There is not much better than the smell of things drying out after a soaking summer rain. You know the smell, pine trees blowing in the breeze, the earthiness of the ground potent and full, flooding your nostrils. It is a smell of new life, of things drinking up water and breathing out fresh oxygen. There is that humidity in the air that can feel almost too thick to breath, but there is no staleness in it. Today was an over distance (OD) workout and we woke up to a dreary rain and wind blowing outside. As we drove up to Mt. Bachelor, where our groomed ski trails awaited us, (thanks to the Mt. Bachelor groomers!) the rain only got harder and more persistent. So, parked, we climbed out of the vans, nordic skiers from all over the country and Canada, including Olympic biathlon sit skiers, and dressed in our best rain gear from trash bag vests to plastic bag socks, we hit the trails. There are almost always ups and downs in a 3 hour ski. Moments when you feel great and moments when you think you might just quit, but with a GU, a happy dance, a teammate to ski with or a song to amp you up, you can get through most things. I happen to have an amazing team, people whom I call my family, a group of coaches who stood in the pouring rain, chilled to the bone for the entire 3 hours, touching up our skis and keeping spirits high or taking a lap with us to work on technique, so there were relatively few “moments” for me. It is these days when, climbing back in the van at the end, soaked to the bone, tired, and chilled is one of my favorite feelings in the world. It is like the smell after a soaking summer rain. It is a giddy happiness that flows through my body. I have just done something that was not fun for the whole time, but made me a better skier and taught me how to push through things that are not always that sweet. It is the high five from my teammates who you just accomplished this thing with. It is the laughter that flows out with the silly stories of the ski, or just with the knowledge that you just got better today, and getting warm is in your future. I have a great team and I am pushed and encouraged by them every time I step out the door to train. We are a team on and off the race course, which is the type of team I want to be a part of, and we are a team who are proud of each other. We can be better, and we know we can, which is why we are working towards a goal together instead of apart, and I would not want to do it any other way but this. We have had a great camp with each other and with other club programs and teams and after tomorrow we will all head back to our respective homes or training venues for a few weeks until we meet up again for New Zealand in July. I am already psyched. Thanks to everyone who made this camp happen and for all the energy everyone brought each day. Town of Bend, thanks for being so hospitable and to Mt. Bachelor for firing up your groomers for us once again. We will look forward to next year!