Intro

Welcome to my blog! This is a site where you can keep up to date on my life as a full-time athlete in the sport of cross country skiing. You can expect regular updates throughout the year as I report on training, racing, life in general and maybe even some school. Sponsors, family, friends and fans: Enjoy!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Long Awaited Party

Happy holidays everyone! Greetings, from Canmore! Canmore??? Ya, I guess it's Canmore...almost wasn't though. Just drove out from Whistler yesterday on a journey of a drive that was plagued with idiot drivers and accidents every 5 minutes.

To bring you up to speed on things lately: after a lackluster start the season, I joined the YK crew for a week of training and then racing at the Alberta Cup on the weekend. I guess the Northern crowd brought some cold weather down with them so the races were cancelled and we ended up skiing in -30 all week. The first day nearly killed me, not only were my lungs shot from the 15 km classic from a few days before, but about 98% of my skis of the year up to that point were in no colder than -5 degrees C. Long story short, I was a wuss. Things changed dramatically though with the arrival of a well broken in neckwarmer special delivery by Marsha and John Argue. In its maiden voyage of '08 I had a staggering revelation. Maybe not quite staggering, but a revelation nonetheless that perhaps pleased me and put a smile on my face. I realized that one of the major joys of skiing, for me, is being out in a nice -25 day breathing through a disgustingly smelly, wet on the inside, frozen on the outside (and therefore misshapen) neckwarmer. It brings back fond memories of trudging around in the wilderness of Yellowknife, out living off the land, haha.

But after a great week of training with a very large and highly motivated group of youngsters led by Corey "Rock and Ice Ultra's got nothing on me" McLachlan, I went back to the sacred Van 2010 grounds of WOP with National Team skier Sarah "warm air only" Daitch (go figure, she's from Fort Smith and couldn't handle a Canmore cold snap). The conditions were amazing at the Olympic Park, feet of snow and more and more trails being opened by the hour under the constant snow storm that is the Callaghan Valley in the wintertime. I had a few wicked skis, explored as much as I could. For some reason, or more likely many reasons, I got a cold on Christmas Eve. I drove Daitch to the airport through some SKETCHY conditions in Van and spent xmas with my Mom and my Gma (my entire family was split up and diffused across the land). Soon after xmas I made it back to Weasel Town, had a great evening with the O'Heany's and co and then the following day started "the journey" that miraculously, ultimately ended with me in Canmore.

A-Hop struttin' his stuff. Corey had to bring him up to speed on what the T-shirt meant. MC Hammer, baby. Alex is a deceivingly large Juvie Boy who has a very healthy outlook on skiing for the long-term. His goal is to compete at World Juniors as a last year Junior. He is young and has much to learn but luckily all he has is time. But don't we all...

Some strength at the expanded Bill Warren weight room. I hadn't done strength in weeks and was completely shredded for a solid weak thereafter. Same with Argue. Quote of the day: "I was wondering when the shirt was coming off." - Mikey - as all the YK crowd gazed, transfixed on the rippling muscle mass that is Daitch as she slew a couple dozen clap push-ups.
l
The kids also received a warning not to do the double pole machine the way I was. But it all depends on what you're trying to train. Most were training range of motion. Me on the other hand, I was training hand speed. Call it flail if you must.
l
Despite not getting to race, this trip was a very productive one for the young Yellowknife team. They got to train with some older skiers from the North who are still making it happen beyond grade school (Argue, Daitch and I), got to spend an afternoon with Chandra, and had the opportunity to train in the exciting skier environment of Canmore (I joined them for Pocaterra skiing one day which turned out to be an awesome day of mainly double poling for me since I developed this bit of a heel problem that has stopped me from classic striding for the past while). We got to spend a really nice evening at Linda and Blair Dunbar's place, very nice dinner, board games, and then later on, for me, a beer with Corey and a few of the older members of the congregation at the Drake. While staying with the Yellowknifers, I got to try my hand at this board game that Corey had, called "Gobblet". If you ever get the chance to play it, I would highly recommend it. Especially if you have a decorated career of "Connect 4" backing you up like I did. The skills transfer nicely.

On a morning jaunt in Whistler. Alta Lake is frozen solid, time for me to make up for the hockey life I could have had by gooning some Whistler Clown ski bums in pond hockey.


High up on the Callaghan Connector (b/w WOP and C. Country) in the middle of a clear-cut.




If I had a better camera this could be a cool shot - there was a curtain of suspended ice crystals veiling this corner. Its going to take all my cunning to keep up in the blog world with Pate's new Canon Rebel SLR. Ol' crappy Olympus (that's breaking in half) might not be able to pull its weight...


For now I am in Canmore recovering from my cold and hoping to make some final adjustments before trials, chiefly being able to stride again. The new sprint course has a giant, non-double-pole-contemplable hill on it. The CVTC crew is slowly filtering in to Canmore and will be getting gouged with holiday hotel rates. I'm planning on being awake for New Years this year as the Dunbars are hosting a grand evening gala. Action kicks off January 3rd for me with the Skate sprint.
l
Also, albeit totally random, I stumbled across this youtube vid the other day. JACKIE!!!!!!!! (high pitched ninja voice) To understand life, one must understand the magnitude of the stunts performed by Jackie Chan...

Monday, December 15, 2008

It feels like home!

sup,

Just an update on what's new in the world of TD.  I'm still in the rut of text-only blog updates.  Hopefully that will change soon cause even I am getting fed up with this BS, hah!  

So after the trainwreck that was Sovereign NorAm round 1, I rallied throughout the week, put in one or two good training sessions and refocused for round 2.  The team did some extensive travelling throughout the week, part of which I decided to stay away from and keep my feet firmly planted at Ally Bower's (triathlete/firefighter from Vernon who was kind enough to offer Pate and myself a place to stay for the races) pad.  Once the team made it back out to SS, I moved up into the house with them.  It was a very good atmosphere up there; everyone hanging out, playing Connect Four and doing meals together.  It was a good set-up and had everyone pumped to race fast.  

Sensations throughout the week were ok.  I wasn't exactly looking for any particular sensations.  The week was mostly geared towards achieving my goal of being at the start line for my start time.  

Come the sprint day, I felt great.  I had an awesome sleep and had good energy that morning.  I was experiencing some slight tightness in the arms (from intensity a few days before) and in the core (from "rolling-pin") but otherwise was ready to rock.  That's how I felt before I raced, anyways...

The sport of cross country skiing is changing these days.  Last year in the classic sprint at Sovereign we had the exact same conditions, exact same course, exact same skiers and yet only one or two people dared double pole the prelim.  This year there were only a couple who didn't brave double poling the undulating 1.1km.  This is a pretty interesting development, as double poling classic sprints is a fairly new thing, pioneered by the mighty sprintgutta dudes from Norway.  I guess watching these badasses dom everybody in Canmore last year, Canadians have decided that more of an emphasis should be placed on the double pole.  This year everyone showed up ready to rock la double poussée (haha, Lenny!).  And that's what we did.  Those who strode, didn't qualify.  Those who double poled got to fight for who qualified.  Fortunately I was one of the top-30 who managed to get into the heats.  I managed the double pole, but didn't feel fast nor in any way snappy.  I seized up pretty bad in the final stretch and was about 10 seconds off of the first qualifier.  

