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!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

School Mode.

I just got back from demolishing an Anatomy and Physiology midterm. I have been buried in books for a while now in my attempt to get school done by my deadline of Sept 30th. If i do not finish by then, i cannot afford Whistler. The funding i get when i do school allows me to afford to live in this perfect training condition paradise. Let's hope i can finish soon...

I suppose that's what is affecting my frequency of posting. All my creative juices have been converted into photographic memory juices, so blogs are gonna be brutal for a little while. Went for a 3:15 hike/run up to Rainbow Lake yesterday. It was sick! basically started from our house, got to the top of the ridge where we could see Callaghan and then booked it back down the mountain. Laura McLeod came with Logan, Pate and I. Good run. There's also a glacier up on the mountain looming above our place. Wanna go check that out some day...

Someday there will be pictures up from this run, someday.

In the meantime, if you want to read something cool about how oldschool the technology being used by most of Canada's sports teams is, including Cross Country Canada and Speed Skate Canada (don't know what its actually called), check this out.

Did you know that most of the exercise physiology theories that are followed in North America are 80 years old? There is more and more proof against these theories. time for change methinks.

In reality we know so little about the human body and the processes that occur within. It is a process/journey that demands open-mindedness and research for a better understanding. Only time will tell.

In reality all we have is time, haha.

So make the best of it.

Time to hit the books. Again. And again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ok, first, huge shout-out to Simon Whitfield!!

I am so proud. He raced an incredible race and definitely showed what it means to find the hero complex. If you didn't see the race, you missed out. It was one of the most gutsy performances in endurance sport i have ever seen. He kept getting gapped during the run but would somehow always make it back with the leaders. With less than a km to go he got dropped by about 10 seconds. With less than 500m to go he started to sprint, caught back up, passed the 3 others, and was on his way to gold only to get passed by the German with about 100m to go.

Awesome performance, and way to go.

And now, if you have about 15 minutes to do some reading, check this out. This is a very sweet thread analyzing some of the top performances at the Olympics so far.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Warning: This post may or may not contain boring subject matter. Viewer discretion is advised (jk).

After receiving some flak from Zach about the lack of interesting content on my blog (personally I can’t see where he’s coming from – I mean, come on, how often do you get the chance to recount such a ridiculous story as a bear breaking into your house?), I have decided to put together an “interesting” post containing things of interest about me that some of you would like to know. Like Zach. But interesting blog updates take time. So I will start chipping away at one putting in the odd and the cool little tidbits about TD as I delve into the nitty-gritty. Patience young grasshoppers.

In the meantime, things have been a-ight here in Whistler. There are a few workouts that standout in my mind from the past week and a bit. The first being the 5 x 1 min intervals (all out) that Pate and I did in + 34 C on a wicked-sweet climb right close to our house. I didn’t blow up which is quite a significant thing for me as I can easily do so at any given moment. Just give the word and I can blow up, start moving really slow and my eyes will loll about with a distant look. Just give the word and I’m ready. But yeah, I suppose they weren’t “all out” because I didn’t blow up… But I guess an all out interval session of this nature on a super-steep pitch doesn’t exist, because it would be precisely one repetition. And I don’t think 1 x 1 min counts as intervals.

The next workout that stands out in my mind is the Whistler to Pemberton road ride Pate and I did. On the way back up to Whistler we caught up with Stephen Holmes, the president of Triathlon Canada so we started chatting with him. I immediately got a flat tire and because I was just behind Pate and Stephen, they couldn’t hear my shouts of distress as they took off immersed in their heart to heart convo. I was counting on Pate’s spare tube to serve me in such a situation, but because it was slowly but surely getting away from me I was in a bit of trouble. I thought that it was just a matter of time until Pate came around the corner to lend a hand, but no, he did not come back. Bastard… So I sat about waiting for about 15 minutes before saying “screw it” and hitchhiked back home. Buddy Dan the electrician was 5th car in and picked me up so that was pretty sweet. Drove me right to my door, so big shout-out to Dan even though I can say with nearly 100% certainty that he does not read my blog. But I guess if you’re ever in Whistler and an electrician named Dan who talks in “dudes” and “sweets” is a potential guy to work on your place, hire him, he’s a good guy.

