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!