Sunday, March 8, 2015

Snow to Sun

 Should we hit this drop? 
I could get used to this place 

It’s been one rollercoaster of a week!  I squeezed out the last bit of Vermont winter until I flew out to California to get on my bike at the last possible minute.  I capped off the phenomenal winter with an amazing backcountry ski with turns in a fresh field of powder.  I’m talking untouched, pristine snow.  And, to top it off, I skinned to the highest point I’ve ever been.  I was treated to a great view of Mount Mansfield.  Then, the day before I left, I drove over to New York with my parents to race in the Lake Placid Loppet, a twenty five kilometer half marathon ski race.  The conditions were prime, and it was warmer than ten degrees so it felt simply tropical compared to the deep freeze the east coast has been in.  I was absolutely inspired by my In the Arena teammate, Caitlin Gregg, and U.S Ski teamer Jessie Diggins World Nordic Championship podium performances.  (Congrats Caitlin!  So awesome).  I tried to channel these ladies and went out hard.  I dropped the small group of guys I was skiing with on the downhill  (thank you VTXC for waxing my skis rocket fast).  Then, I maintained my pace to pick off some people for the rest of the fifteen kilometers for the win.  I won a beautiful container of maple syrup made from the very maple trees that line the very ski trails we raced on.  I also won a Swix jacket.  Sabe said that I was surprisingly prize motivated.  When it comes to food and ski stuff, I become very prize motivated. 

I, then, jetted off to our normal spring training spot, Santa Cruz, CA.  It's still very crazy to undergo a stark weather transition.  I am in a winter wonderland one day and summer weather with the breeze blowing on my bare skin the next.  I hopped right on my mountain bike and hit the dirt for two days to get used to two wheels before the USA Cycling skills camp.  Then, I flew on Thursday to Bellingham, WA with a great group of Under-23 ladies to hone in our technical skills with coach Shaums March.  It was probably the best weekend of riding of my life.  This is saying a lot because I'm lucky enough to log in a lot of amazing rides.  But, on this past weekend, the weather was perfect, the trails were amazing, and we all stepped up our riding to the next level.  With more world cup courses incorporating big free ride features such as jumps and drops, I've needed to progress my riding.  It's a necessity to be comfortable in the air, and, for the last three days, we've spread our little wings and started to fly a bit.  There has been so many times that I've been mountain biking and taken the line around jumps or drops.  Every time I do that, I want to ride these features, and I get a bit bummed that I'm not.  This weekend was completely different.  We broke down a trail that was packed with jumps and drops and progressed.  By the last day of the camp, I was riding the majority of the features on this trail and trying jumps and drops bigger than I ever have.  It was just the most fun to be in the air on my bike.  It was so rewarding to actually ride the features.  Maybe Jojo and I can ride the same trails now.   I am so completely excited about the weekend, about mountain biking, and about the season.  The season kicks off next weekend at Bonelli Park in California.  There will be a live feed of the first two races of the season on the internet.  I race on Saturday, March 11 at 11 am PST.  Look at the U.S Cup website for the live feed.  Thanks so much for the support.  Life is great. 

 Caffeine is needed before hulking myself off of things so early
 My Specialized Teammate, Kate, and I
 Really digging the dry northwest riding
 Our crew for the weekend. Miracle coach, Shaums March, in the middle

 These ladies were so much fun to ride and progress with.  Kaylee Blevins, Kate Courtney, and Shayna Powless

We rode our bikes off of this