While the rest of the GRP took off early Monday morning last week, I managed to grab an extra hour or so of sleep before embarking on a marathon of bus rides to Aare, Sweden. In fact, my teammates made it back to Craftsbury on Monday before I made it to my friend’s house in Sweden.
16 hours on a bus actually turned out to be not as bad as it might have been. I caught the last bit of Sherlock Holmes, found the wireless connection for the 42 minutes my battery lasts, and managed to take a few hot laps from the upper deck to the lower deck to ward off the kankles I tend to get on long trips- long legs do have their drawbacks.
I arrived in Östersund late Monday night after a taxi and 6 different buses to meet the Swedish version of my real mother. She gave me a ride the last hour into Aare, a small ski town where I spent 9 months after I graduated from high school 5 long years ago. I spent a lot of time with Karin (mom) and her family while I lived here, and while I had seen her and her husband at my college graduation, I hadn’t seen their three little kids in 5 years. They’re much bigger now- but that hasn’t stopped them from hanging off any vacant part of my body when I move around the house. It’s quite lovely to be back here to catch up with old friends and family alike.
I’ve also managed to train quite a bit aside from lugging small children around. It’s been snowing every day since I arrived, and mediocre tracks have improved to mid-winter perfection. It’s been great to be able to keep this streak of on-snow days rolling, as the forecast in Vermont calls for rain, rain and a little more rain. This coming weekend I’ll make the hour long trek across the border to Meraaker, Norway for a weekend of Norway Cup racing. A 30km individual skate and 10km individual classic are on the schedule and I’m looking forward to both- they’ve got some really tough courses over there that suit me well and it will be fun to get some more high level FIS racing in before heading back stateside.
All in all it’s been a great tour in Finland and now Sweden, and soon to be Norway. Here’s some pics from the Finland days and Aare.