Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hasta la vista baby

Today was a hard day in Bend--we said goodbye to Elowyn until Quebec camp as she is off to Ecuador for a semester abroad. I successfully managed not to cry while giving her a goodbye hug, but her departure did leave me inspired to write about our team. Most conversations about teams are about the unit, the collective group of people coming together to create something bigger than themselves. But ultimately, all teams are comprised of individuals. While the whole is often greater than the sum of its respective parts, the parts matter too. Just one person can change a team's dynamic, focus, and culture. The women's team was lucky this past year to have an incredible toolkit of parts, but, in particular, to have a little monkey wrench named Elowyn. 

Monkey in action: "I tend to use other people's reactions to gauge how socially acceptable something is"

It's hard to describe just how Elowyn changed our team, but her unique mix of drive (some less polite folk might call it stubbornness), kindness, humor, and patience helped set a new tone on the women's team. Her Adidas warmups brought a new respect for game day, her competitive spirit pushed us all to give more (and do more pullups) out of fear of being called "soft," and let's not forget her straw visor--really no words needed for that one.

"Doing hair comes naturally to me"

Most of all, Elowyn embodies the spirit of Williams skiing. Simply put, she always places the team before herself. The best way I can think to explain this is to give an example. At the Colby Carnival the women's team had agreed to meet at the van at 2:45pm to head back to the hotel. At 2:40pm Elowyn and I were still in the lodge getting our stuff together, and not wanting to be the last one to the van, I just grabbed my stuff and ran outside. By 2:50pm, the whole team was loaded in the van except for Elowyn, and so I ran back into the lodge to find her. Back inside, I found her cleaning up the area in the lodge where our team had kept our stuff for the day: pushing in chairs, returning pens to the registration desk, and even picking up other team's trash from the floor. I stood there for a moment, just watching her clean up, and felt immensely proud of both my teammate and of Williams skiing. Instead of thinking of herself, and of how it would look if she was late to the van, she was concerned with leaving the lodge clean and of how the team was represented. Elowyn does this all the time, putting the best interests of the team and the college ahead of her own. This is a quality of hers which I greatly admire, and one which I am working on cultivating in myself. 

So consider this a thank you, Weenie. Thank you for being such a supportive teammate, loyal friend, and humble teacher. Thank you for putting the team first. And thank you, for changing our team for the better. Your twerking, Tyga-sing-alongs, and 'tude will be greatly missed, but know that the entire team is supporting your adventures abroad from Williamstown.

Freshmen, you have big shoes to fill, but luckily you have 3 months to get your s*** together before Elowyn comes back and starts running the show again. Consider yourselves warned.

Rock the cow!

Love always, 


Make Hay While The Sun Shines

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!  I've been extremely busy here in Williamstown, but it's been super fun!  Right about when everyone left campus, I moved into a new apartment (which is amazing!), I started working mornings at Mighty Food Farm, and I began practice with the Berkshire Nordic Ski Club (BNSC/the club/club kids).  Needless to say, I can't wait until school starts, and not just because I need a change of pace, but mostly because I can't wait to start working with Jason and the team again, and to see how fit everyone is!!

Here's Jason and I cooling off after a humid spring mountain bike ride...

Onions are on the left, we're hoeing collards.
A mere selection of our garlic drying in the barn.
Working half-days at the farm has been a blast!  We have a really fun crew this year, and it's so nice to be able to harvest a bunch of vegetables and work the land all morning long, then go home and relax (answer a million emails and write training plans) before heading out for club practice.  I've been learning a lot from Lisa (who's the toughest, most bad-ass, hardworking person I've ever met!), and with Mighty Food Farm moving to a beautiful new home in Shaftsbury, there's been lots of exciting new things going on!  The early mornings definitely get pretty old (particularly when you forget to set an alarm and wake up late, oops!), but ya gotta get tough somehow, right?

