World Champs/Lahti Recap

I apologize for slacking in the blog department- I traveled to Bozeman yesterday and realized it has been almost a month since my last update. I raced at World Championships in Falun and then at World Cups this past weekend in Lahti, Finland. The days have blurred together in my mind a bit- indistinguishable by their cloudy, gray, sleety, klistery nature. Yes, I’ll admit I was pretty jealous of my teammates down in Switzerland and Slovenia posting endless pictures of bluebird skies & scenic mountains- that extra blue perfection. But Scandinavia was amazing in so many other ways; the atmosphere in Falun was like nothing I have ever experienced before, something I will never forget. Take a country where Nordic Skiing is currently the #1 sport and add a World Championship event; I found that blue skies didn’t matter so much when I had 50,000 people out on course cheering me on.

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(I also had one of my best friends waxing my skis and cheering for me; so fun to have mama/coach B in Falun with me!!)

Since a lot has happened, I’ll spare you the details. Here are the 10 things that stick out in my head the most, in no particular order:

1) Breakfast:

Okay, so this picture of Jacko & Tina is actually from Ostersund… but the point is that Sweden really rocked breakfast. As it would turn out I’m a bit of a garbage disposal and enjoyed most meals; however, breakfast was certainly the best meal of the day. Always dependable- great muslei & yog, and the world’s best rolls in Falun. In the words of Xanthea, “YUM!!”

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2) This Haircut:

Phil had been growing his luscious locks for about a year- give or take a month. As much as I loved the utamed Einstein look, it was time for change. Esther gave him this haircut about halfway through World Champs. Unfortunately, it took a while for people to start recognizing him out on the trails. I might argue that his great result in the Lahti sprint could be attributed to the new, aerodynamic cut. After all, it was a whole lot of hair…

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3) Warming up:

As before mentioned, the crowd in Falun was unbelievable. One day there was actually a line of cars for 12k- from the race track all the way back to our accommodation. There were sections at the venue that the Norweigans had rented out and set up tents at- basically giant areas for partying all week. People in Sweden treated World Champs as if it were the Superbowl in the US- an excuse to drink, cheer at the top of their lungs, and be merry. To be honest, I didn’t notice the crowd that much during my races. I really just zoned all the noise out and focused on skiing; it didn’t feel that much different than any other race. What really got me was warming up before races. I have a habit of really sending it during my warm ups; I have to make an effort to go nice and slow for the first 20-30 minutes. I found that near impossible in Falun because of the thousands of people cheering me on up the Mörderbaken (see next). I couldn’t possibly go at a snail pace in front of all these people who were screaming at the top of their lungs for me. It was overwhelming but so incredible to have people that psyched about our sport- something you would never see in the US or Aus. I wish I had a head camera on during my warm up so I could post it on here to show you; it will definitely be one of the most memorable experiences of my ski career.

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(View of the crowd from the stadium, although this picture doesn’t even do the numbers justice)

4) The Mörderbaken:

Translation: Murder Hill. We raced on two 5k loops (red & blue); each had its own version of this hill in it. The base was the same for both the red and blue loops; then they split off on their own wonderful, leg burning tangents at halfway. If you watched the races on TV and saw Therese Johaug jump skate up the entire hill on her last lap of the skiathlon- yes, she was making it look easy. Way too easy.

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5) Gastro:

The great majority of our team succumbed to gastro of some sort. It started out with Cal, who took a cheeky trip to the hospital, and moved its way through the team throughout the week of Wold Champs. I was the last to go down after calling myself “resilient” all week long; I managed to evade it until the last day of World Champs. It really wasn’t too bad as far as gastro goes- but it still took it quite a bit out of me leading into Lahti. It was also my second bout this season, which I am happy to accept as good karma.

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(although maybe the good old stomach bug is just inescapable when in europe)

6) 50 Shades of Grey

Don’t go- do not waste your money. Phil, Cal, and I had been planning a date to 50 shades ever since Uni Games; it is safe to say that’s what they lived for between mid Jan and Feb. We didn’t have the time go until this past week, which built up the excitement even more and more. Unfortunately,  I left the theater with two sad, disheveled boys. On the other hand, the soundtrack is excellent and definitely worth checking out. Beyonce’s remix of “Crazy In Love” is my current favorite song.

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(The boys and I after our last ski in Falun- between the weather and the movie there were too many shades of gray)

7) The team sprint at world champs:

This was definitely my favorite event of the week for a couple of different reasons. The original team was Esther and I; unfortunately she fell ill to the gastro two days before and wasn’t able to recover in time to race. So Casey stepped up to the plate – and she was an awesome teammate! I absolutely loved the sprint course in Falun, especially on skate skis. I had really great 1st and 2nd laps before totally blowing up on the 3rd lap- I think it was the most lactate filled three minutes of my life so far. Despite the pain it was a great experience; I definitely think team sprints take practice, and it was fun to try to hang with the group as long as I could!

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8) Phil’s skate sprint in Lahti:

37th place, 0.7 seconds from top 30. Can’t wait for the announcer’s comments on Eurosport the day he makes the heats. The future is looking bright for Phil; the course in Lahti was the same as the course at the next world champs!

9) The Norweigan wax truck:

The wow factor of this casual multimillion dollar truck never really wore off for me… We had our own, less customized wax truck parked next door at World Champs (thanks to a local team who let us borrow it), so I spent a lot of time checking it out. After Jackson’s last race, he actually took a peek inside (what a hero) and found a bunch of aliens waxing skis. Just kidding, apparently there were just some super high tech benches.

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10) Waffles, every night!

The lovely place we stayed at in Samuelsdal at world champs served waffles at evening snack time every night. With whipped cream, blueberry soup, and jam. As the saying goes: a calorie bomb a day keeps the doctor away!

As far as racing went over the past month, I certainly had my ups and downs. Every race- good or bad- left me with something to take away and help me improve as both an athlete and person. I have so much more experience under my belt than I did two months ago- regardless of where I ended up on the results list.

I am really excited to be back in sunny Bozeman to fix my vitamin D levels and catch up on all the new country music I’ve missed out on over the past two months. Haven’t unpacked yet, but have gone for a fairly naked run and gotten in some front yard tanning. Priorities are straight.

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I am also really looking forward to spring series in Sun Valley; I get to see my APU teammates and hope I can finish off the season on a high note. What I am most looking forward to is my spring trip to Perth; I just booked my ticket this morning and couldn’t be happier to spend five weeks with my family at the beach. And a little sun and salt is the perfect way to recharge before summer training 🙂

-JJ

PS if you haven’t seen this, its pretty funny. Also a great example of the crazy spectators in Falun. There is also a selfie video that the guy took- unfortunately I couldn’t find it on youtube…

We’re Not In Kansas Anymore (Welcome to the World Cup)

Once again, the past couple weeks have been an absolute whirlwind of training, travel, and racing. The first part of my Swedish adventure has provided me with only a handful of decent photos unfortunately, but with countless new experiences and lessons. Like this disappointing one- every morning I woke up and went to the kitchen to see this box of oats that clearly said “Marvin Gaye” on it. When I get that feelin’… nope…

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The Uni Games crew met up with the rest of the ausxc contingency in Gronklitt, where we had a 10 day training camp. The skiing was absolutely spectacular- plenty of snow and about 80k of groomed trails to cruise.

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Last Thursday, about half of us headed to compete at the World Cup in Ostersund. On the way we stopped to get the ever famous gigantic chocolate balls; we figured they would keep us fueled throughout the weekend. Best decision I’ve made recently; Finn definitely regretted only getting a mini ball, which sadly only lasted him about ten minutes.

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It was about a five hour drive north, so we were surprised to find far less snow than in Gronklitt. In fact, there really wasn’t much at all. I guess most of what was on the trails was leftover from last year (they store it over the summer months) and almost exclusively man-made. All this wonky weather is certainly keeping wax techs on their toes (let’s count our blessings though, since who knows where our sport will be in twenty years…). If I hadn’t been so overwhelmed by my first world cup experience, perhaps I would have taken a photo of the crazy snow conditions (or lack thereof). Unfortunately I was so busy trying not to plant a pole between my legs in front of the big wigs that it never crossed my mind to do some documenting.

It was Xanthea and I’s World Cup debut, and it would be an underestimation to say we felt a “little” out of our element. We did a reasonable job keeping our cool until race-prep on Friday, which was potentially the most stressful two hours of my life (or at least the trip) so far. That is saying something since ten days prior I had been a part of a near-fatal incident on the escalator in which a woman toppled head-first, backwards, over me and my bags. Anyway, there are a lot of words I could use to describe the sprint course, but let’s just say it was different. So incredibly different than any course I’ve ever skied before, and it was pretty much my worst nightmare in a nutshell: two laps, two herring bone hills, and one sketchy downhill corner. All this through deep, sugary, snow. And the cherry on top- the circus of World Cup skiers previewing it ALL at the same time- since I wasn’t already intimidated enough! I felt like a total spud getting in everybody’s way, and by about the fifth time around the course I actually wanted to start crying. Our wax tech Matthias told me that if I looked anymore confused, someone was going to ask me if I needed help. I took that as my cue to take a few deep breaths, head to the distance course, and stride it out on some normal terrain.

Here is a vid that pretty much sums up the course:

Turns out Xan had a pretty similar experience- falling on the sketchy corner in front of some exceptionally speedy skiers. We got back to the hotel and drowned our sorrows in our chocolate balls. Funny thing is though- later that night we found out that pretty much no one was psyched about the course. It truly was unique- like nothing seen before on the world cup- and we were all on the same boat. A couple of inspirational speeches later from our awesome coaches and we were feeling (almost) okay about the next day.

In the end the classic sprint didn’t turn out to be half as bad as I had expected; I stayed on my feet and off the reverse podium. The best part was that it totally broke the ice for the next day. I was calm, collected, and actually excited to start the 10k skate. I was less intimidated and more focused on racing- doing what I was there to do. I saw my coach, Erik Flora, before the race and he said, “You know Jess, the best part of today is that it’s just another race”. He was totally right, it was just another race- World Cup or not- and all I had to do was go out and ski like I normally did.

After the race on Sunday we headed off to Falun for World Championships! My experiences this past weekend really helped prepare me in terms of what to expect and how things will be run. My first race is on Thurdsay- a classic sprint, and then I have another four races spread throughout the next ten days. Meanwhile stay tuned into Eurosport to watch these two rock our new headbands in the team sprint Sunday:

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Cause we all know the key to success is a great hair day!

-JJ

World Uni Games, etc.

The last couple weeks really have flown by- I am at the airport in Prague waiting for a flight to Stockholm wondering how its already February. A lot of pretty awesome things have happened since my last update:

Kat and I spent a romantic weekend in Ramsau while the rest of the team traveled to races in Lackenhof. We went on some absolutely gorgeous skis and finished almost the entire first season of the OC (#teamsummer).

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We also got our arts and crafts on and turned hats into headbands. The leftover pieces will double as a bikini I can wear on my April beach vacation in Perth (as modeled by the lovely KatyP herself):

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Before leaving Ramsau I got to catch up with one of my best friends, Johanna, who I lived and trained with for the last four years in Bozeman. She is from Austria and is now working as a professional ski bum- living the absolute dream (unfortunately not forever though, she is starting grad school in Vienna in a couple months). It was so fun to catch up with her in her home country!

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On the 22nd, Jackson, Anna, and I drove to Strbske Pleso, Slovakia, to compete at World University Games.

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We met our teammates Phil and Cal there- along with our wax techs Randy & Rado and team physio Clare. We stayed at the FIS Hotel and could walk to the ski trails which was quite the novelty. Stbrske Pleso was absolutely gorgeous, everyone was really friendly, the food had lots of color, and the courses were great (hard uphills, easy downhills)! Here are some snaps from the opening ceremonies, where we got to march into the stadium first. Yay Australia! (With the last name Yeaton, being first on any list is a novelty.)

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(the whole crew- looking in various directions…)

Our first race was a skate sprint, which was definitely the highlight of the week for me. I qualified 11th and actually moved up in the heats – finishing 8th place overall! I wasn’t sure what to expect at Uni Games- but it certainly wasn’t a top 10 in my first race- so I was pretty psyched.  I think the best part was finishing 2nd in my quarter final- it feels REALLY great to not have to wait around and find out if you’re going to be lucky loser or not.  Up until this year I haven’t really had a chance to ski past the quarterfinals; its awesome practice competing in another round, and I feel like its definitely helping me make improvements in my sprinting. My teammate Phil also finished 8th after a killer 5th place qualifier; it was a great day for AUSXC!

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The very next day Phil and I teamed up for a classic sprint. We had really hoped to make the final (top ten) but ended up finishing 13th overall. I was totally unprepared for how hard it was going to be, having never done a team sprint before. Its basically intervals- but the HARDEST intervals you will ever do. As awesome as it would have been to make the final, I was so tired after the qualifier I was ok with being done 🙂 Instead, we took a photo with the goat mascot and went out for pizza:

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We had one day off before the classic 5k race, which turned out to be a bit of a suffer fest for me. I didn’t realize how much two days of sprinting back-to- back would take it out of me! To refuel, we found a place that makes the BEST hot chocolate I’ve ever had. It was literally melted chocolate, and I had mine over ice cream. #caloriebomb!!!!!!

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After the classic race we had a couple days to relax before the 15k skate. We did a bit of exploring and found some pretty exciting stuff, like this happy man:

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& fur. everywhere:

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there was even an accordion concert at the hotel:

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& last but certainly not least, lots of snow and beautiful scenery:

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While I was definitely hoping for more in the 15k skate race, it was still a solid effort (I ended up 24th). It was one of the hardest courses I’ve ever skied on through a lot of new, slow, snow. I wasn’t feeling my absolute best after a long week of racing, but am hoping to kick it into gear again in Sweden! We had rocket skis all week thanks to our great support staff Randy and Rado. Racing fast wouldn’t be possible without great wax techs, so we were incredibly lucky to have these guys with us!

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I am now headed to Gronklitt, a town about 30k outside of Mora, for a pre-camp before World Champs with the team. I will race the World Cups in Ostersund next weekend (14th and 15th) before heading to Falun for World Champs, which kicks off on the 19th. I am super excited to see a new country and catch up with some of my APU teammies racing for the USA!

Meanwhile, the rest of the APU contingency is headed to Europa cup races next week. Unfortunately, the cost for the trip is pretty steep, so they have started a fundraising platform to help cover some of the expenses. It is an amazing opportunity and they have worked so hard, so if you have a moment please check them out and contribute or share the link with your friends!

http://org.grouprev.com/apunsc2015

This post is officially going live somewhere between Czech and Sweden; I am using the free wifi on Norweigan Air. There might not be free meals (or even drinks) on planes these days, but at least we can surf the web!

Thanks for reading 🙂

-JJ

Time for Celebration!

After four bagless days, Kat and I received a call last night- “We have ze bags!!!!” The reunion was splendid:

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Kat and I were so excited to get on our own skis and enjoyed a gorgeous ski around Ramsau this morning. We met a lovely Dutch couple who took our picture- everyone is so friendly here!!

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In honor of our great day, here is a guest playlist made by the great DJ Franks herself! Use it to get inspired for your next workout, race, or zumba class (yes, you go girl). Or just to celebrate!

DJ FRANKS TIME FOR CELEBRATION (cause really that’s what racing is right?)

Gotta start slow…get some inspiration…then go knock it out of the park.

  1. Wake Me Up by Avicci. So you are awake for the race…
  2. Breakfast by Chiddy Bang. Gotta fuel up.
  3. Pep Talk by Kid President, A little post breakfast inspiration.
  4. A Mad Russian’s Christmas by Transiberian Orchestra. To ease back into the getting pumped mood, this is my go-to before races song.
  5. Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore. NO one can hold you down.
  6. Won’t Back Down by Tom Petty. Continuing on that theme, you won’t back down…
  7. Now things get complicated. If you are doing a team sprint, a relay or feeling particularly “team-y” that day: We Are the Champions by Queen. Team spirit, team domination.
  8. Now to up the intensity a bit, Remember the Name by Fort Minor. Memorize that chorus. It will serve you during the race, training or just whenever you need a boost.
  9. Lights by Ellie Goulding. Upbeat, peppy and she’s just awesome.
  10. All I do is Win by DJ Khaled. Does this need an explanation? GO FOR THE W!
  11. Don’t Stop Believing by Journey. A great sing-a-long, a classic hit and a great reminder when that W seems a bit far away, don’t stop believing…
  12. If the race is longer than 10k, this one is a must: Staying Alive by Bee Gees. Sometimes all that matters is that you keep moving.
  13. Lose Yourself by Eminen. “Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity. To seize everything you ever wanted. One moment, would you capture it or just let it slip?”
  14. Spun by Flipsyde. Fast beats=fast results. TEMPO TEMPO TEMPO.
  15. Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga, because duh, you are on the edge of GLORY (or at least you better be thinking that!).
  16. And the finale, the song that encompasses so much of ski racing: I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor (metaphorically think that the “person” she is referring to as the pain cave of racing … I know a big far fetched but it works).

And honorable mentions particularly for Jess’s European season: Dark Horse by main girl K. Perry; Halo by the Queen B (Beyonce), and No Air by Jordan Sparks and Chris Breezy (Chris Brown). Happy listening and BAMF bombtastic racing!

Here is the link to the spotify version:

And here is song number 3, Pep Talk by Kid President (if you haven’t already seen this, watch it!):

“Its everybody’s duty to give the world a reason to dance. So get to it!”

-JJ

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

Minneapolis & US Nationals

Before heading to US Nationals in Houghton, I spent a few days with my teammate Rosie Frankowski in her hometown of Minneapolis. I was pleasantly surprised by my introduction to the midwest; Minneapolis was one of the most gorgeous cities I have ever been to.
There are lakes, bike paths, and sculptures everywhere (well, at least the places I went ;)), and amazing shopping too. Rosie took me on a tour my first day; here are some photos from our adventures:

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It was super cold in Minneapolis and we had to seriously bundle up for our training. I absolutely loved the trails there, and since it was only a 5k loop goomed, it was social hour- it seemed like every nordie in the city was out skiing!

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Huge thank you to Toko US for keeping my fingers warm. Best lobster gloves out there!!

We headed off to Houghton last Thursday with the team. It was an epic drive through snowy, windy,  cold, weather that took almost eight hours. Houghton has been a winter wonder land ever since- it has snowed almost 20 inches since we’ve been here! But at least there is snow, so no complaints!

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(Most of the women’s contingency on the only warm day since we’ve been here.. and even then it was pretty cold!)

So many awesome things have happened during senior nationals so far that I started keeping a list to keep track of them all.  And keep in mind this doesn’t include all the things that have been fabulous on a daily basis, making the trip an absolute walk in the park: never prepping my skis (I’m talking no scraping travel wax, no applying training wax, nada!), never having to cook a meal or do dishes (HUGE thanks to Jim & staff at the Library for the awesome catering), great team meetings including inspirational stories from Coach Flora before every race, having amazing skis every race (thanks to the waxing crew for all their hard work), and concerts every night by the APU Band (guitars, recorders, pill bottles for marimbas, and any other instrument under $10- you name it, we got it…). So here are all the things I found extra worthy of telling the world about so far this week:

1) French toast for breakfast every morning. And its the good kind (if there were a bad kind of french toast).

2) I learned how to French Braid. The morning before the 10k Skate race we had a couple hours to kill so I decided to re-tackle my braiding skills, which up until now have been fairly limited. I had an epiphany and managed a perfect (well, almost perfect) braid my first try- something I have literally been trying to perfect for the past two years. That’s when I knew I was destined to have a good race that day. And all week now, I’ve been rockin’ the french braid.

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3) I had my first top 5 distance result at US Nationals. In fact, I had my first top 15 result (previous best being 16th place) ! I totally shocked myself in the 10k skate race with a 5th place finish, just 0.6 seconds out of 4th; I felt absolutely awesome and had probably the best race of my life to date. I started hard and was able to catch the racer who started in front of me, superstar junior Katharine Ogden, and skied the next 9k of the race with her. She pushed me all the way to the line, which was definitely very helpful mentally in the such cold conditions (I couldn’t feel my toes and fingers at the end of the race).

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(Me starting the 10k- totally bundled up. Photo cred: skinnyski.com)

4) APU Nordic Ski Center Women had 3 girls in the top 5, and 5 girls in the top 12 in the 10k skate. Domination Station!

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(Chelsea-2nd place, Rosie B. 3rd Place on the podium after the 10k skate race)

3) Dirty Dancing, on of my favorite movies of all time, was on TV the night before the classic sprint. Nobody puts baby in the corner:

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4) “It’s Raining Men” was blaring in the stadium before the start of the classic sprint qualifier. Sarah, DJ Franks, and myself had a brief dance party, which probably looked a little something like this:

5) I qualified in the top 10 for the first time at US Nationals. I had a 9th place qualifier in the classic sprint, which was epically long. It was absolutely blizzarding out and super cold, so the course was incredibly slow. On top of that, the course was already on the long side, so the qualifier ended up taking me 5:24. That’s up to about 2.5 minutes longer than some sprint courses. Yikes. I didn’t ski the heats as well as I would have liked and wasn’t able to move past the quarter finals (a hurdle I am hoping to jump on Saturday’s sprint), but my qualifier was good enough that I was still super happy with the day of racing!

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(Drying our clothes out before the heats. Cold, humid weather means a lot of clothes!)

6) You can keep your race skis on wherever you go- across the road, to the wax hut; in fact, you could probably ski from the hotel to the race venue. There is literally THAT much snow here.

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(Although the weather HAS made for some sketchy driving… team selfie while we waited in the road for visibility to clear so we could keep driving)

7) HOT TUB. I hate saunas, but love hot tubs. I have been soaking after every race and it feels pretty darn good.

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8) Masses of Honey Stinger- thanks for the fuel this week! The caffeinated Ginsting gels are amazing and a must-have before every race. & if you haven’t tried their waffles, get on it! Definitely the best energy food out there by a long shot.

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In a couple hours we start the 20k mass start classic race, and on Saturday is the skate sprint. The team will drive back to Minneapolis on Sunday and I fly out that night to Munich. So far life on the road has been great and I can’t wait for what the rest of my journeys have in store. Update on the rest of the races at Nationals next time! Thanks so much for reading!

JJ

The Christmas Remix ’14: Friendsmas

Since my family moved back to Australia (seven years ago now, yikes!), the holiday season has felt increasingly less traditional each year. Part of it comes with age- no more leaving out rum and carrots for F. Xmas and his reindeer- but most of it stems from the fact that I rarely spend it with my family anymore. Although they did come to Bozeman two years ago to rip up the Nordic trails after a four year hiatus…

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Unfortunately, the pursuit of racing fast is definitely not aided by a 3 week vacation in Perth mid-season… so heading home to soak up some sun and salt isn’t an ideal scenario. But for my super speedy brother (you can check him out here: http://joshyeaton.blogspot.com), it is the perfect place to train, and I certainly don’t blame him for heading home!  For those of you who know me well, you know that I would like nothing better than to be at the beach in the heat of the summer. However, my dedication to the sport trumps my love for the beach. So I stay in the Northern Hemisphere and train, spending it with wonderful people and having a new, unique Christmas experience each year.

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(Flashback: Xmas 90-something spent almost exclusively in my bathers. Scored a Boogie Board!)

This year I stayed in Bozeman, where we had a very white, wintery Christmas. It has been dumping snow and skiing conditions everywhere have been amazing, which has made for some awesome training!

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(Bluebird Days at Bohart Ranch- photo cred to my extra artsy and talented roomie Casey Kutz)

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(Way up Sourdough Canyon/ Bozeman Creek; The Beautiful Bridgers)

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(Lindley Park, I can WALK here from my house. Livin’ the dream 🙂 )

Luckily I had quite a few friends in town this year, so on Christmas day we celebrated Friendsmas, which went a little something like this:

Opened presents with the Kitty; my wonderful parents sent me so many gorgeous things like this scarf and hairclip!

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Festive folk were skiing down the road:

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Went for an Xmas ski with the Galpals:

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Made mimosas and crepes for a casual brunch:

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Consumed large quantities of cookies- my fabulous teammates Chelsea and Rosie from APU Nordic Ski Center BOTH sent me packages of Christmas cookies.. so we had a lot to get through.

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(Casey and I made all of these without the help of cookie cutters; I was especially in love with the dolphin cookie)

Xmas Dinner followed by a mini White Elephant Gift Exchange:

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I had an absolute blast on Christmas and loved spending it with my friends. As much as I wish I could have spent it with my family, I truly appreciate the experiences I have each year. Spending Christmas with different people in new places has given the day a whole new meaning than it used to have. I get to create a new version of Christmas each year, mixing new traditions with my own while surrounded by wonderful company 🙂

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I arrived in Minneapolis two days ago to spend some time with my good friend and teammate Rosie (aka DJ Franks) before US Nationals. It was bittersweet leaving Bozeman, but I am excited to explore Minneapolis for the next couple days with her! An update on that next time, but here’s a sneak peak of what we have been up to so far!

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(We picked out new race hats for Houghton- watch out world!)

Extra Updates!

Roller Ski Australia: It is crazy to think that while I am skiing through powder on one corner of the globe, this crew is roller skiing in the heat of Perth summer.

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Last year, two awesome Norweigan ladies living in Perth who share a passion for Nordic Sking founded Roller Ski Australia- the only distributors of Swenor Roller Skis and KV+ Poles/Active wear in the country. By marketing roller skiing as a great total-body workout, they have managed to get locals who haven’t necessarily been on real skis to start roller skiing! I got the chance to roller ski with Elisabeth and Vibeke while I was home last and had so much fun; there is actually great terrain (and weather!) in Perth for roller skiing. I think it is awesome that an awareness for Nordic skiing is being spread in a place where most people probably haven’t even heard of the sport!

Be sure to check out Roller Ski Australia at: https://www.facebook.com/rollerskiaustralia

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(Elisabeth, Vibeke and I cruising around the river; I got to take home a new pair of hot pink Swenor roller skis, which I love!)

My Rally: Yesterday marked the one week countdown to the end of my Rally to help me raise money for my training/racing/travel expenses this year. If you still happen to be in an extra giving mood, please check it out and contribute or share with your friends.

https://www.rallyme.com/rallies/1080/jessicayeaton

Anything helps and I am so thankful and flattered by all the support I have received so far. Thank you!!

-JJ