Monday, December 20, 2010

This is Incredible

You have to see this:


Rossland Haywood Multi Stage NorAm

After a couple weeks spent racing and traveling around BC, I am now back home in Canmore for a couple weeks before my next racing adventure. I believe my last post left off when I was just about to leave Silver Star, so I'll pick things up from there. Last Tuesday the Academy and I traveled from Silver Star to Rossland for the next chapter in this years Haywood NorAm circuit. Having never been to Rossland before this, I was very excited to get to ski on some new terrain. And to my surprise, the trails at the Blackjack ski club (race site) were very similar to the trails back home in Ontario. This was surprising to me, as everywhere else I have skied out here (western Canada) are very similar with huge long climbs and long fast descents. Rossland however was much like the trails in Ontario, with no super long climbs or descents, just lots of rolling hills. To be honest I have missed racing on trails like this, so it was a nice change of pace (figuratively speaking of course :) ).

As I mentioned in the title of this post, this weekend of racing was a muti stage race. That means that everyones times from the first 2 days of racing were added together, and then that dictated the starting order of the last race on Sunday.

So, the first race was a skate sprint on Friday. This really was not my day. I got off to a slow start in my qualifier, and it wasn't until about halfway through the course that I started to feel good, by which time it was way too late to expect good things. My quarterfinal was a bit of a similar story, getting off the line in 3rd, and despite my best efforts, was not able to find a way around 2nd place, and that was the end of my day.

Day two of racing came in the form of a 10km interval start skate race. After my disappointing performance in the interval start skate race the weekend before in Silver Star, I was admittedly a little nervous about this race, as my skating confidence took a pretty hard blow. But, I ended up having my best distance race of the year so far that day. I felt really strong for both laps of the 5km course, and I ended up placing 4th in Junior, just missing the podium by 2.5 seconds, and 16 seconds off the win. While it's always a little disappointing finishing 4th in a race, I got over it fairly quickly. I had a great race, and to make it even better, it was my best points race in a distance event to date, and in case anyone isn't already aware, I am kind of obsessed with points :).

The final day of competition was the 15km classic handicap start (3 laps of 5km). I learned a pretty big lesson here when I didn't test my classic skis the day before. Because of timing and things like that, I did not get a chance to test my classic skis, so I just talked to my coaches and made a decision based on what I knew about my skis. Bad idea. So, I started the race 2 minutes and 58 seconds behind the top Senior man, and 22 seconds behind the top Junior Man (based on the handicap from the previous days of racing). My game plan was to just kill it off the start to catch the first Junior, and then ski with him for a while, but that didn't exactly pan out. By about 30 seconds into my race I knew that I had picked the wrong skis, as I had very little grip, and they weren't all the fast. I ended up trying to fight through this and still try to go super hard off the start, but that took its toll on me a few minutes later. I had a brutal first lap in which at one point I got the top of a hill and seriously considered dropping out of the race (this is a thought that has never crossed my mind before in a race, so I was not feeling good). But I decided to keep going, and I am very glad I did. I'm not sure what happened, but I was able to put my head down at the start of my second lap, find that next gear, and I went for it. I managed to make up some very big deficits on the next two laps and I finished with the 4th fastest Junior time.

*****If the whole "handicap" start thing doesn't make sense to anyone, please feel free to email or facebook me and I will gladly do another post explaining it in detail. It can be a little confusing if you don't know what I'm talking about :)*****

Unfortunately they did not do awards for the overall Junior mutli stage results, but after I arrived home last night I looked over all of the results, and I learned that I actually won the weekend overall for Juniors. So I can now safely say that I am very happy with how this weekend played out haha :).

I will now be spending the next 2 weeks here in Canmore preparing for the World Junior Trial races that will be taking place Jan. 6-9 in Thunder Bay ON. I'll likely do another post just before I leave for those races, and if not, there will definitely be a recap of them up here by the 11th.

So until then, Merry Christmas everyone!! And Happy Skiing!!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sovereign Lake NorAms 2010

This weekend was my first chance of the season to battle the rest of Canada in the 2010 Sovereign Lakes NorAm. It started off yesterday with a 1.5km classic sprint. Before yesterday, I had never done a sprint over 1.2km, so I was very curious to see how I would fare in the longer distance. Despite a small concern of going out too hard and blowing up before the finish, I decided to go for it in my qualifier right from the start, and it ended up working out fairly well. I was the 4th fastest Junior after the qualifier, which put me in a good place to start the heats a few hours later. My heats went very well, skiing the best I think I ever have in a sprint. My technique felt solid and I managed to stay nice and relaxed for the majority of the time.

I was able to make my way into the A Final, after finishing 2nd in both my quarter and my semi. I got off to a pretty good start in the Final, tucking myself into second place going up the first climb. I stayed there until the bottom of the 2nd climb, where I decided to move up and challenge for the lead. With this being the longest hill on the course, I managed to break up the group a bit and Patrick (Stewart-Jones, Quebec Ski Team) and I led the way into the final climb. Unfortunately for me he was able to surprise me with an attack on the last clmib, and after a quick slip on my part, he was gone. I continued to fight hard into the finish and held on for the Silver medal.

The final results were 1: Patrick Stewart-Jones, 2: Myself, 3: Andy Shields

Today brought a 15km Skate Interval start race. Unfortunately for me, it would seem as though having to race through that sprint course 4 times yesterday really killed my legs, as when I woke up this morning my legs were pretty fried. This, for obvious reasons, did not play into my favour, and I ended up finishing 11th in the Junior category. It was a tough race on a very demanding course, and the conditions were not helped by the foot of fresh snow that we received overnight. I was a little disappointed with my race today, but overall it has been a great weekend of racing.

