Wednesday, November 24, 2010

West 2010

After a long trip on the bus ninety skiers including myself safely made it to West Yellowstone, Montana. On the way we saw twelve cars in the ditch. One of which was one group from St. Olaf. I was extremely happy to be riding the bus! After a slow night of traveling we make it to West in just under 24 hours after we left Duluth.

On our first night a few of the adults and I decide to go out for pizza. On our way there we were pulled over by the overzealous WYPD for jay walking and not walking in single file! We almost talked ourselves into a ticket but more about the police later. We finally made it to Wild West Pizzaria. Its reputation of best pizza in the west is well deserved!

From Thursday to Tuesday West Yellowstone has gotten four feet of snow! Yesterday we were experiencing a true blizzard. The two roads in out of town were both closed. The streets were lined with stranded semi's. With up to 30mph winds and heavy snowfall it made for some exciting video technique sessions. As I walked to the trail head with the CXC Masters we had our second run in with the WYPD. We were yelled at for 'obstructing traffic' which meant that there were four masters walking side by side with one truck following us. The police SUV was in the oncoming lane with his lights on and started yelling at us for our inconsiderate behavior.

Today when I woke up it was negative 17 degrees. By the time I skied it warmed up to negative 4. It was the first day I was able to ski more than 1km from the biathlon range! I met up with some of the CSS guys and skied Windy Ridge.

I have yet to check out the Mexican restaurant that is located in the school bus. It has to be good because it looks so sketchy! I will hopefully get to eat there before we leave on Friday.

I will put up some pictures later in the week. It is hard to take photos of the same landscape that I have photographed for 11 years!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fall 2010

When working races in Duluth you get to see some beautiful sunrises!

Lots has happened since my last post, but that is to be expected when it was in March! This fall I have started school at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. It is a much different experience than that of St. Scholastica. The reasons for this are the size of the institution, the courses, and living in a large city. While I enjoyed my undergraduate experience immensely I am glad to get another perspective on my field of study. The U of M has such a large variety of course offerings it makes the curriculum very specific for what I want to do. At the same time I am very glad to have such a strong background in physiology. If I didn't have that I think I would spend all of my time trying to catch up and understand the material instead of being able to apply it to sport and endurance performance.

Enough about school. This fall I have been racing a few of the cyclocross races in the Minnesota circuit. They are super fun for anyone that has not experienced them. It has been fun riding my bike regularly again. That hasn't happened since I was in high school! A key aspect of sport specific training is when you change sports to change the mode which you train for them. Until this fall I have dabbled in triathlons and a few mountain bike races but have never seriously ridden my bike.

Jake rocking some Superior Performance bibs!

The final weekend of October brings us to the Halloween Hustle. This year it was an even bigger success than it was last year. With a 50% increase in participation and many more elaborate costumes it was a fun morning. Luckily it was a beautiful day for October in Duluth. Eric Hartmark posted the top time for the men, and Amanda Lepisto for the women. For the costume contest the winner was a ghost that would have passed for an actress in a Steven King movie. In second place there were some very scary clowns, and in third was Captain Underpants. For photos and results visit The most inspiring scene of the day was the participant that completed the 5km course with Cerebral Palsy. He is an inspiration to all that were there. In the world of sport we get wrapped up in faster, higher stronger and tend to forget there are those that do not have a choice when it come to being their best. They are required to go to extraordinary lengths to accomplish the tasks that most of us take for granted. Thanks to all that participated. A special thanks goes to all the volunteers and sponsors, without you the race would not have been possible!
Captain Underpants!

After the race my attention was turned to pumpkin carving. With only a few short hours until Halloween myself and a few friends broke out the knives for the 10th Annual Pumpkin Carving Party Contest. There were many brilliant pumpkins (and watermelons). After the carving was completed the judges chose the Vikings helmet as the winner. The artistic license that was taken by the watermelons was also awarded! Miraculously for the first time in 10 years nobody burned the pumpkin seeds- I guess it helps to have them cooked by a professional.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


This year for spring break some friends and I again traveled to Moab, Utah. This year after a massive advertising campaign we were able to entice more people to join us! It was a great time. In stead of talking about it check out some of the sweet footage we were able capture!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


This past weekend some friends and I traveled to Thunder Bay for what is now the Sleeping Giant Loppet. We all had a great time! Mason won the classic 50km and Jeremy was 11th in the 50km skate. Andre and Nikolia went one-two in the 50km skate! Joe and I had an epic showdown over the last 500m. I went out very conservatively and didn't see Joe after 4km into the race. At about 30km I felt good so I decided to step it up and push it into the finish. At the 40km mark the course became very wet and slow, it was about 45 degrees Fahrenheit. As I came to the final kilometer I saw a skier in a white headband, exactly what Joe had been wearing. Since I had only 1km to go I decided to catch him. As we cam to the final 500m I came along side him and we sprinted to the line. Here Joe make the mistake of lunging the foot without the chip attached! In the results I beat him by about a second but since there were no cameras we will never know where Joe's other foot was.

