Snow-time

I just got back from an awesome camp in Park City. I spent two weeks down there training with the National Team. It was a great way to finish off my last big block of training before winter. Now I have a few weeks at home in Alaska. For the most part, I will spend my time preparing for the long season ahead. Getting my "business" stuff in order so I'm ready to be Europe and away from home for six months and also make the final adjustments to the body. These last adjustments for me consist of firing up all the ski muscles and doing a couple of fake races in the woods to make sure all the cylinders are working. Then I'll let the training load from the summer and fall settle a bit so I'm nice and fresh when I set foot in Europe. I'm very excited to see how my skiing homework has been going this year. It's been around 7 months since my last cross country ski race, so I'm the only one that knows how things are going. I look forward to showing the world what I've been up to. I feel like the training has been going well, but I want to let the results speak for themselves.

 

My first World Cup race is November 28th in Finland. I've never been that far north in Finland and I always enjoy seeing new venues!

 

Here are a few pictures from the Park City camp:

Paddy Caldwell, the newest member of the U.S. Ski Team. Great addition to the crew!

Paddy Caldwell, the newest member of the U.S. Ski Team. Great addition to the crew!

I got to visit the Rossignols main headquarters in the U.S. This is my first year racing on Rossignol skis/boots and so far I'm blown away with the great product and service! 

I got to visit the Rossignols main headquarters in the U.S. This is my first year racing on Rossignol skis/boots and so far I'm blown away with the great product and service! 

Eric Packer and Scott Patterson skiing on the Soldier Hollow track, the 2002 Olympic venue.

Eric Packer and Scott Patterson skiing on the Soldier Hollow track, the 2002 Olympic venue.

Getting this winter started off right! Stopping around in the mountains behind Anchorage.

Pictures from this fall:

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June

It's mid June already, time is flying! I'm a back in full on training mode, trying to build a fitness that can take me to the next level. The last couple days the training load really caught up to me, my legs are fried. Luckily I have tomorrow off and then I'm headed up to Eagle Glacier for a week of on snow training. I made a short video from my three hour rollerski this morning. Here it is:

Disappearing For a Quick Month

You know you spend a lot of time away from home when being back feels like a vacation. Even though I have been busy lately it’s just so nice to be sleeping in my own bed, catching up on things, and spending every second of my free time outside.  Alaska has been absolutely beautiful this month. I feel like 99% of the time it has been sunny, clear, and really warm!

April was a month dedicated to resting. Being on the road all winter can be a little stressful on the mind and body. I had some results that made me feel like I was on cloud nine, with those results came some extremely disappointing races. All the excitement from the season though left me feeling depleted in March. The best way for me to prepare for my next season is to rest, refocus, and get amped.

I’m to the third stage already. I put in my time resting, which for me is not always easy. I had to turn off my race mind and do things that would give my body some time to heal. I spent some time in the backcountry, took a trip to Seattle to visit family and sponsors, and got a bunch of schoolwork done.

I think the best way to show what I did this spring is with some pictures so here we go:

I hopped on a jet plane and flew down to Seattle...

I hopped on a jet plane and flew down to Seattle...

Seattle gets some rain but when it shines it's a beautiful city!

Seattle gets some rain but when it shines it's a beautiful city!

While I was in Seattle I visited some of my sponsors and supporters.

While I was in Seattle I visited some of my sponsors and supporters.

It's expensive to race all over the world. Lund Engineering has been super generous and they are definitely one of my KEY components to reaching the next level. I made this bib for them to hang in their office. 

It's expensive to race all over the world. Lund Engineering has been super generous and they are definitely one of my KEY components to reaching the next level. I made this bib for them to hang in their office. 

I got to hang out with Rhodes and Betty Buttler, some new nordic skiing fans.

I got to hang out with Rhodes and Betty Buttler, some new nordic skiing fans.

They got some team Bjornsen shirts to bring to "show and tell".

They got some team Bjornsen shirts to bring to "show and tell".

It's been a while since I have gotten to play around in the Seattle so I made sure to hit up all of my favorite spots.

It's been a while since I have gotten to play around in the Seattle so I made sure to hit up all of my favorite spots.

Lots of cool art downtown

Lots of cool art downtown

My Grandma and Grandpa took me up the Space Needle when I was really young. It was great to experience it again!

My Grandma and Grandpa took me up the Space Needle when I was really young. It was great to experience it again!