I will now take the next 36 hours to rest and recover from this weekend here in Silver Star, before jumping in the vans and heading to Rossland BC on Tuesday. The second NorAm of the season will be taking place there next Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the form of a Multi-Stage mini tour. This means that our times in the sprints and the distance race on Friday and Saturday will determine the order in which we start the final race on Sunday. This creates the effect of having the entire weekend seem like one big race, but with some breaks in between. I have never done a stage race like this before, so I am very excited to see how I will make out. I have been hearing rumors that the Rossland Ski Centre has made some changes to its sprint course in order to make it one of the hardest in Canada, so I can't wait to check it out on Wednesday.

I'll do another post after next weekend to let everyone know how things go, so until then,


Sunday, December 5, 2010

T'is the Season, Finally!! Alberta Cups 1 and 2

This weekend was the first race weekend of my 2010/2011 race season, and came in the form of a skate sprint and a 9km classic interval start race, both here in Canmore. The racing got underway yesterday morning with the qualifier of the skate sprint. For me, it was a little disappointing, qualifying as the 6th Junior (I was hoping for 1 or 2). But, after returning to my house for a few hours to recharge a bit before the heats, I managed to turn things around in the afternoon. I made it through my semi final fairly comfortably finishing in 2nd. Then it was on to the A final, where I was the lowest ranked skier of the 6 of us, but I knew that didn't mean too much. I had a bit of a slow start, but we were all very tightly packed going into the first hill. Unfortunately for all but two of us in the heat, a guy at the front crashed and caused 3 of us to be slowed down while we navigated around him, while the other two guys were able to take off and get a lead. They managed to stay out in front and take 1st and 2nd place, and I was able to hold on for the bronze medal. So, all things considered from that days events, I was fairly content with my end result.

Todays race was a 9km classic interval start. It was 3 laps of a very hilly 3km course. I was feeling pretty good in my warm up this morning, so I was hoping for good things. I decided that I would go out harder than I have in the past, and hope that I wouldn't blow up before I reached the finish line. This tactic proved to work out pretty well for me, and when I crossed the line I felt really good about how I skied my race. I ended up falling 15 seconds short of the podium, finishing in 4th place in the Junior category, and 21st in the overall mens results.

Now that the Alberta Cups have wrapped up, I'll do a couple more days of training here in Canmore, and then it will be off to Silver Star BC on Wednesday for the first NorAm of the season, taking place next weekend. From there, we will pile back into our team vans and drive to Rossland BC for the next NorAm, which will be taking place the following weekend. These two weekends of racing will be my first chances of the season to see how my competition from eastern Canada is looking this year, and I can't wait!

I'll try to do updates like this one immediately following each race weekend to let you all know how things are going. Until then, happy skiing!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yikes, It's Been a While...

I just realized that it has been over a month since my last post, so I figured since I have a few hours to kill before going to see the latest Harry Potter movie (Yay), I would write a little update.

I left off in my last post mentioning a journey home to Ontario. This was a great week, spent partially in Guelph with Jacquelyn, and also in Penetang with my parents. Being my first time in Guelph, I didn't really know my way around anywhere, which made all of my running workouts a new adventure every time. After doing some intervals in the Guelph Arboretum, and a couple easy runs through the streets of Guelph, I got to know the area around the University pretty well. Living with Jacquelyn in her residence just for those few days was also an interesting experience in and of itself. I had never really thought about what it would be like to be living on my own and going to University, and what that life would be like. So it was cool to see how everything works on campus. In these few days I also managed to meet up with a few of my friends from back home who are currently studying there. Having used to jam with these guys all the time in high school back in my drumming days, it was more fun than I could possibly have imagined to get together again in their basement and play some old tunes. My stay in Penetang was just as fun, the highlight being getting to see my parents again after six months, but also getting to do some workouts with some old teammates, as well as meet up with some old friends.

I returned to Canmore on Oct. 27th I believe, and got right back into my normal Canmore routine. A few days after I returned, the Academy and I did our Fall uphill running time trial, which starts near the bridge in town, and follows the road all the way up to the top of Spray Lakes Road. Having been sick the two previous times that the team did this test this year, I was unable to participate. This meant that this was only my second time doing this test, the first being last Fall. I was expecting good things from myself in this test, since I had been feeling pretty good, and I felt that my time from last year would be pretty easy to beat (34 minutes, 58 seconds). So I was hoping to get under 34 minutes, which would break what was the current Junior Men's course record. And after a very hard effort, I managed to finish with a time of 33 minutes, 13 seconds. This was enough to beat the old Junior Men's record by 1.5 minutes, so I was quite happy with it.

Since then I have just been doing my normal training/working when I can routine, preparing myself for the upcoming race season. For the past week Canmore has played host to some very frigid temperatures, this morning being the worst of it at -30. While this makes training slightly more difficult and perhaps uncomfortable, it also means that the Nordic Centre has been making snow 24/7, so the trails are looking great. They are a little limited at the moment, but there is definitely enough snow now, so they should be extending their trails any day now.

The forcast is saying only one or two more days of these temperatures, and then it should be back to nice winter conditions, which should be just in time for our pre-season time trials. I'll be doing a short hill-climb prologue time trial on Friday, and then another short TT on Sunday. After that I'll be preparing for my first races which will be the following weekend, Dec. 4th and 5th, here in Canmore. Those are the first Alberta Cup races of the year, which we will be using as tune up races before heading to Silver Star and Rossland for the next two weekends of NorAm racing. Once the season starts you can expect more posts on here, as I will try to do some race reports and maybe reflections after each race.

Until then, cheers!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Great Fall testing! Now off to Ontario!

