Wow, the training and living and just EXISTING here in Davos has been amazing! I’m super pumped to be here and I feel so lucky to get to train on amazing trails in the mountains, with sunshine and powder days. I’ll definitely be getting more Davos updates out soon, with tons of pictures, but right now I wanted to put up a few of our last days in Sochi!
Here’s the stadium: the classic courses take a right and then roll up and down the ridge that makes up the highest point on the courses. The skate tracks go left and bomb down to the lowest point, then turn and climb right back up. The skate trails are definitely the hardest, but the classic courses aren’t easy either. I really like them!
Alrighty then. Everyone who knows me (and even those who don’t) know that I have a few things I always do on race days. I put my hair into a ponytail, and I put glitter on my face. It’s less about the glitter having “magic power” and more of a reminder to have fun – that it’s just a race, and that this is a super sweet life and opportunity to go kick ass, but that I want to not take myself too seriously and enjoy every bit of it.
And I get such a kick out of putting glitter on my teammates, too – it’s like every time I brush some sparkle on my teammates cheeks I’m also giving them a huge good-luck-I-believe-in-you-hug. So back in Canmore, I thought it’d be very nice to offer to give the boys some glitter. Just in case, you know, they felt sorry for me or something and actually let me. In case you’re wondering, Bird did take me up on it! I was thrilled.
Hoff said the only way he’d let me put glitter on him was if he got a top-10 result, and then he had his best-ever-ever performance. And I was pumped for him….but also plotting. HAH. So in Sochi, a year-out from the Olympics, I figured that’d be a good time to use my free ticket to put glitter on him. And then he had one of his better distance races. So there! Maybe there IS a little magic power in that bottle, after all.
These pictures may be a little deceptive, because it wasn’t actually this nice the whole time we were there….it was usually snowing so you couldn’t see any of the views. But the last two days Sochi let us experience the warm “tropical” mountains!
If you’re curious to read more about the venue, here’s a link to an article about it, and both the Hoff and I are quoted in it: http://news.yahoo.com/sochi-point-national-pride-putins-russia-112256462–oly.html
Before we left, most of us got the chance to go down the gondola, take the shuttle, and check out the strip of hotels down below the alpine and cross-country venue villages. There are so many huge buildings down there, all of them new! It was great doing our strength training and running down there, but I was definitely trying not to take deep breaths because with all the cars, traffic and pollution I felt like I was breathing in a ton of exhaust.
Can I say something quick? Please, just look at the picture of strength training above. Really check it out. Thanks. I think sometimes people get the idea that cross-country skiers are little forest faries that dart around the woods, but it’s so much more than that. We work really hard through intervals and distance to get our cardio systems working, but we also put in a ton of time in the gym building power and explosive strength. What Kikkan’s doing right there….that’s hard. It takes every bit as much grit as climbing a steep hill, and it’s something skiers shouldn’t overlook. I’m talking to YOU, high school and college girls who think it’s not cool to be in the gym lifting heavy stuff. And yeah, I guess you’re right….it’s not cool to strength train if you also think it’s not cool to be the fastest in the world, and win World Cup medals. Trust me. Strength training is worth it. Like I said – please check above picture.
After a looooong travel day (we left the hotel at 2pm and got into Davos around 1am, even though we only had one flight! eek!) we made it here to Davos. Training’s been good, sunshine has been awesome, food has been plentiful and well-made, and the coffee as strong as ever. Bring it!