I approached the heats as if I were to fight for a spot to move on.  I landed in a pretty tough heat, alongside the eventually winner as well as 4th place.  Off the gun I jostled for position and maintained 4th place for most of the race.  I was just outclassed by the 3 guys in front, as they easily pulled away on the climb to open up an insurmountable gap.  I seized up again coming into the finish and was passed by the two others.  I approached this heat with nothing to lose.  Either fight for my spot to move on, or crash and burn and finish last.  Unfortunately the latter occurred.  

On the whole I wasn't skiing very quick.  It felt like I was just going through the motions.  No huge disappointment or anything.  I am committed to long term development in this sport and short-term results are of lesser importance.  I was able to identify weaknesses, and this is what will direct my training for the next while until I have another opportunity to identify new weaknesses.  

I might get that chance this week at Alberta Cup.  There is a classic sprint on Saturday here in Canmore.  Argue, P. Woody and I drove out yesterday and I'm planning on staying the week first with the Cockney's and then with the Yellowknife crew in prep for some more classic sprinting.  The weather is incredibly cold these days in the west, so there's also a good chance the races will be cancelled.  I'm out here now, so I'll play it cool in the hopes that daily highs are warmer than -20.  

O ya, forgot to mention: my lackluster early season racing included another race - the Sovereign NorAm 15 km classic night race.  I was utterly destroyed in this race, but I raced it very smart and paced myself very well.  It was pretty cool and wickedly fun to be ripping around in the dark of night with only some patchy lighting in the best of places.  Big shout-out to Argue who threw down big time in this race placing an impressive 7th.  Not quite good enough for the awards ceremony - maybe next time.  

Results can be found at zone4.

In the meantime, out here in Manmore, I'm reacquainting myself with the bitter cold.  Nice to have the good old familiar feeling of -40.  It was even pretty awesome racing the night race in close to -20.  It felt like "real skiing".  First dose of that that I've had this year!!  

Taker easy.

T

Sunday, December 7, 2008

When fate shovels poo in your face

I guess it's better here than at Trials in Canmore...

This weekend ended up being a disaster.  I was feeling great going into the sprint race.  I was skiing well and fast and was ready to unleash.

Here is what my race morning looked like for Sprint day taken straight out of my race plan book:

6:15 Wake up

6:30 b-fast (bring oatmeal to race site too)

7:30 depart

8:00 arrive

- ditch stuff in lodge

- test skis

- give skis to Amy/Erik

- get bib

 

8:30 warm-up 30 minutes

20 min even pace LBP-20 w/2 x 2 min JIB (Juergalyzer inhalation breathing (resistance to prime respiratory system))

2 x 2 min z4

2 x 45s HARD

 

9:00 in lodge to change into race suit, BREATHE RIGHT + GEL

9:07 get skis

9:12 at start

9:18:30 START

The only problem with this plan is that my race start was actually at 9:03:30.  Somehow both Pate and I had interpreted that race start time was 9:15 and so we both botched our start times.  Pate was the lucky one to see me in the lodge struggling to get my race suit and bib #14 on as racer #10 zoomed past the building, so he managed to figure out he had 15 minutes less than he originally thought he had.  

I still managed to ski the course, just my sprint was a little longer than most due to the extra sprinting around to get skis, ditching warm-ups by the day lodge and skiing down to the start area as #13 went by (15 s starts!).  I got behind the wand at the 4 s mark after when they say "go", so technically if I had been there 1 second earlier I could have posted a legitimate qualifier without time added on.  After them figuring out what to do with me, they sent me to another lane next to the wand and said I could go from there.  But with nearly 15 seconds tacked onto my time (like 12 or 13 probably, I could hear Kevin Hochtl start right behind me).  I can't remember parts of my qualifier.  I just know I was skiing like crap and was so wound up emotionally that I skied like a hack.  

Needless to say, I did not move on and my day was done.  Such a shame as I had an awesome warm-up, had a dialed race plan and had some incredible boards (apparently with the wrong grind though).  Kate Brennan would call this “Amateur Hour”.

I decided that since that day was a write-off I would try to get registered for the 15 km skate the next day.  I wasn't planning on doing this race as I was counting on having a long and hard day of heats the day before.  The lady in the race office was kind enough to put me in and give me a chance for redemption in possibly one of my worst events.  

I was actually pretty pumped to try this race out.  I love my new Alpina set-up cause it doesn't cut off circulation to my feet unlike the Salomon S-labs.  My new skis feel awesome too and I know my shape is fairly decent now and I was feeling fine at the high altitude (due to our camp earlier in the month and the intermittent hypoxic training I have been doing maybe).  

The night before the 15 km, Pate cooked up a measly dinner of pasta.  While stuffing my face with pasta I was reminiscing on a past "tortellini experience" at an Edmonton Nordic practice from a few years back (Curtis probably remembers).  Coincidentally later that evening I started to have another "tortellini experience" that had me up for most of the night going to the washroom in a cold sweat.  

Thing's hadn't improved much by the next morning so that put the icing on the cake to this disastrous weekend.  

Lessons learned.  No more missing starts cause from now on I'm triple checking and cross checking my start time.  And no more tortellini and cheap pasta sauce on race night...  On Saturday I was the numb-nuts.  But with some special words of encouragement from a few close friends I am now coming to grips with the mistake and moving on – so thanks to you who lifted my spirits up, you know who you are.  It’s important not to dwell on this and to move on. 

Time to regroup and get my act together.  

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas morning and I'm pumped.

Alrighty, first race Saturday.  1.1 km Skate sprint at Sovereign.  Tons of the best Americans and "more Canadians than you can shake a stick at".  

If you asked me last weekend how I was feeling going into my first race I would be a little bit worried.  Last Saturday I did my first hard skate intensity of the year (besides a skate sprint this fall).  I did some intervals  that were 1 minute-ish long.  Rest varied between intervals along with terrain.  One thing didn't vary though: sensations (bad).  It was soft and unevenly groomed at WOP.  Technically I was poor; trying to navigate my way along the more solid looking patches while attempting to ski with a long pushing phase for the soft conditions.  I was seizing up quickly and not recovering between "ons".  All in all I felt like crap.

3 days later (Tuesday) I did my 2nd hard-ish skate intensity.  It was something like 5 x 2 min up Callaghan Country mainline (WOP was in shambles) with Pat and Pate.  The old-school Fischer rock skis could not handle Pat's pimped out, Caldwell shop-tuned Madshus, nor Pate's last season's Atomic race skis on the flat sections, so I had a lot of time on my own to think about what I was doing and try to figure out a way to ski with my poles sinking 6 inches into the snow each pole plant.  I ended the day with much more positive sensations than the Saturday workout.  I was breathing strong, maintaining form and recovering well.

Now bring us up to today, Thursday.  T-minus 2 days until the first race.  Yesterday we got in to Vernon.  This morning we did a skate ski up at the race site.  O ya, by the way, this morning ended up being Christmas morning because of all the new gear I got.  I was talking with the girls about what I was wearing out training.  Nearly everything I had on or was skiing with was on its maiden voyage!  New skis, boots (new brand too!  I'm happy to announce that I am now a sponsored Alpina skier), pants, jacket, toque - like Butler said - I was a new man.  He didn't even recognize me.  I also did some fast stuff today.  Feeling even better than Tuesday.  Pretty good trend to have going into a race, constant improvements leading up to.  Confidence abounds.  Expectations for the weekend aren't huge though.  This race doesn't mean too much.  Mainly just points and experience.  My main objective is to get into some heat skiing and ski well there.  That means I first have to qualify top-30 with all of North American in the hood.  Like I was saying, good to have confidence on my side.  

