Update from Nichole Bathe – CXC Team Athlete

Hola, Hei, and Bonjour!

Since my last blog I have visited three different countries and have seen more mountains than I have in my entire life! The end of September I spent finishing up a training camp in Majorca Spain with the British National Team.

It was an amazing camp filled with lots of intensity and tons of sweaty hours spent on roller skis. I also was slightly forced to get over my fear of downhills at high speed, many of the roads we skied on were narrow and went straight up so you had to come straight down!

Being from the Midwest I haven’t had a lot of practice with that….but I am happy to report I came out of camp with all pieces of skin intact.

Nichole Bathe Great Britain Olympian in Majorca Spain The views in Majorca did not disappoint skiing with my British teammate Annika Taylor

The views in Majorca did not disappoint skiing with my British teammate Annika Taylor

After Majorca I spent a solid 3 weeks back at my new home in Lillehammer. It was nice to have some time to learn the rollerskiing routes as well as to just settle into my apartment some more.

I also got to jump in on some intervals with the local club which was a great learning experience!

Nichole Bathe Great Britain Olympian (Myself and Annika out on a long run in Lillehammer

Myself and Annika out on a long run in Lillehammer

I am now in Tignes France for the next three weeks at an altitude and glacier skiing camp.

We have been here for a few days and have seen all sorts of weather from snow to wind as well as some amazingly gorgeous sunny days.

Nichole Bathe Great Britain Olympian Skiing on the glacier, it almost looks fake 😉

Skiing on the glacier, it almost looks fake 😉

We got to ski on snow for the first time yesterday!!

It was some of the most beautiful skiing I have ever done which helped make the 3 hours of waiting, train riding, and chair lifting a tad less inconvenient. I am looking forward to spending some quality time here before the season starts up in the middle of November!

Happy Fall Training,

Nichole

Update from Kyle Bratrud – CXC Team Athlete

After a long training period in Marquette, I have just finished up two weeks at home resetting before the final push towards the season.

Kyle Bratrud Training I am super lucky to have world class skiers like Matt Liebsch and Brian Gregg to train with when I am home.

I am super lucky to have world class skiers like Matt Liebsch and Brian Gregg to train with when I am home.

I normally do not come home very often or very long (my last time was in July for a weekend), so these two weeks have been just what I needed.

As I have mentioned in my previous blog, I tend to stay pretty sheltered when I am in Marquette training, so coming home is a great opportunity for me to meet up with my high school buddies, training at my old stomping grounds, and just enjoy some homemade meals.

Kyle Bratrud Out For Dinner with Family Fun to go out to dinner with my fam, and little sister's new roommate and to see her dorm at the University of Minnesota. Go Gophers!!!

Fun to go out to dinner with my fam, and little sister’s new roommate and to see her dorm at the University of Minnesota. Go Gophers!!!

I was also able to attend a Rossignol Launch Party that also acted as a fundraiser for me put on by Pioneer Midwest. It was a great opportunity for me to meet with the ski community that is so strong here in the cities.

Next up, I will head to Cable for a CXC Fundraiser before making my way back up to Marquette for the final month of training before heading west to (hopefully) ski on snow in West Yellowstone!

Kyle Bratrud Training Day Early morning bounding intensity with a nice view of the city. Believe it or not I am having fun. 33 degrees that morning, winter is coming!

Early morning bounding intensity with a nice view of the city. Believe it or not I am having fun. 33 degrees that morning, winter is coming!

I am extremely excited for the next few weeks and for winter in general!

Happy Training!

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Update from Felicia Gesior – CXC Team Athlete

This past weekend, I enjoyed going to Cable, WI for the Birkie Trail Run, I even was a member of the Birkie Relay Team!

It was fun to run on the Birkie Trails and experience the Birkie community atmosphere that you normally only get in the winter.

It was fun to run on the Birkie Trails and experience the Birkie community atmosphere that you normally only get in the winter.

CXC had an intense kid’s obstacle course setup and it was awesome to mingle with the never ending energy of the kids. And of course, it is not a trip to Cable without a roller ski! Sunday, I took advantage of a gorgeous 50K ski with the Greggs and some local skiers before heading back home.


Fall is the best time of year to be in Marquette, MI and I couldn’t be happier to be back. Lake Superior is warmed up from the summer, and with a heat spell in the end of September, it was a treat to be able to jump in for a swim after a hot workout.