This past week was my Fall, pre-season testing week. Having missed the testing in June due to illness, I have been eagerly awaiting this past week for a very long time. I did four tests over the course of three days late last week: a body comp. test, VO2 max test, double pole test, and a sprint prologue test.

Last Thursday I made the trip into Calgary to TCR Labs where I had my body comp. test and then the VO2 max test. Having dropped almost 10 lbs since last year at this time, I was very curious to see what my body comp. would be, and it turns out that I lost a few pounds in muscle, and am now down to 4.4% body fat from last year's 5.6%. I'm pretty happy with these numbers and the decrease in weight was evident in my VO2 max test which followed this one. The VO2 max test is to see how efficient the body is at using the oxygen that you inhale during exercise. So to do this, I wore this interesting piece of headware that made me breath through a tube, which measured the amount of oxygen that I was inhaling and exhaling, and had my nose plugged so that I could only breath through my mouth. I then got on a treadmill and ran at a 1% grade at speeds that increased every 2 minutes until I reached my threshold (basically until I started breathing very heavy and was getting tired). Then the speed was decreased by 1 mph and I started into the climbing phase of the test. This is the last part of the test where you run for as long as you possibly can while the incline increases by 3% every minute.

This was an amazing test for me, as it showed that I have improved my VO2 max over last year's 66.5 ml/kg/min to this year's 70 ml/kg/min. The test also showed that my heartrates are considerably lower this year than last year when moving at the same speed, which is a good sign that my training is paying off. And finally, the test showed me that I am stronger mentally than I thought I was, and I can take more pain than I thought I could, which is possibly the most beneficial knowledge that I got from the whole test.

Two days later, I completed the double pole test here in Canmore. Having been just on the verge of getting sick when I this test in June, I was definitely expecting to beat that time, and my goal was to set a new PB (which I set last year at just over 5 minutes). I ended up setting a new PB pretty handily at a time of 4:49, so I was very pleased about that. That afternoon was my last test, the sprint prologue test (skate rollerskiing). Having never done this test before, I didn't really know what to expect, and came out with a time of 3:33. Being my first time doing this test, I didn't really learn anything about my fitness level, but it was still a good hard effort.

I am now enjoying some much needed days off to recover from this past training block and prepare for the next one, which I have been told is going to be a very hard one. And I am very happy to say that today, Oct. 18th, was my first on snow ski of the year up at the Nordic Centre where they have a very nice, 1km-ish loop open.

Tomorrow morning I will be getting on a plane bright and early in Calgary and heading first to Guelph to spend some time with Jacquelyn and a few other friends who are going to school there. Then on Friday night I'll be heading back to Penetang for a 5 day visit with my friends and family. Can't wait!!

That's all for now, cheers!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Time for an Update: Ski Season is Approaching!

Now that I actually think about it, this last month has been both very long, but at the same time feels like it just flew by. The first few weeks of September were fairly uneventful for me, with the exception of the very unfortunate six days from the 8th - 14th when I was sick. While normally I would be very upset about looking back and seeing that I missed a week of training, as soon as I came back after my cold I felt more fit and stronger than I ever have before. So to me, it meant that I just needed some time to reboot the body and ever since then I have been feeling great!

About two weeks ago I finally got to meet one of my new sponsors in person, Jamie Coatsworth. We had a great breakfast and chat up at the Summit Cafe here in Canmore, and then myself and the rest of "Team Coatsworth" (Jamie sponsors a good chunk of the Canadian National Ski Team, and we are referred to as "his team"), threw him a surprise birthday dinner at Ticino's Restaurant in Banff. It was a great evening of amazing food and great company, and we even had some team shirts made up for all of us :). It was great to finally meet Jamie face to face, and what he does for myself and fellow sponsorees is truly incredible. Thanks for everything Jamie!

While on the topic of sponsors, I would like to thank McLaren's Canada, as well as my Aunt Gail and Uncle Stew, for coming on board and providing me with some of the financial support that I need to train and compete at this level.

My next training adventure came last Monday when the Academy and I traveled to Jasper AB for a 3 day training camp. Being my first time ever in Jasper, I had a great time on this camp (though we didn't really have much time to explore the town). It consisted of some trail running and A LOT of rollerskiing. Over the course of those three days I rollerskied a grand total of about 170km, all of which was great training!

We came back to Canmore on Wednesday night and spent the next couple days doing our normal training, and then it was off to Calgary yesterday for the annual Calgary Roadrunner's River Park Classic running race. The weather this year turned out to be a perfect 22 degrees C and a cloudless sky (compared to last year's O degree temperatures and snow). And while the higher water level in the river crossing slowed most of us down, I managed to finish 6th overall, improving on my 7th place from last year, so I was fairly happy with my race.

I am now enjoying a very nice day off to recover and prepare for my next week of training. Tomorrow morning I will be joining the other Junior and U23 athletes of my team for a 1 night trip to Lake Louise for a very mini training camp. From there we will arrive back in Canmore Tuesday night and finish off this week's training, before starting our Fall testing week on the 11th. I am looking forward to getting to test my limits and seeing how I compare to myself last year at this time.

That's all for now!


Monday, August 30, 2010

August Update with the Whistler training camp

What a month! I guess I should probably go all the way back to where I left off on my last post (sorry about the time gap). As I mentioned at the end of my last post, the first week or so of August was a low training time for me, as I was recovering from the 3 preceding weeks of hard training, and it was also when Jacquelyn's sister, Lindsey, and our friend Jeremy from back home were coming out to visit. The four of us had a great time that week, exploring everything between here in Canmore and Lake Louise.

