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.
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.
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.
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...


MG said...

someone discovered to link feature during his two week blog vacation...

Thomsen D'Hont said...

haha, vacation?! That was a two week blogging training camp!