The next day we skied at Lappe, during another beautiful day! It was a great course, fun climbs and some exciting descents. All in all a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bond Uni

It seemed like the first time arriving on campus after my stressful day on Sunday. After moving into my room and unpacking a few of my thing I walked over to campus and took care of some administrative business, registering for classes and the like. After this was concluded I took a campus tour.

The campus is gorgeous! The photos on the internet do not do it justice. For a school with approximately the same number of students as the College of St. Scholastica, Bond Uni has easily twice as many buildings. The other amazing thing is that all the buildings are laid out in a precise order because they were all built at the same time. They are all (except the Health Science and Medicine building) built out of large blocks of sandstone. The facilities in this building look like a four star hotel as you walk into the lobby. The entire building is decorated with Aboriginal art.

The campus is built around the central lake/fountain called Lake Orr. The outskirts of campus are lots of pine trees while the interior is palm and eucalyptus trees. As I walk around campus I hear people speaking a multitude of languages, everything from the Asia to Europe is represented.

Over the past week I have been exploring the area as much as possible. On my runs I try to see as much of the surrounding communities as I can. It is a very confusing area. The streets are not laid out in any sort of grid whatsoever. The area of the Gold Coast is more like a county than an actual city. Each of these little areas are governed by the City of the Gold Coast.

Most of the areas on the eastern coast of Australia in Northern New South Whales and southern Queensland are governed by this principal. Brisbane is broken into communities all under the name of Brisbane but if measured by square kilometers it would be one of the largest cities in the World.

I started classes this week. They have been interesting so far. I have one every evening Monday through Thursday from 5-8pm. This is nice because it leaves lots of time for studying and exploring the area. This semester I am taking the following: Psychology of High Performance Sport, Leadership, Communication, and Negotiation in Sport, Project Management in High Performance Sport and Doping and Detection in Sport. The best part about the classes is that they are very usable! Not only will they be extremely helpful in my field but they will also provide useful skills in any aspect of life.

In my program there are only two students, myself and a woman from California. There is also on Australian man that is doing the program part time so he is in a few of our classes. All the professors say the Uni prides itself on small class sizes but this is a little extreme! All of my professors have been very helpful so far and are very knowledgeable in the subjects they are teaching.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Surfer’s Paradise

This excursion to Surfer’s Paradise was quite unplanned! I had expected to arrive at Bond University (Uni) on Sunday, January 10 at about noon. I then got the address of my residence and walked, about 800m, to my housing. There were only two catches, first I had about 150 lbs of luggage and the second they were closed on Sundays! The third party that I booked my room through failed to mention that while we had been talking about my moving in on the tenth that this would not be possible!

Luckily the woman that I spoke with at the Uni on campus accommodation center was extremely helpful! She booked me a room in a hostel in Surfer’s Paradise and called a cab for me. Before I knew it I was off! This hostel was far less desirable than the one I stayed in while I was in Brisbane. It was actually quite a dive but there were some very welcoming people staying there. After I was all checked in I walked about the town. There were some very nice canals that I walked along before I became oriented with the town.

I went to a nice bakery for lunch. It was located in a shopping center that bordered a nice courtyard that showed a movie on a giant screen above it each afternoon. People were sitting on this grassy opening in bean bag chairs just watching the movie.

I then made my way through the maze of shops until I finally came to the beach! It was quite a scene. The beach stretches as far as you can see. There were people swimming and sunbathing. It was neat to watch the Surf Life Savers in action. They made sure that everyone swam between the flags. All of the beaches are marked with red and yellow flags where the beach is safe to swim. Outside of the flags there are dangerous riptides. The Aussies and especially Queenslanders take their surf lifesaving quite seriously. I saw while watching for about fifteen minutes tow custom trucks, a jet ski and a helicopter all patrolling the beach!

