Rallying Support!

It is that time of year again…the end of summer and the beginning of planning for the approaching winter. Here in Alaska early fall translates to excessive berry picking, hunting for winter meat and winterizing the car, house, and more. This also means it’s time to start fundraising for this season’s cross country ski racing expenses.

After a very successful summer of training, I am excited to work towards even higher racing goals. Unfortunately, with higher goals comes higher expenses. The success of last year’s rally prompted me to conduct another Rallyme crowd fundraiser this year, hoping to gather support from near and far.  Please consider supporting my expenses: my rally can be found at https://ussa.rallyme.com/rallies/2089/rosie2015-16.

Similar to last year, your donation will support my travel, lodging and competition costs for the 2015-16 season of ski racing. Last winter your support sent me around the globe, racing to multiple top 10s at U.S. Nationals as well as finishing as one of the top American finishers at OPA (Central Europe) Cup Finals.

My rally will last for 45 days during which I hope to raise $5,000 for the upcoming season. This year I have added some exciting “swag” for various support amounts. You can also help me by spreading the word about my campaign through email, Facebook, and Twitter. In addition to financial support for the season, I greatly appreciate airline miles. If you wish to donate miles, please contact me through rosiefrankowski@gmail.com.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and feel free to contact me at any time with questions. If you are interested in corporate sponsorships, please contact me individually.

North Shore Livin’

What an incredible month it has been! I finished my APU summer course with a term paper on The Lumineers, one of my favorite bands. We completed our third glacier camp with the best weather I have ever experienced on Eagle. I traveled home to Minnesota for nine days and kayaked, fished, hiked and visited many old friends. Now upon returning to Anchorage we still start our transition into fall training, complete with more intensity and some hard time trials in preparation for the racing season. It is exciting to know that in a few months we will be on snow and back racing. However for now, I can’t wait for one of my favorite times of the year: the Alaskan fall. It only lasts about a week or two, but the colors in the mountains, the cooler weather and darkness (sunset and sunrise, what?!) contribute to marking fall as my favorite Alaskan season.

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Lydia and I at the August Glacier camp enjoying the sun!
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Beautiful, beautiful weather
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Fast group of ladies after our last sprint races of “glacier season”

This past training period we focused a lot on double pole, not exactly my favorite part of classic skiing, but vital nonetheless. Speaking for the women’s team, I know a lot of us felt like we made a lot of progress in
strengthening this technique. Unfortunately, due to a calf/shin injury, I haven’t been able to run much so have been finding alternative methods to train. While biking will never be my first choice in training, I have challenged myself with some spinning and a form of mountain biking on Lutsen, MN’s gravel roads. I can proudly say that I might be able to bike up the APU campus hill without getting off my bike when I return. And at least transporting myself around Anchorage will be much easier with some biking miles in my legs.

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My parents and I at the Grand Marais harbor on Lake Superior
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Lake Agnes on the Superior Hiking Trail
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One of the best parts of the North Shore
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Photo Credit: Anna Frankowski
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Little fisher sister
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Lake Caribou from White Sky Rock Overlook
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Sunset up on the Gunflint Trail. Photo Credit: Anna Frankowski

I owe a big thank you to Finn Sisu in St. Paul, MN, for helping me out with getting new classic rollerski wheels. With all the rollerskiing I have been doing new wheels have been a godsend in making the miles much smoother. If you are looking for Marwes, they are the store to head to! Now it’s off to prepare for three days of time trials. Enjoy the last few days of summer!

Summer Flying By

I can’t believe it is already July 16th. In my family July is “Birthday Month” as my sister and I both have birthdays two weeks apart. When I was younger, my birthday always marked the beginning of the end. Soon school would start, cabin and lake time would decline and before you knew it the Packers were once again dominating the NFC (raised by a Wisconsinite…).