Glad I finally had something cool to talk about on my blog!  Well, maybe not cool...  I tend to keep my training diary to my training diary but there's so much excitement leading into the first race with all my skiing buddies around and the first opportunity to prove myself quickly approaching that I had to mash up a quick update to letchyall know that it's all good. 

The rock hard conditions at SLNC might be softening slightly with snow in the forecast before Saturday morning.  

Time to gear up.

tdhont

PS - you are lucky I didn't bore you with a "random thought" blog update with random facts about my year from iLog along with music reviews and other absurd topics.  The post is just rubble from a brainstorm that will sit around and fester until I go through another period of meager blog writing topics.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turn up your speakers.

These guys have too much fun.  




And yet are the most dominant sprinting force on the planet.

Friday, November 21, 2008

WOP Unleashed

Talk about perfect timing.

There were mixed emotions leaving Silver Star after an incredibly productive camp where very smart and efficient training was coupled with an awesomely relaxed atmosphere in the company of very interesting and entertaining individuals. We were sure we were being sent signals to stick around a bit longer, as snow dumped on the Star, the sun shone brightly, and every traffic light turned red on our way through Vernon on our journey back to the Sea to Sky. Pat especially was experiencing anti-homesickness as he wailed and carried on about returning to the rainy, cold, gloom-fest that is Squamish at this time of year. Things continued to look promising on our journey back as the light cloud cover quickly turned to torrential downpours along with warm temps as we approached Vancouver.

Once arrived in Squamish, it was expectedly, disappointingly rainy. Pat's body convulsed in weeping shudders as he was overcome with grief over the less than wintery conditions. That kid loves snow and everything involving snow including Silver Star.

We all thought that Erik's constant snow-induced fist pumps would all but fade from our lives for the foreseeable future.

After bumping into Emily, invading her house to eat some curry, and checking out the WOP webcam, we were pleasantly shocked at the display of monster globs of white-ness floating about in the sacred air. Snow-induced fist pumps were yet again induced.

The Neumann and I peaced back towards Whistler. As the heavy rain became heavy sleet, and finally heavy snow, The Legend took over steering duties and veered off the highway onto the Callaghan access road - that thing has a mind of its own. After skidding and fishtailing for about half an hour, The Legend carried us nearer the WOP. The Legend turned off autopilot as we passed a trio of idiotic German snowboarders (who had been up jibbing at WOP) who thought they could conquer the access road's perilously winding road in conditions more slippery than the greased stick in the greasy stick pull event at the Arctic Winter Games. Their Astro van was perched precariously on the shoulder of the road with no hopes of being pulled out until springtime (haha, maybe.).

After leaving the German kids to fend for themselves, we finally made it to WOP. Conditions were very inclement, we got stuck several times in the parking lot. We frolicked about a little bit, laughed gayly a little bit, called people and shouted into the phone incoherently a little bit, and then followed the plow back home to Whistler (for some reason Tapley's farm doesn't get snow but the rest of Whistler does...hmmm...).

I'm not going to lie, I wasn't totally convinced we would be getting snow before the first races. I mean, it's a little bit different than Yellowknife. In Yellowknife there is so much anticipation of the first snow. It gets cold, and things freeze up slightly. From then on it may be days or even weeks before luck gives us a day of precipitation in the form of snow. We know it will come and we know that it will stay - sometimes it just takes its time. Whistler is much different in the way that precipitation is a daily occurance. Temperature is the variable that we always hope turns in the favour of snowflake crystal formation - not as much excitement as YK as the rain here almost always douses any flames of excitement that may be ignited. Today temperature dropped enough for the first time (to any significant level) to barf snow all over the Callaghan Valley.

We are going skiing tomorrow. Hopefully it snows a couple more feet tonight.


The "older boys" contingent of CVTC got on snow at Silver Star. Very productive camp, very pleased.

Our American friend who joined us for some skiing in Silver Star.

Pat and Pate losing their minds in the summer-like conditions. - "I WANT SNOW!!!"

Excited much?

The behemoth has been awakened.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Not that this totally needs to be addressed...

http://www.xcottawa.ca/articles.php?id=1153&PHPSESSID=f93c2c16ad980f8749b12a0c2674d76c

Karl Saidla brainstorms about the different race distances for men and women in skiing and why these differences exist.  

It might be true that these discrepencies are unfounded, and the main one I would argue is the women's 30km vs. the men's 50km.  Over longer distances, women are much closer to men because of the fact of their naturally better developed free fatty acid metabolism.  They can generate much more power than men through this system over the long haul and this is the reason why you see women often competitive if not better than men in ultramarathons (hundreds of km foot races).  The glycogen stores in the body are not enough to be the primary fuel over a 50km, so fat needs to be tapped into as a significant energy source (along with well planned glucose fuelling).  I think the time difference over a 50km between men and women would be relatively small compared to if both sexes were to race a 15km.  

Men's Marathon World Record: Haile Gebreselassie - 2:03:59

Women's Marathon World Record: Paula Radcliffe - 2:15:25

Pam Reed from the states won the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon race down in Death Valley two years in a row (2002, 2003) against current-day super stars like Dean Karnazes (all of you skiers who may remember this article in a mag up on the Haig...).  Mind you, this isn't like an xc 50k that takes you like 2 and a bit hours, the Badwater is usually won in the neighbourhood of something like 27 hours.  

I think that with proper training women can regularly (and easily) crush men in the epic ultramarathons (watch out Zahab!), and that time differences could be narrowed in shorter events like the marathon.  

Gawd, that sounds like an essay...

T

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"The skiers in the West have the right to be a$$holes to Easterners" - Pat O'Brien

For those of you who got pumped with the inspirational post on how good the skiing is in Whistler, I'm sad to inform you that the skiing was very short-lived and the vast amounts of precipitation eventually became rain and all the snow was washed out.  So no more skiing in Whistler.  It is that time of year though, but the zero-ish temperatures have been on the plus side for a while resulting in monsoon season.  

Which brings me to a real update (without pictures though, it was one of those times when you are too preoccupied and pumped to snap some shots).  Yesterday a select few of us West-Coasters made the pilgrimage out to Silver Star.  Jesse, Chris, Pat, Pate, Erik and myself arrived yesterday for some time on snow.  Skied this morning and it was just awesome.  We got a couple inches overnight and then have been getting dumped on all day.  The ski conditions are great all the way around the mountain and we basically have ski in ski out from our condo at Creekside.  Good skis can be used after a short 5 minute walk up from the village (I regret bringing the crappiest of crapper rock skis), and there has to be at least 15 km groomed, classic track included.  It's a huge congregation out here right now.  Most of the National team is out here, some BC devo kids, some BSR and FNSC, and all the regular Silver Star/Sovereign skiers.  The resort is absolutely deserted minus all the xc-ers - sort of a neat feeling to have the whole place to yourself, shared only with like-minded individuals who are both your friends and your competition.

The skiing is great, so all you skiers, get out here!  

Thursday, November 6, 2008

And so it begins. YKI.

Erik knows it.

Pate knows it.

The Legend knows it.


The kids on the block know it.



Do You Know It?




They are rolling some trails tonight, but trails like this one take time. Meters of snow are needed to cover the giant stumps and boulders that are the trails high up in Callaghan Country. Good thing they get meters, and meters of the white stuff.






Monday, November 3, 2008

XCOttawa.ca, you rock my world.