Felicia Gesior CXC Elite Team Lake Superior

A jump in the lake after volunteering at the Lake Superior Shore Run plus 85 degree weather running intervals.

Moving into October, we are in the midst of the beautiful change of colors and breezy temperatures, perfect for trail runs and roller skiing. Even better than the marvelous nature, is the training company.  I have been so thankful to have the NMU girls ski team to train with here. Working out together, we motivate each other to push new limits during intensity sessions.

Sticking out the tongue for extra balance on the 6x Marquette Mountain ski walking intervals.

Sticking out the tongue for extra balance on the 6x Marquette Mountain ski walking intervals.

Another bonus of Marquette is the consistency of training. It is fun to do interval workouts that I have done over the past five years and see improvements in my times and overall feeling.

Moreover, I can see solid evidence of my summer training when we do time trials and I compare them to last year’s results and see improvements. These are nice reminders that I am on the right track.

Looking forward, I enter into an increased intensity training period as I continue to build up to the winter!

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for the Bergkönig Trail Run on November 11th at Lapham Peak State Park in Delafield, WI. Registration is open at bit.ly/mountainkingrun  . See you there!

Update from Sam Elfstrom – CXC Athlete

The wear and tear of nordic skiing: If a random person were to tell you that nordic skiing is a soft sport, I could understand how they could see that, though they would be dead wrong.

While it may be a non-contact sport, we race in the coldest of winter without a jacket and we go up the hill.

There is so much that goes on that the average person does not see. Training for nordic skiing takes its toll on the human body. Nordic skiing can destroy your body. Go for a classic roller ski with dull tips and your elbows will be screaming in pain with every slip of the poles.

You use your core to perform a crunch when you pole. A back extension follows, to raise your torso back up in order to be able to crunch onto your poles again. A couple days ago, I could barely walk around the house because my back was so tight. I know of two fellow skiers who have had some sort of back injury before 24.

Sam Elfstrom CXC Elite Team Stress Fracture

My stress fracture. The navicular bone in my foot.

A lot of training for nordic is running. So you add running injuries into the equation. Taped up knees, shin splints, achilles tendonitis, hip tightness, and stress fractures. I have had all of these at one point in time. 

Sam Elfstrom Roller ski Crash CXC Elite Team

Aftermath of a roller ski crash. Crashing in general sucks.

Then there are the freak injuries or illnesses that no one can predict. When you are in the weight room and a random weight falls right onto a bone. Getting diagnosed with arthritis, diabetes, compartment syndrome, etc.

There are also days when the weather is not in your favor, especially when training for a winter sport.

Sam Elfstrom and Kyle Bratrud CXC Elite Team

“Hey Kyle, how do you feel about training in this heat?”

The best athletes are not always the fastest, but the ones who can avoid injury best. There are a couple of ways I try to prevent injuries. Stretching is the easiest and the first place I start. When my back starts to get tight, I will use a heating pad. In the summer, I keep my pole tips sharp. I also treat myself to a massage every once in awhile. The massage does wonders, I come out feeling refreshed like a whole new person. 

Safe Training Everyone!

Update from Nichole Bathe – CXC Team Athlete

This past week has been full of so many goodbyes and hello’s. And I should start off by saying a huge thank you to the Madison CXC masters team and everyone at CXC. They had a little get together for me before I left and I got to see almost all of them which was so amazing and such a great send off! Some of the masters I have known and skied with since I was 12 or so. And as little as some of them believe it they really are the reason I got interested in and better at skiing.

There will never be enough thank you’s for the support and encouragement they have given me over the past 10 years but I’ll cross my fingers for good snow so I can cheer you all on during the Birkie. THANK YOU!

After saying all my goodbyes packing two duffle bags and a ski bag (praying the whole way to the airport they were all under 50 pounds…they were) I was ready to move to Lillehammer, Norway. Which is where we get to the hello’s.

I am here in Lillehammer training with the British Nordic team, so I have said many hello’s to coaches and athletes since being here. I also got to say hello to my housemates who are a part of the National Training Group here in Lillehammer. I will be here and exploring (more like getting lost and guessing what the signposts mean!) until Tuesday when we leave for a training camp in Mallorca, needless to say I am beyond excited for that!

