The last week at home was wonderful…and so busy! I somehow managed to get all my bags packed ahead of time and avoided my mistakes of last year. Namely, I didn’t wear my Mom’s slippers onto the plane instead of my running shoes. Yep. I did that. But this year, I got it right!
While I was home, I guest coached the high school ski teams of Henry Sibley and Stillwater (where I graduated in 2010). I also did a meet and greet to answer questions about training and racing at Gear West with Swix and Salomon, and then I spoke about the importance of a strong ski community at the Slumberland American Birkie fundraiser! Getting to see so many fans of the sport was a blast and got me fired up for another season of World Cups. I also filmed some workout challenges with Fastenal that will be released mid-winter, so you’ll be hearing about those later on!
I also got to see some of my friends that went to high school with me, and I love how we still stay in touch! It’s such a treat to get to see them.
My boyfriend Wade came to visit me and cheered me on through all my training sessions! He and I got to do a night of fall camping since the weather stayed freakishly warm right up until I left town. It made me so happy to get to see him and to spend some quality time with my family, since I won’t be back in the US until the end of March!
Speaking of the upcoming World Cup season, my teammate Noah put together a super fun fantasy league that’s free, gives out sweet prizes, and of course enormously important bragging rights if you put together the best team. Obviously. So, head to this site and start assembling your team for the first World Cup races – this Saturday and Sunday! http://www.noahhoffmanfantasyxc.com/rules
Right now I’m in Ruka/Kuusamo, finland. Technically, we ski in the tiny resort town of Ruka, but they often call these the Kuusamo World Cups because Kuusamo is the bigger town nearby. We arrived Sunday night and the past few days have been all about getting over jet-lag, getting our feet under us since a lot of us haven’t been on snow in a few months, and getting organized! Our first races are: a classic sprint on Saturday, and a 10km classic on Sunday. NBC is still offering the live coverage of the events and streaming on an app to your mobile device, so that’s the best way to watch us race live – and it also records so you can watch it when you wake up! You can always check the results live (and after) on the “FIS Ski Mobile” app for your phone or fis-ski.com website.
We haven’t just been sitting around skiing and waiting to race, however. We had some birthdays this week – Sadie and Oleg! We had a team hangout and cake for Sadie and we surprised (and probably scared) Oleg by having everyone show up to training with temporary tattoos of Oleg’s face on their face, biceps, forehead, neck…it was pretty hilarious. Thanks Jason Cork for engineering that awesome feat!
Last but certainly not least, I am SO excited to announce that this next fall, Swix will be launching a new line of training and racing gloves…and I got to help make them! I’m racing on them all year so we are still making small tweaks, but I already love them. I wanted gloves with bright energetic colors to match my racing style, and high quality material that helps me grip the poles but still keeps my hands warm.
My favorite part, though, is the little message I left on the palm of each hand. The way I see it, racing is a chance to push myself, to dig deep and see what I can really do. It’s also incredibly fun, and a challenge that makes me feel strong and ready to tackle anything! When I’m nervous before a race, I focus on the excitement I feel and also remind myself to only worry about the things that are within my control. I can’t control if I win or lose, but I CAN control how hard I push myself, how much I will embrace the race and take advantage of every second on the race trail, and how much fun I have. It’s always up to me! So the message “your race, your moment” on the palms of the gloves serves to remind me to find the joy and excitement of racing while charging after my goals!