Club kid OD in Savoy with CSU.
Club girls before doing 10 burpees, hill sprint, 10 pushups, jog down, 9 burpees, hill sprint, 9 push-ups, jog down...1
L3 intervals up the Lanesborough side of Greylock.  Grace is headed to Bates next year, so I make sure to completely demoralize her every practice, and give her the worst feedback...
Fresh pavement in Pownal!
Club boys running down the Thunderbolt.
Did some super fun speeds this week!  The first one started with a foot sprint to helmet, skis, and poles where they had to then put on said equipment before sprinting to the finish.  We did another where they started with all equipment on, and laying down on their backs.  First had to get up and sprint 15sec, then remove all equipment at the finish.  Mass start.  Losers start in front.
As someone who likes being outside, working the land, growing vegetables, and getting tough, I figure the saying "make hay while the sun shines", is much more appropriate than the trite "carpe diem".  Essentially, they mean the same thing, but the former, in my opinion, is much better at illustrating the idea of taking advantage of your circumstances.  Hay farmers, with today's modern weather forecasting tools, could stand around debating what 40% chance of thunderstorms mean till the cows come home.  Or, they could start cutting their fields, and tossing hay bales right now while it's still sunny.  Speaking of which, if you want to get super tough and strong, fill a barn full of hay bales for an entire day.  That'll make your "nose-breath" test and corresponding TT seem like a piece of cake (you should probably do that test if you haven't...if you have any questions about it, just ask).

Cutting hay is neither here nor there, but there is one thing for certain and that is: hay is for horses, but better for cows.  Pigs can't eat it because they don't know how, and no matter how much you'd rather be doing something else, you'd better get out that door and start training now.  This has been my theme for the summer.  I can choose to cave and eat crappy food, stay up late, and trade pokemon cards.  Or I can head out the door now, while the sun is still shining, and get in an extra hour before the club kids show up.  I could easily watch from the side of the trail, while everyone races up the Thunderbolt (totally savage TT!!), or I could beat them all to the top.  I don't want to just be a ski coach.  I want to win coaching - kind of like my boss, J!  And it starts by taking advantage of the sunshine, and enjoying every minute of it!

Who wants one of these!?!?
I've had a blast working with the club team!  There have definitely been many challenges (ask Josh H.), but the experience has been invaluable.  I feel like I've grown so much as a coach and learned a lot, and I can't wait to share with the team.  We have Andy Newell and Erika Flowers (not sure if you know who they are...) coming to town tomorrow to lead the club team practice with some agility, strength, and spenst.  It should be a super fun practice, and I'm looking forward to learning from Andy and Erika (I might actually freak out when I meet them...)!!

Only a few more weeks!


Friday, July 15, 2016

What's new in New York

Hey everybody!

Glad to see the team keeping busy this summer out there gracing every corner of the country and, even world, with some of Williams Nordic's finest.

I was lucky enough to start off my summer with a two-week backpacking trip in Malaysia and Thailand learning to eat with only my fingers and to use squat toilets (not easy for most, but being 6'6" doesn't help!)
Raub, Malaysia

But, for an update on The Empire State...

I've been getting in some good training roller skiing, biking, and running around Central New York and up in the Adirondack Mountains.

Some scenes from the skis...
Finishing up L3 as a storm rolls in

Rolling along the Raquette River soon after a black bear sighting

Lots of hiking and trail running in the Adirondacks...Mount Marcy (the tallest in NY) in the distance

But, gotta save time for relaxing. Here, strolling along Turtle Beach, Long Lake

Amphitheater lawn and Onondaga Lake

I spend the rest of my time working either at the new Lakeview Amphitheater in Syracuse on the shore of Onondaga Lake (the most polluted lake in America until a $1 billion clean-up project in 2012) moving tables and chairs most days or reading transcripts of every speech by the President of Uzbekistan in the last 10 years for my other job with a Syracuse University Geography professor.

It has been a great summer so far, but I've been missing the team and am stoked to reconnect with a bunch of the guys for a quick weekend of training and good times in Williamstown at the end of the month. 


Monday, July 11, 2016

Mountain Living

Greetings friends!

I hope you have all been having lovely summers across the globe! I've been loving your blog posts and seeing all the exciting things everyone has been doing since the end of school.