For my birthday we all, along with my roommate Bob, went to Banff for the day to check out what the town's day life was like (I have lived here for 14 months and have never done this, crazy, I know), and then stayed there and enjoyed Banff's night life before walking up to Tunnel Mountain, which is not actually as far as it might sound, and camping overnight. A few days later Jeremy, Lindsey, Jacquelyn and I all went to Lake Louise. The three of them took in the sights of Moraine Lake road as I did my workout for the day, before heading up and canoeing on the lake, which was absolutely gorgeous. (Pictures from these adventures can be found on our Facebook pages). The next day, August 12th, the four of us drove to the Calgary Airport and Jacquelyn and I had to say our goodbyes as her and Lindsey were heading home for the rest of the summer before starting university in September. After a few difficult moments of desperately trying to keep myself composed, Jeremy and I managed to escape the airport and find our way back to Canmore. Jeremy stayed the night and then headed out for Saskatchewan the next morning. It wasn't really until Jeremy left that I realized how much I had become used to having extra people in the house... Everything soon became very quiet around here.

However, my spirits were lifted by that great passion of mine that is now my life: skiing and training. Two days after Jeremy left, myself and the rest of my team packed up and started our trip to Whistler for our 4th training camp of the year. This camp would total 10 days and consist of training in Kamloops, Whistler and Salmon Arm. This was a great camp not only for the obvious reasons like getting to do tons of training in new, cool places, but also because we had a guest coach for the first half of the camp. Peter Larsson, retired Swedish sprinter and 6 time World Cup winner, accompanied us for our first 5 or 6 days of the camp, teaching and helping us with some of the latest techniques and tactics.

After a great time in Whistler, the morning of the 24th rolled around and it was time to pack up and start the journey home. For me, this journey started in Pemberton, about 30km outside of Whistler, where I hopped on my bike and started what would be a gruelling four hour ride with some killer climbs. Unfortunately for me, these climbs were just made harder by my bike having a small chain ring which no longer works. So I spent these four hours in big ring, which may have made me go faster, but it definitely took its toll on my body in the following days. After finishing up this ride, which for me was about 100km and brought me to Lillooet BC, we all hopped in the vans and drove to Salmon Arm where we spent the night. The next morning we woke up and did a great sprint workout in the farmlands of BC before continuing on our way and driving home to Canmore.

I am now finally settled into my normal life of training and working, with some slight changes. I am currently working on changing my diet, which I realize to many people is not very interesting haha, but I am hoping that it will have a significant impact on my fitness level and racing this season. I am also awaiting the arrival of my third roommate, Matt Wylie, who is going to be moving in at some point today.

That's about all that has been going on this past month, so it's safe to say that I am now pretty exhausted, and very happy about this week being a rest week.

Until next time, cheers.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Haig Camp 2010

Two Mondays ago (July 19th), the team and I set out for the Haig Glacier for our third training camp of the year. Despite a very cloudy and wet looking first couple of days, we ended up having fantastic conditions for the majority of the week, which made for some great skiing. From a training stand point, I had an amazing week, getting in over 25 hours of training, and over 200km of skiing. Getting back on the snow also helped to get me all fired up again and excited to start racing this winter.

With the Haig camp also came the annual Academy Disc Golf Tournament, which is put on every year courtesy of teammate Jess Cockney. This year's tournament was full of surprises and was a blast to both compete in and spectate (being put out in a fairly early round, I was able to do a good amount of both). The two time Champion, Chris Butler, was dethroned this year when one of our coaches, Eric Groeneveld, put him out in the semi finals. And after a 9 hole over time and 3 or 4 sudden death holes, teammate Drew Goldsack managed to edge out Eric for the win. While I ended up finishing 9th place overall, I managed to not go home empty handed by getting the only hole in one of the week. So that was my highlight of the tournament.

The camp wrapped up on Sunday for most of the senior athletes, while myself and about 9 others ran out on Monday. So I am now back in Canmore with one last week of heavy training before I will be treated to a much needed rest week to both recover from these past few weeks, as well as to prepare for our next camp in Whistler. I have resumed my job at Boston Pizza, and yesterday I also tried out busking at the local weekly market. The idea was put in my head by a couple of my teammates while on the glacier this past week, so I thought I would go out and see how I could do. I ended up making $15 in about 90 minutes, and despite being a little nerve racking at first, it was pretty fun. Now I just have to learn some more songs and try to find more opportunities to do it.

Jacquelyn and I are both eagerly awaiting next week, as her sister and one of our friends from Ontario will be joining us for a week which, as timing would have it, puts them here for my rest week as well as my birthday.

So, as I mentioned in my last post, I did get some pictures from the camp, and I have posted them on Facebook. Here is a link for those who are interested:


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer time!!!

As I mentioned in my last post in June (I apologize for the big time gap between posts), this past month has been a very exciting one. Picking up where I left off, I had the pleasure of joining the Parker family in the Canmore "Try-a-Tri" triathlon on June 20th, and it was lots of fun. I ended up posting the fastest time on the bike by almost a minute (over 9km), so I was pretty happy about that.

The next week was the team's first testing camp of the year, and while I had been looking forward to it for months, I unfortunately got sick at the beginning of that week. So after discussing it with my coaches, we agreed that the upcoming training camp in New Denver was much more important for me than the testing camp, so I took about 5 days off training, missing the testing, but was able to recover in time to join the team for the 3 day camp in B.C.

This camp was very fun, as it was lots of training and lots of km's. The first day was our long road ride around the Silver Triangle (New Denver to Nelson to Kaslo to New Denver). Hats off to teammates Kevin Sandau and Graham Nishikawa for being the only ones to complete the 220km loop, taking them a total of just over 7 hours. For myself and many of my other teammates, we stopped at the 170km mark, which for me took a total of 5.5 hours. The rest of the camp was spent running, ski walking and rollerskiing, and of course, the warm up game for the "World Series" (if you will) baseball game which will take place at our camp in Whistler next month. This game was a bit of a blowout (24-12 I believe was the final score), so team Pepper is going to have to pull up their socks if they want to compete with Team Salt in Whistler.