I haven't been blogging lately cause all my time has been spent on XCOttawa.ca, reading sweet articles, like the one about the McCarthy bros and their feathery little friend...hilarious!

The "What the team is reading..." section is completely money, totally reminds me of my childhood searching for any scrap of skiing news on the net.  

EVERY SKIER SHOULD FREQUENT XCOttawa.ca as this list is updated daily and links to very relevant content.   (hope I can get on their "What the team is reading..." roster now!)

Another cool article posted there on STRETCHING, is pretty interesting.  I have recently seen some athletes stretching (static) before various efforts and in one or two situations have heard people ask them to stretch (see below about my request today...).  This season so far has seen a moderately-high lacking in the stretching department for me, but interestingly enough I have been injury free (besides a broken bone) and have felt fine and have never been stiff (except for the odd random macho-strength session recovery period...).  So I've put some thought into what stretching actually does.  Stretching allows for proper (or beyond proper) range of motion when done on a regular basis in a systematic manner.  But how does it do this?  What of the miniscule muscle tears or other tears induced by stretching?  And why would you do this before exercising?  Why would you damage muscle before it is about to be stressed?  Didn't make sense to me...And I only just started thinking about this...  The additional neurologic side/downfalls to stretching (outlined in the article) are of additional intrigue.  And the fact that it has been shown to not reduce soreness when you get or are getting sore (debateable).

Today, before starting to run while measuring VO2, I was prompted by the testers to do some stretches to get ready for the test...I didn't.  

I agree with the article in that dynamic stretches would hold some merit in their execution before exercise or exertion (despite some advice I have heard) if done correctly and with the proper objectives in mind of joint mobility and the potential priming of tendons and ligaments.  

But remember,  a muscle warms up by contracting.  So if you are warming up for a hard running effort, go out and contract some running muscles by exercising (running?) to prepare yourself.  

I'm not saying not to stretch, just make sure you are aware of what you hope to achieve.  For me I am currently using stretching to increase my range of motion in a few areas that are limiting my ability to ski fast.  I am also doing the free drop-in Yoga at Lulu which will give me "strength while lengthened" like my landlady likes to say.  I wonder what that will do for me?  Just remember to watch that sacroiliac joint...it's a doozie.

Come back soon,

T

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mike Gilday - 1000m World Cup Silver!!!!!!!!!!


Wow, I've been in Vancouver the past two days catching up with old friends and watching speed skating World Cups. I have had soooo much fun, just awesome time here in Van. Very busy, very fun. Got to chill with some Yellowknifers, dwell in my aunt's condo (she's in Mexico), push the Fit to it's limits (and give it an upgrade in the process - roof rack), experience "the cool" in Vancouver, and the best part of the weekend was watching Michael Gilday rise to the challenge and solidify his position as a top contender on the World Cup with a silver medal in the 1000m event.
He has been meaning on having a big performance for a while, but short track speed skating is such an unpredictable sport and your true ability may not always be reflected in your result. Everything seemed to align for Michael today, squeezing through to the A-final (with huge celebration on the ice, about 20 victory laps), and then once in the "A" he held his own, showed Ohno who was boss and brought 'er in for one of the most defining moments in this young man's life.
His first individual World Cup medal with more to come. Look for him as a medal threat in 2010. A Yellowknifer going for the Gold, right on.


As Pate and I dropped the girls off at Granville Island we said to ourselves "I want to come here someday to check it out", as we drove off to do errands. Pate busted out the line from "Dumb and Dumber" about us someday getting our break and getting to experience Granville Island on a beautifully sunny and pleasant day in the company of great friends as long as we kept our eyes open. With that I parked the car and we put off Van errands for an hour and a bit as we lounged about the island. Here we are experiencing "the perfect moment(s)". l to r - Jill Gilday, Michelle Bourgois, Laura McLeod (why is Laura always in my blog!)



"Don't take a picture, I'm trying to eat a banana!" - Michie. Michie and Pate enjoying World Cup action. So exciting! You have got to check out short track speed skating if ever you get the chance. You CVTCers who bailed on us this weekend, you missed out! Big Time.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I feel terrible...

I can't believe Sara has been blogging all summer and I thought she had given up on the dream...shame on me...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Wanderlust

(written Sunday, October 12th)

This week can be summarized as the adventurous week of adventure.  It has been a good week, I have done some cool things, learned a lot and doubled the amount of BC that I have seen.  It started with that little escapade out to Vernon to hang with Dr. Sellars.  It then turned into me heading back towards Whistler in hurricane winds, nearly having the Fit crushed beneath a tree on some back road that the Garmin Nuvi sent me on for some reason, and then spontaneously calling up my buddy CJ Moran and spending a solid day in Kamloops in rez at Thompson Rivers University. 

I had a great time in Kamloops, it started with us ripping around Kamloops, busting open the beefy cold air intake on Colton’s G5 on our way to all you can eat ribs night at Tony Roma’s.  The ribs were charred and succulent uncharred ones were few and far between.  Still, good start to the night.  Immediately after we peaced over to the sports centre that is located on campus for some aquatics tomfoolery.  It is by far the most impressive sports complex I have ever been to.  What I would normally call excessive but since everything was being used, I guess not…read the next 4 lines for deets if you require them.  They had two fitness rooms, complete with the full range of cardio machines, weights and everything in between.  It also had a fully lit rugby/football/lacrosse field and soccer field right outside along with an indoor track, a bunch of gyms, a gymnastics facility, a swimming pool and likely much more, as these were only things that I saw making the 100m walk from the parking lots, through the main doors of the complex and into the pool’s change room.  It was a total random idea to go to the swimming pool, I used to frequent the YK pool every Friday when I was a kid, but my commitment has been on a downward slide since.  Actually, the slide was short lived, I have just remained here at the bottom of the slide since the Aquaquests and elementary school.  I had a blast at the pool!  Colton was talking up his swimming pretty good since he has been practicing several times per week for his swimming course which he gets credits for, so I wanted to see this guy in action to assess his potential to put all of his “basics” together into a well rounded triathlete.  Probably a better swimmer than I am technically, but he couldn’t handle my high power output over 25m in the various races we did in various techniques.  In his defense, I was using his goggles so he was somewhat blind, and he was chock full of beef ribs (I ate more than him though…).  I did the waterslide once while Colton did a backflop off the 3 m board, we hit up the “hot” hot tub, grabbed some DQ and headed ‘er back to rez.  Once back we sat through “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, which, by the way is a pretty sweet flick.  Expected to be lame, but surprisingly engaging.  The next morning I went to class with Colton.  It was “remote control quiz” day in Information Systems II, so I decided to take part doing a mental tally of my rights and wrongs as the questions came up on the projection screen.  Seriously hilarious, I almost started laughing hysterically; the quiz was on databases, something I have never ever known anything about or been interested in to any degree.  I will tell you why it was hilarious:  After the prof went over a couple crucial points for the next assignment before the beginning of the quiz, I was able to acquire enough knowledge of the wonderful world of databases to be able to pull off an 80% on the quiz, good enough to put me among the top ranks of the class.  How the heck did that happen?  There were some pretty specific questions in that quiz, and almost every answer I had was complete psychological analysis of trends in previous question’s student answer breakdown as well as trying to get into the mind of the test maker and interpret potentially deceptive options (it was all multiple choice).  I was definitely experiencing a high luck quotient that morning.  Once back at rez, we pounded a multiple-box batch of KD (true Uni food) and hit the road to the coast, me going the North-way, CJ going Coquihala-way to spend Thanksgiving with the GF in Sechelt.  Good times at Thompson Rivers… In a way it made me want to live the true University experience, but then again I think I would get fed up pretty quick with the unpredictable nature of everything that is Uni life.  I like the controlled environment that is the athlete’s lifestyle, saturated with manipulated variables.

