Monday, April 7, 2014

Post Season Adventuring

I am having a great end of my season. I have been adjusting to  a little different lifestyle working much more than my next season. As I had mentioned before I am changing professionals and dialing back my Nordic skiing career. 


I have enjoyed every second of this road and would never change a thing. I wanted to share a letter I wrote to myself the night before I won my first National Championship this year. Here is the link:


I hope all is well the ITA family. 

Blow are aome pictures from a fun weekend in Moab last weekend with my brother-in-law and college buddies.

Sylvan









Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Commencement

Wow! The past two weeks have been something out of the ordinary for me. I started a new job after deciding not to make the trip to Anchorage for our end of the season races. To be honest, I just wanted to be home for awhile and enjoy the Spring here. I also felt the financial strain of being gone for the past 4 months just weekend to weekend. It's amazing how fast things can add up. 


It's funny the transition this time of year from skiing to work. I'm hoping to get back into the classroom soon to see the kids. It has been too long.

I will elaborate in my next email but I am taking a turn in my professional career. Right now is a slight deviation, and I'll be moving into a different light outside of Nordic skiing. I will still be skiing domestically but my time racing as a Olympic hopeful are probably over. We'll see how the next couple of years treats me. Until next time here are some pictures to explain my last two weeks!

Toodles!

Some LL Bean Eurosport time!

My god child, Logan, getting into the dog food. 

Doing some video editing with my brother, Kjell.

Logan going for the Cheerios.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Euro Tour

I have been back in Northern Europe now for the last two weeks and it has been spectacular. My results haven't been where I have wanted them but honestly not too surprised given my schedule in the early season and I'm not that bummed. I love racing on the World Cup. It's what makes me feel like I am professionally chasing Nordic skiing as a career.


Last weekend we were in Lahti, Finland for a skate sprint and a 15k sprint. The course was very soft and it was very warm. Much of the course I spent trying to lift my legs out of the mush I had just set them into. I have never had hip flexors be so sore.

We then traveled to Drammen, Norway for a city classic sprint. I actually felt much better than I actually did. Oh well. These things happen sometimes on the World Cup.

Today I am racing my favorite World Cup. It is 50k of classic skiing at one of the most iconic Nordic skiing locations in the world: The Holmenkollen. This is the one race that I had always dreamed about growing up and racing. The race I always heard people talking about. Today I am racing it for my second time. As much as it will hurt, I will enjoy every second. The crowds, the songs, and the smells of everyone tailgating their favorite event in Norway.

I'm headed home on Monday and will finish off my season in Anchorage, AK.

Toodles.

Kikkan and I in our new LL Bean

Watching some sprinting with US fans

Walking to Drammen

Holmenkollen stadium with Erik and Reese

Foggy and raining in Oslo

Our "close," quaint quarters in Norway

My bib for the Holmenkollen


Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Birkie and World Cup Starts

I have had a Midwest adventure the past two weeks. First stop was in Battle Creek Park. We had a 15k classic and then a 10k skate. I actually got quite worried after my 15k classic because I didn't feel very good. It just didn't feel like my body was where it needed to be for top-level racing. It was also very cold and I frostbit my big tie. I ended up 13th in the classic race. However, I turned things around the next day in the 10k with a win. I felt completely different than the day before and it was certainly refreshing.


Yesterday was my 4th Birkie and certainly not my best showing. For me, I need a couple of things to come together for long races like the Birkie. This includes the weather, snow conditions, and feeding. None of them were "my" ideal condition of 20-30 degree air, firm tracks and flawless feeding. I plan on doing the Birkie for the rest if my life so hopefully one of these years I'll figure it out. Pretty exciting to have Caitlin win the Birkie though! She did in a very stylish fashion!

Now I am off to World Cups in Finland and Norway! My next update will be from there! Sooooooooooo excited!

My new Bean Boots

"Skiing with the Stars"


Battle Creek SuperTours

Reading to Mrs. Wright's (Sarah's mom's) classroom in Wyoming, MN 


Checking out where Sarah's dad works

The Birkie!


