Simi updates us on where he’s been training this past month!
It’s been a whirlwind of an August. I feel like within the last five weeks I’ve bounced across the globe twice and travelled thru 25 time zones. But I’ll be the last to complain because our travels have brought us to some of my favorite places in the world for training, recovery, and eating (can’t go wrong with all the brown cheese you can eat in Norway plus mom’s homemade cookies).
A big chunk of our August was spent in Norway where we were training outside of Trondheim on some of Norway’s most picturesque fjord roads. We headed over there primarily for Norway’s biggest rollerski race series, the Toppidrettsveka festival, but thought it smart to take advantage of the amazing training opportunities around the area for ten days before the races kicked off. Being in Norway, we thought it pretty normal when we showed up and a giant low pressure rolled in bringing in torrential downpours and massive lightning storms. But that only lasted for two days and our remaining 12 were what the locals called “the longest streak of the best summertime weather they had seen in years.” Everyday was bluebird and 75°F, and when we weren’t out pounding the pavement on long distance skis or finding new running trails to explore, we sought out some big bridges and cold water to satisfy our swimming and vitamin D intake needs. The locals in the area were incredibly welcoming and supportive of us being there, and it showed on the roads when they would wait sometimes 5 minutes or more to pass us in a safe spot as we trained along the narrow roads, usually giving a cheer or wave of encouragement as they passed.
The races were a wild experience. As endurance athletes that put World Cup bibs on nearly every weekend from early November thru mid March every year, it’s sometimes hard to get back into the mindset of racing in mid August. But it’s good for the head to get back into that mental place. The race series started off with a bang with a 5.5. km uphill running race that climbed nearly 2500 vertical ft. A few hours later, we were all handed brand new pairs of matched-speed rollerskis for the first ski race of the tour, a classic sprint in downtown Aure. On the second day, we made the drive closer to Trondheim for a 7.5 km/7.5 km skiathlon race on the rolling pavement of the Knyken ski trails. Of course it was a mass start, and of course the first 1 km was a ripping fast downhill into a sharp right hand corner. Fortunately, there weren’t too many broken poles, and there were no significant crashes, so we’ll call the day a great success. On the third and final day, we wound thru the streets of old town Trondheim in a 15 km pursuit start classic race. With 30,000 fans cheering us on, as well as live TV coverage from multiple cameras on course and a helicopter hovering about the 4 km loop, it was just like being back on the World Cup circuit. The highlight of the ultimate stage was bombing down from the highpoint on the course, and launching yourself into a 90° corner at 35 mph with 30 other guys skiing in a tight pack trying to catch the starters in front of you.
With a great training and racing camp in the books, Sophie and I headed for Colorado straight from Norway for a little rest and recovery at home in the west. Under smoky skies we adventured our way on some perfect late-August singletrack, swam in cold lakes, and caught up on some much needed jet-lagged sleep. A week of dinners on the patio in the waning light, hooking up with friends and family that we hadn’t seen in ages, and the occasional 9 a.m. wake-up was just what our tired and travelled bodies needed.
We’ll be back on the East Coast now for a few more weeks before we head back to Utah for our last camp of the training season. We’re all incredibly excited to be back as a unified SMS T2 team here in Stratton, and this is one of our favorite times of the year to live and train around here. We’re just hoping that it starts cooling off a bit, at least at night so we can stop sleeping on top of the sheets and start the winter migration to under a thick comforter! Thanks for checking in. -Simi