Once back on the road, tires filled up to street racing level, I was off on the 97.  Upon turning onto the very first section of the 99, I was overcome with an uncontrollable urge to ride this magnificently smooth, quiet and scenic, mountain road.  I ditched the Fit at Marble Canyon (beautiful place) and took off on the Devinci for a 60km ride.  Great ride, one of the most amazing roads I have ever ridden.  Towering cliffs, crystal clear lakes, rugged semi-arid landscape.  One regret: having not worn spandex or knee warmers.  It was only about 9 C out, so the old legs got a bit chilled in the frigid wind.  I think this did something weird to the insertion of my quads, as the 2nd half of the ride I was experiencing some pain in my left knee and over the next few days a general stabbing pain in both knees with any kind of contraction of these muscles.  Maybe the cold tissue was prone to tears…  Glad I wasn’t buddy who was completing his daily chunk of Lillooet to Revelstoke (338km) in the grand scheme of travelling from Tofino to Banff for a less rainy wintertime.  Upon my return to the Fit I bundled up, gobbled some remaining KD from lunch, and hit the road yet again.  Once at the Fraser River at Lilloet, I was presented with the sight of snowed in mountains.  Nearly brought a tear to my eye…sniff sniff…  But ya, there was a ton of snow in the mountains that had fallen while I had been away.  The excitement of the sighting fueled me to maintain even splits on the Nuvi on the NDub-rough (or rougher) Duffy Lake Road (I fell behind by over 10 minutes last time).  I stopped once or twice at particularly stunning landscapes to snap some photos, but for the most part I was in Gran Turismo mode.  


At Marble Canyon, setting out on a slick road ride.



Duffy Lake with snowy backdrop.

Once back in da W, I rearranged some training with my new found knee pain.  I ended up hitting up the gym for some upper body strength, with some double pole pick-ups as warm-up.  The next day was a solid skate rollerski on West Side where I was nearly smoked by some lunatic in a Durango trying to run me off the road (swerved all the way across from the opposite lane to try to hit me!!).  Drivers: be sure to share the road, it is much appreciated.  Intentionally hitting someone with your car is a crime. 

After a day and a half back home it was off to Van.  Man, I feel like an idiot after not being aware of the insane amounts of congestion at rush hour for vehicles trying to get onto the Lion’s Gate…  It meant crawling about 200m in 40 minutes.  At least I got to mouth “nice car” to some babe in a brand brand new, ’09 racing red Fit Sport…haha…definitely the highlight of the drive.  Got to Lori’s, had some dinner and watched the “Bank Job” and was off to bed.  After not enough sleep I was up and on my way to catch the ferry to Vic where I was to catch up with some good friends who are at school there.

After the 6 hour journey of driving to the ferry, ferrying across to the island, and bussing into Vic, I finally met up with, oh crap, Mr. X’s name is about to leak….sigh…Eric Aitken.  We wandered about for a bit, watched the sickest street performer ever who could scale a 15 foot stone wall in a fraction of a second and could ride a 9-foot unicycle while juggling torches, and then met up with Laura McLeod who was gradually getting into the zone for her marathon the next day.  We had heard that Simon Whitfield was speaking at some gathering point for marathoners, and upon finding the right building, we see Simon and his fam slowly making their way into the building, daughter Pippa Katherine in tow, honing her walking skills.  Simon Whitfield!  Oh Snap!  We got to see him talk a bit, and got a picture.  It was weird meeting him for the first time, it feels like over the hours of reading his blog I have already known him for a very long time…I guess that’s a weird effect of the blogosphere.


We found the Island Farms stand at the pre-marathon free schwag fest.  Laura is enjoying the new probiotic a bit too much...

Simon!!!  and PK with Simon's gold!  Good stuff.  No pictures with Eric unfortunately...maybe Laura can send the one or two that she took of us...


Immediately after the Simon Whitfield highlight, Eric and I checked out the “Alps” Imax feature.  Made me want to become one of them crazy mountain men in Whistler…it’s only a matter of time…  Got in some more chill time that day, then was up bright and early the next day for a quick jog and then it was off to watch Laura run the Victoria Marathon.  Walking to the race site I bumped into, none other than… … …Mike Argue… aw yea.  He ran the half in 1:20:11 placing 22nd with the goal of running 1:20:00 so good on ya Mikey.  Laura improved on her Yellowknife Marathon time of 4:07 to run 4:05 but I think there is still room for a ton of improvement.  She has the motivation to train well so it’s only a matter of time.  In more than one sense…  Also bumped into Perianne Jones at the race site who had run the 8 k (12th in 31:39) and was watching Joel duke it out with the 26.2 (3:22).  Also ran into Roz Smith (former YK Ski Club member-extraordinaire, moved south) and saw some Wongs run (Andy and Dan).  Immediately (and I mean immediately, I literally had to run down the street to get on the bus) after Laura finished I was headed back to Vancouver.  Got back, picked up the Neumann at the airport and it was time for a legendary Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt’s friends’ place.  What a dinner by the way…lots of “order da hors d’oeuvres views of the water straight from the page of your favourite author” stuff going on, didn’t actually eat until 10 pm.  Incredible dinner, I was scoffing at the pitifully small portions of everything that I was eating, but trust me, things added up!  It was the worst when I had 3 pieces of pie…with whipped cream…and then was the heaviest I have ever weighed myself when at the gym 2 days later…

But ya, that was my week of glory, good to have those once in a while. 

Check back soon for a comical post of the most recent of many of me and Pate’s death match challenges.

From cousin Warren...

Champions for Children din-din...


Represent!


Megan Metcalfe and I.  She runs a 15:15 5000m.  And went to the Olympics.  This torch was actually used to pass on the Olympic Flame at one point.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Remember I said something about an insane boot-ski?

This was no ordinary boot-ski, it was very icy and insanely fast.

Thanks Pat for the video.

video

Boot-ski lessons: $50

Learning to fall gracefully: priceless

There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's Mastercard.

hahahaha....ooooh boy....laaaaaaame......goodnight.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hilarious!

Seriously...

Another slightly bigger update in the works...Sorry Jess, it contains text.

T Pain.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

This Suit is Black Not

Are you ready? Get comfortable and dive into this epic. You might want to pack a lunch.

