The Wild, Wild West

Whoever called the days of summer long and lazy has never spent much time with SMS T2. As evidenced by the content of our blogs in the last month, each of us has had a constant schedule of training, travel, work, and team outreach that rarely slows. All that activity makes days short and downtime rare. That’s how my last three weeks has felt, as I look back on my solo adventure west, a family trip turned training camp, with all kinds of moving and shaking in between.

At the end of July, as our USST teammates packed their bags in New Zealand to return home, I also returned home. Contrary to popular belief from my last four years in the East, I’m a born westerner. Around the seventh inch of our 16-inch-rain June, I decided to extend my planned trip home by a week in order to travel to all of my favorite corners of the west. It was my goal to get the best western experiences, from big lake and mountain life, to dry dusty trail days, to getting in all of my culinary favorites (read: huckleberries).

Bikes, mud, mountains and  the water
Bikes, mud, mountains and the water

I started out by going straight home, to Priest Lake in Northern Idaho, where my parents and I had a weekend filled with waterskiing, outdoor adventures and lots, LOTS, of huckleberries. We had them in pancakes, on meat, over ice cream, in chilly drinks and even in a galette! I have no photos of any of it. My hands reached for eating utensils before there was time for photos.

One of the best part of being at home is getting pre-breakfast waterskiing in
One of the best part of being at home is getting pre-breakfast waterskiing in

We then hopped a plane and flew down to Healdsburg in Sonoma, CA to celebrate my brother’s wedding. What makes wine country so good for growing grapes is cold nights and hot days with arid conditions. When we landed, the car thermometer read 120 degrees, so the only time I could get out to train was on foot or bike before 7 am (when it was closer to 50 degrees). It was rest week, which gave me the chance to spend good time with my family and celebrate my brother and his bride, Shannon.

Morning rides with Dad
SunriseĀ rides with Dad

After sampling what the Pacific Northwest and West Coast, I decided it was time to travel inland and spend some time in the Rocky Mountains. Post wedding, I drove to Sun Valley to spend the week adventuring and training with the local elite team, the SVSEF Gold Team. My Middlebury College teammate, Kelsey Phinney, visited the same week, which made for an even better visit.

Thank you to the gold team for hosting us!
Thank you to the gold team for hosting us!

Our activities included mountain biking, running, rollerskiing through town, taking in as many culinary experiences possible and hyperventilating. Just kidding on the last one…a little (#altitude).

Kelsey riding
Kelsey riding
Me, getting all stoic and majestic on the bike (not quite the same theme when I'm actually clipped in and moving)
Me, getting all stoic and majestic on the bike (not quite the same theme when I’m actually clipped in and moving)
Getting lost, typical to any true adventure.
Getting lost, typical to any true adventure.
We eventually found the trail, which was a relief.
We eventually found the trail, which was a relief.

Tomorrow I head back East to join the team for the rest of summer training. Unfortunately (well, fortunately for the world, unfortunately for me), half the team is traveling even farther East to Norway for another USST camp. Stay tuned for updates on happenings both far and away!

AP

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