We arrived back in Canmore the evening of June 30th, at which time I was greeted by Jacquelyn who had arrived that afternoon. The next day I had the Canada Day running race, which went far better than I expected, as I won the 18 and under age category and was 13th overall. A couple hours later my teammates and I got into our Academy race suits and cowboy hats and rollerskied through the Canada Day Parade, which involved our usual short sprints and horse-mess dodging.

The parade was the end of my busy couple weeks, and then I was treated to a much-needed rest week last week. This week I have been ramping up the training again in preparation for my next training camp on the Haig Glacier, which will be taking place next week. VERY EXCITED!!! I am hoping to get some pictures from that camp, so I will try to get them up as soon as I can after I return from the Haig. Until then, Happy Summer!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Feeling like an overdue update

These past few weeks haven't been tremendously eventful, however I feel like I should be doing an update, so here goes. Last week I started my new job at Boston Pizza here in Canmore, and it's looking like I'm going to enjoy it once I figure out what I'm supposed to be doing. The people are great, and the manager is awesome when it comes to scheduling my shifts around my training, so I'm pretty thrilled about that. I'm not a huge fan of the first few weeks at any job, as it can get a little stressful when you know you should be doing something, but you don't know what or how. So I figure by July I should be a little more comfortable there, so I'm really looking forward to when that time comes.

These next couple weeks should prove to get pretty exciting/fun starting next Sunday, as my schedule will be slightly less monotonous. Next Sunday I'll be doing a very short bike portion of a triathlon here in town, and then I will be riding from that to Sunshine, on the other side of Banff, to meet up with my team for the remainder of my workout. Next week is the team's first testing week of the year, so throughout the week I'll be doing a VO2 max test in a lab in Calgary, as well as an uphill time trial and a double pole test here in Canmore.

After a couple days of rest, the team and I will be traveling to Kaslo BC on the 27th for our next training camp. While it will only be a 3 day camp, it's sounding like it could be a tough one. Our first day we will be setting out on our road bikes with hopes of riding the Silver Triangle. This is a loop that goes from Kaslo, to New Denver, to Nelson, and then back to Kaslo. In total this route is around 220km, and by the sounds of things we will be riding a total of 6 hours that day. So while it is very unlikely that we will complete the whole ride, I'm very curious to see how far we make it in 6 hours, and how well my body takes it. Having never spent more than 4 hours on a bike, I'm very excited!

After a couple more days of training around Kaslo, I'll be arriving back in Canmore the night of the 30th, by which time Jacquelyn should be here! The next day being Canada Day, I'll be getting up early to run in the annual Canmore Canada Day running race. That will be followed by the parade, which the Academy is once again going to be a part of, so I'm looking forward to that too.

So ya, not much happening right now, just the usual eat, train, work, sleep, repeat. But very exciting times to come!!


Friday, May 28, 2010

Thank you Sponsors!

While there is nothing overly exciting going on here in Canmore at the moment (despite the frigid temperatures and snow :( ) I thought I would do a brief post to thank my two newest sponsors, Midland Ski Club and Jamie Coatsworth, for coming on board and supporting me in my Olympic dream! Your support is tremendously appreciated because, without all of my sponsors, I would not be able to live here in Canmore and train with the best of the best. So to Midland Ski Club and Jamie Coatsworth, along with all of my other sponsors, THANK YOU!!!!!

P.S. Today is also Jacquelyn and my 1 year anniversary, so happy 12 months Jacquelyn!! :) xo

Monday, May 17, 2010

First Camp of the 2010 Off-Season: Silver Star B.C.!

For the past seven days, the team and I have spent our time in the beautiful Silver Star, British Columbia for our first training camp of the year. Being my first time ever going to Silver Star in May, I was shocked to see how much snow they still had and how incredible the conditions were when we arrived on May 10th. Thanks to the 20+ degree temperatures however, I don’t think they will be skiing for very much longer.

We skied every morning, except Wednesday, with great snow coverage and temperatures up around 20 degrees Celsius! Talk about prefect spring skiing. I also got to ski on trails which I didn’t know that Silver Star had, so that was lots of fun. We had 2 afternoon workouts throughout the week as well, one being a strength workout at a gym in Vernon, the other being a track running workout. Due to some problems I have been experiencing with my Achilles, I was not able to partake in the track workout on Friday. So instead, I was driven down to Vernon with my bike, and got to ride back up to Silver Star. I knew this was a hard ride, being about 20km of climbing a mountain and all, but I had no idea those hills were so steep. I completed the ride in just under 1 hour and 20 minutes, with some pretty shaky legs. But when I arrived at the top, I was able to look down the mountain and see the city of Vernon, and how far I had ridden, so that felt pretty cool.

Wednesday morning was our one morning that we did not ski. We left our houses in Silver Star and drove to Armstrong to begin our 100km bike ride. This was an awesome ride, taking us just over 3 hours to complete. Having done this ride before I climbed up to Silver Star Friday afternoon, I would have said that one of the climbs in Salmon Arm was the biggest climb I have ever done, spanning a mere 2km. That being said, it was still a pretty demanding climb, on which our group of riders went from 7 or 8 at the bottom to 3 at the top. Luckily, Eric, one of our coaches, was waiting for us at the top with some more fluids and energy gels.