These days not much changes between the spring, summer and fall seasons. I am still in Alaska, still training hard with my teammates and still balancing work, school and life. However that doesn’t mean the excitement is gone. My schedule revolves around our training blocks, 3 weeks on, one week off, allowing us three weeks to make fitness and technique gains and then a week to clear our heads and focus on the other parts of life (school, work, family time, etc.). This summer each block has two dry land training weeks and then a big week on the glacier.  Highlights of last week’s glacier camp include lots of soft snow skating, hard classic sprinting, an awesome last-day 50 kilometer OD ski and my first time hiking off the glacier down to the van 5000 ft below in Girdwood (talk about some sore quads the next day). The weeks leading up to the camp were filled with a big focus on double-pole classic skiing, some good-ol’ fashioned bounding intervals and a long run on my favorite trail in the world: Lost Lake out of Seward. I also watched Killian Jornet and Emilie Forsberg (and Alaskan Allie Ostrander) break the records at the infamous Seward Mount Marathon 4th of July race, and finished my three day APU Business of Entertainment and Telecommunications class intensive (class 8am-5pm for a three day weekend is loooong).

Looking forward I am heading to Aniak, an Alaskan Native village, to help lead a running camp and am hoping to finish lots of school work before organized training picks up again. Then it’s one more final push in summer training before we head into “the beginning of the end” and finish up our last summer glacier camp!

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Doesn’t get any better! Sports bra cool down lap
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TEAM APU
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RJ Jr. always working on those downhills…
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The name of the game this week…Swix Rossa and Uni mixin’
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The tagzone is always a bit hectic in our team relays…Becca and I actually had a hand-to-hand high five tag off this time. Not exactly the most efficient but it worked.
This angle does not do justice to how large this hill is. But it does conveniently highlight how short I am...
This angle does not do justice to how large this hill is. But it does conveniently highlight how short I am…
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The Snowball Award ceremony post-interval/race

All photos are from Reese Hanneman and Zuzana Rogers. A special thanks to Zuzana and Advanced Physical Therapy for keeping our bodies healthy up on the glacier!

Photojournalism: new career path?

When you have delayed-procrastinated-writing a post as long as I have this month, the simple task of updating supporters and friends on your skiing turns into a monumental task. Since inspiration has yet to find me while the clock continues to tick, I decided to “photo journal”. Here’s my spring, scrapbook style:

Molly Burger came to visit me for a week and I put her through fitness camp (and had a hard time keeping up with her!)
Molly and I on the Turnagain Arm
Finally a healed ankle and back to running!
Lots of Hatchers Adventuring
RJ Jr. Crust Cruisin'
Jess, Sadie and I on #anotherbestday. Photo Credit: Jess Yeaton
Symphony Lakes with Taryn and Lydia
Eagle Lake still frozen up high
Rocking some new Brooks Cascadias thanks to GearWest!
Marine Dusser and I on top of Wolverine
Rabbit Lakes with Jess and Marine
On top of Little O'Malley during an Anchorage evening
Mackenzie Kanady and I on top of Bird Ridge
Finally, up to the Glacier for the first of three summer on-snow camps
A 5am view of the glacier once the first few days of clouds lifted
AND WE DID IT! 3 hrs of skiing later. Becca wins Best Outfit. Photo Credit: Becca Rorabaugh
Glacier Camp #1 Team
Amazing conditions on our last day!
Thanks for the rides (and garden snacks) Alpine Air!
IS THIS ALASKA?!
APU Ladies after auctioning off our Seafood Dinner at the APU Gala
Corey Stock from Dartmouth is living with me for the summer and we are having a blast, although not all our dinners are this classy...
TEAM ROSIE on top of Wolverine. Photo Credit: Becca Rorabaugh
Hikes with visiting friends...near the top of McHugh
Bird Ridge Time Trialling
This lady crushed it while lookin' good

Skiing on Alaska’s North Slope

May is the time of the year when all Nordic skiers gear up for the new training season, and blog posts about their spring adventures start rolling in. Of course, as I spent my April in Alaska I had the opportunity to travel near and far for some great experiences. One major experience stuck out: my participation as a coach for Skiku, an Alaskan nonprofit that brings elite skiers into Alaska Native villages to teach children how to cross country ski.