After I hung out at the beach I made my back through the shopping centers to the hostel. There I hung out with some of the people staying there and read my book.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

More Wandering

Today I filled the morning finding out when I need to catch my train to the Gold Coast tomorrow morning. After that I went the the Queen Street Mall and wandered around the shops. After that I visited some parkas and museums.

The first point of attraction I saw was the Botanical Garden. It is just outside of the government buildings. There are many ponds and wooded areas. The park runs along the end of a point that is surrounded by the Brisbane River. Other interesting features in the Garden are a very large outdoor theatre and a mooring for sailboats.

The first museum I looked at was the Queensland Maritime Museum. It was quite riveting. The history of Brisbane is directly tied to the water. The museum covered history from the beginning of the cities roots and but revolved for the most part around the dry dock that was built in 1881. There was also a lot of information on Australia and Queensland’s involvement in both World Wars.

This boat was used to sail from Canada to Australia. It is less than two meters long.

On my way from the Maritime Museum farther into South Bank I wandered through a market. It was neat seeing all the different local crafts. There are quite different than the ones found in the USA. After this I walked past the City Beach to the Queensland Museum. I got there just before closing and wasn’t able to see much more that part of one floor. Next time I am in town I will have to go back and see what else there it has to offer.

After the museum closed I went back into South Bank and had an amazing fish sandwich next the City Beach. I don’t have much experience with seafood but it was pretty good!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Getting My Bearings

Today I went on a four hour walking tour of Brisbane. It was quite interesting. The area where my hostel is and the train station nearby are nice but not nearly as clean or as impressive as I had heard Brisbane is. The tour I went on showed the cities beauty and intrigue beyond doubt.
I have been surprised to learn that many people smoke in Brisbane! Especially the people from about 18-25 (those are the ones I have had the most contact with). Today also learned that there are no punitive damages in the Queensland court system and they have no offense that would relate to vehicular manslaughter. I was in a bike shop talking with one of the employees and he had been hit by a car. He said that the police came and did nothing, not even call an ambulance as he was bleeding all over the street. The driver got off scott free! Luckily the cyclist made a full recovery.On my way back to the center of downtown I passed the public man made beach. It looks pretty nice. Tomorrow I hope to have time for a swim.The tour guide said that it wasn't safe to swim in the river because of the sharks that live there! A little past the beach was a large screen that as showing a tennis match being played here in BrisbaneThe finals are tomorrow so I expect to see a large crowd gathered.

After my tour I went to a museum that we passed along the way. It was the Commissariat Store. Here I learned that the city that is now Brisbane was a penal settlement for second offenders, or those that committed an offense once they arrived in Australia. Free settlers were not allowed to live in the area until the convict community was disbanded in 1839. From here I went down the pedestrian mall and looked in various shops including some sporting good shops that had some sweet cricket and football jerseys!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Far Side of the World

24 hours and two days later I have arrived in Australia! It seemed like this day would never come but looking back it happened all too quickly. I don’t think I could ever have fully prepared for this experience; it is much more daunting to be on the opposite side of the world than to talk about it. After the two layovers I had a smooth 14 hour flight from Los Angeles to Brisbane. Upon arrival I breezed through immigration and customs. I then caught a train that dropped me off about 3/4km from my hostel. The last time I had been outside it was about 7 degrees Fahrenheit (negative 14 degrees Celsius). When I arrived it was 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit). This was quite shocking to my sweat glands as one might imagine! Luckily for me it was overcast so I didn’t get my first sunburn.

After checking into my hostel (where none of my credit cards worked) I had about 2 hours before my room would be ready so I walked around town. I found a nice park. I thought the layout was very similar to that of a zoo, except there were no caged animals. I did see a lizard with a tail that was about 14 inches long, about twice as long as its body. Hopefully I will get back there with my camera as it was quite pretty. I saw my first Peugeot that was not a bike! That was pretty exciting. While I was walking around town I saw two police cars with body kits pull over drivers on two separate occasions. I have no idea what they did wrong but the police cars looked quite sporty, not like the burly ones in the USA.

When I finally was able to move into my room it was time for a nap. The room is quite nice, sparsely furnished but quite clean. I have WiFi so the Skyping is working out well for communication. I even used it to call Wells Fargo about my credit card issue. I have also been able to text through my email.

I will try to take some pictures tomorrow and show the sights. I can see the river from the hostel and I am going to see if there is a bike path or anything to run on tomorrow.