Monday, February 16, 2015

Next Stop, World Championships

Last night I boarded a bus with a variety of countries and athletes, and headed to Falun, home of the 2015 World Championships. We just completed a short weekend of racing in Ostersund, where I competed in the sprint race, one of the more unique courses I have ever raced on during the World Cup.

Soph and I in the stadium after our quarterfinal on Valentines Day.

Some of the unique qualities included racing through the middle of stands, packed with nearly 10,000 screaming fans. It was a two lap course, that spent the majority of time in what we call, herring boning technique, a technique we don't use so frequently as racers. It had a short start zone, which meant for a new starting method for sprint racing. It had a narrow course which allowed for little passing, and few places to make moves. It featured a screaming fast downhill into a sharp corner that provided some entertainment for the screaming spectators. And finally, we had no ski testing on the course before the start… so an added challenge for the techs and athletes! Here is a video from the race. My heat starts around 8:50

I also found some footage of this weekends racing on the FIS video from the week. I love this Inside the Fence! There is so much "behind the scenes" on any given World Cup Weekend. One huge piece of it is picking skis, working with your wax tech, and balancing the chaos and stress! It means trusting your tech, believing in your feelings, and finding confidence in the challenging selection of skis. I just want to say a big thanks to the US Waxing Crew!

As the bus left the hotel parking lot and headed for Falun for two very important weeks of this season, I took some time to step back and think about what is coming. For two weeks of this long 18 week racing season, we focus many of our largest goals. It is a goal to race at our best all season long, but for two weeks in the middle, we want to be at our ABSOLUTE BEST. For two weeks we are fighting for the chance to be World Champion, to win World Championship medals, and to reach our highest places possible during the Championships. Much like the Olympics, for two weeks, the world tunes in to our sport and our competition. Suddenly there is great honor in reach new PR's, winning medals, and being the best!

Over the course of my racing, I have realized that during this high pressure, high stress, and exciting two weeks, I have to find the right place for my brain. Rather than focusing on the "outcome", I have found myself trying to narrow my brains focus down to the "process". How am I going to perform my best? By focusing on the steps that I have taken to get me right here, right now, I can arrive on the start line, ready to fight!

It begins with the training. For 48 weeks of the season I have dedicated and committed all my energy and mind to this sport. I owe a huge thanks to many people for allowing this to work. My family, my coaches, my team, my friends, and my sponsors! I have a family that supports my goals and aspirations since I was 5 years old, 

This year I started working with a company that shares very similar values and missions to my sport. With strong roots in both Washington and Alaska- this company has a very similar backbone to me! Their support has given me the platform to achieve my goals as well as allowed me to dedicate myself to my training and becoming the best in my sport. Awarded one of the World's Most Ethical Companies in 2014, Saltchuk shares the belief in clean sport, clean business, and honest methods of achieving success.  As I stand on the start line thursday, in my first World Championship race, I am thankful that this company has supported, believed in me, and inspired me to reach new heights of success. They have shown, they are committed to the communities they serve! Thank you Saltchuk!

Aside from having an incredible family, training hard, and supportive sponsors, it takes the reenforcement of a team. This includes the coaches, athletes, PT's, massage therapists, Sports Psychologists, and many more. I am lucky to have two incredible teams that have weaved a platform of support and commitment to this dream. My incredible Alaska Pacific University Team that I spend the many long summer and fall training weeks with, and secondly, the National Team that I spend the winter racing with. Both of these teams have kept me committed to this chase towards my goals, and encouraged me to push through many tough times!

The World Championship Team

As I spend these next two weeks chasing some of my largest goals of the season, I know I have done the work. I have trained incredibly hard, I have committed my mind and body to this goal, and I have surrounded myself in the people and teams that have believed in me.

I can't wait to get the World Championships started!!

I encourage everyone to tune in and watch. See message below just released by US Ski Team:

Nordic Worlds Live in USA

PARK CITY, UT (Feb. 14, 2015) – Live action from the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Sweden is coming to America Feb. 18-March 1. Fans across the USA and Canada will be able to follow the action at the World Championships with both live and video on demand highlights through an innovative new partnership from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. Every cross country, nordic combined and ski jumping event will be streamed live on, as well as through the official Falun2015 Live Arena app.
The Feb. 18-Mar. 1 World Championships will mark the first time U.S. fans have had comprehensive free access to an English language broadcast of World Championships. Each event will stream live on, with parallel transmission on Video highlights will also be available on the USSA Network on YouTube.
L.L.Bean will be the presenting sponsor of the live coverage from Falun. L.L.Bean has always had a love affair with cross country skiing, beginning decades ago when it first began offering skis to its customers, as well as sharing its passion for the sport by offering a wide variety of courses, trips, tours and clinics and demonstrations for skiing. Most recently, L.L.Bean has teamed up with Kikkan Randall, the most decorated cross country ski racer in U.S. history, to be its newest product design and testing partner. As part of its support of the live streaming coverage, L.L.Bean will feature a 30-second spot featuring Randall, as well as additional content that will be integrated into the broadcasts.
The U.S. Ski Team will feature athletes like cross country World Champions Randall and Jessie Diggins, rising World Cup star Liz Stephen, as well as defending world ski jumping champion Sarah Hendrickson, plus a Nordic combined team featuring Olympic champion Billy Demong and brothers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher. Over 700 athletes from more than 50 countries will compete in the Nordic World Championships in cross country skiing, ski jumping and nordic combined events.
The Falun2015 Live Arena app is powered by Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), the World Championships’ digital experience partner, who has created a platform that will collect a vast amount of data and information from myriad sources throughout the championships.
Most notably, the app will provide a context for the data by correlating static maps and athlete information with competition tracking information alongside the live streaming. It will provide a much more engaging experience than simply watching a video stream, allowing users to be more involved with the event itself.
The Falun2015 Live Arena mobile app is expected to provide the best ‘second screen’ application ever for a skiing event, allowing fans to use the app as a single source for following the race, or a complement to watching live web streaming on or
The app is available for iOS devices.
Falun2015 Live Arena Features
Track view: Take part in the competition from the point of view of your favorite skier, or from the TV camera of your choice.
Ski jump: Follow the ski jumping live.
Lugnet: Take a tour around the ski stadium at Lugnet and take part in the events on-site.
Medals plaza: Join the celebrations and medal ceremonies at the main square in Falun.
Interactive camera: Follow the action and zoom to points of interest from your free-flying virtual camera.
Connected Snow: Through sensors and connectivity, app users can experience a heat map, showing where the snow is coldest – an important parameter for skiing.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Russia and Beyond

