The Silitch Family

Adventures in the Alps and Beyond

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mommy's Disappearing Bag

As I write this blog post rain continues to pour down. The snow is disappearing fast..below 2000 meters and snowing hard above 2500 meters. We are talking about building an arc so we don't float away or maybe taking up water skiing. One of my favorite Christmas stories as a child was Morris's Disappearing Bag, By Rosemary Wells. My husband tells me time and time again the I have way too many bags. I often have bags with in bags.

One of these very important zippered bags which I keep in my Petzl Bug Pack, disappeared last night as I was getting ready to go to a night race in Switzerland. I went to get my passport which was in that little zippered bag which normally is in my Bug Pack and it was not there. That bag also contains various other important and non important things like, my French Drivers licence, a check book, lip gloss, arnica, band aids, Purel hand cleaners. I ferociously searched all over in a frenzy of despair- much to my husbands dismay, but had no luck.

"Let's just go. It will turn up." He said in a calm mannered tone, surely the calm in my life in moments of stress. " This is a great opportunity to practice reacting in a calm zen way. " He continued. "Only for you to say...easier said than done.." I murmured. Drudgingly, I headed out to the car which he kindly had loaded up in the rain...hmm driving to a night race in the race...Suddenly I lost all my motivation to go. "Think of Lance Armstrong and when he broke his collarbone and what his coach said..." Michael trying to lift my spirits. "Stick to your decision to go. It will be fun." "ok," I thought "lets go."

Off we went and arrived just before the Col de Montets to a sudden wall of snow blocking the road... The pass was closed due to all this rain. Avalanche danger was very high. We could still take the train tunnel and make it. At this point rain was turning to hail. We waited behind a line of 100 or so cards waiting to get back through to Switzerland or their home in Vallorcine. We decided to call it a night and go have a nice meal together and perhaps figure out where my zippered bag went... Did I leave it in Switzerland last week, or maybe the post office, maybe the grocery store... I was stumped.

Surely this missing bag a was a sign:
1. Old age maybe. Late 30's! After having children women's minds become absent.
2. Too much stuff in the house! Need to organize and weed out and sell some stuff! (yes-true-husbands words)
3. You have too many bags -often left is no wonder that it is missing- (Husband's words again.)
4. Put your passport back in the safe place...ok done.

So my mind was wandering to the steps I was going to take to get all those things back, like the US passport (trip to Geneva consulate and wait 2-3 weeks for new one +$100)
French drivers licence- that would be a bunch of paperwork to do.
Check book- have to change checking account number and who know what else.
Lip gloss and antibac gel...ok that could be replaced.

Upon returning from a nice evening together, I was in a much calmer state of mind and realized that it was not unrealistic to replace the items in the zippered bag. No problem. Zen mommy is back!

The next morning I woke and asked the boys casually... "Guys, have you by any chance seen my zippered bag anywhere- you know the one I keep in my backpack with the waist strap?"

"No, I have not seen it," said Birken shaking his head.
"Oh, Yes I have seen that Mommy." Said Anders. "You have, " I asked. "Where is it?"
"oh, it's behind the curtain . I put it there. " Said Anders (3 years old), simply. I gave him a huge hug and said Thank You!

There you have it. The case of mommy's disappearing bag. I still will work on weeding out stuff and zipping the bags closed. It was reassuring that my brain had not gone to complete mush. I do recommend the book too, By Rosemary Wells.

Don't let the Rain slow you down....
Michael and I did a night training session in the snow/rain with our petzl Ultra headlamps.

Today's rainy day activities with active boys:
- New Years Art Projects,
- helping Aunt Meg find a great rando set up!

-interval training on the wind trainer.

- Bryan Kest Power Yoga- and Babar Kids Yoga!

THINK SNOW and Have a safe and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Pila World Cup and Festive Family Fun!

It is hard to believe that 2009 is quickly coming to an end!
2009 Highlights!

First and foremost, my family- my husband and my two boys-! We have had some great adventures together this past year in this amazing outdoor playground!

I often have to pinch myself to remind me how lucky I am to be a part of this sport Ski Alpinisme - at such a high international level. It is pretty amazing to share the start line with so many athletes from nations all over the globe. My USA teammate Mona Merrill joined me (all the way from Colorado) for the weekend of fun!

She is helping pave the way for ski mountaineering racing in the USA. I look forward to our USA team of 3, Nina, Lynds and Mona for the famous Patrouille des Glaciers this year as a international World Cup end of April.

The Pila World Cup was the first world cup of the season and early for many but that did not leave it any less exciting. The first day was the first ever ski mountaineering sprint- run much like they are run in the Nordic world cup sprints, with 3-4 rounds of qualifications. It was very exciting and a crowd pleaser. Possibly a great spectator sport for the 2018 Olympics when ski mountaineering hopes to make its debue. Unfortunately in my second heat my boot broke- The Pierre Gignoux carbon boot is definitely the best boot out there in terms of lightness and stiffness but it also is more fragile. Thanks to my husband and my good friend Yuki I managed to get my old skis and boots to ski on the next day. Italian television filmed the whole weekend which is great for the sport. Here is a link for a video that gives a good idea of what the weekend of racing was all about and you can practice your Italian.

Saturday's race was a night race of 1400 meters in elevation. I had never done such a long night race with ascent and descents other than the Patrouille des Glaciers. My Petzl Ultra came in really handy and worked like a charm in the -22 Celsius temps. It was COLD- and I am from Maine. It was Maine cold and windy. Everyone wore extra layers and wind layers, many wore mittens. It made for much slower transitions. It was definitely survival temps out there and the hot tea tasted really good at the end.

Sunday's temperatures were equally cold with a little sunshine. I still dressed warmly and enjoyed the race and the amazing views. The Italians sure do know how to put on a good race. It was super well organized the whole weekend and the International Ski Mountaineering Federation also has been making some exceptional contributions to the sport. Aside from the fact that my toes are still dethawing from the cold temps, the weekend of racing was a great kick start to the season ahead. It was good to get in some intensity before a bit of volume training during the Christmas holidays with the family which have been filled with skiing of course!

Happy New Year to you all! My resolutions for 2010: I have many as we all do but the main one is: Continue to be thankful for all we have! LIVESTRONG!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

World Cup Countdown

Winter is getting underway here in the Alps with some good early season training sessions. The new Chamonix Ski Alpinisme club, which was just an idea of mine 1 year ago, is now in full force with already 25 members and a coach. We aim to bring together the passion of ski alpinisme competition right here in the heart of the Alps-Chamonix.

I had a great chance to train in my old stomping grounds of Villars, Switzerland and make some great turns with my buddy Jean-Pierre. Also in Switzerland I had a chance to visit the impressive Swiss Suva Clinique de rehabilitation and sports evaluation for my first ever VO2 Max testing.

The first World Cup race in Pila, Italy is just a few days away. It should be an exciting few days of racing. The first race is a night sprint, followed by a 1500 meter race at night, and then a time trial on sunday- all on ski mountaineering gear. This should draw out the crowds and get people excited for the season.

For the holidays I am looking forward to skiing with my boys and spending a quiet Christmas at home with my family.

Thanks so much to those who have helped support with my World Cup project so far! Please see my earlier blog post to see the details on donations and sponsorships or feel free to contact me.