Munich to Ramsau to Liberec

Europe!  After a fall of racing the Supertour circuit in the US, I’ve finally made the trip across the pond to compete in Europe.   I’m racing this week at the U23 World Championships in Liberec, and I’m staying two extra weeks after that to compete in the Scandanavian Cup races in the Baltics.

Here is a quick recap from what I’ve been up to for the past few weeks.

I’ll kick things off with US Nationals in Utah.  It was an exciting week with some incredible racing.  My teammate Sophie Caldwell crushed it with two podium appearances and earned herself a spot on the US World Championships team for Val de Fiemme in late February.  Congrats Sophie!

Sophie cruising in the Classic Sprint at US Nationals (Fasterskier.com photo)

I’ve had a pretty slow start to the season, and nationals were no exception.  I felt flat and lacked energy all week, but managed to race well enough in the two sprint races to narrowly make the U23 team.   I know I’ve trained better than ever before, so it was frustrating to race so poorly.

Striding it out in the classic sprint (Toko US photo)

Striding it out in the classic sprint (Toko US photo)

At the start - skate sprint heats. (Toko US Photo)

At the start – skate sprint heats. (Toko US Photo)

Without Dartmouth classes to keep me busy, I’ve had more time than ever before to focus on skiing, and that time has really benefitted my training this summer and fall.  However, once the race season got underway, I never switched out of training mode to give myself the chance to reach race fitness.  Just because you have the time to fit in an extra training session here and there doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to do so.  Looking back, I think I pushed the training just a little too hard, and in doing so, have been missing the pop I need for racing.  In the words of Sverre Caldwell, “Maybe it’s time for you to stop focusing on training so much and start focusing on feeling good in races.”

The solution, a week super easy, with almost no specific ski training!  My good friend Tom Collier lives in Park City and took Erika and I alpine touring.

Easy aerobic activity!

Easy aerobic activity!  (Tom Collier photo)

And the way back down!  (Tom Collier photo)

And the way back down! (Tom Collier photo)

After a few days of resting in Park City, I made the trip to Europe to start prepping for U23’s.  I flew to Munich a day early to give myself some extra time to recover and adjust.  The Movenpick hotel in Munich features probably my favorite breakfast in the whole world.

Breakfast at the Movenpick.  Best in the world.

Breakfast at the Movenpick. Best in the world.

After my easy rest day in Munich, we drove down to Ramsau Austria for a five day pre-camp to get ready for U23’s.  Ramsau was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited, with Swiss-style ski chalets, towering mountains, and a healthy blanket of snow.  The skiing was awesome, with seemingly endless groomed trails stretching in every direction.

Here are some pictures from Ramsau:

U23's pre-camp

View from the hotel in Ramsau.

Sprint starts.  Ready.  Set.  Go!

Sprint starts. Ready. Set. Go!

Head Coach Bryan Fish and Annie Hart, all smiles.

Head Coach Bryan Fish and Annie Hart, all smiles.

Classic Austria

Classic Austria

Enjoying the sun!

Enjoying the sun!

U23's pre-camp-11

After five days in Ramsau, we hit the road again to drive to Liberec.  Liberec is a pretty neat city, but definitely not Ramsau.  The hotel we’re staying at -the Babylon – is the biggest hotel I’ve ever seen.  It has over 1000 beds, 5 restaurants, an amusement park (complete with Merry-go rounds, bumper cars, and other kids’ rides), a water park, a shopping mall, a bowling alley, and more.   It’s one of the most bizarre places I’ve ever stayed.

View from the Babylon Hotel in Liberec.

View from the Babylon Hotel in Liberec.

Tomorrow is the U23 Classic Sprint.  I’m off to our pre-race team meeting.  Wish me luck!

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