The camp wrapped up yesterday, Sunday May 16th, with a classic sprint workout in the morning. From there we went back to our houses to shower and clean up, then began the 6 hour drive back to Canmore. Now that we are back, I am back to my usual routine of training and working. Our next camp will be sometime near the end of June, which will be immediately followed by the arrival of my girlfriend, Jacquelyn, for a visit here in Canmore, so I am anxiously awaiting both of those events. CAN’T WAIT!!

That’s all for now,

Happy training!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

New house in Canmore!

Hey Everyone!

Gotta run! Hope everyone's having a great beginning of May!!!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It's almost Training Time again!!!!!

Hello all!

It's almost May 1st! But I'm sure you all know that.

Last night just after midnight I rolled into Canmore to begin the next chapter of my skiing career. I have spent the last 4 weeks back in Penetang, ON for an amazing visit with my family and friends. It was a great month of relaxing, recovering from another great season, spending quality time with loved ones, and of course, eating my mother's incredible cooking!

While training was at a minimum for those 4 weeks, my mind was still very much in skiing mode, as I was anxiously awaiting some very exciting phone calls. I am proud to say that I have once again been selected as an athlete on the Alberta World Cup Academy team for another year, and I am even prouder to say that I have also been selected for the 2010/2011 Canadian Junior National Ski Team!!! Needless to say, I am incredibly happy with these developments, and cannot wait to get back to my training!

Now that the 2009/2010 season is officially over, I have had some time to look back on it and realize a few very important things. It was a great season. The coaches and athletes who I have met out here have made my first year in Canmore such a great experience, and are a huge part of my accomplishments this past season. And before this great experience could even get off the ground, it was my sponsors who made this dream of mine become a reality. Salomon has been a tremendous sponsor for the past 3 years, always giving me the fastest skis possible. And to my sponsors from back home, Twin Lakes Motor Club, I.B.E.W. Barrie, Tiny Trails Lion's Club, Midland Lion's Club and Midland Civitan, this whole experience started with you. So from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

Now on to the 2010/2011 season! I want to thank Septic Consulting and Design as well as Georgian Bay Transport for coming on board this year and supporting me in what I know will be another great season! With my first training camp in less than 2 weeks, I cannot wait to get back on the roads and get some solid training hours under my belt.

That's all for now!


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Nationals 2010

From March 12 - March 22nd I, along with about 400 skiers from across the country, traveled to Whitehorse, Yukon to compete in the Canadian National Championships. It was a great week of racing with great conditions and lots of exciting racing.

The first race was a classic Team Sprint in which I competed in the Open Men's category with my teammate Bob Thompson. We did a lot better than I was expecting, and just narrowly missed qualifying for the final. Being our first year in the Open Men category, we were fairly pleased with our result.

The next race was the 10km classic interval start two days later. This was a 2 lap race in which I managed to ski my way to a 9th place finish in the Junior Male category. I was really hoping to get a top 10 in at least one race during the week, so I was pretty happy with achieving that goal in the first race.

The next day however was not quite as good a day. I decided to try a different binding set up on my skis for this race in the hopes of being able to shave a few seconds off my time. Unfortunately, I really should have practiced on this new setup before hand, as it resulted in both of my feet falling asleep half way through the race. This made it very difficult to ski the last 7.5km of the 15km skate race, and I finished in a disappointing 29th place.

The next race, last Friday, was a 1.2km skate sprint. I was very happy with my qualifying result, qualifying 9th in Junior Male, and only 8 seconds behind the fastest Open Man. Sadly, the heats did not go so well, and I did not advance past my quarterfinal. It was still a very exciting, and even shocking day for Joey Burton and Bob Thompson from my team however, as they finished the heats in 2nd and 3rd places respectively. Being Bob's first time this season making it past the quarters, it was an amazing day for him.

The last race of the competition was this past Sunday, in the form of a 20km classic mass start for my category. Despite the cold temperatures and feeling a little sick in my warm up, I had a great race. I managed to finish the race in 6th place, which was very exciting for me. I also ended up being the fastest for my year of birth that day, which got me my first piece of Hardware. And thanks to that 6th place, I moved up in the overall aggregate standings for my year of birth, finishing 3rd in that.

So while I am a little disappointed that I did not finish in the top 3 in any of the races, looking back, these results are a HUGE improvement from the last 2 years for me, so I am very happy with my week of racing overall. I arrived home in Canmore yesterday afternoon, and will be here finishing off my year's training and working until next Tuesday, when I will be flying home to Ontario for a 4 week visit/rest month. With over 620 hours of training under my belt for this year, I can't wait!

Happy rest month!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Off to Whitehorse for Nationals!

While I haven't competed in any big races since Eastern Canadian's at the start of February, this past month has been a very good month of some solid training, with a couple of smaller local races thrown in there. Feb. 28th I did my longest race ever, at 24 km. This race was super fun, as I felt great for the whole time and managed to finish 4th overall. And to make it even better, it was called the cookie race, so when I finished I was able to help myself to the largest assortment of cookies I had ever seen :).

So now that my season is drawing to an end, my last big races of the year are taking place March 14 - 21 in Whitehorse Yukon. I will be leaving Canmore in a few hours from now, and should arrive in Whitehorse around 7pm local time tonight. I have been feeling great for the last couple weeks, so I'm hoping this high is able to carry on into next week and hopefully bring me some good results. My first race is a team sprint on Sunday, and it will be my third year skiing with my teammate Bob, and we are both looking forward to it. Having moved into the Open Category for this race this year, we aren't expecting medals or anything, but it should be fun to see how we do against the National team guys.

In this seven days of racing I have a classic team sprint, 15km skate, 10km classic, skate sprints, and a 20km classic mass start. It should be a great week of racing, and a great opportunity to discover another one of Canada's beautiful towns, so I am very excited.

