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!

Friday, June 27, 2008

What i have been up to lately.

I would own these guys with the unicycle training i have done lately. Yesterday i did 800 m repeats at the track. I would just spin out and still only be at 14 km/h with the little 20" wheel.

I've also been kicking a soccer ball around a little bit.

There are many things that can improve your skiing. I can balance on a unicycle while pedalling at like 140 rpm and while avoiding the sand patches and pot holes at the Yellowknife track. I can juggle a soccer ball for a few minutes. Balance and body awareness can generate talent.

Remember: make the ball happy.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Athlete of the Week: A Northern Legend in the Making

For the inaugural bi-weekly-ish “Athlete of the Week” series I conducted an interview with one of the current sport superstars from the North. Among being one of the best short track speed skaters in the world, he is also a close friend and we grew up together way up here in Yellowknife, NT. I’m currently in the YK ‘hood so this is the opportune time to be talking about the North in blog articles (and showcasing northern talent…).


TD: Alright, state your name for the record.

MG: Michael Gilday

TD: Now give us a little background information on yourself for those of us who don’t know you. Stuff about your upbringing, what sport you do, how old you are, etc…

MG: Ok, well, I’m 21 years old and I’m from Yellowknife, NWT. I was actually born in Iqaluit, but moved to YK when I was 2. Most of my childhood was spent outside camping, canoeing, at the cabin. You know just trying to take advantage of the amazing wilderness we have in the north. When I was younger I was involved in quite a few sports, namely, short track speed skating, cross country skiing and soccer. I also did quite a bit of mountain biking whenever I could. As I got older, it seemed that I did better at skating so I started to focus more on that while using skiing as a cross training sport (probably was the best sport I could do for cross training I think). I moved to Calgary after high school to pursue my skating career as well as university. I’ve been here for three seasons now, two of which were spent on the National Development Team. This year is my first season on the Senior National Team.

TD: I understand that you hold the 1000m Short Track World Record, could you tell us a little bit about this? How did you do it? What did it mean to break this record and what does it mean to this day?

MG: Ya I broke the WR last October. It was a record that had stood for almost 4 years, and was actually held by one of my coaches, Li Jiajun from China. Except for the 500m, World Records are seldom broken in races that have a lot riding on them because they tend to start more conservatively as tactics play a huge roll in short track. When I broke this record, I actually sort of “teamed up” with another skater, Guillaume Bastille from Quebec and we kind of time trialed the race. We basically decided before the race that we would work together to try and break the record and that’s what happened. In terms of what it meant to me, well its pretty cool to be a world record holder, and I’m happy that it held through the season, but ultimately world records in short track don’t mean as much as they do say in a 100m track sprint. The thing with short track is that its not always the fittest or fastest skater that wins, its often the smartest. That being said though the fastest skaters in the world still win most of the time, its just that it takes more than brawn to win a short track race.

TD: What are your main focuses (foci?) for this year? Any major inroads you want to make?

MG: This year my main goals are to spend a full season on the World Cup circuit and skate individually at World Championships. I have done World Cups the past two seasons and had good results there, but have not consistently made the racing team yet. This is the last full season of World Cups before our Olympic trials, so it will be important to gain the experience of a full season on the World Cup so that I give myself the best chance to qualify for the 2010 games.

TD: You are also an accomplished cross country skier, winning the skate race at the 2003 Western Champs as a Juvie, and there is word you are considering making a comeback some day after your speed skating days. In what form do you see this come back taking? What are aspects of skiing that you enjoy more than skating?

MG: Haha, well we will see about the comeback. You never know after I’m done skating I guess. I still really love skiing and follow it really closely but I think it would be really hard to comeback and try to compete at an elite level. If I was to come back though I think I would concentrate on sprinting, specifically free sprints (I always liked skating way more than classic). Sprinting in skiing is similar to skating in how you go through rounds advancing towards a final. A sprint course also normally takes about as long time wise as our longest distance so maybe my body would be used to that. But like I said I really love to ski and I definitely miss it. I still get out a few times a year at Christmas and in the spring though.

I think what I enjoy more about skiing than skating is the fact that its an outdoor sport. The majority of the training is done outside, doing things that I would want to be doing anyways like road biking, hiking, running, and skiing obviously. Skiers also get to go to all these little places that are outdoor meccas and explore what they have to offer for sport enthusiasts. In skating we are almost always in bigger cities and just get to see what is in between the rink and the hotel. That being said though coming to train everyday at the Olympic Oval, a facility that is second to none in the world, isn’t really much to complain about.