To finish off my blog I have decided to list five things I have learned about Norway so far…

  1. Cross country skiing is a huge deal and everyone does it, they even show commercials of it on TV
  2. Deciphering Norwegian signs is not as hard as it seems…(especially if you have google translate on your phone :p)
  3. Lillehammer is an old Olympic town that still uses most of its Olympic buildings as well as the ski jump in the town.
  4. Lillehammer is situated in a hill so you either go up or down.
  5. They are already making snow about 30 minutes north of Lillehammer that should be skiable in a few weeks!!!
View from Nichole Bathe's street in Lillehammer, Norway. You can see the ski jump in the back!

View from Nichole Bathe’s street in Lillehammer, Norway. You can see the ski jump in the back!

Happy fall training!

Ps. I promise to have more photos on the next blog!

Update from Kyle Bratrud – CXC Team Athlete

It is time for another update from the exciting life of a professional skier. I say that of course, with quite a bit of sarcasm. I always get a good laugh when people ask me what I have been up to or what is new.

To be quite frank, very little changes from early spring until late fall in my life. I am simply grinding. My only calendar is my training log. I live from cycle to cycle, week to week, day to day, and sometimes even session to session. I have made my training the most important part of my day and at this stage, my life. Other than that, I have little concept of time at all.

I have purposely put myself in this hermit situation because it is the setting I thrive in and produce my best training and results. I am aware there are many other ways to be a full time skier and lots of “adventures” and “fun” to be had out there, but that is something I will not get into today.

I have now entered a noticeable shift in my training where I begin to cut down on volume and start focusing on higher intensity and walking around with a little spring in my step.

While I enjoy the monotony that is the summer volume grind, I will be happy to have some real energy again and rid myself of the zombie presence I have maintained the last few months.

This time of year is a truly exciting time as time trials begin to take place, hard workouts commence, and skiers more or less discover if their summer toils will lead them to the promise land or not. Unlike some of the past years, this year I KNOW my form is solid and I am even more excited to refine it further and prepare for my run at the Supertour.

Kyle Bratrud and Tad Elliott fighting for the win at a race.

I have included a picture of myself and my good buddy, Tad Elliot, in this blog. I am not much of a picture person and rarely take pictures while training, I guess because I am too busy training, so this is the best I can do.

I like this picture because Tad shares a lot of the same training philosophies as myself and I often chat with him if I am feeling less than confident in the way my training is going.

Skiing and rooming with Tad at the World Championships was an absolute pleasure and we are both on a mission to repeat the experience this year at the Olympics. That about wraps up my update. I take great joy out of the slow day by day transformation into a better version of myself.

With 117 days to go until the 15k Skate at US Nationals, there is still a lot of work to be done and when I update you next, I will simply be a few more cycles into my yearly plan and a few steps closer to the strong and efficient skier I am attempting to build.
Cheers!

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Update from Felicia Gesior – CXC Team Athlete

Enjoying the view after ski walking intervals at Killington Ski Resort in Vermont.

Time for an update! I am nearing the end of another major training block. For the most part, I follow a rhythm of medium week, hard week and then a recovery week. I make sure to plan my travels around training so that I can be in a good position to train during  larger weeks and travel on easy weeks. I wrapped up my five weeks of altitude training in Colorado with a volume week which included lots of longer runs and rollerskis.

Felicia Gesior touring Governors Basin outside Ouray, CO

Felicia Gesior touring Governors Basin outside Ouray, CO

I really enjoyed running on the alpine roads outside of Ouray, CO. The trails went deep into the mountains and valleys which aren’t otherwise accessible. It was great to spend time training so high in a place with so much hill climbing.

Once I was acclimatized, I felt a huge difference in the speed and distance I could go on each workout.

Felicia Gesior touring Governors Basin outside Ouray, CO

Felicia Gesior touring Governors Basin outside Ouray, CO

Next, I traveled to Vermont where I spent my easy week in the countryside for my brothers wedding celebrations. Now, I am looking forward to getting back to Marquette where I will have the NMU ski girls to train with! For the majority of my summer, I did my training alone which gave me a lot of time to focus on my technique. However, I’m excited to have other girls to push me as we move into more level four intensity workouts this fall.

Felicia Gesior during her ski walking intervals at Killington Hill in Vermont.

Felicia Gesior during her ski walking intervals at Killington Hill in Vermont.

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