The next workout that stands out in my mind is this z3 double pole and/or strength workout we did on the CV access road. Really good workout for me since my upper body is currently of similar strength to that of a 3 year old girl. So I got to work on that a bit. And got some extreme criticism while doing video analysis afterwards. My argument was that I was just trying to get to the top of the hill, grinding it out, and I suppose that must have hinted at “I was not thinking about technique” cause that was the lecture I got, that I should always be thinking about technique. And then my next argument was that I was thinking about technique but because I was going so slow I couldn’t do it right, which got shot down immediately. But realistically this is true. Why don’t you double pole up a steep-ass hill? Because it’s not as efficient. Why isn’t it as efficient? Because technique breaks down and diagonal striding is more suitable. There ya go.

The next workout that stands out is the strength we did later that day. Me and Neumann made our way over to Meadow Park sport centre (or whatever it’s called) and demolished some strength. We pushed each other really well and added in quite a few extra upper body exercises (something to do with improving the 3 year old girl pipes…). Neumann was insanely impressive. I would keep giving him a weight and a number of reps I thought would be impressive and he would own my judgment every time. It’s funny cause apparently Amy said that Pate needed to really improve his upper body strength, so I’ve been constantly teasing him about this. Pate is insanely strong, especially upper body. If you go to the gym with him, be prepared to be dommed, cause he will dom you. He can do like 25 pull-ups, bench huge, curl huge and at the end (well I guess all the time…) look huge. He can basically do all the acrobatics that Olympic gymnast Fabian Hambuechen does, and that guy is ripped. So that was strength the other day. O ya, and I longboarded to and from (I bought a longboard the other day). I still maintain that it is ski-specific training, but Pate doesn’t seem to think so.

Another sweet workout was mtb-ing yesterday. I hit up Lost Lake for a while with some new and improved brakes, and had a wicked ride. My hand was so weak on the hand grip and the brake lever though. I’m starting to get comfy on most of those blue trails in there.

Today we did some big 4 x 6 min z3 ski bounding intervals at WOP. Did the huge classic climb out of the stadium, took me precisely 6 min to get to the top of the hill. First two were leisurely, next one was a little harder than desired (Amy likes to take lactates while doing intervals. I got a 6.8 mmol/L on this one.), and then for the last one I wanted to try something cool so I busted out the “Juergalyzer” and made my way to the top. I got there 5 seconds faster than the one before, but instead of averaging mid to high 170s, I averaged high 180s, so a 10-15 bpm increase. It would have been interesting to see oxygen sats (I probably should have worn it too, cause there is an element of danger in not using it for hard intervals like these) cause it felt like I was drowning the whole time. So I ran 5 s faster, with a way higher heartrate, with my legs and arms felt abnormally energetic, my breathing muscles were completely redlining the entire time, and had a finishing lactate of 6.8 mmol/L, identical to the effort before but with major physiological differences. Most people would look at the two different intervals and argue that the 2nd one would be much higher. Going into it I was suspecting the value would be lower (which it normally is for this test), but I’m guessing that because I did this on the last interval that my breathing was already shot from hammering up the hill 3 times and breathing at about 35-40 rpm (3/3 for easy ones, 2/2 for hard one, and then 2/4-5 for the Juergalyzer one) so I don’t think my respiratory system was as primed as it could have been to show this interesting result. There are many suppositions for why the lactate would drop, and I think it’s because you’re activating more muscles for your activity, which means more effectors to be metabolizing the lactate. As for the feeling better of the legs and arms, this would indicate a reduction of acidosis (possibly – it may be some totally different physiological effect…) (also, lactate being a limit to performance is a total misnomer, but easily made so, since the reduction in pH is the effect of acidosis introduced by hydrogen ions (acid) in the blood which does have a fairly close relationship with the lactate though and is why when determining “threshold” or whatever you term this point you can see a flip in la prod/burning. Lactate actually has slight buffering action (I have heard…) on H+s.) which I would argue would be because you are breathing against resistance, there is a ballooning effect of the lungs which would improve surface area for gas exchange, allowing improved function in the formation of various gas metabolites therefore blowing off H+. But that’s just me and what I think.