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Photo Credit: Zach Bassett

With my Skiku group, I traveled to Wainwright, Alaska, smack dab in the middle of the North Slop. Wainwright is the furthest North I have ever been, sitting at the 70.6° N latitude. Our travel to Wainwright consisted of three flights: Anchorage to Prudhoe Bay, Prudhoe Bay to Barrow and Barrow to Wainwright. Wainwright felt like culture shock equal or greater to international travel. The villagers spoke English (mixed with words from their native language: Inupiat), their school system operated like any American school, and the town companies and industries were American; however, the environment the town exists in can only be described as bizarre and unique. I felt as if a plane dropped me off in the middle of frozen Lake Superior, complete with sandy snowdrifts, headwinds in every direction, and white as far as the eye could see, void of anything to break the horizon. As the only way to travel in and out of the village is by air or snowmobile, it was the most isolated I have ever felt in my life.

My group members and I immediately started to reach out to villagers and children to get them excited to ski. We participated in the town’s Spring Festival, a yearly event to send off whaling crews for their annual hunt. We attended an intense Baptist Church service, and we made friends with some of the village elders. Skiku schedules the North Slope village trips late in April to allow for warmer weather conditions, but the cold (around 0 degree in the morning to as high as upper 20s in the afternoon) still felt bitterly cold with a strong Arctic wind howling down on us. The kids complained about the “heat”, often shedding their jackets and hats to ski around in only a T-shirt, quite different from my usual five to six layers of bundling. As I expected from hearing stories of other village experiences, the kids’ excitement about skiing could not be matched. Due to the geographical isolation of many Alaska Native villages, new activities or town guests cause quite the uproar (in the most positive way). Our 70 pairs of boots and skis were all checked out after-school and often times we had about 40 kids skiing during all hours of school. Not only does Skiku get kids outside and excited about exercise, but it also teaches them lessons of hard work, diligence and how to have fun in their environment. It is loads of fun for coaches too. I spent many of the days laughing (both at and with the kids), and learning some new tricks myself.

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Photo Credit: Zach Bassett

On the last day, the sun came out and almost the entire school came out skiing or to join in the excitement. I convinced a few kids to do some laps of the school area with me, a track of about 300 meters. One of the kids, Jono, worked with me a few times that week and struggled a bit getting frustrated when he would fall. However that day Jono set out to race me, he was to complete five laps while I did ten. Jono gave me a run for my money during our race, as I narrowly managed to complete my laps before him. Then, right after catching his breath at the end, he started up again.

“We’re done Jono, you finished the race”, I yelled after him.

“I want to keep going. Come with me”, he called back. And with that we started up again. Jono huffed and puffed along, flinging off his jacket and hat. While sweat poured down his face I told him about long races I had done, including a rather infamous Spring Series 30k on a 1.5k loop. After about an hour of laps (reaching near twenty for both of us now), I told him he might want to take a break. He had started to trip and fall frequently and other kids had begun to pack up and head home for the night. Jono kept trucking.

“I want to do twenty-two.”

“I want to do twenty-five.

“Pleeeeaaaase, let me do one more.”

Once we reached twenty-six and the clock ticked to six in the evening, I told Jono we would do one more and call it a day. Jono decided we would race this lap and took off as fast as he could. While he fell about five times during the lap, when he finished, he wore a look that many cross country skiers know well: the satisfaction of pushing yourself to a new level.

“I did twenty-seven laps Rosie!”

I was amazed at what Jono achieved. With only four days on skis under his belt he skied over eight kilometers and did so motivated completely by himself. This moment was the defining moment of my first Skiku experience. The kids’ excitement and passion to get outside and try something very difficult blew me away, and reminded me of the simple joys of “sliding” down a hill or “flying” off a jump.

And the best part: Skiku was only one week of my spring adventures. More updates on incredible experiences, including crust skiing at Hatcher’s Pass, peak bagging around Anchorage and an amazing visit with Molly Burger, are soon to come. ‘Til then, happy start of training to all you skiers out there!

Dead Bug

Photo Credit: Zach Bassett