I’m not going to lie; this past semester of school was a terrible experience. I was enrolled in a Calculus course, that thankfully I had done most of in High School, and a Biology course, Anatomy and Physiology. The Calc is normally a 6 month, and the Bio is normally a year-long, but because of how funding from the Gov. of NDub works, I had to finish everything in 4 months. I learned this after already being 1 month into the courses, as there was a big misunderstanding with AthabascaU and I had been misinformed by them – I was under the impression that I would complete the Bio in 12 months, and would complete the Calc in 6 months and would be sitting pretty with my monthly Student Financial Assistance living allowance and all that Jazz. But no, that was not the case, and I entered the semester from Hell. I worked on Bio on a regular basis all throughout the summer but was behind off the get-go and only got further and further behind. I ended up completing over 6 months of course work in less than 2 weeks towards the end of the semester. Calculus I just left to the very end, and attempted to learn some unknown-unknowns in the final couple days before my final through a combination of New Jersey Institute of Technology lectures, my High School notes, the Internet, and only a little bit of stuff that was in the AthabascaU material (they did not cover that last section very thoroughly!!! Grrrr…). I still don’t know my marks, but this is the only time in my life where I am actually seriously wondering to myself whether I passed or not. But ya, this experience has left me mentally fried and scarred and has given me one of those potentially life-long fears of school that will keep me away from heavy book time like that for a very long time. It didn’t help that one of the profs was a complete and utter tool and should never be put in a position responsible for the learning and assessment of young persons looking to further their education. Hopefully he doesn’t read this cause he still has to mark all my assignments, haha. I just read an interesting article (ya, I know, I get to read things without the goal of mindless memorization nowadays!) in “The American” that talks about how less people in the US should go to college. It talks about the whole illusion set up by society that attempts to funnel every High School grad into post-Secondary when there is so much more out there to life and learning and what it takes to have a high-paying career and all that than being forced through (for some) mindless studies. For me, I am embarking on a time of learning, but of things of interest and use to me and for my place in this world. During school I fantasized of all the great things I was going to do the minute I put the books away in a dark corner of my closet (I don’t even know why I’m keeping them…I suppose they could be worth something…definitely not sentimentally…Bio t.book could be cool to look back on cause I guess that sort of stuff interests me from time to time, but usually on a higher level (as Argue and Daitch have dubbed me “the mad scientist of the skiing world” alongside greats like J. Jaques, etc… you know who you are…)). My list of things I planned on doing looks like this:

- read
- make patent (I wish I could tell you, but that would defeat the purpose)
- update blog (smile)
- do yoga (free every Mon. and Wed. mornings at Lululemon in the Village. I’m pumped to spin over, grab some b.fast at Citta’s (I hear their b.fast is legendary) and slay some-slash-attempt to slay some yoga at the Lulu crib)
- stretch (I don’t stretch when I do school)
- Yamuna ball
- Soccer + squash with Aiden (PJ and Jacinta’s 8 yr old son)
- Watch TV
- Draw, do art (I used to be pretty artsy-fartsy when I was a kid)
- Volunteer (to meet ppl. I don’t know anybody in Weasel-town…)
- Take cooking to a new level (for the past few months I’ve been living off a batch of chili I made earlier this summer)
- Make salad dressing
- Get set up for hunting/fishing in BC (me and Pate are gonna start living off the land – the grouse here are the size of turkeys)
- Play guitar (I used to be a rockstar several years ago but have dropped the ball big time. Check way back in my blog archives to sometime last winter and you’ll see some of the skill that I still possess)

Above all though, being out of school will allow me to devote more time to training and doing everything right. No more late night cramming, no more sacrificing nap time for study time, it’s game time.

Exit school-rant theme, enter “real update” theme.

Rewind about a month. I’m on a plane sitting next to a dude from Colorado and a rotund, red-faced Texan who are on their way up to the tundra to shoot some caribou. The flight from Edmonton to Yellowknife touches down in YK to full-fledged autumn season, a sudden change from the heat and sun of Whistler. The moment I step off the plane, I inhale and I am flooded with emotions (sort of) triggered by the mixture of the fall-time scents and the jet-fuel exhaust. The Yellowknife Airport is located at the edge of town, with the highway snaking around it and off into nothingness towards Bechoko and beyond that southern Canada. And it is on this highway that I have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours of my life rollerskiing back and forth during the summer and fall months (which amount to 3 total), on the debris-covered shoulder, dodging the insane traffic that is now commonplace in Yellowknife (and inhaling jet fuel exhaust). It’s a love-hate relationship really…rollerskiing on this road was the environment that I was placed in, albeit not the best rollerskiing in Canada (possibly among the worst), but I learned to optimize my situation and adapted to my environment. We have grown old together and have been there for each other through hell and high water. Airport loop, I commend you.

But ya, so I got back to Yellowknife for a short little weekend stay. Right away when I got home I got reacquainted with my fam’s 2 yellow labs, Misty and Ginger. Since Ginger’s body has passed its prime and has atrophied terribly in her old age, Misty would have to suffice as my faithful companion on a little bush-crashing adventure through the dense marshlands that are basically my backyard. Me and the pooch went out on a bit of a swamp run and adventure and it was an awesome way to get back in touch with the land. Went to see a movie, “Burn After Reading” (never see that movie, it is terrible), with my Dad that night as my mom was hosting a baby shower, so it was nice to spend some time with the old man. The next day I sat in on a little talk that Beckie Scott was doing at the YK Ski Club and then I got to guide a small group of keeners along with Beckie around on a little adventure run (I’m all about the adventure runs, the parents who were following their kids were definitely raising some eyebrows at my, again, bush-crashing and bog running route). It was so nice being back out on the trails there in the fall time. You could taste the snow on its way. It was equally incredible looking over Back Bay from up on the raven hangout that overlooks the outrun trail that shoots out from the ravine – the fall colours and the setting sun on the ever-scenic Old Town and house boats was a sight to behold.




Mulderses and I out on our run with Beckie at "the raven hangout".



That night was the RBC Champions for Children dinner, the reason why I had been flown back to YK. My mom was adamant that I didn’t wear my cord/K-swiss/black dress shirt/white tie get up, so I tucked tail and ponied up some mad chedda at For Men Only. Glad I did so, as I got some good comments here and there such as, “You clean up very well.”, which, by the way, I love cause it’s sort of cool to hear somebody say that you’re looking ever-charp, but at the same time I always get the sense that they are implying that normally I look like a total a dump. Which is totally understandable of course…It’s not like I have a reason to be spiffy on a regular basis… Most of the time I’m that shirtless, bare-footed dude, wandering aimlessly about the neighbourhood in stained and tattered Grad ’07 sweatpants with a months worth of facial stubble covering a months worth of facial grime (haha, this is where the story falls apart, as facial stubble to me is like Johnny T (YKer) moving out of his parents’ place. If it hasn’t happened by age 20, it may never happen. Ooooooo, cheapshot!…hahahah). But no, I have great faith in being able to grow a bushy growth of a bushman beard someday soon, despite being a hairless Métis. I’m all about paradigm breaking anyways, I’m like half a foot taller than anyone on either side of the family has ever been and I’m only 5’11”. I may yet have hope.

Back to C for C dinner. It was a sweet gig, no lie. I didn’t have to speak or nuttin’, just had to show up, shoot the you know what and hang out all night long eating an awesome assortment of awesomeness in the form of food served up by Yellowknife’s own, Chef Pierre (Yellowknife’s food guy). I didn’t even know it, but Brendan Green was at this event so I got to catch up with him which was sweet. It was funny cause I didn’t even have a spot to sit at my sponsor’s table (FSC Architects and Engineers who were there in full force) when I was there, and Brendan didn’t have a spot to sit either, so we hung out on the sidelines during the opening remarks and tried to formulate a game plan with the goal of being able to sit down at some point in the evening. To our avail, Gail Nesbitt, Sport North lady and athlete relations extraordinaire prodded us through the labyrinth of tables and plunked us down at the, you guessed it, Champions Table. Aww yea. It was myself, Brendan, Beckie Scott, NY Islanders hockey great Mike Bossy, and Olympic Silver medalist curler Kevin Martin. What a night! Boy, there were some good stories circulating at that table…what a star-studded, interesting, and down to Earth group of individuals we had keeping us company that night… Did I mention how cool Beckie Scott is? Dayum, she’s a cool cat… On the whole, awesome time. Got to talk to and meet many people in the Yellowknife business World, got to chill with some celebrities, eat some wicked-awesome Arctic Char and prime rib and sip some free wine. Even landed a sponsor on top of everything. Bodyworks Fitness Centre (my old employer) will be providing me with equipment from Rudy Project, Craft and New Balance through the generosity of good old Francis Chang.



