Technique, Technique, Technique

By: CXC Team athlete, Felicia Gesior

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My first real lessons on skiing began on rollerskis the fall of my freshman year of High School. That first day of practice, I felt hopeless when ten minutes into practice I was still learning how to put my boots into my bindings. Once I got on my skis, I did not feel much better. The bike path we skied on had a slight decline that felt like a drop off to my shaky legs. However, over time I slowly became more comfortable. With practice and time, I was able to find my rhythm on my rollerskis.

Now, when I ski I do not have to think about each tiny motion but instead rely on my muscle memory. Nonetheless, from that first practice onward I remember my coach telling me how important technique really is in order to become an efficient skier. Good technique practiced over and over again makes for good muscle memory and strong skiing.

To this day, I still have a long way to go on improving my technique. Yet, I found myself repeating these same words over and over again (“technique, technique, technique”) to a similar group of athletes this past week. Over the years, I have been lucky enough to help coach the Peak Nordic high school team during the summer. We just finished up another successful week long camp with some very motivated young skiers.

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Being on the coaching side of skiing always gives me new perspective, especially on technique. Since technique is such a critical aspect of skiing it is really worth the time it takes to break it down and go over it meticulously. We always dedicate a large chunk of camp to working on both skate and classic technique.

Watching and critiquing other skiers helps me reflect on my own technique strengths and weaknesses. Figuring out ways to put the pictures I have in my head into words is a great exercise in understanding how to break down the motions that now come naturally to me.

I was inspired by the eager attitudes of the campers I had this week. Their continued dedication to self-improvement has boosted my awareness of my own skiing. While technique work is not always fun it is important to continuously strive to improve.

I wish the best of luck to all the skiers I was fortunate to work with this summer as you enter into your fall sports and continued training!

Training Up North

By: CXC Team athlete, Oscar Friedman

After finishing my college degree this past June I moved from Hanover, New Hampshire, to Marquette, Michigan in order to train with the CXC Team. In Marquette I join my coach, Andy Keller, teammate Kyle Bratrud, and a hard working crew of NMU skiers; they couldn’t have been more welcoming.


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This time of year our training is built into four-week blocks–medium, medium, hard, and recovery–and I’ve just completed a full cycle.



(Thanks Finn Sisu for the rollerskis and Rudy Project for the helmet). By the hard week my body began to adjust to the new training plan and I put in some quality sub-threshold interval sessions both running and rollerskiing.


I also had the chance to be a guinea pig for a muscle activation test done on the rollerski treadmill. A high tech suit was involved.

During the hard week I became ravenous, and after an unsatisfactory experience with the $10 dinner box from Pizza Hut, I upgraded to these beauties.


During the recovery stage of the training cycle, we enjoyed some time at the beach while maintaining a baseline level of training activity. Tomorrow morning we kick off another big week here in (extra) sunny Marquette with threshold bounding intervals.


Go Team CXC!

Find Your “Marquette”

By: CXC Team athlete, Kyle Bratrud 

For my blog this month, I thought I would take a second to write about the new home base for the CXC Team and also my home for the last six years, Marquette, Michigan. Marquette is also the current home to the Marquette Training Group (MTG). MTG is the only “club” to have a man on each of the last four distance podiums at US Nationals.

When I decided to attend Northern Michigan University back in 2011, I was very skeptical of this small town. Much of that came from the fact that my entire life, I had lived in the wonderful city of Eden Prairie, Minnesota and venturing into small towns had always brought about a rather eerie feeling. Over the last five years, I have absolutely fallen in love with Marquette.

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To begin, I realized that while small, compared to the suburbs of Minneapolis, Marquette is full of life and actually has many of the same stores and resources that the cities provide. The trail system in Marquette has been the major selling point for me. There are numerous ski, bike, and running trails at the tip of our fingers here and it is extremely easy to go out and train for hours without thinking twice about it.

The second reason I like Marquette has to do with the NMU ski team, particularly the men. Throughout my college career and now beyond it, we have grown together both as competitors and friends and the bond we have up here is something special. Some of my fondest memories in Marquette come from the guy’s nights we have at the ski house.

The third reason I love Marquette has to do with the weather. While this reason has been tested a bit this week with the warm and humid weather, the cool refreshing lake is never far away. The falls are beautiful and the winters are full of snow which makes this place a skiing paradise for anyone like me who loves to ski. Last year was a “bad” winter and we still had amazing skiing, although a little later than usual.


My final reason for why I love this place is a given, but I thought I should mention it anyways. Marquette is awesome because Sten Fjeldheim, MNU Ski Team head coach, lives here. Sten is the reason I chose to come to NMU back in 2011 and he is the reason I am still skiing now. The hard working attitude and competitive nature we have formed through MTG all revolves around Sten’s attitude. At the end of the day, I am happiest when I am training with the boys in Marquette. The group we have here and the memories we are making along the way, will be with me forever. This is my home. I really encourage everyone who is passionate about something to find your “Marquette”. Stratton Mountain School (SMS) and Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center (APU) are other great examples of groups of passionate people living the good life alongside one another, as they try to better themselves towards a common goal. Positive environments harbor success and happiness!