TD: In closing, so as to not make this entry take up my entire blogspot page, I’m guessing you’re probably pondering a little bit about your downtime after skating season. Not that this spring is going to be the perfect off-season vacation, but in your mind, what would be?

MG: Well last season I went and backpacked the Juan de Fuca Trail on Vancouver Island. That was super cool and really fun. But since we are going for the perfect off season vacation, let’s say that money isn’t an issue. In this case I think going somewhere that I could do some downhilling in deep powder and then take a helicopter down to a cabin on a beach with nice surf and few cold beers would be pretty awesome (think New Zealand). In reality though aren’t we going to Costa Rica or Brazil next year? I think that would be alllright, I guess…
Focus and calm are written on the face of G-day at Senior Team Trials.

Gilday racing at World Cups in Japan in October of '07.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sweet. Unicycling Sucks.

About to embark on what i was hoping would be a 10 km unicycle. Ended up being 5km cause of the uncomfortable seat design.

The old man attempting the backyard rope climb. His attempt was a failure today, but some day it will be a success. Right now he's afraid to commit.

Another shot of YK at midnight. Ever light out!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Report from TD’s cave:

Now that my typing speed has finally increased to 15 w/min, I can finally let yall know wassup.

The result of taking a little fall on my bike is a broken hand. I can’t change that and I would have it no other way. I have experienced some big emotions lately.

Anger: that I let a stupid thing like this happen. And the at times sluggish health care system (and faulty – they made me go back to the hospital today cause they thought that another bone was broken in my hand. Thankfully was ok. I experienced a few twangs of anger though upon hearing that I may have to reverse the solid week of healing I had just put under my belt…). In total I spent 15 hrs in hospitals. And had 14 minutes of surgery.

Frustration: ties in with anger. Frustrated with waiting and re-doing things. Its like when you try to save ilog and you find out that your internet connection has gone kaput and you lose a week of well developed thoughts and jamming. Time to re-assess my current position. Like my good friends from Outkast say: “Hold up. Slow up. Stop. Control.” Kate Brennan will make me remember that forever.

Excitement: This is a sweet and unique challenge. It makes me really identify gains and really work towards them taking an approach that otherwise wouldn’t be taken. I’m also excited to hang out with the YK crew and not always with Pate (not that that gets boring or anything…). I’m excited to make some mad scrilla fundraising in the land of big money. “Make money! New money!”. Lastly, I’m pumped for mommy and daddy to pamper me. Cooking me meals and such. Not that it was so bad staying at Lori’s place in Van with my Mexican footman, Marcelo, whipping up culinary delights around the clock.

Apprehension: Where is my shape going to be at going into winter? Will I have the gorilla-man upper body strength that I need for sprint domination? Only time will tell.

All said though, this injury isn’t going to set me back. The training I will be able to do aligns very well with my year plan. B/w now and the start of August, I had 2 main things I wanted to accomplish: attain 6 L volume on spirotiger (meaning TV of 6.5 L or so), and build some major physiology (mitochondria density, capillarisation, and just general improvement of all low-end metabolic pathways) upon which to build a strong high end for early season.

The spiro I have been doing ensures modest maintenance of gains I have made already this year. I have already got to the point where I can push past the 5 L bag (meaning that my tidal volume has got to 6 L or so – I’ve improved about a liter since starting with spiro 1.5 yrs ago). So definite gains have been made with the few focused, quality sessions I have done this week. It is important to be aware of risks that can be associated with Spiro while having a broken bone. Although respiratory acidosis is said to have no effect on Calcium metabolism (unlike metabolic hypercapnic acidosis), I have my little doubts. I should just be cautious and not do any hypoxic work. This is the same kind of stuff that induces and nags at stress fractures (intensity…). This next week I am hoping to add some trainer cycling to the respiratory training that I have been doing this past week. I’ve also been toying with the idea of unicycling around the block a few times (sure to burn – especially the crotch…). I’m hoping to pick up a sporty new cast so that my arm doesn’t get too ripe while packing away the hrs on the bike. I have been knocking back Somppi-amounts of milk lately for bone building. I don’t usually drink much milk. Zach is over in Europe right now conscripting a fleet of skis for me. Right from scratch. He tells me that you can change the sport with the right skis. Hopefully he can pick out some rockets for me so that I can up my game. I know he will. He is the man.

