26 March 2012

Season is OVER, crazy Dutch fans, and more...

The Kleintje Pils
Yesterday at the famous Thialf in Heerenveen in the Netherlands, the World Single Distance Championship (equivalent to the Olympics non-Olympic year) and the 2011-2012 speedskating season wrapped up. Thialf is one place you want to race at if you are a speedskater. The fans are crazy...decked out in everything orange and wild (see pics below), but they are the key to the best competition atmosphere a speedskater could ever desire. The best part of Dutch speedskating fandom is the marching, the Kleintje Pils (the Dutch even go so far as bringing their own marching band with them to speedskating events all over the world). I can vividly remember my first time racing there for a world cup, I just could not get over how much they loved watching us race; I just wasn't used to that love they had for speedskating (and it's all speedskaters, not just the Dutch!). It was stimulating, and to use that stimulation for your race is huge for your performance. To see how wonderful yet crazy the crowd is, read this awesome article in the Time magazine, or it is also captured after the 10k race in the video link below...


Thankfully I was able to watch most of the races live, but it was also bittersweet. I had hoped to have raced in the TP today, but with my injuries and ups/downs all year, I was not chosen to be on the team and so watching and wishing I was there hurt. Let it be fuel for the fire...


Got to love this guy :)
What a weekend of racing it was, though...Canadians (Christine and Denny) busting out some amazing World Titles, the US Team bringing home hardware (Brian, Shani and Kuck took 2nd in today's TP; and in indiv. races Kuck, who took 3rd in the 10k with one of his best performances this year as well as 3rd also in the 5k and Shani, who placed 3rd in the 1000m...results can be seen here, and click on the event you want) along with the typical Dutch domination. But the 10k on Saturday, the long (25 laps around a 400m rink) and mostly uninteresting race of them all, was the inspirer. In the second to last pair, Jorrit Bergsma goes out and mainly by himself, races a fantastic race...under 13min with a 12:57, for Heerenveen ice, that is fast. Setting the bar high, it was Bob de Jong, the defending World Champion, and this race, that on which all eyes were glued. Could he beat Jorrit? Was it in him? Of course it was...Bob is amazing at racing a strategic and exciting race, but we all just had to wait and see.


From the start, Bob goes out slower, but steady...keeping a pace a couple tenths slower each lap than Jorrit and for a while, the seconds kept adding up to where around lap 15, Bob was upwards of 4 seconds slower. To those who knew Bob, if there is a World Title at stake, at this point, he was no where near his potential...it was about lap 15 where Bob started kicking it into 4th gear. Slowly but surely he was gaining ground, but the question was, would he do it in time to beat Jorrit? Haha, I laugh because how can we doubt Bob's ability? He's done this over and over...with 4 laps to go, Bob was exactly 2 seconds behind...now at this point in a race, a typical skater is burning, numb, drooling, becoming delirious (honestly, I don't know and cannot say much, I've never raced a 10k, YET...), but Bob has just begun to burn his last fuel in his reserve engines. 3 laps to go, he is +.49seconds...everyone is on the edge of their seats...poor Jorrit has to watch this whole race to see if he wins the title or Bob defeats him. 2 laps and Bob pulls ahead... -1.27 seconds...and to show how amazing Bob is, his last lap was a negative split meaning he went faster on his last lap than the one before, amazing especially after already racing 24 laps. Finishing with a 12:53...3.80 seconds faster than Jorrit and skating a 29.9 second last lap, Bob is an athlete like no other. For any of you who would like to watch this race, I highly recommend it! Yes, it is a long race so if you want to fast forward to minute 6:50...watch it from that point on...click here to view. At the finish, it also reveals how amazing the fans at Thialf are with their love for their native schaatsen sport...we speedskaters love you all! :)
Bob de Jong and I in 2010, credit thanks to Meijco van Velzen




21 March 2012

Offseason

What does our offseason look like? Not Much, only two weeks off! For the last two weeks, since racing ended for me, I've been skating in Milwaukee 3 times a week to improve flaws in my technique and refocus on goals for next season (along with other technical workouts). On March 23, The Pettit National Ice Center removes their 400 meter oval ice until mid-August, so that's when Nancy and I will take a whole 2 week "offseason." Early April, the tough training resumes.


Now what do Nancy and I do with so much time on our hands now? *joke*  Well, Nancy is taking quad classes at Wheaton College and I'm sitting in on some, but for speedskating, offseason is a time for reflection and creative invention. What did we like and dislike about training, location and competition from the season and how can we change that for next season? How can we improve our attitudes? What are our new goals? Also, can we come up with any new training exercises that will be more effective for next season? This is where the creativity comes in. Check out my new exercise below...and thanks to my Dutch friend for the idea!



14 March 2012

Check out some of these awesome speedskating shots in this video

Hopefully I will be able to get my hands on a GoPro HD Hero camera someday so I can make a team video like this. But we'll have to use our handy iphones until then.


08 March 2012

Jeffrey's 2011-2012 season progess

Well everybody, the 2011-2012 season has ended for me. Really happy with finishing this season on a positive note! That makes me so anxious and motivated to get back into training and train even harder for next season. I also can't forget that I was blessed to be injury free all season. Check out my improvements below!