That's all for now,


Monday, February 22, 2010

5 Tons of Maple Syrup? Really?

This post is not really an update, more just something that has come to my attention courtesy of a TV commercial. In the Women's Team Sprints in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, a Canadian athlete broke her ski pole, and was given a new one from a Norwegian coach on the sidelines. With this, she was able to still ski to a silver medal. So on that note, well done Sara.

However, as a thank you to that Norwegian coach, Canada sent him 5 tons of Maple Syrup. I realize the thought and sentiment behind this gesture, but lets think about this for a second. First of all, he could share that syrup with his entire country and it would probably still be way too much syrup. Secondly, I can't even begin to contemplate how much money that would cost, both for that ridiculous amount of syrup, as well as shipping it (5 tons!?!) across the Atlantic.

So, thinking about the situation from a slightly more logical, maybe even intellectual point of view, Canada could have sent him one bottle of maple syrup, and a thank you card, and we would have achieved the same thing. Then, with all of that money we saved by not sending 5 tons of syrup, we could have, I don't know, maybe supported some of our athletes a bit? Who are tremendously underfunded in the first place!!!

So there's my rant for the day, hope you enjoyed it!

Cheers :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Canmore World Cup!

After much anticipation, the Canmore World Cup finally arrived, beginning last Friday. Not only was it incredibly exciting to watch the fastest skiers in the world battle it out for the win, but quite a few of my teammates got to race in these races too, so it was really exciting to watch them as well. And to make it even better, 2 of my friends from Midland ON, Angela Schmidt-Foster and her son Joey Foster, came out and stayed at my place for the weekend to watch the races. Angela competed in the 1988 Olympics for cross country skiing, so I was very happy to help her to come back years later to watch a World Cup and relive some great memories.

The races began on Friday with a skate interval start race. The course was a grueling one spanning 5km, with the women doing 2 laps while the men had to complete 3. Being a Forerunner for the event, I, along with about 8 other people, had to ski one lap of the race course right before the start of the women's and the men's races to insure that it was ready to go and that all of the cameramen were ready for the race to start. After my forerunning duties were done, I was able to go watch the race. With the big names like Axel Teichmann (German), Dario Cologna (Swiss), Giorgio Di Centa and Pietro Piller Cottrer (both Italian) racing, I was very excited to see who would come out on top. It ended up being Di Centa taking the gold, with Piller Cottrer and Cologna finishing 2nd and 3rd. The most exciting part of the race however, in my opinion anyway, was Teichmann, who in the last 5km moved from outside the top 20 into 5th place! I was very impressed by that.

The next day was classic sprints, which was I was most excited to see, as my Swedish sprinting hero, Emil Joensson was racing. I had no doubt in my mind that he would take the gold, but I did not quite expect him to do it so convincingly. He won the qualifier, to no one's surprise, and then went on to win his next 3 heats by a minimum of about 50m. I also saw another Swede with a very interesting and effective starting technique that I have never seen before, so that was really cool to watch too. And on a happy Canadian note, our own Sara Renner managed to move up from her 15th qualifying position and make her way into the final and take the bronze medal! This was the biggest excitement of the day, as it gives the Canadian skiers who are on their way to the Olympics a bit if extra hope and momentum as their big races draw nearer.

While these were the only two races that took place for this world cup, there was also a lot of excitement going on all weekend in town. From Thursday - Sunday night, the main street in Canmore was turned into a ski trail, as the town trucked in loads of snow in order to hold fun little events all weekend on the main street. I competed in a relay on Friday night with two of my teammates, Lucas and Bob, as well as Beau Thompson, who is a biathlete living in Canmore. It was a very interesting relay, as it wasn't quite just sprinting up and down the road 4 times. This relay involved each member of the team having to complete a certain task during their turn to ski. These tasks included carrying an egg on a spoon, throwing bean bags, hoola hooping, and my task, saying "She sells sea shells by the sea shore" 3 times after I skied, with 3 crackers in my mouth. Just so we all know, it's a lot harder than it sounds :).

My last bit of excitement for the weekend came on Sunday night, when a group of us skiers got together and played hockey on one of the outdoor rinks in town. Having only played, or even skated for that matter, once in the last 7 or 8 years, I was curious to see if I could still stand on skates and hold a hockey stick. But to my surprise, I wasn't as bad as I thought I would be, and it was a lot of fun. And what made it even better was that I was able to ski (on rock skis) from my house to the rink, so that made the experience just that much better.

So that was my exciting Canmore World Cup weekend, I had tons of fun and it was great to see Angela and Joey again. Life here has settled down again, but just a little bit. I am anxiously awaiting the start of the Olympics, as it will be the first time I have ever watched someone that I personally know compete in the great event. So, on that note, GOOD LUCK GORD AND MADELEINE!!! :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Eastern's 2010

This past weekend 6 members of my team traveled to Gatineau Quebec for the 2010 Eastern Canadian Championships. Having competed in these races for the past 5 years now and always having a great time, it was a highly anticipated trip on my part. And to make it even better, I got to see my family, Jacquelyn and my old friend Thomas again, as they all managed to make it out to watch me race. Being the only time any of them would see me race this year, I was very happy about it, and really wanted to make it an exciting weekend for them.

The races started out on Saturday with a 10km skate interval start race. With the exception of a little coldness, the conditions were pretty good, and very fast. With the combination of the icy trails and my love for the Nakkertok race courses, it was a very fast, and very fun race. I raced my way to a 4th place finish on Saturday, 49 seconds behind the winner. I was hoping for a top 5 result, so I was fairly happy with my result.

