Canmore Christmas

It looks like a clear, gorgeous, cold, white Christmas tomorrow.  I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising; Fairbanks is always like that, right?  This year it’s beautifully, incandescently, and predictably frigid at home– and I am not there.  A few weeks ago I decided to try an altitude camp before Nationals in Soldier Hollow.  I thought that it would be good to get really used to and ready for altitude before racing up high.  I thought it would be convenient if I was leaving the Canmore world cup to just stay south; I would just have to turn around in a few days if I went to Alaska.  I didn’t really think about Christmas.

Now it’s Christmas eve and I am seriously going to miss reading ‘the night before Christmas’ with my family at midnight or so tonight (although I may try to skype in).  I guess they went on a tree-hunting expedition and came back with a beauty of a scarecrow yesterday, and today they probably put up ornaments.  It’s weird to be missing all of my usual holiday madness- but I guess that’s part of growing up.  I am here now, I get to hang out with some of my Canadian friends, and get in some good altitude training. Tomorrow Dasha and I are going to do some Christmas intensity work, she is going to work her classic-sprinting magic and I am going to hang on for dear life!

I decided to stay here after I realized that Park City didn’t have any snow and I still didn’t have any accommodations worked out.  It seemed like a good place to train, it’s at some altitude, and Chandra Crawford’s parents were extremely generous and let me stay at their house for a few days after the world cups finished up.  I got sick the day after the pursuit, so I spent four days hiding out in their basement like a pathogenic gremlin as I tried to keep my contagion confined.  I felt terrible not helping out in the kitchen at all, but I knew that Rosanna (the younger Crawford sister- an extremely good biathlete who is currently tearing up a breakthrough season on the world cup) was coming around often and I really didn’t want to get her sick.  I moved out when I got a little apartment to stay in, I got better pretty fast for me, and now I am back to skiing normally!  There is nothing like sitting on your butt for four days (I think I almost calcified my gluteus medius by sitting on it for so long) to help you appreciate a good ski.  Today was an excellent ski if you like awesome new trails, good green-blue hardwax classic skiing, and a little bit of natural threshold.  I have a new favorite ski trail at the Canmore Nordic Center, so if you come here and ski make sure you check out ‘Rundle’.

Not too shabby...

Not too shabby…

My Canmore World Cup weekend was pretty anticlimactic, although I guess it was probably hard for any performance to follow my Quebec races.  I had an average sprint race, finishing 44th, and an interesting pursuit that felt better than it turned out.  I think I was 53rd, but I felt like I was holding my form together better than the place suggests.  I did get sick the next day so perhaps I was missing a little bit of the necessary pop and agression. I had a lot of fun watching Jesse Cockney kick butt on the sprint day, Kikkan was consistently fantastic, and I learned a lot about tactics for that long finish.  I even learned when to slingshot in the finish for best results, after watching the swedes do it all day on Saturday, so I used that trick win my little sprint finish in the pursuit.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and I hope you all have a good day tomorrow! Here is a little extra christmas cheer for you: