Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween and.... Shooting?

So far my time at home has been amazing! Involving breakfast with my sister and grandparents, visiting with my mom, eating crab with my dad, dressing up for Halloween and shooting a gun for the first time!

Kev's nickname at school is BamBam, so we decided that it was fitting to go as Pebbles and BamBam (and fairly inexpensive). We bought a dog bone from the dollar store, material, safety pins and a bat for Kevin, and we were ready to go!

We went over to the UVM girls ski team house, and met a few other questionable characters.
Tommy as Alan from The Hangover
Bobby as a guy from Pleasantville?
Some of the girls!
Meg as a fish in a net, who was trapped by her fisherman beau... And of course.... WALDOSean and Kev (Sorry... Waldo and Bam! BAM!)
We decided that the:
Questionable Characters + Waldo = A Game of Where's Waldo?!
Can you find Waldo?
So where is Waldo?

The next day we Kevin's teammate Colton and his girlfriend, Marthe, asked if we wanted to go Skeet Shooting. At first I was a bit hesitant because I've never shot a gun, but we decided to try it out anyways. We headed out to a famer's field that is in the middle of nowhere. Before we started shooting we had to stop and ask the owners of the property if we could shoot that day. When we arrived at the place we were supposed to shoot from, we saw a carcass in the field,
and learned later that it was the remains of a dear/moose the owner shot earlier.
Kevin shot first, showing me how it is done. Then I got my lesson: 1) Always have the safety on when I'm not using it 2) Never swing the gun 3) Hold the gun tightly on my shoulder 4) Hold my elbow up 5) Stand in front of everyone else..... 6) And later, when the person (ahhemmm Kevin) throws the skeet and it goes backwards towards everyone, don't try to shoot it. (I didn't don't worry!)

I kept having to remind myself that I was holding a gun... a gun that wasn't fake and could kill!
Marthe loading the gun... pro.
I came home from Burlington shortly after my shooting experience. My week at home was filled with packing, training and relaxing with my mom. Kevin came home for my last weekend at home to visit! Our weekend was filled with a few intense squash games (I had to take off my goggles because they were fogging...) and family meals! As promised, my mom cooked me a partial, quick, but amazing Thanksgiving lunch on Sunay.... as they say "Better late than never"!

Today I head to Levi for my first WC race of the season, with leftover Thanksgiving.. lunch.. packed in my carry on!! Darkness here I come!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

EUROTRIP- Comes to an End

After our snow day in Pitztal, we drove 8 hours to Landgraaf, Holland for some indoor training.

The flats of Holland! (The highest part of Holland is the hill we were training on.... which I wouldn't even compare to Collingwood!)The hill from the outside

It was perfect timing because everywhere in Europe had just had a big snow storm and training wasn't very good. So we took advantage of the constant conditions and got used to injected snow and FLAT courses. And when I say flat... I mean... F.L.A.T. - Not usually my specialty
We stayed at Snowworld for 2 and a half days and skied 5 two hour long sessions. This usually meant waking up in the morning for a session, eating lunch and relaxing for about 2 hours, and getting ready for another session.

Warming up at the top
The visibility when the snow guns are turned on...
The last day we were all excited to travel back to Solden and witness the sun again (aka I am SURE we were all vitamin D deficient by the end of those 2 days). Our final session started at 6:30am and you could tell we were feeling the effects of the early morning. I was not cut out to be a hockey player! Tim decided that we should call it a day when Eve almost hit the wall and the next run, I tipped a gate and went flying towards the wall and threw my skis to the side at the last minute.

SOLDEN WORLD CUP!!!
We were all really excited for the quickly approaching world cup! The girls racing for Canada included Mitch, Mp and Vic (who was racing her first world cup)!
Vic after her solid run in her first World Cup!!

All of the Rossi girls went to a Rossignol get together the night before and then Mitch, Mp and Vic prepared for the race, and the rest of us were ready to cheer them on!
The view from the bottom!