Sunday brought with it slightly warmer temperatures for my 15km classic mass start race. Classic mass start races have always been one of my favorite types of races. It's the excitement of a mass start without the high risk of broken equipment and crashing that comes with skate races. Seeded 4th starting the race, I had no problem staying at the front and avoiding any potential crashes that could have held me up, so I was pretty happy about that. The race was very fun, I ended up leading a bit more than I had hoped I would, but it worked out pretty well for me in the end. I managed to hang on for a 2nd place finish, 1.3 seconds behind the leader, so I was pretty happy with that. This race was also another good reminder of what I have to work on in the future, so it was a very good day for me.

After the race on Sunday, I said a sad farewell to Jacquelyn and my family, then set out to kill some time before our 7:30pm flight. We found ourselves in the Ottawa market where we had a late lunch, then headed to the airport to await our flight home. I ended up getting back to my home in Canmore around 12:30am (local time), in a very tired state.

So, that was the Eastern's 2010 adventure, another awesome weekend in the books. Big thanks to my parents for bringing more food than my Canmore kitchen has ever seen (and of course for coming to see me :) ), and to Jacquelyn for making the long trip to come see me race!

That's all for now, Happy February everyone!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Super Tour races in Washington

Last Thursday part of the team and I traveled to Washington where I competed in my first ever races in the U.S., which were also my first ever Super tour races. The Super Tour is an American race series that goes on over the course of every season (in case you were curious). This was an awesome weekend for me, with Saturday being my first of the season where I actually felt really good.

So the weekend started off on Saturday with skate sprints. Being my first time racing in the U.S., and being one of only three Canadians in my category, I really had no idea what to expect after my qualifier. It felt pretty good, and I ended up qualifying 4th in my category (1st of those 3 Canadians). This gave me some good confidence going into the heats in the afternoon. Lucky for me, as the day wore on the icy race course became a little softer and by the time my heats started the snow had turned into my favorite kind of snow for skate sprints. I was pretty happy about it. So my heats started with my quarterfinal, in which I was able to let up with about 100m to go to take the win and advance to the semifinals. The next two heats, the semi and the final, required a bit more effort on my part, but I managed to keep the trend going. I ended up leading all three of my heats on Saturday from start to finish, and capturing my first Super Tour gold medal. As you can see from my new Blog picture above, I was very happy about it.

Sunday's race was a 15km classic individual start. I wasn't feeling quite as hot as I had been the day before, but I was still hoping for good things. The course was 3 laps of a 5km course, which was basically one long grind of a climb for a few kilometres, followed by a fast, technical descent back to the stadium. Sadly for me, I managed to crash on not 1, but 2 of my times going down that descent. Not my best day. Despite my crashes however, I did feel pretty good for the rest of my race. So when I saw that I finished 3rd in my category, I was pretty happy about it.

After Sunday's race and awards had ended, we started the drive back to Canmore, spending the night in Vernon, BC. We ended up pulling into Canmore around 3:00pm this afternoon. So now that I am back, I'll spend the next 10 days training and working, and then I'll be off to Ottawa for the Eastern Canadian Championships. I have had some great times racing at Nakkertok over the years, so I am really looking forward to it.

Here are some pictures from this weekend.
That's all for now, cheers!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Best Smoothie ever made

So I got home from training about 20 minutes ago, and, like I always do now, I took out my magic bullet and started contemplating what kind of recovery drink concoction I should try out today. As you can probably tell by the title of this post, I am very happy with the result, so happy that I am sharing it with anyone who reads this blog. So for anyone who enjoys trying new things, I strongly recommend this:

- Frozen berries (I used strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries)
- Plain yogurt
- 1 egg
- Chocolate milk

Very simple, yet crazy good. As you can see I never measure out how much of anything I put in my smoothies, it makes it more fun that way I think.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Christmas and Trials

A little late I know, but Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!! I hope you all enjoyed your holidays as much as I did mine. I had a great 2 week visit with Jacquelyn and my family, it was so nice to see everyone again. And a huge thanks to everyone who came out to the Snow Dance on the 19th!! Not only was it a great night of music (big thanks to all the musicians who played) and getting to see everyone again, but I can't stress enough how much I appreciate everyone's support in what I am trying to accomplish. And on an organizational side of things, thank you so much to Jacquelyn, the Parent family, and of course my parents. This event never would have happened without you guys, so thanks a lot!

As I mentioned before, I had a very nice visit home. Christmas day was definitely a highlight, what with having both my family's and Jacquelyn's family's Christmas dinners in one night. And just getting to eat my mother's home cooked food every night was a very nice change of pace.

After my visit home I traveled straight to Val Cartier, Quebec for World Junior Trials. This event consisted of three races, a 20km pursuit, skate sprints and a 15km classic race. While none of these races were very spectacular for me, they weren't bad races either. I ended up 16th in both the 20km pursuit and the 15km classic, and qualified 14th in my sprints.

With the last of these races being this past Tuesday, my journey back to Canmore began Wednesday afternoon. With a 3 or 4 hour lay over at the Montreal airport, my flight didn't arrive back in Calgary until just before 11pm Wednesday night. From there I said farewell to my teammates and found my way to one of the hostels downtown Calgary. This was my first time staying at a hostel, so I was hoping for some excitement. However, I was only really there from 1:30am - 6:45am, so needless to say, it was pretty quiet. I then made my way to the Passport office to take care of some better-late-than-never business, then I managed to catch the early bus and be back in Canmore by 10:30am. It was a very busy, yet fun and productive morning.

So I am now back at my place in Canmore, and my newly constructed mattress bed, our new couch, and of course my new can opener and magic bullet, are all making it feel even more like home. I am going to be staying here for another 5 days, and then I am off to Winthrop, Washington for a couple Supertour races! Being both my first time to Washington and my first Supertour races, I am very excited.

So, I think that about covers this past highly eventful month. That's all for now, Happy 2010 everyone!!