We were really lucky with the weather.  Marine made sure to get 10,000 pictures…. 

We were really lucky with the weather.  Marine made sure to get 10,000 pictures…. 

Had to hit up Pike Place Market of course!

Had to hit up Pike Place Market of course!

Back to Alaska

Back to Alaska

The crust skiing was good in the mornings all the way into May.

The crust skiing was good in the mornings all the way into May.

Nothing beats crust skiing in Alaska. 

Nothing beats crust skiing in Alaska. 

Most of the mountains around town are snow free, so the mountain running is great right now!

Most of the mountains around town are snow free, so the mountain running is great right now!

Now its back to rollerskiing! 

Now its back to rollerskiing! 

and training hard!

and training hard!

Thanks for reading AND thank YOU for supporting me!  I'm on my way to Bend, OR for my first U.S. Ski Team camp of the 2014-2015 season, lets get this thing going! Time to reach for the stars and let everyone know what the U.S. is made of. 

NANA Nordic in Ambler: Another Great Experience

Alaska is a truly wild and magnificent place! I decided tomove up here three years ago, thinking it would be aninteresting city to live in while I attended school. The spring aftermy first year at college I decided to jump in with two feet. Imoved most of my belongings up, bought a car, and got asmall apartment on the APU campus. One thing I havelearned is that you can't truly get "Alaskan" experiences inAnchorage; you have to drive at least 20 miles from the cityin any direction. Luckily in my sweet old truck that only takesabout a half hour. I feel very fortunate to live in such a sweetplace and I'm really enjoying almost every second I spend uphere. Last week I traveled up to the northwestern part of thestate in the NANA region and had myself another wonderfulAlaskan experience that I'd like to share with you.

 

These two pictures are from

the flight up there.

 

NANA Nordic, an organization that I have beeninvolved with the last couple years, made this trip possible. Iwent up north with three other cross-country athletes. Webrought 30 pairs of skis, two boxes of food, sleeping bags,and the goal to teach kids how to nordic ski. Ambler, thesmall and very beautiful village we visited has about 300residents. The village is above the Arctic Circle and most of theresidents are Alaska Natives. The village has a smallgrocery store, a community center, a church, and a school. Alot of the houses are one story and pretty well worn out fromthe harsh environment and the limited funds to upkeep them.The school had about 80 students, kindergarten through12th grade. Residents get around on snowmobiles and fourwheelers; luckily the village is no bigger than a couplesquare miles, because the price of gas is around 11 dollars agallon. The village lies between the Kobuk River and theBrooks Mountain Range. Apparently the river is packed fullof fish and the forest is full of wildlife, so the residents have amix of living off the land and the very expensivegroceries that are flown in. The village is in a very beautifullocation. With a few more activities and a lot easier access itcould be a tourist hotspot, but that is not at all the case. Infact, I don't think the residents see new faces very often.

 

We arrived Monday morning and set up camp in theschool gym. From Tuesday through Friday we taught skilessons from 9am- 7pm. It was soo much fun for me and sorewarding too! It's a great feeling to pass on a skill that oftentimes feels like a selfish activity. I've never met such a nicegroup of kids. The kids were really polite, friendly, andCRAZY tough! Most of them were not what I would considerappropriately dressed for below 0 degree weather, but notonce did I hear any of them complain. Every kid in the schoolgot a chance to come skiing with us and they seem to reallyloved it. The first day they just learned how to clip into thebindings and they struggled to get around the school. I wasso amazed, some of those kids probably fell over a 100times that first day. I kept thinking to myself, oh that kidsgoing to give up, he's spent more time on the ground then onhis feet… but they never did. They just enjoyed doingsomething new with new friends. By the end of the weekmost of the kids were skiing out to the airport, a couple milesfrom the school.

 

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I tried to be more than just a teacher to these kids. Iended up learning most of the kids names and felt aconnection with almost all of them by the end of the week.They seemed to open up to me after spending just a fewhours together. I heard a lot of personal stories and some ofthem were very concerning. The village was nice and thepeople were welcoming but it for sure has its problems. It'sno secret that there is a BAD alcohol and drug abuseproblem. These kids are so strong; the majority of them learnto grow up on their own with not a lot of good role modelsaround. Young kids would be out late at night playing withoutadult supervision. Some of the families have issues andschool was a place for them to get away from it. It's one ofthe first times I've seen kids lining up for the school doors toopen and practically having to be dragged out at night.

