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!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Canadian National Championships: A walk down memory lane

Like many Canadians, particularly those right in the thick of the 2010 Olympics, I experienced what is known as "post-Games withdrawal."  Or maybe it's called "post-Games emotional hangover." Regardless, I was ravaged by a particularly nasty bout of rhinovirus (common cold), that had me huddled in my room, eyes glazed over, in a trance, reminiscing of the wonders of the Olympics.  In between dreaming of the Olympic spectacle, I made the most of my time over those ten days by catching up on reading and by plowing through 1/3 of my ECON248 course. 

Luckily I had a few days of recovery before Nationals.  It was a tricky period though, having 2 months off of racing in the middle of winter (Olympics sabotaged high level racing in North America).  I was able to train well, exhibiting good energy and carrying a respectably large training load (had an 18 hr week in there).  The illness wasn't much to worry about, taking comfort in the fact that I had improved vastly on my early season fitness.  Although, it was a little unnerving in being dangerously under-raced and heading into a race that could potentially decide the whole next year, seeing as I hadn't yet met the points requirement to return to the Callaghan Valley Training Centre (don't worry, after a stressful race day of not knowing whether the standard was met, I went home to the Canadian Points List to discover I had met the 93 CPL).

Soooo... on to Nationals...

Recovered from illness in time for 4 days of recalibration training to regain normal fitness function.  Decent sensations re-integrated in time for the much anticipated (by me, anyways) Nationals that would be held in beautiful Whitehorse, Yukon, my old stomping grounds where I kicked off my ski career 10 years earlier, knee-high to a grasshopper, at the 2000 Arctic Winter Games where I competed as a mini-midget against the towering 6’3” midgets of the circumpolar world. 
I still remember my amazing 5km skate mass start race from then, skiing in to a time of 16:41, in 11th place.  Brendan Green won that race.  And returned in 2007 to Canada Winter Games to defend the mass-start skate title in the 15km skate, claiming NWT’s only medal at those games.  And then this year he represented Canada at the Olympics in biathlon.  Goes to show the caliber of athletes who compete at AWGs.  At that same 2000 AWGs, I remember Graham Nishikawa winning races.  And in the years and AWGs hence I raced Graeme Killick (oh, and by the way, I’m the one who first started calling him G-Kill) who claimed two golds at these 2010 Nationals in Whitehorse.  Although, Graeme lives on in the shadow of his 3 other siblings who all possess the coveted AWG ulu-medals, a feat G-Kill could never accomplish.  Maybe cause he was always racing me, haha.

This is at 2000 AWG.  I can see how someone (for instance, G-Kill) would be intimidated by me.  I'm the little 4'11" brat on the right wearing the Umbro pants.  Josh Lippert (244 rpm cycling as a kid) and Kevin Ste. Germaine (check out his awesome guitar/screaming at 

While at Nationals, Cheskey and I were fortunate enough to stay at the exquisite Chateau De La Mare, aka Dougie’s log cabin (it’s actually a log “house” and is right in the middle of town).  Buddy ol’ pal, Dougie, who has only been cross country skiing for a year, offered us a place to stay at his family’s place up in Whitehorse.  Hands down, one of the best places I have ever stayed at for a ski race.  His mom pampered us, feeding us countless quality/delicious calories to fuel us through the depleting and heavy race schedule.  And Doug’s dad’s insight into such unusual things as attractiveness vs. effectiveness of body mass index in life and sports (although his research has yet to be widely accepted).  Apparently hockey players (average BMI of 26) are too beefy to be considered attractive by most women, and that us cross country skiers (average BMI of 23 [I am 23.7]) are much more desirable.  Nice.  I couldn’t stand those hockey guys in high school.

The aforementioned Dougie, and I on a ski up around Ring Lake in Callaghan country earlier in the winter. 

Thanks De La Mare’s for your amazing hospitality!  And I think I still owe Dougie about 992 pull-ups from my task of completing 100/day of Nationals (10 days) on his kitchen’s chin-up bar…  there will be time yet for me to make up the deficit at the gym this spring in Whis…

15km skate action.  Okay race, but back seized and I skied the downhills in a very non-aerodynamic fashion.

The races themselves were mediocre on the whole.  I was very pleased with the fact that I raced every single one of the 5 races at the Championships, although none seem to stand out as a true reflection of how well I know I can ski.  The races were particularly marred by my ski popping off in my sprint quarter-final on a day that I was hoping to build on my 14th place qualifying result.  Like always, I WANT MORE.  More training, more races, more opportunities to shine…  In the whole of things, I am still young in terms of training years and race experience.  I am hungry to learn and improve.

Leading Aidan Lennie of Nakkertok in the early stages of the 50km winter marathon.

I can see the prestige in a race like the 50km.  A true test of mettle.  One that I can see myself doing decently well in with at least 5 more years of good distance training.  On this crisp northern day, however, I was a pretty tuckered out kid from the heavy week.  It was a nice struggle of a Sunday ski.  Over 2.5 hrs later I limped my blurry-eyed, shattered carcass about the regally beautiful city of Whitehorse.  And got extremely sweaty playing Dodgeball at the Nash Bash festivities of that final evening (also got real sweaty on the dance floor after that...).

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