07 March 2012

America's Cup Final (March 2-5)

February 28, I flew from training in Germany to my last competition of the season in Salt Lake City. Nancy Jr stayed in Germany while Nancy Sr and Brian were at World Cups in Heerenveen, Holland. Since training in Germany for 2 and 1/2 weeks went great, I was pretty confident going into this last competition even though I had high goals for how well I wanted to skate. In short, I wanted to set all of my personal best times (which I had been improving throughout this year) and finish ahead of other skaters who had beaten me during the year. I was going to be competing in 4 individual events (the 500 meters, 1000 meters, 1500 meters and 5,000 meters) and a "Mass Start" race.


How did it go? AWESOME! I broke all of my records, with only one exception. The exception was the 1500 meters, where I was on pace to beat my personal record by almost 2 seconds and then wiped out on the last turn (but I think I'll still consider that a personal record because I know about what time I was going to finish at anyways). 
Below are some photos from the "Mass Start" race which we compete in on the last day of competition after all other races are finished. The Mass Start is experimental, meaning it is being tested before it will be a part of selection processes for national teams and a part of the Olympics. For the guys, about 20-25 skaters race at one time for 20 laps and usually with prize money for the winner. I finished around 7th place?
I'm in the middle/left of the photo, wearing the same skinsuit as the photo
above but without my hood on





02 March 2012

2012 Biathlon World Championships!

Sara Studebaker walking out to the start line
Just wanted to write a quick entry on how cool it was watching the Biathlon World Championship yesterday! I was privileged to be able to watch the Mixed-Relay event...which got me thinking, we should so have a mixed-relay or some kind of mixed event in speedskating! It would be fun to have to race alongside the US guys. :) Another surprise was seeing Sara Studebaker's name on the program...I had met her at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and it was that much more fun to be able to cheer for Team USA knowing one of the biathletes competing! Sara, if you read this...I am cheering you on for the rest of the competition and hopefully can see another race of yours! Go for the Gold!


At the competition yesterday, I was telling Bernhard Mayer (a close and long-time friend of my mother's, who just retired from being an ISU starter for speedskating world competitions, and whose house I am staying at here in Inzell), how pumped I was to be able to watch another sport I admire, on a World Championship level. Bernhard is working for the Red Cross at the Biathlon World Championships all week and called me in the morning to give me the good news that he had gotten a ticket for me. From seeing the huge crowd and getting slightly jealous of how many fans show up for the Biathlon Worlds (approx. 200,000 over 11 races!) compared to our speedskating Worlds to really observing the routines of the athletes as they warm-up and prepare for this prestigious competition, it was an event to remember...enough where Bernhard might get me another ticket to see it again next week before I return home. 




The Awesome fans!
The crazy looking fans were everywhere! ha
What was also neat was getting sucked into the whirlwind of emotion as the Mixed-Relay race neared the finish...especially when the German were in the lead for so long, but it came down to the last shooting round and Arnd Peiffer, the German who was the last leg of the relay, missed 3 shots and those with penalties, brought home the bronze instead, giving the Norwegians the room to win the event! I can't imagine the victory chants that was coming from Norway yesterday! Haha. Now the video below was when Arnd was shooting his second to last round, it was awesome to hear how the crowd gets completely silent and shouts every time there is a 'bulls-eye'. The echo on the mountains were amazing, though this video doesn't do justice what is sounded like live. There was so much support there for the German team as well as tons of Norwegians, as this sport is one of the more popular sports in these countries. Man, I got to thinking...I am half German with 1/8th of Norwegian blood in me...I should have been a Biathlete! Or maybe...I still could be? :)
Tim Burke from the USA passing by


While all this is going on, though, Jeffrey has been in Salt Lake City the last couple days preparing for his last competition of the season: the American Cup Final. It begins today, Friday and he will be racing through Sunday. The link for the live results is here... If you have a chance, send him a pump-up note either on his Facebook or email him @ jpeltzspeedskater@hotmail.com
video



God Bless,
Nancy Jr.


1 Corinthians 9:25





01 March 2012

Ice in Inzell is Finished for this Season

Max Aicher Arena

Coos and I, the last ice session at the Max Aicher Arena
And the 400m track at the Max Aicher Arena is officially closed! One last time, I skated the night session last night...lap after lap just working on specific points in my technique in preparation for next season. The next two years are crucial for perfecting technique, training, goals...to win Gold, one has to do the extraordinary, the unusual, and has to walk the path no one else does. Trials and road blocks have come my way and because of my great role model in my mom/coach, I generally walk the path less traveled, but there are always ways to improve the self. My life the next couple years will be living and breathing everything speedskating and how I can become a champion :)


The other day Jeffrey and I had the privilege of meeting the Pap/Brouwer family (they are from the Netherlands and vacationing in a friend's apartment here in Inzell) and last night, their father, Coos, joined me in skating the last session. Enjoying the relaxed atmosphere and being in a technical mindset, I started giving Coos technical pointers to work on for the future, haha. It was a great night and what a wonderful family they all are!
The Pap/Brouwer family and I on Leap Day in Salzburg 
















God Bless,
Nancy Jr.


1 Corintians 9:25