 

A poster hanging in the school made by one of the youngerstudents.

 

This trip makes me realize even more that I'm so luckyto have such a great family and community to support me.I've had so many opportunities and this trip was a goodreality check after year filled with traveling and success. Ihad a really sad feeling when I flew out of the village onFriday night, these people deserve better. I honestly thinkNANA Nordic can change the lives of kids in this area andI'm just honored and happy to be a part of it.

 

Olympic Race Schedule

I'm so excited to be here in Sochi for the Olympics. The weather is great, the ski trails are in excellent shape.... and the village is just unbelievable!! I love this place, I never want to leave!

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I want to let everyone know my racing schedule for the games. I plan on racing all of the individual races, which occur on the dates on the left. I have highlighted them in blue:

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The actual television schedule is a little more confusing. The best schedule I have seen so far is actually on my team-mate Noah Hoffmans website. You can check out that TV schedule HERE.

 

If the racing goes well, I think I have a good shot at being on the 4x10km relay. Thank you for all the support. Sadie and I are so excited to have so many awesome followers; I hope to make you proud in the next few weeks. I hope to see you all through the TV tomorrow at the opening ceremonies :) And again, Thank you so much for helping me get here! I promise I'm enjoying every millisecond.

Breaking Down the Points Barrier

Everything seemed to come together yesterday; the wax, the race feelings, and of course the nice ride from Mr. Marcus Hellner. After U23's I was feeling a little disappointed. It's been kind of tough lately, I feel very fit but the results have not been showing it. Yesterday’s game plan was to go out hard and try to ski with some fast people if I got the chance. It was about one kilometer into my first loop when I got “hupped” from behind. I had no idea who it was going to be, but I knew I was ready to chase whoever it was. It took me a few seconds to realize that it was THE Marcus Hellner. After staying with him for a few minutes I decided I wasn't going to let him go. By my second loop, his third and final, he really started pushing the pace and by the end of that loop I felt like we were both sprinting every hill. He finally gapped me in the stadium when he only had a few hundred meters left. I wanted to go with him all the way to the finish but I figured I had better finish my race. I was completely dead but I kept going on an empty tank knowing that right then, I was sitting in top 15 and if I could somehow ski a decent last lap by myself it was going to be possible to score my first World Cup points. It seemed like by the top of every hill I was going to fall over and all I was thinking about was not screwing things up.

photo - Steve Fuller / Flyingpointroad.com

photo - Steve Fuller / Flyingpointroad.com

On every corner my legs were Jello, but somehow I managed to stay on my feet and make it to the finish in 18th place. This is by far the best race of my life. I'm just SOO excited. Thank you everyone for helping me get to this point. It has taken a lot of people’s help and a lot of people’s positive influence, THANK YOU! I could end my ski career now and be pretty satisfied... but at the same time this makes me realize that if I keep training maybe I can do better in the future. It would be pretty cool to win a World Cup medal someday ;)


West Yellowstone SuperTours

The racing season has finally begun. I’m currently in West Yellowstone, MT where the Super Tour has kicked off for the last twenty plus years and I’ve probably raced about a quarter of those. The atmosphere here is filled with excited little skiers from all around the U.S. I spent a few nights at the equipment expo signing posters. I don't know if it’s because its and Olympic year or if skiing is becoming more popular in the U.S. but I have never seen so much excitement at this year’s West Yellowstone season opener. The weather and ski conditions have been perfect too. I've spent a lot of time in west Yellowstone and this year has been a really nice treat! 

My summer and fall training has gone better than ever. I accomplished my training goals and I’m feeling really fit. I’m excited to see where my new fitness can bring me!

I had my first races of the year last Friday and Saturday. The results I had were not at all what I was hoping for. I felt strong and I was happy with my recent technique changes but I felt like I couldn’t shift up into top gear. Last year I went into the season a little fresher. My goals this year are later during the season so my plan this season was to train harder in November hoping it will pay off in January and February. I have put a lot of pressure on myself this season and I really hope I can ski up to my expectations. Right now I’m trying to just look forward and not think about the unsuccessful results last weekend.

photo - Toko

photo - Toko

photo - Toko

photo - Toko

Tomorrow we head to Bozeman, MT for the second weekend of Super Tours. The forecast is for below zero but luckily Alaska has me trained for cold weather. I'm hungry for some good results so I'm just hoping for a run fair race!

