Goodbye Houghton, Hello Ramsau!

The second half of US Nationals brought more snow, wind, and cold weather- but with it, two more great races for both myself and my team. In both the 30/50k Classic Race and Skate Sprint, APU Nordic Ski Center had 4 women and five men in the top 10!  AND my teammate Rosie Brennan claimed two more national titles- totaling to three W’s in the week! Here is a great article written by Beth Bragg at Alaska Dispatch News that talks about the team’s awesome performance in the classic distance race.

http://www.adn.com/article/20150108/gold-brennan-silver-treinen-ski-championships

I had a solid result in the 15k followed by the best sprint result of my life; I qualified 2nd in the skate sprint and made it to the semi finals- finishing 7th overall. It was so much fun racing against my teammates Chelsea, Rosie, and Becca in my semi final and then watching them rock the A Final.

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(Photo Credit: Christopher Schmidt)

Overall, the week in Houghton was one of the best racing experiences of my life. I beyond exceeded my goals, which is a good feeling after having a sub-par start to my season. The only negative thing I can think of was the cold weather, and there was an easy solution to that: function over fashion! The weather was far too severe to consider sacrificing warmth for looking cute. Keys to surviving Houghton: 1) Layers 2) Wool 3) Tape and Papaw Ointment on the face (to block the wind) and 4) Toko Over-mitts and 5) Not caring that you look like a ogre.

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(The AusXC crew at Nationals- so awesome to have such a presence in the US!)

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(My place buddies Taryn and Tyler- we all got 15th place in the classic distance race)

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(celebrating Lex’ Birthday at the local brewery)

My extra talented teammies performing “I am a man of constant sorrow”; they were jamming all week and it was awesome!

The day after the skate sprint the team drove back to Minneapolis to divide and conquer. Most of the team headed back to Anchorage and will travel to SuperTour races in Crafsberry in a couple weeks before heading to Europe to compete in OPA cup races. I boarded a plane to Chicago with my teammate Kat Paul; from there we headed to Europe. Making our flights turned into your average nightmare- we found ourselves running across the airport (thought we’d sneak in some extra training). We flew to Copenhagen, then Munich, then drove to Ramsau- totaling almost 40 hours of total travel time. All that was no biggie for a couple of aussies who travel long distances all the time; however, only 1/4 of our bags managed to make the series of tight connections. So now, 48 hours later, our bags are still MIA… Apparently they were scanned in Chicago but haven’t been seen since. Hmm. SAS and United have done a fabulous job helping out (not), and I am now pretty convinced that bigfoot ran off with all our bags.

On a bright note, Ramsau is absolutely gorgeous. Kat and I haven’t skied yet (shoutout to my friends at SAS), but we have been on two exploratory runs. There are ski trails everywhere, cute European buildings, and some of the most beautiful mountains I’ve ever seen. Here are some pics from our adventures so far:

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(Kat found a cat. Friends!!!!)

Hopefully our bags turn up so I can stop wearing the same outfit everyday and start exploring Ramsau on skis. Meanwhile Kat and I will be working on our German and eating copious amounts of Milka chocolate.

Auf wiedersehen!

-JJ