Well, its 11:30 here in Yellowknife and the sun is starting to set (crazy, I love midnight sun!), so like the sun, it is time for me to set.


Buzz Lightyear (haha, B-Ren…(I know there are 2 references to Kate in this post. Don’t get me wrong though, its not like I’m totally obsessed with her! …maybe a bit…haha, ok, I’ll never reference her again...)

Marcelo the man-servant.

Spirotiger means stripping down and watching ski races.

Yellowknife at midnight.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

This is going to be short and to the point.

Yesterday i broke my hand (its tough to type with 1 hand that's why this is gunna be a short post). I have surgery in Van tomorrow. I've got Spiro shined up so gains will still be made in this period.

Hopefully i can type faster than 8 words/minute soon...

The One-armed Wonder. er i guess handed...

The challenge is laid. Bring it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Aight, quickie:

Let's get some vocabulary straight: Weasel = Marmot. Somewhat of an inside joke, but that terminology is now commonplace mainly amongst skiers from NTDC '07 along with a select few others.

Afterall, Whistler is called Whistler because of the whistles emitted by the marmots, aka Weasels.

So yeah, I'm lovin Weasel-town! We are finally getting some sunshine out here. After a big week last week of settling in and skiing on snow, I was drained of energy because of the high stress environment and I currently have a super-light cold. Yesterday I did a short little mtb over at Lost Lake. The trail names are escaping me at the moment, likely due to their abstract nature. Something to do about peaches and paradigms, and some other weird thing... Nonetheless, they worked me.

Today Pate and I did a little recon work in the area looking at possible rollerski routes. Man, we are going to love the r.skiing in the area! Right out our door we have access to some of the best rollerskiing in the country. We even have an Alpe D'Huez in Whistler (some dude went by us in his F-150 King Ranch and hollered: "Where's the Alpe D'Huez?!" and I replied "that way!" and gestured in the direction of the 6-10% grade, 3.5 km Kadenwood hill that we just ripped down). So that's a cool bonus. But anyways, i gotta head out to do some dinner eating and such in the village, so I'm frantically trying to remember my current events.

So yeah, rollerskiing in Weasel-town is tentatively confirmed as awesome. It will first have to stand the test of rollerskiing (no duh!).

Also, I actually got to float on the River of Golden dreams today. On the way back we stripped down and waded into the swift flowing river that goes by "the farm" (Tapley's farm - area where we live).

I didn't have my camera today, but Neumann did so I'm hoping to rip some pics off him for yall.

Keep it real.

D'Hont (do keep it real though...)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Floating Mindfully on the River of Golden Dreams

Give me something to believe. I have moved to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games venue. I am undergoing a transformation now that I am out here; the atmosphere is intoxicating. Desire to race fast is bubbling and frothing out of my mouth like saliva from a rabid dog. I can’t control it, it’s just happening and gaining momentum. I am becoming more and more of a fiend for competition and skiing fast. I was just watching a little youtube video from teammate Dan Roycroft (aka xcgeek) and I said to Pate, “I want to do a ski race”. After doing the season’s first interval session today, I realized that I have been gathering tools lately and that some of these were even put into use today. The hunter-gatherer archetype is prominent in my daily life. Some day I will switch to the honing and sharpening of said tools. It may sound corny, but this stuff is true, believe me. It’s happening to me as we speak…

The Olympics are soon, the season after this one. I will be 21 years old, which is still young for a skier but isn’t so bad as a sprinter. I have accepted that qualifying for the Olympics in 2010, let alone competing in them is not currently a realistic goal. Despite this reality, the 2010 vibe is consuming me and grasping me with its eagle talons and lifting me to new lofty dreams and aspirations.