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Watching the Big Show

The Olympics start this week and while I'm bummed that I didn't make it, I'm excited to watch my friends and ITA Teammates race at the games. Our cable box isn't functioning right now so I'm having to watch at caf├ęs and on my computer!


I had a small victory in Sun Valley last weekend getting the best of a very competitive field in the Boulder Mountain Tour. It was the third time I've won the race and it never gets dull. The town does such a great job at putting on the race and there is such a strong Nordic skiing community that everyone makes it feel just as important as the first time. I love going back to Sun Valley every year!

Other than racing I'm doing some serious amounts of shoveling because of the snow we have been receiving the past two weeks. It's crazy! We had about 5ft of snow on our roof. 

I'm also getting back into the classroom now after my couple month hiatus trying to focus on staying healthy and preparing for Olympic qualification!

Go USA!

Sylvan

Alpine skiing at Vail

Podium at the Boulder Mountain Tour


Night skiing with Sarah





Sunday, January 26, 2014

No Olympics. Eh, whatever...

I'm bummed, but it's time to pick the next adventure.

This past Tuesday was probably the longest day of my life. I was trying not to build the day up in my mind, but it was literally impossible. I was stressed in the morning and didn't sleep much the night before. All I was doing was thinking about it. I was thinking about the call I was going to get. It literally felt like I was waiting for Christmas morning having to wait until everyone was up to open presents.

That morning I told Sarah how I was feeling and it was something she said that really made me take a step back and put things into perspective. I can just refer you to my post on my athlete page that begins: "Right now I'm going to go for a nordic ski..." (www.facebook.com/sylvanellefsonathlete)

The news came Tuesday night while I was sitting at Sarah's work on her patient table reading Outside Magazine. I read the email, laid back on the table. Looked at Sarah. I think she immediately knew. Shook my head at her with a forced smile.

It was really hard for me to take. Immediate emotion always takes over. Anger, disappointment, sadness... but this was something that I had never felt before. But again, just like that morning, Sarah helped me put everything back into perspective. She reminded me of all the amazing relationships I had developed in skiing, all the amazing places skiing has taken me and all the things I had already accomplished in my ski career.

I won a National Championship for the first time in my life less than 3 weeks ago. That is so sweet. 

I'm bummed to be honest. How could one so close not be? I wanted one more taste of being able to perform on the world's stage. But now I get to watch some of my best friends do that and I'll be cheering my ass off every single race during these games.

The Vail community and the ski community is unbelievably amazing. Very supportive. 

Everyone has been very supportive and loving. That has helped a lot. 

I have always believed that happiness can be found down many different avenues so when something gets you down, you find something that reminds you of and brings you back to that warm, fuzzy, familiar place. I can't get stressed over missing an Olympic Team nomination. I won't let it get me down. 

So now I'm busy getting back to the drawing board for my next adventure.

I'm equally bummed for my ITA teammate Caitlin Gregg, who has skied the most impressive domestic season I think I have ever seen by a woman. I am equally as excited to see my other ITA nordic skiing teammates, Torin and especially Brian for qualifying for the Olympics. I know how hard and how long Brian has been working at this goal of getting to his first Olympics!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

A National Title

Some people have 17. Some people don't ever think they'll get one. For some people like me, they hope that their work over the past ten years will finally boil to down to one of these.  


A National Championship.



For the first time in my life, I was able to call myself a National Champion and I couldn't have been happier. I was humbled by the men I was competing against. Of course it was none other than my ITA teammate, Brian Gregg, chasing me down to the final stretch. It was fun and most important to me, it was an exciting fun race to watch.

I was blessed to have over 30 people come watch me on the courses in Soldier Hollow, Utah. It was so fun to share the experience with everyone who has believed in me for so long.

Now we play the waiting game. We play the game of who get to go to the Olympics. It's crazy to me that we don't know how it works. We kind of do, but not really. I won't even try to explain.

The next time, I'll be writing as an overjoyed Sochi-bound Olympian or Nordic athlete that is continuing to love the dream one day at a time.

One thing I've learned on this journey is that we, as athletes, always have to remember why we participate in our respective sports. For me, it's because I love it and it makes me happy. It's not a means to an end. It's what makes me wake up each morning!