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!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ice Age

Not much has been happening in Yellowknife lately.  I have got out of the "spring-time" phase, got through the "get serious" phase and am now in the "serious" phase that will take me through the rest of the year.  It's game on and training is a number 1 focus.  I have finally got my phone call offering my position on CVTC.  So all this "hurry up and wait" over the past while is now "hurry up and make a decision". 

There is still skiing in Yellowknife.  Some days are brutal though.  It has been freezing cold, getting down to lows of -10 C at night and barely getting above zero most days.  A very cold May, but I'm not complaining.  The ice isn't great for skiing on these cold days, as it's rock hard and is as loud as a 737 when skiing on.  In this picture, Corey is being pushed by the gale force winds on the chunky ice on the ice road.  I froze skiing back to town.  

Cool drifts.  Just out past Dettah village.

The tracks on previous week's snowfall will remain until break-up.  A-Hop dressed for normal May weather on this day.  And froze.

Ok, this is funny.  Recently I went to Fort Providence with my family to tidy up my grandparents' graves (that's not the funny part, haha).  Randomly, as we pulled into the middle-of-nowhere-village Edzo, we see Yellowknife's only ice cream man.  In Edzo.  So we wave frantically from our truck to flag him down.  

I brought my bike to Ft. Prov and had an amazing ride there that evening.  The river had only recently broken up, allowing the ferry's passage to the south and the rest of the country.  Riding along the river is beauty.  Just look out for bison.  Nice reminiscing on many trips to the area in my childhood.  Notably, the trip to NWT Cross Country Running Champs (back when they had those) with, correct me if I'm wrong, David, Michael and Jill Gilday and Eric Aitken.  

The giant of the D'Hont clan.  I'm half a foot taller than anybody ever was on either side of the family.  And I'm not even that tall at 5'11".  Pate always asks how I did it.  l to r: myself, Dawn (mom), Evelyn (Aunt who has never read my blog), and Adrian (dad).  

On the riverbank checking out a memorial for the hardships suffered by aboriginal peoples in the residential schools.  I climbed this giant boulder nearby that had to be the only rock climbing anywhere near Ft. Prov, haha.  It took a while to handholds, just pure brawn.

Some cool cracks are starting to form on the lake.  I'm sort of scared skiing sometimes.  There are open patches here and there.  They say to look out for seagulls, they are an indicator of open water. 

With the freeze-thaw cycle, the ice is moving around and pushing up freshly frozen sheets of ice into the sky.  Be careful skiing over these, they can dismember you!

So now that things are set in motion, I should know my plan for the year within a week's time.  Thank you to my sponsors who made this year possible for me: MACA/Sport North, FSC Architects and Engineers, the North Slave Métis Alliance, Mackenzie Management, Great Slave Dental, and Francis at Bodyworks Fitness Centre.  I couldn't do what I'm doing without you, so thank you.  

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Waaaaaadddddduuupppp, what's happenin'

You know what this is...'s a celebration (kidses)  !!!

Fisherman: "We caught a couple big fish today," as he holds up a ginormous 35-lb trout.  "We got a bigger one in the back."  Then he says, "I'm afraid to go between the islands cause of the currents and soft spots, but out here we've still got 5 feet of good ice."


Pit-stop picnic.  Alex and I recently spent all day on the ice.  In windbriefs the majority of the time.

Pressure ridges like these can soar overhead.  The folds in the ice on either side form deep trenches of water - at least pole-length deep.  

I'm not going to BS anybody and say that skiing in Yellowknife in the spring time is difficult to explain, because, in fact, its quite easy.  

Get in a comfortable standing position, eyes closed, and get someone to read this to you in slow, soothing tones:

Imagine you are scantily clad, skis on your feet, poles in your hands.  You feel the heat of the sun on your skin and hair.  A warm breeze gently caresses your body.  You feel a refreshing chill emanating from below.  The hot and the cold meet in perfect harmony. 

Imagine your eyes springing open, nice and wide.  Initially you are blind.  You slide your inuit bone-snow-goggles, or normal sunglasses or what have you over your eyes.  You look down and perceive that you are standing on a surface of pure white.  It's razor sharp and sparkles like freshly polished diamonds.  

Looking around yourself, you realize that it meets the bright blue horizon in every direction.  A portion of the horizon is lighter blue than the rest, baby blue.  The blazing sun that lights this side of the world slightly more than the rest draws you towards it.  Instinctively, you start skate skiing.  You are shocked at the immediate speed you achieve.  Your limbs move effortlessly, your skis' edges catch the perfect amount of this odd white platform to propel you forward sans resistance.  Every push is perfect.  There's no need for balance adjustments.  You are moving faster than your tailwind, generating this new, equally light headwind that is a welcome respite to the intense heat generated by the sun in this convection oven.  Time and thought drift aimlessly about as you skim speedily through this surreal environment.  Surely it's a hallucination.  Perfection like this simply cannot exist.  "Or can it?" you wonder as you plant your pole tip between your skis and sheer the skin off your torso on the infinitesimal diamonds at your feet and are left in stinging agony for the next 5 days.  

Shake your body out.  Slowly awake from this odd dream.  Look over at your buddy, the narrator and snap out of it.

If done correctly, there should be blood all over your chest, haha.  

See y'all in Yellowknife in a future springtime.