It really is a great place to be. I am amassing an army of supporters along with the tools that I mentioned above… hahah, hopefully not too many of the supporters are tools too! Or maybe they are? But in a different way? What? Anyways, forgedaboudit… I have mentioned before how Whistler could snowball into greatness as a Nordic ski mecca in Canada. If you think about it, there is no better place as a training base. I have only been here for a week and I haven’t even started to scratch the surface of the monumental potential of quality training sites. Pate picked up “The Insiders’ Guide To Whistler: 99 Things to do” and reading this through nearly put me into a coma upon the realization of the endless adventure that this valley contains. Within the valley you can rollerski for hours on the beautifully paved and vast valley trail system along with the no-traffic Alta Lake road. And if, for some reason, you get bored of the convenience of rollerskiing out your door, you can go for a rip on the Callaghan Valley access road along with the 5km of paved rollerski trails at the Whistler Olympic Park. For running workouts there is some sweet terrain and wicked winding trails over at lost lake that are begging to be explored. Me and Argue hit that up today; it was incredible. (Mike: work on your breathing. You were breathing too hard today.) If you get bored of the like 50 km of entertaining running in this area, why not go for a mountain run up in the alpine? Or explore the 140+km of bike trails in the valley? You will run yourself into the ground and then trample your face into the path before you get tired of going for runs in this area. Guaranteed. Just remember to bring bear spray if solo or in weak numbers. Bears like the training (or is it feeding?? I can’t remember…) in the area too, so we’re not alone. I know this last one I described must have excited Somppi quite a bit, but Somppi, there is more! The ski walking could be sick! Ski walk up, Gondola down. No more ripping the quads to shreds. You Lappe-ites who are just discovering new technologies such as “rollerskiing” and “bicycling”, you can go back to your roots of running and ski walking! This means you too, Timo!

The most unreal thing that will certainly get up and running very soon in the future, is reliable summer skiing. There are 3 locations in the area where summer skiing is possible. #1: Horstman glacier up on Blackcomb. Wake up in the morning, stumble onto the gondola, do what it takes to get to the top, gobble some breakfast, and bang out a big ski up top. #2: Callaghan Country and the glacier up there. It would be about a 1 hr drive from Whistler followed by a short walk/mtb/ski to the Callaghan Lodge and then wicked conditions summer-long up in the meadows and on the 12k-long ice field. #3 Pemberton Ice Sheet. I don’t know too much about this, but head toward Pemberton and up high on your left is a glacier. Somewhere. There are snowmobiles up there apparently, and glacier skiing is a very realistic possibility.

How sick would it be to do half of your summer training on-snow? This is how sick it would be: pretty sick.

I think I mentioned something earlier in the post about insane kms of mountain bike trails. What I say is true. There are lots of trails fo sho. At around 5pm everyday the outdoors is flooded with gangs of buddies just shredding the heck out of the trails. And its sweet how the cheapest bike out there is like a Santa Cruz Blur…which is a pretty sick and expensive bike. The people of Whistler are of a new breed. The code of mtb has been passed down from generation to generation that ingrains the theme of 2 wheels rolling over gnarly terrain and being airborne at times. And it is this theme that holds sway and rules the town in summertime.

There are a few gaps in the descriptions that I have given above, and that is because at the moment I am lacking knowledge. I have heard of a sick indoor facility that holds an exceptional gym for all of you strength junkies out there. There also seem to be many options for paddling and kayaking on the 5 or 6 lakes in town along with the 3 or 4 streams and rivers. If that sort of stuff tickles your fancy. And of course there is wicked awesome sweet climbing, hiking and mountaineering in town.

So much untapped potential! …cough cough…I’d tap that…And I will over the next year and hopefully more!

But yeah, so this week we have been doing a bunch of skiing on snow up in Callaghan Country. It’s been cloudy almost every day and drizzly (Snoop Dogg’s fave weather is predominant around here fer shizzle) but the fact that the snow has been very firm and consistent throughout the course of the week and that there are at least 25 km of trails, things have been pretty amazing. Like I have said, first time I’ve skied in June. Not bad, eh? Pretty good, eh? Brad, the owner of Callaghan Lodge was telling me that the skiing is just starting to get good up there. Normally throughout the winter they get like a meter of snow every night and skiing is pretty difficult. We’re going to be skiing into July no problem apparently. I suppose it all depends on the support we can get. This week Vanoc has been really awesome providing us with the groomed trails throughout the week. It is costing them $400/day and this is all given to us for free so we are all very thankful for this advantageous opportunity! Not many other people in the country are skiing these days and this gives us an edge over our competition. So there!

So here are a few pictures from the week of skiing. Feast your eyes. And your mind. Some day you could be out here living the dream. I am a pioneer. I’ll letchyall know what goes down over the next while and how the movement is going. It has started. It isn’t in full swing yet, but it will be soon cause I’ve heard that the secret is leaking. Maybe I heard that from myself… but I think I promised pictures, so here ya go.
Peace out padres.
Fun trails winding around through the alpine. I guess this particular trail is pretty straight and doesn't justify the "fun" claim, but I'm sure the next picture will. If you consider near-death experience fun...