Boy o boy, this blog update is way longer than intended. I should end it now and start brainstorming blog ideas for an update that will satisfy Zach.



Warming up for 5 x 1 min intervals.

Our pad on a bright, clear-ish morning.

This may be my first real step in becoming a true Whistler-ite.

This is going to be me someday. Who knew Phil Wood was such a good longboarder? (haha)

There is an infestation of baby-inukshuks at WOP these days. Apparently one day somebody knocked a bunch down. But they were back, and in greater numbers. (reminds me of something Obi Wan once said: "The sand people frighten easily, but they'll be back. And in greater numbers.") The little critters come to WOP searching for Canadian Gold. Too bad they have to wait until 2010 (oh snap!).

Monday, August 11, 2008

Karhu Paska!! (Bear "poo" in Suomi)

If I were to say that my life hasn’t been exciting lately, that would be a lie. Do you ever have those weird thoughts that make you believe you are a psychic or that there is some divine and/or hidden power that channels your thoughts into the realm of the truly bizarre and then somehow these thoughts come true? These thoughts have been happening to me on a regular basis this year with shocking results. They are shockingly, resoundingly crystal clear and usually lead to something big. Examples: This spring in Tbay I thought “what would happen if my bike were stolen?”, so I took a picture of my $3500 Ellsworth Specialist. That night Phil forgot to close the garage door and somebody walked in and snitched the bike. June 14th I was driving down to Squamish for a mtn bike ride with Pate and the rest of the CVTC and I had an odd thought – “what would happen if I suffered a broken limb in daily training?” and I pictured myself sitting on the couch all day breathing on Spirotiger. Haha, I would have to be an idiot for something like that to happen to me! And then I broke my hand that very morning out on our bike ride.

Well, I have yet again have had one of these insane thoughts and somehow it came true the following night and currently has me sitting here typing well past midnight!!! Ok, yesterday I had some garbage in my house that smelled. I decided I would get rid of it the next morning. That night while I was in bed I thought – “O shit. I left the windows open. What would happen if a bear smelled the garbage and pushed a window open and wandered into my pad?” I was actually frightened by the idea and was somewhat relieved the next day to find out that my freakishly acute Spidey sense didn’t realize itself at the time. But holy crap! It happened tonight! (I did put the garbage out though…)

So I lay in bed trying to fall asleep to be up for 6:40 am to go do Spenst down in Squamish with A + Z Caldwell and some CVTCers. I was tossing and turning and knew sleep wouldn’t come for a while. Suddenly I started to hear some bumping about and scraping. I figured it was my landlord’s dog, Guinness who sleeps 4 feet away from me but on the other side of a door. The bumping and scraping happened again and it sounded like it wasn’t coming from behind the door, 4 feet away from me. The sounds were muted and muffled by my 16” fan that was whirring at my feet. So I shut it off. And lo and behold! Somebody (or something) was in my house! At first I was afraid it was a burglar so I was afraid to turn on a light or make a sound out of fear of getting shot. So I sat there hiding beneath my bed covers in the darkness of my silent room waist deep in my memory foam mattress desperately thinking of a plan of action between cerebrum-shattering heart beats that would leave my body wasted and frail in a semi-conscious state of delirium. After what seemed like an eternity I finally heard some heavy breathing and huffing. I let out a huge sigh of relief. It was only a bear on the other side of my bedroom door and not a burglar! Luckily the door that Guinness sleeps behind is also the entrance to my landlord’s residence. I crashed through the door, ambled through the narrow passage way of dog futons and cluttered “jumpers” on door hangers into the domain of PJ and Jacinta. “PJ!” I hollered. I heard a great commotion and out sprinted Jacinta from somewhere upstairs. She didn’t know where I was, so was looking in another direction before she turned to see me clothed only in boxers lurking in the shadows with an ashen face. It was the sort of thing straight out of a horror flick. She jumped right out of her shoes with a startled scream. Soon PJ was in action. He bounded down the stairs 4 at a time and you could see on his face that it was “Game Time”. He didn’t know what the whole situation was, but he had heard some banging around in my Suite. He was ready for anything. I said “There’s a bear in the house.” He almost didn’t have time to curse before he was in full flight summoning troops for the battle. A true man of action. Jacinta got on the blower and called up the Popo. PJ re-entered my bedroom armed to the teeth with flashlights. I’m pretty sure he didn’t actually say anything at the time, but I like to think to myself that at that moment I heard his Aussie accent breathe “IT’S ON BABY!!!” and the grinning, nodding look of a madman lit up his face and the glare of those piercing blue eyes... The next while is a blur for me. It was a mixture of peering through a crack in the door, waving about flashlights, running up and down stair cases and peering through the Whistler canopy from PJ and Jacinta’s deck onto their back yard where a Sumo wrestler of an Ursus americanus was munching away with its head buried in Pate’s Costco-sized whole wheat fusilli container.