Britt, Maddy and I cheering for everyone from the bottom! It was a tough day on an extremely tough hill, but the girls made us proud. Mitch finished the day in 13th and came 2nd in the 2nd run!! AMAZING. WAY TO GO MITCH!

After the race in Solden we were supposed to stay for three extra days to train slalom on the race hill. However, the snow that was forcasted to come, came... and with a vengeance. We woke up on Monday morning and were called to a meeting to decide what we were going to do about all the snow, since we couldn't train. And now I am home... 3 days early...
The coaches looked at all of our options: a) move elsewhere- but the snow storm seemed to have hit everywhere!
b) Move back to Snowworld- but 5 sessions on those flats was enough for all of us!
c) Go home and get ready for Levi!

I am home sweet home! Meaning clean clothes, a big, comfy bed, and NO MORE PASTA for every meal!!

(PS- Thanks for the pictures Eve!!)

Monday, October 18, 2010

EUROTRIP- SNOW DAY!

TO START OFF... A VIDEO FROM OUR DAY OFF
(photos taken by Anna and Chemmy, made by Kelly!)



After two intense days of gs, we changed over to slalom on the Pitztal Gletcher... (these next pictures are from Jenny!)

I described a lot about getting up to the training hill in a blog last year, but this year everything was much more tame. Usually we would leave the hotel at 6:40am to get to the bottom of the tram at 6:45am. We would then wait for the doors to open at 7:00am, when the coaches would be allowed on and then about 10minutes later whatever athletes fit in the leftover spaces. The next tram doesn't come for another 15minutes, so everyone tries to squeeze into the smallest spaces imaginable. We change into our ski clothes at the top of the tram, put on our skis and ski down to the bottom of the "gondola". However, it's not a normal gondola. In this case, four gondolas run right beside each other and there are four sets of four.
Two sets of four gondolas passing each other...Two reach the mid-station at the same time, one the upper station and one the lower station (where we ski down to). We get onto the gondola, then jump out at mid-station to put our bags and extra pair of skis. We run back into the gondola and ride to the top to start our day! After this first journey up, we only have to get onto the gondola at mid-station throughout the rest of the day.
Our slalom course!

After our day of slalom, bad weather started coming in. The coaches decided that it was time for a day off. The people at the hotel decided to show us all of the different Austrian wines during a wine tasting. Team bonding!

In the morning, we woke up to... SNOW!!!

We decided to dress in colourful outfits...And take pictures against a big, dark rock...
With the camera on a timer, taking 10 shots at a time... Sometimes we failed...
But mostly we got amazing shots!

After our snow day, we headed to Holland for some indoor skiing. We got lost a few times along the way, but finally made it! We have our first session on the ICE this morning... I hope I don't get as bruised as last year!

Friday, October 15, 2010

EUROTRIP- Pitztal, Austria

Our training in Solden finished up with a day of slalom!! My first full day this trip!My "power" start...
This is how the big guys do it... Note to self: work on start...

After an outdoor lifting session, we headed to Pitztal for a day off and four more days of training. We decided to get in touch with our animal instincts and headed into the forest for a photo session.(Anna and Mitch) Everything is still so green here, however rumour has it that weather is supposed to be coming in tomorrow, meaning snow and VERY cold temperatures next week (I've heard -24C... maybe I should try my hand at beach volleyball?)Mp and Mitch in a rainforest or Austria?
Hard to tell...
Oh wait... Avalanche fences... ? I guess we are in AustriaMitch, Britt and Mp taking in the view on the fence. If it supports that much snow it can support our combined weights, right?

We have done two days of gs since our day off in Pitztal. Both days have been extremely challenging. The hill is one of the steepest, unforgiving hills that I have ever skied on!! At least I still had my helmet after every run unlike two years ago, when I crashed and my helmet flew off my head. Tim (my coach) didn't see and came down asking, "What happened, did you fall? WAIT... where is your helmet? Oh I see it at the bottom of the hill there, I'll go get it." I didn't input what my responses to any of the questions were because I was probably sniffling and in no state to answer... aka "ninja tears"- defined as the tears that sneak up on you. BAM!
So all in all... my helmet stayed on my head, so I will say... Pitztal we are equals again!

