May marks the beginning of a new season... the Olympic Season. This year the racing ran a little further into the spring than normal- so the start of the new training year began a little later as well. This meant that the "start" landed during Bend, Oregon for the past two weeks.
Liz keeping it real skiing in her undies!
Spending some time with the PNSA girls during our Fast and Female Event. Even PNSA girls make it to the top!
Dancing with Diggy time!
Fired up to spread the love of sport with the young girls!
For all three years I have been on the National Team, our first camp has been in Bend- where we spend the mornings skiing on Mt. Bachelor, and the afternoons dryland training in town. It is the ideal training condition, like we are living half summer and half winter. Unfortunately the sun didn't shine as much as usual this camp which sometimes left me feeling like it was the middle of the winter in some situations... but it was still fun!
Making time for TACO TIME!
Because it is May, this means we have less "focused" training and more training that has a goal of getting back into form. Workouts consist of mountain biking, jogging, swimming, yoga, roller skiing... you name it! May always leaves this team with a light fun atmosphere as we begin to wrap our heads around working another year towards our largest goals. This camp also serves as a time to keep my body in check. Every year I come to Bend, I walk away with injuries. I forget to listen to my body, and I simply overload. This year I decided to focus my energy on staying right below that level, and keeping my body in check. For the past year I have had tendinitis in my foot, which limited me a lot- but this Bend Camp, I dedicated my time to keeping my feet in a working manner. This sometimes meant taking the mornings to do a dry land combination when the rest of the team went skiing. Or it meant keeping the majority of my running in the pool as I work to build my foot strength back up. Whatever it was, I wrapped my head around it, staying positive and knowing that this year I would walk away from the week of training in a healthy place.
Team Mountain Bike Session
Who knew Erik Flora could ride a bike???

Kikkan demonstrating even the worlds fastest can run in the pool!
Many of our evenings we spend a lot of time going over team goals and schedules and what we look for out of the season. As a group we look at what we did well last year, what we didn't do as well, and how to make improvements. We also have a new member of the team, Sophie Caldwell- so we get to spend some time "showing her the ropes". Sophie spent the majority of the season on the World Cup with us last year, so she was well versed in how the team works.
Thank you OnePiece for sending us some suits!
US Woman's Team :)
Olympic Years are unique years, because once every four years you throw in every effort, every dream and goal, every ounce of energy into fighting for these three weeks of competition. Many times, you do something better than a previous year, or you set specific goals that you will do every day until the games. Four years ago, this is what I did. I dropped out of school, moved back home, and threw in my best straw. Through that process, I learned a lesson though. I learned that despite focusing 300 times more energy on a specific event- I didn't make my goal of racing on the Olympic Team. So, this Olympic Games I have a different approach. For the past four years, I have been making a consistent jump up. I ended last season with my first top ten on the World Cup and within striking distance of making World Cup Finals. Despite my summer of injury training- I made a jump. What this means is that even though it is an Olympic year, I am going to keep doing what I am doing. I am going to continue to focus all my energy on the small goals that I have made for the training season; more running, more classic skiing in variable conditions on the glacier, leg strength vs. upper body strength, etc. This isn't to say that I am not dreaming about the Olympic Games every morning I wake up, and every training session I do. I do, I DO! I have Olympic rings hanging over my bed with five small step training goals at the moment. The key is that I am not making huge drastic changes. I am doing what I have done best in the past- and continuing with that direction.
Diggy keeping it bright on the roads!
Skiing in the sun on our very first day!
Cupcake party after a long ski
Matt Whitcomb- YEAH BUDDY!
So with that- we are off to Park City for our annual "testing" before the season. This is where we check our strengths, assess our weaknesses and make sure we are healthy. It is always best to start the training season knowing what little things to work on, what vitamins and supplements we are low on, and what additional stretches to incorporate into our post-workout routine. Fortunately the forecast seems nice- so summer HERE WE COME!