minutes to get to the top and 10 minutes down. It’s amazing how fast they can move!
The crowds at the base of Mount marathon watching the best runners in the world go at it.
The crowds at the base of Mount Marathon watching the best runners in the world go at it.
Killian Jornet, the best Mountain runner in the world leading the race. In one week he set two racing records.
Killian Jornet, the best Mountain runner in the world leading the race. In one week he set two racing records one in a 100mile running race.
One of my buddies took out the U20 Mount Marathon race, Boy Wonder (luke Jager) led from start to finish.
One of my buddies took out the U20 Mount Marathon race, Boy Wonder (Luke Jager) led from start to finish.

The past few weeks have continued to be great in Anchorage. The weather wasn’t as sunny but it was still awesome for training and for the last few weeks I have put some good hours down. Returning to Australia this year I am in fairly different shape to what I normally am. I have been so heavily focussed on the next northern winter I haven’t put any focus on this Australian winter so it will be interesting to see how I race. I have been just focussing on volume and base training so I’m definitely not peaking for the Australian Nationals or the Hoppet.

Lauren and I out adventure running
Lauren and I out adventure running
A mountain goat strolling around up top
A mountain goat strolling around up top
Enjoying the view.
Enjoying the view.
Lauren and I above Hidden Lake.
Lauren and I above Hidden Lake.
Eric back in full action after his fall.
Eric back in full action after his fall (but still sporting bandages). For my last training session of the trip he and I did a spectacular 3.5 hour run to Willowwaw Lake and to the top of a pass and back.
One of the Willowwaw Lakes
Upper Willowwaw Lake.
Long Lake
Long Lake.
One of the Willowwaw Lakes
One of the Willowwaw Lakes
Climbing the Ball Field with Anchorage in the background
Climbing to O’Malley Peak with Anchorage in the background
Lauren Running up the mountain.
Lauren Running up the mountain.

And for the end of a trip it’s always timely to remember the people that helped me get here.

The Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club, The Australian National team, The Bridger Ski Foundation, Rossignol Nordic Racing, Falls Creek, The Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Club and all my supporters and friends out there that help me along in many many ways! Thank you all! There are a lot of exciting things in the pipeline for next winter. I hope to keep posting throughout the Australian winter and into the next season so stay tuned!

Train hard, rest easy, live for the moment.

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