Eventually the cops showed up and scared the bear up a tree where it stood hissing/huffing and groaning after hauling it’s fat bulk over such a difficult and awkward distance. The next while was a bit of a stake out as the cops just sat about chatting and the bear stayed up in the tree hissing/huffing. Eventually we heard breaking tree limbs and down came the bear. I guess the cops had left at this point cause the bear just moseyed right past us through the O’Heany’s backyard. And the cops had totally peaced. Which makes me wonder a little bit. Here there’s this bear. Under cover of darkness it opens my front door and walks through my house. Stealthily so as not to disturb me as I tried to fall asleep. It makes its way to the kitchen where it opens the fridge door with its paw, much like a human would, removes almost 2 kg of cheese and leaves the chicken and other food alone. Selective eater, I know. Before leaving he caught the scent of Pate’s newly purchased Goji berries and couldn’t resist the urge. The power-infused scent must have made him sloppy with desire, cause he smashed the breadbox to the floor, broke a plate, and then started huffing noisily as he tore open the Goji berry bag and gorged himself. I suppose after this he knew his objective for complete stealth compromised, so he began to ransack random items. He demolished a few tomatoes that were laying about, tried to bite my eLoad container in half, bit holes in Pate’s sport and recovery drink containers, and by that point I knew a bear was about. Once PJ and I were organized and had planned out our pincer movement, the bear was fleeing. Even in its haste it had time to grab the huge box of fusilli that was hidden on a bottom shelf and book it out the door.

You would think this situation would lead to the bear being destroyed or at least relocated after such incriminating evidence of break and enter. But no, the cops let it go and to this moment it is somewhere in the neighbourhood waiting for the cover of darkness to engage yet again in its illegal activity. For now on there will always be someone on night watch at me and Pate’s suite at 6424 Balsam Way.

Check out the tooth and/or clawmarks that punctured our final block of cheese. Why did we have so much cheese in our fridge? Not even the wise can answer such a question.

Pate will not be happy...he spent a fortune on these berries. (he wasn't around for this incident, he's out on a boat with his Uncle)

If you look closely you will see some slightly darker pixels in the middle of this shot. That's the Sumo Bear wandering back to it's lair.

Me and Guinness are afraid. But ready for the next foray. We will be better prepared. For now on i will have pepper spray on me at all times.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Sorry for the lack of updates for the past week or so. I know I have set the bar high recently, with such regularity of posting…

I do have a decently good reason, but only decently good… I was up on the Haig Glacier skiing for the week with my own team the CVTC as well as the CNEPH and a few Quebec provincial team-ers. I had a fantastic camp. I was able to put the gimp hand to work so that was a bonus, so I kicked some major ass with that asset. Well, sort of… I guess I proved a few highly educated professionals that I would indeed be poling before fall time and even doing speed at that… So there.

It started with a select few of us CVTCers hauling into Canmore and finding places to stay. I got set up with Jess Cockney for the night, which was a double bonus cause it was also his bday and he was having ppl over for a bit of a BBQ. The BBQ was so sick… It was a giant reunion of skiers, so many of my very good friends in one place, it was incredible… And Oh boy, the cake that Jess had was simply the greatest cake I have palated in my entire life. Apparently Jess’ bosses at the Coffee Mine were slaving away in the kitchen all night to make such a delightful gastronomical experience, and their work definitely paid off. Top marks all around. A good quote from Heidi Widmer: “I am so happy right now!” as she stood their nibbling away at the chocolatey mass of deliciousness.