(l to r) Brendan Green, myself, Beckie (yes, she is giving me bunny ears...), Mike Bossy, random dude who wanted to be in the picture, and Kevin Martin. Good times, good times.




Beckie donated a torch from Beijing for the live auction. She was parading it about the gym floor for quite a while before my sponsor FSC Architects and Engineers won the bidding war.


Sunday was a double pole with A-Hop and Moses. I took them on the Airport Loop and down Jackfish Hill. Neither had ever done Jackfish before and both were very intimidated. I remember the first time I did it at the age of 5…haha no, I was actually 11, I myself was intimidated. It’s this big-ass hill on the airport loop that constitutes the largest paved incline in Yellowknife boasting a total elevation gain of about 20 meters. Very intimidating for us flatlanders… But those kids done good and got down it with little more than shaky knees and the blood drained from their faces. I shouldn’t call Moses a kid, he’s in his later-ish twenties... I shredded my right hand to pieces on that rollerski with the crappy One Way poles I was using. Good workout though, nice to get back on the ‘loop. It’s funny how I call it a loop, cause it’s not even a loop. It’s an out and back road that you do many times for your workout. Some runners call it a loop because you can run through a section of town to complete the ever-flaunted huge distance of like 6 km that is the Airport Loop.

No trip back to YK is complete without going into the bush and shooting things (or at things). So that’s just what I did on the Monday morning, bright and early. Me and the old man shined up a couple o’ shot guns and drove around on some roads for a bit looking for some prairie chickens. I love hunting grouse, there is always an exciting high-speed chase through the bush and there is always some crazy stuff that goes down. For example, we saw 2 grouse sitting on the side of the Dettah Road, so we pulled over and I approached them, .410 at the ready. One took off immediately as a school bus drove by and flew into the bush on the opposite side of the road, the other one stood there thinking “hah, there’s no way this guy is gonna see me! I’m so well camouflaged!”. I shot at it and the spray of pellets flew straight over it’s head. I guess I was aiming a bit high…I brought it down and bagged number 1. I went looking for #2 in this glade up on the hill on the opposite side of the road. I peered into the glade and saw this grouse booking it back and forth in a mad frenzy of confusion. It stopped for a second and I had a clear shot through a small opening between two young saplings. I took my shot, despite the minimal chance of success at such a distance and with such obstructions. Upon firing the grouse took off and was flying towards another stand of trees when it started to fly straight up into the air. When it was maybe 100ft in the sky, it seized up and plummeted to the ground far below. I guess it maybe had 1 pellet in it that triggered the “fly-towards-the-clouds-and-then-die reflex”. Although certain death must have ensued from such a lofty blown circuit, I could not for all my worth find the bugger. I guess it goes back to them being so well camouflaged… That’s the thing, you can always see them when they are alive, but are nearly totally indiscernible once dead. That’s the situation when you need a dog, but too bad all that our dogs do when out looking for grouse is chase them off… A while later the two D’Hont men returned home from a successful hunt bearing 2 teensy spruce grouse, which would make for a good Northern snack before jumping on my plane southbound.



One of the fastest bird pluckers you will ever find.






Note the FSC hat. Out looking for grouse on Ryan Lake road.


Upon my return to Vancouver, I sealed the deal on a brand new ’09 Honda Fit. I know, I know, rule #1 is to never buy a vehicle brand new… But for me, I have been meaning to purchase a vehicle for the past 4 years or something, and have had this big car fund sitting around since my industrious days of grade school when I worked my butt off at a variety of jobs (I think I went through like 6 of ‘em or something crazy like that…) with the goal of being able to buy a car once I got my license. My license came and went (haha, it never went, I still have it) and I couldn’t make up my mind on what vehicle I wanted. I was pretty close to buying a Toyota Tacoma (by which I mean I really wanted one) at one point when I was maybe 18, but I just had that feeling where something wasn’t right, one or two of the stars weren’t aligning and there was no dice. Then in Tbay I was pretty set on getting a “mature” Subaru Legacy or Outback or something, but again, nothing came around that felt totally right. A friend of NTDC in Tbay owned this car that was totally new and revolutionary that totally captivated me: the Honda Fit. It was very fuel-efficient (a must for me as I try to do my part for the environment but still hold faith in the well-developed technology of the gasoline combustion engine), and very functional with the various options of seating/storage arrangements. These were the two main things I was looking for, so this vehicle “fit” the bill, haha. At the time though, my car fund had not yet come of age, so the Fit remained beyond reach. This year, after wheeling and dealing with my parents a bit about a Bday present slash joint venture type deal, the purchase of a decent vehicle was yet again in the cards, so I began actively pursuing the dream with routine trips in to Van to get my Aunt Lori to drive me around to car lots. After exhausting the car lots in Van looking at a variety of cars, I was beginning to get somewhat fed up. There was this one fit that was an ’08 with low kms that was looking pretty promising, and I was beginning to have some serious talks with the dealer. I was just about ready to go for it when I did a bit of a background check on the car and found that it had been in a serious collision and had been a write-off, so suddenly this option vanished. I checked out many lots, ran into a few shady characters and in the end couldn’t find anything that felt right. I was left high and dry so decided to go talk to the guys at Carter Honda, a 3 block walk from Lori’s. The new Fits were getting in pretty soon, so I figured I could maybe get that to work with a little more negotiating with the bank of Mom and Dad. A little later, and with no more money in my bank account, I was one of the first in North America to drive off the lot in a badass black Fit. We became fast friends and to this day we are close companions and spend a lot of time together.

Before driving back to Whistler, I got the opportunity to watch Mike Gilday race at his World Cup trials. I arrived late in the afternoon to watch a few of the finals, but MG wasn’t exactly on that day as he had suffered a high speed crash earlier in the day and was a little loopy in his later races. It was pretty fun to watch, as I don’t think I have ever seen him in actual competition before. It is such a cool sport, some of the tactics are similar to skate sprinting, but on a much higher level. There is way more to defending your position through track patterns, and way more to recognizing the opportunity to make a pass and capitalizing. Skate sprints are a dumbed down version of speed skating with possibly more brawn than brains involved. But anyways, Gilday was strong enough to qualify for the North American World Cups along with the Asian tour that all starts this month, so be sure to frequent his blog at those times especially.

Passing through North Van on my way back up into the mountains I stopped by at my good buddy Eric Aitken’s bro’s (Chris Aitken) place where he lives and goes to school at Capilano College with 2 other Yellowknifers, Robert Holden and Jon Soderberg. Chris and Robert are involved with the film program at the school and Jon is in the acting program. They have a cozy little basement suite with a swimming pool out their front door where they film the ridiculous facebook videos of their made up band “Rinse and Repeat”. Their place was a complete disaster when I arrived but their hospitality was exceptional as they provided me with a fork to eat my tupperwared dinner as I watched them sorting out a 3 week garbage heap (they missed garbage pick up 2 weeks in a row).