Heat of the Summer

By: CXC Team athlete, Nichole Bathe

The second week of July I finished up the third week in my volume and intensity block, with July 18-24 being a much needed rest week. I was able to do a couple of races during the past three weeks, including my very first canoe only race.

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My dad and I teamed up for the 8 mile Wisconsin River race, my dad has raced this before, but it was a first for me. I typically paddle in lakes without sand bars…so I was a little surprised when I realized we were going to be needing to dodge sandbars the whole way down the Wisconsin River. I was also so impressed with some of the people who do this race or the longer ones, they are such amazing athletes who come from all over the Midwest. My Dad and I are pleased to report that we won the 8 mile race, with his expertise in navigating the river.

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During the past few weeks I was also able to do more running on some of my favorite trails in the Madison area. This week brings some testing and lots of resting! Happy training!


June, a Month Of Training, Traveling & Adventures

By: CXC Team athlete, Felicia Gesior


This past June has been a month full of training, traveling and adventures.

I headed off to Iceland as a stopover on my way to Europe. While there, I was fortunate to get to see some amazing national parks. The highlight was a 30k hike in Skaftafell National Park that included amazing views of the the Morsarjökull  glacier. We even spotted an arctic fox!  I rounded out the trip by entering a local 8.5k running race in Laugavatn, Iceland. It was fun to put in a hard effort after the recovery week and to experience a local event.


Next, it was time to head to Germany where I met my former NMU teammate, Vera Gruber.  It felt great to be back on roller skis. I enjoyed the rolling country terrain and the long uphill runs with rewarding views. Despite the rainy conditions we were able to fit in some great workouts.

The next leg of my journey was a few hours away in Innsbruck, Austria. Here, I met up with two other former teammates Sophie Schimpl and Malin Eriksson. We were fortunate enough to ski at the roller ski track in Seefeld just thirty minutes outside of the city!


I also had the chance to visit Sophie’s home near Linz, Austria. This marked the start of an intensity week and I had the opportunity to get in some great interval sessions along with a fun uphill classic ski near her hometown.


Back in Innsbruck it was easy to find sloping mountain roads for l-3 and l-4 bounding workouts. Ending out this week, I  spent my off day traveling to Tierp, Sweden where I will train for the next 10 days.

Back at It!

By: CXC Team athlete, Nichole Bathe

After being home for almost a month and a half now, I feel as though I have finally found the rhythm of summer again. Recently, I was lucky enough to go on a vacation with my parents over to England to see my family over there. It was so much fun seeing everyone and getting to hang out with them again! I was also able to explore different work out centers and what they call ‘fitness parks’. The parks are basically a big field that they put different exercise equipment into a lot like the ones we have here, which made doing strength both creative and fun!


My Cousin, Uncle and I Hiking the Malvern Hills in Gloucester England

After getting back from England, my summer has slowly started to find routine which is always nice. From working to training and also running some races, summer has been a lot of fun. This past weekend I ran my second half marathon which went way better than the first one, which is good. I also spent this past weekend exploring the horribly hilly course in Blue Mounds on my roller skis. The uphills were great, the downhills were scary! Lucky for me, for father’s day my dad and mom both came out and finished my 4 hour workout with me, biking and ski walking! It is always nice when I’m able to find rhythm and its been a great June training block so far! Happy father’s day and training!

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Back to the Basics

By: CXC Team Athlete, Kyle Bratrud

Pretty much every season since I began skiing I have improved. This was partially due to my late start, attendance of an elite ski school like Northern Michigan University, and a growing motivation to do big things in the Sport. Coming off my senior year at NMU, I certainly had high expectations for myself as a professional skier and for the most part I fell short. It was not for lack of trying, however, as I worked harder than I ever had before last summer. It had more to do with trying a little too hard. I think I got a little carried away with hours and travel to camps. That coupled with a year uncharacteristically filled with illness led to one of my worst seasons in recent years and now has me reconsidering everything.


When you have success, it is hard to question what you are doing, but failure has a funny way of bringing about doubt and with that comes a healthy form of skepticism in what kind of training you have been doing. I took a step back after last year and re-evaluated everything, diet and nutrition, hours, body care, travel, and my social life.


Moving forward, I am very confident in the plan I have come up with and the changes I have made. While it may seem a bit boring to spend the entire summer and fall in Marquette going through an uninterrupted training grind, I find the thought of that extremely cathartic and I am greatly looking forward to it. I am extremely grateful for the continued support from CXC despite last season and I look forward to returning the favor this season. I am extremely excited for Oscar Friedman to join me as my first official teammate on the Super Tour! I can’t wait for what lies ahead, but in the meantime I am appreciating the little things that training hard every single day with Marquette Training Group (MTG) has to offer.