I have been mostly in New Hampshire working for the AMC, where I carry turkeys up mountains, fold a lot of blankets, and insist to people that they should not be hiking in flip flops because it is snowing. When I am not entertaining the masses in the backcountry, I am in Williamstown working on thesis research. I also managed to get over to France for a hot second with my dad and his family, where I celebrated my birthday and was able to visit friends in Grenoble. Its been a whirlwind couple of months but I wouldn't have it any other way. Here are some pictures for your general enjoyment!

Jumping around in the June snowstorm

Look! It even accumulated!

The view from my dining room at the hut

While in France my dad and I went up the tallest mountain in Provence, where the hardest stage of the Tour de France takes place. For those of you who have been to Mt. Washington, it's kind-of like that, but French.

I was able to be in Grenoble for my birthday!

When I got back to the US, I manage to injure my third limb of the summer. I have 1/4 that is fully functional, so I'm hoping to keep that one intact.

My beautiful home for the summer

Celebrating the 4th at the hut!

While in Williamstown I came across the Berkshires' newest coaching sensation, the inimitable Perry Thomas.
The clouds were doing cool stuff at the hut this morning!

Happy training to everybody and keep it up with the fun and interesting blog posts!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Peak Bag OD

Hey Ephs!

I'm living out in Sun Valley, Idaho with a few friends for the Summer. There is a pretty large contingent of collegiate athletes from around the country out here and the training so far has been top notch. This past Saturday myself and some of the boys tackled a Classic skiing and hiking combo OD. We double polled for 2 hours out Highway 75 towards Galena Pass and then got a lift for the remaining couple of miles to the trail head. From there it was another 2 hours to get to the top of Galena peak and slide the scree back down. Overall a great day in the mountains.

 North facing slopes vs South facing slopes viewed from the summit, spot the difference.
Looking forward to seeing everyone again!

P.S. I've been talking a lot of trash to the other EISA schools so everyone better be training really hard or I'm going to lose a lot of money.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Love from Oregon

Hello Everyone!

I hope everyone is having summers filled with adventure and laughter and sun and stars. I am in Bend Oregon with Sarah, Tsaina, Carmen, Jordan and some other ski homies not from Williams. I have been having lots of new experiences and adventures which have been pretty cool such as stacking hay, mountain biking, skiing on a track, skiing down a mountain and biking down a mountain.

Last Sunday some of us went up and hiked up a mountain called Broken Top. It was one of my first times hiking up a snowy mountain. Look below for some pics:
Here is a view of some sisters (Three Sisters actually) from Broken Top

 We only had to pull out the map once (shortly after I started leading us).

 Despite the snow it was pretty warm with the sun out, and some of us may have gone a little aggressive on the layering.

 We also spotted a sun dog hanging out over the mountain.

The crew treks up through some snow. We had a great time sliding down it on the way back.

Luckily Becker was able to stay very hydrated all the way back to the parking lot.

When I am not skiing or running or hiking or biking I spend most my time in the public library reading about tribal recognition. Or sitting under trees reading about tribal recognition. Or sitting by the side of the road reading about tribal recognition.

Wishing the best to everyone wherever you might be!

Much love,


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Tanning, Summer 2K16

Hey team-

I'm late to blog duty which is bad. But it's also good because I've enjoyed two weeks without sitting at a computer. Currently writing on my phone from the back of a van. It's  the first leg of transit on route to Seattle and four weeks of biking down the Pacific Coast.

Which leads to my blog title. Many of you know I seek an (un)healthy combination SPF 8 and sunshine and so far this summer has afforded me excellent opportunities.

My dad and I rode bikes from Flagstaff, AZ to Santa Monica, CA

Gummies came along for the ride.
The start of my finest body of work

I highly recommend.

Since then, I've had three weeks of ski training, shorter bike tours, and perfect-weather Overland leader training.

Training trip--lots of high viz in store this summer.

Looking ahead, I'm hoping for some more sunny days of safe riding. I'll tap back into the outside world in four weeks for an update on the tan lines. Much love til then,