But yes, a blast indeed, that glacier camp. Got to see Mr. Valjas, buddy ol pal from Banning last year, so we got to spend a bunch of time together chillin like villains. Whipped a ton of Frisbees around too… He ended up with the camp record though, at -4, my best was -3 which was the 2nd best… Pretty close to the record of -5 set by Mr. Cockney himself.

Coming back down from the Glacier we were caught in a whirlwind of bustling chaos as we attempted to organize our sorry asses into Big Brown because of the royal rush Amy was in… Personally, I really wanted to at least spend the night in Manmore mainly to rest from the big week of training and activity but also to catch up with many of my best friends who happen to be residing in town. Mrs. Caldwell would not have it, so here I sit, with 14 minutes of battery life busting my butt to compose a coordinated and concise update. We’re set to arrive in Squamish sometime past midnight, so many a painful hour remain for this kid… Dayum…

In Canmore though I quickly got to say hi to K Brennan as well as (drum roll) PHIL WOOD!!!!! It was like seeing a ghost… He’s been tree planting all summer making some mad chedda, so he’s been in the bush the whole time and has basically fallen off the face of the earth. So good to see that guy, he’s a big inspiration to me and has taught me a ton in life (I lived with him last year). Would have loved to spend some time catching up and what not. Also got to say bye to Butler and got to check out his pad. He seems to be doing well, training’s going well for him, he’s having fun at work (construction) and he’s loving his new team as well as the family that he is living with this year. So kudos to B-man.

(Battery dead – blog continued a few days later)

I’m back! You blog readers should be feeling special. I’m currently putting my commitment to you above my commitment to school work – which is likely a bad thing cause taking school is the only way I am affording the Whistler rent at the moment…

But yeah, so the Haig was very productive for me (I also got to celebrate my bday up there. Finally i was one of those ppl... Frossty asked how old I was. I responded "I'm at that age where you're embarassed to tell people". 20. I know. Old man.). Quality of training and professionalism up there were average, the main gains I made were in skate offset, 1 skate and spiro (it’s weird that spiro was a main improvement – glacier isn’t usually the place where you do that – but it was sweet cause I maxed out the breath rate at 64 rpm). I shortened my skate offset for a more efficient and choppier stride that should help with rhythm and flow, bump and grind and what not. 1-skate has got up to par with Emil Joensson, but sssshhh, cause that’s my secret weapon for this year. There are some cool top secret things that I’m working on with Amy that I’m hoping will help me dom the skate sprints. Seeing as it’s a “classic sprint year” with 3 of the 8 sprints being classic, maybe I should be working on classic stuff more… I’ll think about it once the upper body starts to get huge.

I’m back in Whistler now, and I’m finding it tough to recall Haig events. Lots going down in Weaseltown. Crankworx starts tomorrow. I’ll post soon on going ons.

Later skater.

Ps. the pics are in reverse chronological order.
Jody is the man. Pate knows it. We're pumped to chill with him this winter as he grooms Callaghan. This day was above and beyond any day of glacier skiing i have ever had. Perfect snow hardness and consistency for awesome skate pushes. I heard the classic was pretty good too.

"the artist" shot. Our other Inukshuk from earlier in the week blew down in the windstorm we had. It's nice having the constant reminder of 2010 looming above you while hiking down from skiing. This one is 8 out of 10 on the sturdy scale. I rediscovered an ancient Inuit technique that would keep it in place longer (hammering rock wedges into holes). Hopefully it will last the season.

Nish during her "war" with Samboat. She had mad ninja rock throwing skills.


Lenny and Andrew S-J skiing in fog. Andrew - i told you this shot would make my blog...

Me skiing through the dispersing fog.

John Frosst trying to remember how to get to the land bridge. The land bridge is a sick slab of rock that spans a giant chasm through which a waterfall flows.

"The first time I saw it was from a helicopter. I was like "what the hell is that? That's f#*%ing silly!"" - John Frosst.

Run in. Word.

Me and the Esto almost at base camp.

Hiking up to ski. Basing zone on oxygen saturation. Heartrates cannot be trusted at first.

Sun trying to peak out during Blizzard-like conditions.

Beautiful sunny day. We got lots of snow when we were up there.