Monday, October 11, 2010

EUROTRIP- Solden, Austria

After a long couple of travel days, including compression socks, a missed flight, melatonin and eventually trying to stay awake, we made it to Solden, Austria. Home of the season opener of World Cup GS. We got in really late, had a traditional dinner of meat and pasta and went to bed, trying to sleep through the night and be ready for our first day of training.

It is absolutely beautiful here right now. Our view!

It is still really warm, and that coupled with the green grass and beautiful views make it feel like summer. We ski hard in the morning, watching as the sun progressively hits more and more of the hill, and then we enjoy the balcony for biking, ready, stretching, and core in the afternoon. However, there is still MUCH more snow than last year!!
Solden this year!

Solden last year....
Anna CAN SKI AGAIN!!!The view from our balcony.

Anna biking with the best view possible!

BUT... I will say this, the second night in Europe on my first trip to Europe every year is the absolute WORST for sleeping. I was awake to hear the church bells ring MANY times. I'm not sure when I was asleep and when I was awake, but c'est la vie. At least it was better than 2 years ago!
The church, with the bells that eternally ring... DING DONG DINGG (I know you are trying to sleep) DONGGG
Mp and my room... finally separated beds in Europe!

We usually have many courses packed closely together, with teams everywhere. The stakes are much higher is you don't finish here; firstly because you might ski into another team's course, but also because many people are watching.

Our physio at the top tries to regulate everything and make sure we all stay safe.
Notice the raised arm.

Today was a bit flustered.I did some gs, then rushed down to the bottom, changed into my slalom boots and equipment, and headed back up the gondola for some gs.

All in all, the last three days have been incredible. We move to Pitztal (the cattle farm for athletes) tomorrow. Hopefully I will have more pictures soon.

Oh and... walking to breakfast my first morning I saw a cow on someone's front porch/veranda/balcony. It greeted me on my way down... new pet?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Harder Better Faster Stronger- Fitness Testing

I arrived in Calgary fairly early and some of the girls and I decided to get dinner and watch the Social Network. We had to time our dinner properly because we weren't allowed to eat the next morning.... blood testing.
The next morning we woke up, packed our breakfast and headed to The University of Calgary for testing. I don't function very well without food in the morning and put coffee in my oatmeal, bad move. Our first test was a blood test and after that we were allowed to eat. And by eat I naturally mean, practice what I learned from Kev... scarf down my food.Breakfast... too late!

After eating some food we entered another lab room for our Anthro testing. This consists of a weigh in, measurements and multiple pinches. In the end, we are told our fat to muscle ratio... thus if we got stronger (body composition).Mitch warming up for her bike test.

We had some time to digest before our first bike test, the incremental lactate test. To sum this up, it is pretty much go until you can't go any longer... =death
Still breathing?

After this, we have a test that tests the strength of our quads compared to our hamstrings.
We picked up some lunch and rested up for our final test, where we have to bike at a set wattage for as long as we can. This might be the worst test of all... or as Kelly liked to yell after I was done... "It's a boy!!"

And done!
(Ps.. See the writing on the wall, I have tried to distract myself by making words with the letters there. A trick from Kate Ryley... But I don't focus well when my heart-rate is high... or when I haven't eaten, apparently, so this technique, along with many, failed.)

Our day of testing was done after this. We finished the day up with a talk by Kristina Groves and physio.

The next day we were allowed to eat breakfast, so hot water went into my oatmeal thankfully. In the morning, we did some jumping, power and agility tests, then our testing was over. For another 6 months or so... not that we're counting. We met about our results and headed to the airport to fly to Europe to start the season. Harder, better, faster, stronger???

We'll see!