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Below is a video my teammate Reese Hanneman made of our APU guys team training on the West Yellowstone Rendezvous trails!

Alaska Fall Time and Park City

The last month has been really fun! This is my third year in Anchorage and I think it has been one of the nicer falls so far. We did have something like 17 days where it rained every day which sounds horrible but it wasn't the typical Anchorage rain where you go outside and get soaked within minutes. The last couple weeks have been better and so I have spent a lot of time running in the mountains. I really enjoy being at home in Anchorage and getting into a daily rhythm of training hard and relaxing hard. A lot of my relaxing time has been dedicated towards homework; I'm taking 12 credits this semester so I feel kind of busy with that. I have still been able to get out and do some other fun non-athletic activities though. My girlfriend won a certificate last year for a flight tour around Denali (Mt. Mckinley, a.k.a. the tallest peak in North America for you non Alaskans). It was one of the coolest things I have done since coming to Alaska. Someone once told me that you couldn't really see Alaska without flying; I didn't believe them and told them I could see Alaska just fine with my running shoes. After this flight seeing trip though, I now know what they was talking about. There is just so much open land in Alaska, and its largeness and beauty makes everything seem small and insignificant; it's crazy! 

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Now I'm in Park City for a U.S. Ski Team camp. I spent the first two days in the COE getting testing done on the treadmills. These tests are extremely difficult, but luckily they don't last too long. I was happy to get some good feedback from the tests but now I'm excited to go outside and get some real training done.

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Summer Training and Motivation

It's the middle of August already, which means a majority of the preparation for the upcoming ski season is over. This can be very nerve-racking or very exciting, but for me it’s mostly exciting. I feel more motivated then ever and that has resulted in a lot of good workouts. I know that the fitness isn't made during the training camps I have three or four times a year, although those do help a lot. The fitness is made when you come home from camp and your alarm goes off early the next morning and you have the choice to hit the snooze button or to get you ass out of bed. My coach sent me this Muhammad Ali quote the other day and I think it pretty much nails it: "The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights”. It's important to come up with new and exciting things to motivate yourself. Here are a few things that have motivated me this summer.

            The first and most exciting thing has been my new teammates. I have known these guys since my first junior nationals almost ten years ago. I take full credit for them being on the team… well ok, maybe not full credit but at least some of it, because I tried hard to get them to join me at APU. It's been super awesome having them pushing me in the workouts. They each bring a unique strength to the group and I do my best to learn their tricks. I don't think I have won more then a handful of workouts this summer and I hate getting beaten, so I know it’s making me faster.

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            The second highlight of my summer was going to France to visit my girlfriend and to train with some of the French National Team members. These guys are fast but they’re not doing anything special; I think that if we keep training hard and staying focused it’s only a matter of time before we can beat them.

            The third thing that has been motivating me this summer is running. I've never really focused on running much but this summer I have been doing more running then ever. I bought the book "Running for Dummies"  and I have watched a bunch of running videos on YouTube. I think I have improved my form. I also jumped in a running race while I was in France to test myself. I felt like I ran pretty fast and the guy that finished behind me said he use to be on the French National running team. He didn't speak English very well, so it’s very possible something was lost in translation and he really just used to be on a high school running team in France. I did manage to run with the 2011 15km Classic World Champion Matti Heikkinen for about half of the race, so that leads me to believe I'm headed in the right direction.

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Those are the three major things that have motivated me this summer, but I'm always trying to find new things to get me out of bed in the morning. Right now I'm in Park City at a training camp with the APU team. It's been a really sweet camp so far. I have one week left and then I'm headed home to the Methow for my first time this summer. My mother and I have been planning a long run to an isolated town on the end of Lake Chelan that can only be accessed by foot or boat; it's going to be 20-some miles through the mountains. I'm really glad I have been running a lot because it won't be easy keeping up with her. She will deny it if you ask her, but she's a REALLY impressive runner. She started running after having kids and has run almost every day since. While I’m there in the Methow, I'm also going to be putting on a roller ski clinic for anybody interested in improving his or her technique before winter comes.

That’s it for now, thanks for checking out my new blog and please explore around my new website. I will be trying to update it more frequently then my last one. Check out the Instagram tab for new pictures almost every day.

Also, a big thanks to all of my supporters and Sponsors for making this summer so awesome, I really could not do it without your help. We have one dang exciting year ahead of us; I’m going to do my best to make the most of it!

Erik Bjornsen