July in pictures – Fish, fun & North American Girls!

Holly BrooksJuly 24, 2011
It’s Sunday morning and I’m on my fourth cup on coffee waiting for the “weather’s clear, let’s go!” call to head to Eagle Glacier.  
We’re currently half way through a two week training camp here in Anchorage where all the top ladies in North America have gathered to spend two weeks training together.  We just finished a great week of dryland training in Anchorage full of roller skiing, running, and lifting weights. Now we’re waiting for the weather to clear so we can fly up to the training facility at Eagle Glacier to spend the next week on snow. Luckily the weather has cooperated the last week and Alaska’s redeemed itself for many of our visitors.  (Three years ago when Nationals were here we had an extreme cold spell and the ski races were postponed/cancelled which didn’t leave a good taste in anyone’s mouth….)
It’s great to train with all these ladies in a low-pressure environment and learn from one-another.  Our competitors in Europe have the advantage of seeing eachother frequently and if we’re going to compete with them, we need to work together to get better.  I feel fortunate to constantly be surrounded by a strong women’s team but it’s a bonus to have the other US Ski team girls here as well as the Canadian girls including 2006 Olympic Gold Medalist, Chandra Crawford.  
Before I share pictures from the training camp so far, here are a couple of other (overdue) shots from this month: 
Yes, Mt. Marathon came and went….. my APU teammate Kikkan and I battled it out in the ladies race and I came up short once again getting passed on the same stretch of pavement a couple of blocks from the finish line. I was a bit disappointed with my performance, not having had the time to put into mountain training but I’ve been working on my double pole and upper body strength this summer so hopefully that will make up for my continuous second place finishes in this race! 
Rob, my husband has his rookie year in Mt. Marathon….. here he is the day before the race in the “gut” which is part of the downhill race section. 

At the finish line with my APU girls – Lydia, Ana, Alex, Hannah & Taryn. These girls are awesome athletes themselves and cheered hard in the race too! 
A special thanks to my headgear sponsor, the Rhyneer Clinic (Orthopedics) for their continual support and my teammate, Erika Klaar for hooking me up with sweet headbands  – check out her site for cool, Alaskan-made stuff HERE.

The men’s race was particularly exciting seeing that any one of six men had the potential to take the win. Here is a picture of the guys at the beginning of the race – ironically in the order that they finished! 

My co-worker at APU, Eric Strabel taking the win after a blazing downhill!  This was something like Eric’s 15th or 18th time racing Mt. Marathon (?)  Crazy fun to see him so excited….. 

In fact, APU SKI athletes ended up sweeping both the men’s and women’s podiums at Mt. Marathon which is rare – a testament to the time and energy we put into our fitness, even if it isn’t running specific. 

Fatigue sets in at the end of the race….. APU skier Jack Novak finished TENTH place in the men’s division in his first race to the top of the mountain. Super impressive! 
 A great highlight of July was a visit from Rob’s sister, Erin, her husband Frank, and getting to meet our niece, Rienzi for the first time.  Erin and Frank came down for Mt. Marathon while Grandpa and Grandma babysat in Anchorage. (Thanks for the feeds and cheering you two!)

A now pictures from our training camp…. 

 It’s always fun to take folks from out of town around our training stomping-grounds. Alaska is a great place to be a Nordic Skier and it’s fun to have other people come to that realization too! (Bird to Gird trail)
Running Rabbit Lakes – Me & Chandra

Rabbit Lakes once again
 Jessie pre-belly-flop 

 Running down valley

Girls bringing it in with our neon Rudy helmets…. 

Kikkan showing the sweatshirts made for the camp – “North American Women’s Training Alliance!” 
Meanwhile, the middle of July is always Kenai dip-netting season and a chance for all Alaskan’s to fill their freezers for the upcoming year. I wasn’t able to help fishing this year because of the camp but luckily Rob and my in-laws headed down to Kenai and returned with a full quota of Red Salmon – 70 fish! 

Taking a small break in the filleting process – TONS of work but well worth it

Gorgeous red fish steaks! 

Rob holding a red salmon

In addition to filleting and vacuuming packing, we also take the time to smoke fish for the up-coming year. Here is Rob with our home-made smoker (that yes, looks like at outhouse) 
Yesterday we had a roller ski time trial at Potter Valley with the camp girls… I’ve run this race many times as a coach but somehow, this was my first shot at competing in the time trial. We had a great group out on the road and three of us ended up breaking the course record! 

Camp girls left to right: Ida Sargeant, Sadie Bjornsen, Sarah Cresap, Perianne Jones, Me, Kate Fitz, Becca Rorabaugh, Jessie Diggins, Chandra Crawford, Sophie Caldwell & Liz Stephan

Jessie with her congratulatory flower for the time trial win and new course record of 22:59! Good job Jess!  (Don’t let this innocent picture fool you! This girl is TOUGH out on the race course….)

Nothing like re-hydrating with post time trial watermelon! 
Today is a recovery day and weather permitting, we’ll fly up to Eagle Glacier where the plan is to ski 4-5 hours per day.  We’ll focus on technique, learning tricks from each other, talk about the season to come and put in a really, hard, solid block of training.  I’ll update from the glacier at least once so check back soon! Thanks for reading and I hope you all are having a great summer! 
Holly 🙂 
Here is a quick video of the APU girl’s team training to leave you with….. 

Holly Brooks

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