This sketchy bridge that crosses Callaghan Creek. The first day there was next to no snow on it, just big logs bridging the chasm.

Happy. Look at the snow in the tree tops!

First glimpses of sunshine = inferno heat.

It looks like I'm saying something that starts with "F". It was a slow day.

Little-Nish doing her thang.

Lower down on the road ski trail. Nice, firm track mixed with wicked Z. (zed) Caldwell hairies made for a perfect day. Jesse: is that a chicken you're riding? Or are those your legs?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Out of Witty Titles...Dang...

We're in da 'hood. Keep your chin down.
Alright, playing a bit of catch-up here… So last Monday I clambered onto a Greyhound to get to Vancouver. Normally a scenic and light 4.5 hr drive easily became a horrendous, traumatic 7.5 hrs. And I had the best seat too!! Yay!! I was in a spot right behind a short little woman who was bawling her eyes out the entire drive cause her friend wouldn’t answer the phone, and directly behind me was a young aboriginal boy on his cell phone who went on and on about his gang’s happenings in the lower mainland. Needless to say, I have had less stressful bus experiences (barely better though!). I was pretty relieved to see my Auntie Lori waiting outside the bus for me to give me a ride to the old Gma’s place for the rest of the week.

Old Gma’s place was pretty good. Fairly quiet and relaxing, giving me a few days to rally the troops for the move out to Whistler. I didn’t get much training done that week since I was just wrecked from the century “race”. I did a few runs here and there and had a chance to spend time with family. One particular night stands out. My Aunt Lori made a wicked baby-back ribs dinner, and after I slammed about 40-50 of those, we made a little waddle down to Kitsilano beach for some gelato and a walk in the sunset. I love the whole Van environment! Just tons of people out enjoying themselves; just sitting and enjoying one another’s company or having fun and dabbling in a broad spectrum of sports. The best was some dude rocking out HARD to his walkman, eyes closed, solo at a picnic table, just having the time of his life. Really cool place, and like my Aunt Lori likes to say “It’s all about the lifestyle out here”. Touché.

So anyways, the Champion of Highlands was set to arrive on the Thursday, early afternoon-like. Not knowing Vancouver and the surrounding area very well, I set off to pick the guy up in the old Acura EL (gma’s). I somehow made it to the airport, and then we somehow squeezed the giant Dakine bike box into the tiny Acura. Then we had to pick up his dilapidated Volvo somewhere in Abbotsford, so we somehow found our way out there. After getting the car, we somehow found our way back to Gma’s. Lots of somehows, especially the last one. Instead of making it off the highway directly to the Main street area where we wanted to go, I ended up giving Pate the tour of North Van, West Van and Downtown. What should have been a 2.5 hr journey became a 5 hr journey. I’m all about the doubling of travel times these days… In the end we made it back in one piece (2 actually, cause I was in the Acura and Pate was in the Volvo) and had a big ham and scalloped potato dinner waiting for us. Good stuff, that.

After a goodbye brunch with family and friends on the Friday morning, at which I busted out the Finn pancakes, Pate and I started the slog to Whistler. It took a while, since the loaded down 240 wagon could barely maintain 70 km/h on the up-hills. We set up shop at Amy’s since we hadn’t quite secured a place in Whistler and then made the pilgrimage up to the sacred Olympic grounds. With a few leads set up by Karen Blaylock from Whistler Nordics, we had a few back-up options if finding a place proved too difficult. Turns out it did prove too difficult, and it just so happened that one of the “back-up” places we checked out was dope man, so after poking our noses around the neighbourhood a bit we decided we wanted to seal the deal. We out-charmed some hot Aussie girls to get our Tapley’s Farm suite and this is where we are pumped to spend at least our summer and hopefully more! The landlords PJ and Jacinta are very cool and understand us very well as high-level Nordic skiers so our situation couldn’t be much better. Pate and I are now locals!!! Schnapps… (hahah, MG…)

I suppose that’s a decent update for last week. It is now this week. Hahah, so I guess I should get that together soon… But yeah, this week has been incredible. Nothing short of incredible. I have never skied in June before.

More to come very soon.

Taker Easy.
The Champion and The Legend

Threading the needle in downtown Van.

Snow means skiing.

Hahah, look at Pate! (he didn't even know a picture was being taken. He was like this the whole time being around the heavy machinery...)