The Team is in Town!

The past two weeks have been a fun filled, packed, grueling, and amazing two weeks of training with the US Ski Team in Anchorage. It has been a few years since the team has made the long trip all the way up to Alaska, so it was so fun to have them back. There is nothing more exciting than sharing your training grounds with your teammates!

Headed into the green hills on one of our afternoon run's.

Headed into the green hills on one of our afternoon run’s.

Warm enough to take a dip in a little alpine lake.

Warm enough to take a dip in a little alpine lake.

Some happy little campers.

Some happy little campers.

Team Sodie keeping it bright and safe on the roads.

Team Sodie keeping it bright and safe on the roads.

It was also the first camp that we have had the whole women’s team back together (minus our young C-team additions). With Kikkan having her little boy, and some others being injured, we were missing getting the band back together for a while now. Fortunately, everything worked out, and we got to hammer out a variety of training with each other. This included a lot of rollerskiing, a lot of running, some bounding, weight lifting, and some good old quality relaxation. Miraculously enough, somehow, the weather was absolutely perfect for all two weeks. I must say, I have never applied so much sunscreen over the course of two weeks. Twice a day, every day, we were baking! No complaints though, it was amazing!

My coach, Erik Flora, joining me for my final L4 bounding interval of the workout. Thanks to this incredible coach for pouring his heart and sole into our team! Behind every hard working athlete is an exponentially hard working coach! (Matt Whitcomb photo)

My coach, Erik Flora, joining me for my final L4 bounding interval of the workout. Thanks to this incredible coach for pouring his heart and sole into our team! Behind every hard working athlete is an exponentially hard working coach! (Matt Whitcomb photo)

Enjoying a sunny final long workout in town before we hit the snow. Steep slopes and selfies don't exactly go well together!

Enjoying a sunny final long workout in town before we hit the snow. Steep slopes and selfies don’t exactly go well together!

An amazing team of girl's to work hard with. (Matt Whitcomb photo)

An amazing team of girl’s to work hard with. (Matt Whitcomb photo)

One of the many views that makes AK training amazing!

One of the many views that makes AK training amazing!

Sharing some snuggles with baby Brecky, Kikkan's little boy.

Sharing some snuggles with baby Brecky, Kikkan’s little boy.

The second week of camp, we headed to Girdwood, and loaded up into helicopters, making our trip up to Eagle Glacier, where I have already done one week of training this year. Right from the start, the sun came out, and never left us alone after that. This meant for a ton of smiles, a little bit of sun poisoning for some people, and a freshly bronzed bunch. But…. one of those things that comes with the heat is the soft snow, of course. So I would argue we had one of the more challenging weeks of skiing up on the glacier. With slushy, deep, and soft snow…. we were forced to work extra hard every kilometer we covered. But, everyone did a good job of pacing the week long camp, and nobody walked away in a million pieces. It was impressive. There was still plenty of energy and smiles even as we finished our final 3 hour workout of the camp!

Checking out the blue ice on the side of the glacier as we were flying in. It is crazy to watch the impact of the climate on this glacier over the past 6 years I have been skiing up here!

Checking out the blue ice on the side of the glacier as we were flying in. It is crazy to watch the impact of the climate on this glacier over the past 6 years I have been skiing up here!

Sun, shorts, and smiles! (Jessie Diggs photo)

Sun, shorts, and smiles! (Jessie Diggs photo)

Taking a break from the ski trail one afternoon on our newly crafted "happy trail". Thanks to the boys for spending many hours creating this little 3 minute running loop.

Taking a break from the ski trail one afternoon on our newly crafted “happy trail”. Thanks to the boys for spending many hours creating this little 3 minute running loop.

Enjoying some company on the "happy trail" with our amazing Physical Therapist, Zuzana Rodgers. Thanks for keeping us all happy, healthy, and charging hard!

Enjoying some company on the “happy trail” with our amazing Physical Therapist, Zuzana Rodgers. Thanks for keeping us all happy, healthy, and charging hard!

So awesome to have Kikkan back, and full of momma energy! (Caitlin Patterson photo)

So awesome to have Kikkan back, and full of momma energy! (Caitlin Patterson photo)

Blue buddies on a perfect blue sky day!

Blue buddies on a perfect blue sky day!

Taking a little break to fuel up on liquid.. a trick to stay strong through the week. (Zuzana photo)

Taking a little break to fuel up on liquid.. a trick to stay strong through the week. (Zuzana photo)

Ian Torchia en route to set the world record on the "happy trail". Witnessed and started by Lizard Stephen. (Virginia photo).

Ian Torchia en route to set the world record on the “happy trail”. Witnessed and started by Lizard Stephen. (Virginia photo).

This year, our foreign guest was from Italy, Virginia de Martin Topranin. Virginia was awesome to have around, and we enjoyed getting to see some of the differences in each other’s training routines. I was impressed with her ability to just jump in fearlessly, and excel in our environment. She even spent the first week without her bags and skiing in Kikkan’s gear… always with a smile on her face and full of excitement! She even taught us how to make a famous Italian dish, gnochi, one evening. I did a lot of racing around her last winter, so I am looking forward to next winter when I am a little more familiar with her technique and style, and can comfortably jump in behind her in a mass start as if she was a teammate. 

Virginia, teaching us the ropes of "gnochi" making. Potatoes, flour, eggs... and a little Italian touch.

Virginia, teaching us the ropes of “gnochi” making. Potatoes, flour, eggs… and a little Italian touch.

Our usual 45 minute trip from winter to summer got a little stalled due to a wild fire that took off outside of Anchorage. The tired crew got stuck in a four hour traffic jam on the way back from the glacier, but we all felt very fortunate everyone was safe and houses weren't burning down. This is something I am very familiar with in Washington... but not so much in Anchorage!

Our usual 45 minute trip from winter to summer got a little stalled due to a wild fire that took off outside of Anchorage. The tired crew got stuck in a four hour traffic jam on the way back from the glacier, but we all felt very fortunate everyone was safe and houses weren’t burning down. This is something I am very familiar with in Washington… but not so much in Anchorage!

Rosie, Erik and Ian rescuing us with some 9PM gas station dinner mid traffic jam. Just a little 1 mile run down the jammed highway. 

Rosie, Erik and Ian rescuing us with some 9PM gas station dinner mid traffic jam. Just a little 1 mile run down the jammed highway. 

After two great weeks of hard training, I have 10 days off before heading back onto the glacier again, so I pointed my bags and momentum south and have headed down to Washington to spend some time with my family. I only get about 10 days a year now at home, so I am looking forward to doing some training in my home stomping grounds as well as spending time with my parents. 

Pointing this momentum south!

Pointing this momentum south!