SInce arriving in Russia January 21st, it has been a serious series of events. Beginning with a bumpy plane ride, a marginally sketchy landing down into Moscow Russia, a patient trip through Customs, where you cross your fingers and just hope your Visa was done correctly as the Border Control Officers seem to stare at your passport for way too long…. and finishes with a long and seriously bumpy 6 hour bus ride up to the famous Rybinsk, Russia. Arriving and traveling in Russia is always unique. It is very different than your normal experience, and requires a fair amount of patience. Somewhere during this unusually long plane, customs, bags, sketchy bumpy bus experience I noticed I no longer had my phone…. so to make this wonderful travel day even better, my drowsy state of travel allowed me to leave my phone on the airplane seat, only to be snatched up by someone immediately. That is a good way to turn "tired Sadie" into an emotional downward spiral! For the six hour bumpy bus ride driving across roads that resemble bumpy fields rather than highways…. I went through this airplane ride, reliving my responsible self… just wishing I had used my brain a little bit more than I had chosen to. In the US, the flight attendants often say in English "please check your seat and make sure you haven't left any belongings". Something I may have brainlessly blocked out in the past…. will now become the true reminder every time I exit the plane!

OK…. it may suck to lose a phone when you are in Europe because retrieving another US Sim Card, and buying a new phone from afar is not that easy…. but at least I didn't lose my Passport!! That would have been a lot worse! So, I tried to just relax, and finish this long day without getting too bent out of shape.

The next six days it was back to business…. training well, recovering well, finding some Russian food to fill me up, staying warm in the frigid cold temps of Rybinsk, and racing hard! I quickly gathered my focused self after an early bump during the travel and dove back into the racing focus. As temperatures hovered below zero degrees F, combined with super high humidity… staying warm was the focus. Breathing masks, kinesio tape, and 3 layers of pants, 5 layers on top, two buffs…. and down pants were the solution. Spending time racing in Europe this winter has meant that we are often above 32 degrees…. with this funky warm winter. So, it took a bit to adjust to these freezing cold temperatures. Not only is the temperature different, but the skiing is very different as well. The snow becomes much slower to ski on, and even trickier to kick classic skis on.

Staying warm and looking silly.
Mass Start Race- USSA photo
The weekend ended up going well, as I made it into the semi finals, finally, only my second time ever on the World Cup. Rybinsk is challenging racing, even if a huge portion of the World Cup Field is missing. Somehow, 20 Russian woman fill in the empty spots and keep the competition level high! There were so many highlights from the weekend including Liz on the podium, Rosie scoring her first World Cup points (13th!!!!), Jessie matching her individual best, both in the sprint and the skiathlon (5th!!!!!!!), and MY BROTHER SCORING HIS FIRST SPRINT POINTS in 19th. Super cool, and super fun weekend!
celebrating Ida's birthday with some Russian made goodies.
Link to some quarterfinals that you can watch both Erik and I. (My heat starts at 7:50)

Next stop, back to central Europe, and a little preparation time before World Championships. Somehow I convinced Jo to come visit for a little 10 day break from work, and a 10 day break from "focus" for me. So, Jo got to join me for my "World Champ pre-camp". He did a good job of keeping me training hard, and keeping me happy. Even though he hasn't cross country skied so much in the past 10 years of his life… somehow he can still manage to stay in front of me… darn!! We managed to fit a few days of "less skinny skis" into the preparation schedule, which was a fun little treat. Jo just finished his full licensing in ski instructing, so I always love to see a different side of him when we go out into the mountains and he goes into his ski instructor mode! 

Enjoying the powder from a higher place.

Awesome to have my wonderful Physical Therapist from home, Zuzana Rodgers, on the road for 5 weeks! She used to be an amazing alpine skier in her past life... so her and Jo were keeping each other good company on the down!
The APU Crew.
12 great days of recovering, training, recovering, training, and we are back at it. We just arrived in Sweden for our final World Cup Weekend before World Championships begins, February 19th in Falun, Sweden. There will be live streaming available, so be sure to tune in.

Erik, making friends in the sunshine as he waits for the girls to catch up on an easy distance ski.
Rosie and I pushing through some slow powder on a speed day.
Morning French Lessons.
Enjoying a date night with a garden of Frogs... my favorite!!!
Sunny ski with my Alaska buddies!
Marine joining us for interval day!
Funny to see him on skinny skis!
Strength training!
Keeping my French wax tech, JP, happy!
The argument continues.... skinny vs. fat!