After having settled back into 6424 Balsam, Gilday dropped by for a few days’ visit to check out what Whistler is all about. Too bad the weather was dismal for his stay. He still got in some cool adventures though, like riding my mountain bike around at Lost Lake for a bit and checking out the WOP and watching me get hammered by Pat and Sam in double pole sprints. He is totally jealous of my set-up and seems very excited about the whole Whistler scene. He will be back many more times he was saying. He also liked seeing all of the Vancouver Canucks wandering around the village. I was like: “that’s a Sedin brother!!”.

On September 21st most of the team did the infamous Grouse Grind race. Read up on it on the CVTC blog on fasterskier if you want, and on my earlier post. On a side note on this race though: currently I’m in Vernon, BC and yesterday morning I was helping out doing some tests for lactate and VO2 trends, and one of the girls that we tested was this girl who passed me in the Grouse Grind. Coincidentally I was telling Andrew about the story how she started 1 minute behind me, passed me close to the top and then I made up about 100m on her in the final 400m of the race to nip her at the line. And then totally randomly, I wake up the next morning, prepare breakfast, walk up the stairs to the garage where all the testing is going on and this girl is there! Her name is Julia Ransom, from Kelowna and she is a total legend. Last year she dominated Jesse Winter (who is by no means a hack at running) at this mountain running race in Canmore. Jesse got teased quite a bit about this especially because of this picture Eric had of this 90 lb girl leading him around the course. And this year she dommed me at GG and then showed up at Andrew’s place to get tested, so it was sweet to meet the “legend” whom many stories have been told about at NTDC and this year CVTC as well. Her test results weren’t as good as last time though, as she has had a growth spurt and has put on about 15 pounds and has not gotten used to being so much taller and controlling longer legs. Still would own my soul though in a foot race…

Also on a side note to the Grouse Grind, afterwards when I was looking at the results I found the names of these two guys from Whistler, the Titus bros whom had done notably well in the GG. I had remembered from a Kershaw’s Korner update some time before about this guy who had been on a backcountry ski trip with Devon and Co. whom had been dubbed “The Titus” and was a High School teacher in Whistler. I put two and two together, looked at some old running results online and it turns out that Kevin “The Titus” Titus has these two sons Joren and Morgan Titus and they are all phenom runners and multisport athletes. And even better, they had some profiles of the two sons on this one website along with some pictures of them getting ready for training at their house, and it turns out they live just down Balsam Way about 100m! I have not met them yet, but they seem to be at the top of the endurance sports’ world in Whistler and it would be sweet to get out on a training session or two with the Titus Bros. Talent abounds in Whistler.

As this epic post winds down I figure I should update on something that has happened closer to the present. A couple days ago I took the Fit out on its first road trip. I took “the North way” over to Vernon, BC along an incredibly beautiful drive. The area around Pemberton is awesomely scenic, and is a spot I definitely need to check out a lot more. The road was insanely gnarly for a while especially the 12km climb with “extreme grades”, which the Fit had a bit of trouble with. Bombing down to Lillooet was incredible as well, with the sheer cliffs all around. Would have been better though if I wasn’t stuck behind some ‘fraidy-cat rental RV that was afraid to go faster than 20 km/h down the switchbacks. Most of the drive was with the wipers on, as I went from rain cloud to rain cloud and got stormed on especially hard in Kamloops where I even experienced some hail at the gas station.

I am now in Vernon for the first few days of my rest week talking to Andrew Sellars and getting his take on new physiology research that is changing the way we train. Yesterday I did a talk to an Okanagan regional ski camp that went really well. Really keen group of kids eager to learn and ski fast. Tonight I am fiddling around breathing on a VO2 machine and looking at various trends in both lactate and VO2 at various intensities. Here is some food for thought to VO2 testing that I’ll let you ask yourself: You go to get your VO2 max measured and it is 75 ml/kg/min, then two months later after lots of good training you go back and it is 73 ml/kg/min, but you achieve the same speed at max as in the first test. You ask yourself, “Crap, why am I worse?”. But the question is, are you actually worse? You just did the same workload without having to use as much oxygen. If you can look at your body’s response to different things, sit down and think about it in a critical light for a while and come out of this “thought session” with a better understanding of what is going on in your body, and then change the program accordingly, that is where you are going to make gains.

Challenge yourself to keep learning and think about the process over the long-term. Put the pressure on. Ski season is approaching. Find your limiting factors and eliminate them.

Wow, 4,500 words later…




This is what I wake up to at Andrew's pad. Sun! Nice to get away from monsoon week that is in the Sea to Sky.


Some testing at Andrew's.



And here are some pics from a ride Pate and I did as well as our Whistler to WOP run:


Foggy morning in Whistler. Pic taken near Emerald Estates.



Pemby Valley meadows is dope for road riding! Pavement looks a bit rough here; this was a side road that led off from the main drag towards the Goldbridge road (gravel).



The boys on our 5+ hr epic from Whistler, to the top of Rainbow mtn, over to Callaghan Valley. To the top of rainbow was a solid 2 hr detour. In this pic Pate is getting some help removing the duct tape that was holding his ankle together as it was giving him blisters.




Picking our way through a boulder field. No path to be seen.



Sweet patch of snow that I boot skied down. Craziest boot ski of my life, it was super icy and insanely steep. Pat got it on film, so hopefully I can grab that off him.



Pate "the Colossus of Whistler" Neumann, towering above Black Tusk.


Blackcomb in the distance.


Couldn't help going for a swim high up in the alpine. That's Pat doing his thing...butt-naked.



Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Most Anticipated Event of your October.

Come on people!  I've received a lot of flak - "where are the blog updates", "I wanted to proctastinate, so I went to your blog.  But there were no updates!", "...How are things with you?  Of course no one has heard much about you lately - I'm going to have to ask you to write a blog update" - lots of stuff like that.  

I'll have all you loyal readers know that I have indeed started the super-post, but great things take time.  I'll have you know that I've been busy with other things I have not done in a long time ie. relaxing, and reading for pleasure.

Go out and train and focus on the process for a few days and I will have something up that is worth your wait.  And your weight.  In gold.

Adios.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Frenchmen are coming!

They have updated their site...no new pics or anything yet.


In other news, Mike Gilday has finally made his blog.  http://mgilday.blogspot.com/  It's brand new, but expect exciting new updates on a regular basis.

For me, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Things are getting ugly, but more importantly, things are getting done.  September 30th is Tuesday.  


Monday, September 22, 2008

Lazy Bones

Alright, i just got a message the other day on Facebook from one J. Cockney...er...too obvious...ahem...Jess C, saying that I am a "lazy bones" and that I should get my blogging in gear.  He is right, as always, but i am in a serious crunch at a moment, which is currently broken up by a short recovery period after slamming an Anatomy/Physiology midterm/final back to back, so i'll give a quick update on what's been going on.  And believe me, lots has been going on.

I went home to Yellowknife for 3 days a little while ago so I will post on that once school is done (after Sept 30).  I then got back to Van and purchased my first car (pictures to follow eventually).  Then I came back to W town, wrote an exam, trained a bit, and then was visited by Speed Skating phenom Michael Gilday who was in Van for World Cup trials and had just qualified for the fall WC circuit.  A few days ago we saw the Vancouver Canucks wandering around the Village.  Yesterday I completed (barely) the Grouse Grind race down in Van.  Today it snowed a bunch here in Whistler at 1000m.  

From CVTC blog:


I guess a super-post is in the works, but for now time to go back to the scholarly pain cave.  Of death.  

Also, there is a whispered rumour that M. Gilday is starting a blog of his own...How sick would that be?

In the words of Harry Seaton:  

Do work son,

T