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, December 21, 2010

Good Result at Rossland NorAms

Qualifying in the 1.4km Sprint race. (photo cred: Jesse Winter)

I have just returned to Whistler after my 3rd weekend in a row of racing in the pre-Christmas campaign, and have accomplished my top result in over a year.  On Friday I was 12th in the 1.4 km Skate sprint event that saw the best of Canadian and American skiers currently not on the World Cup (and I was 8th Canadian in an event where the podium was swept by members of our 2010 Olympic Team).  More importantly, I was 3rd Canadian U-23 - an indication that I am indeed in the mix of U-23 athletes attempting to qualify for a sprint spot for the 2011 World U-23 Championships in Estonia.  With the trials for U-23s taking place in good old Tbay in just over 2 weeks' time, I have some work to do over the holidays.  Luckily, I was able to convince my family to come to Whis for Christmas so as to reduce travel and stress for me in the lead up to my main objective for the year (thanks mom and dad).  With amazing ski conditions in Whistler, I am looking forward to a productive and relaxing holiday in my home training environment. 

Quarter-final action in Rossland (I am on the right of the shot).  I was stoked to move on to the semis.  Unfortunately, I was a little too burnt from my quarter in order to be any kind of threat to move on to the A-final.  (cred: Jesse Winter)

 I am #113.  The course this year was much more difficult than the previous Rossland sprint course and featured a hard climb off the start and a high-speed doozie of a corner mid-course. (cred: Julien Locke)

 (cred: Julien Locke)

 (cred: Julien Locke)

(cred: Jesse Winter) The NorAm in Rossland was the much-anticipated and first ever mini-tour format race in Canada.  I was in good standing after day 1 having been granted 30 bonus seconds in the overall with my result of 12th place.  Regretfully, I threw it all away in the 10km skate on day #2, when a poor race was compounded by difficulties of staying on my feet.  Being a few minutes off the pace, I was nowhere near being in any sort of contention for a decent cumulative result for the final and deciding 15km pursuit start classic.

 The classic race was a good race for me.  I paced it well, conserving energy when possible, and battled it out at the end with a few others.  I also achieved my best distance CPL result of my career, attaining just shy of 90.  

In closing, I would like to thank our wax crew for preparing awesome boards each and every day of racing thus far this year.  It makes it easy to perform my best when the skis are doing half the work.

Happy holidays,


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Weekend #2 update

The first NorAm races took place this past weekend up at Silver Star mountain near Vernon, BC.  The race weekend that used to take place at the end of November has always proved challenging and I've never been able to nail down two solid races at that high of altitude.  I guess I have to keep searching for and working on any weakness that may be holding me back from racing well at 1700m above sea level...

Regardless, I had a successful weekend with two good hard efforts to chalk up to experience.  The first day, the classic sprint, is a format I am usually decent at.  With a longer and more difficult course this year, it truly separated the men from the boys, and unfortunately I was out-classed on this epic course on the day.  I skied it pretty much as well as I could have, so I am happy with that.

The distance race was a revelation, as I was able to turn around a near-bonk on the 2nd lap, into a composed 3rd lap by simply adjusting a normal race breathing pattern, into a new and faster rate that I normally cannot maintain.  I went for it and it worked out.  The payoff was my best Silver Star distance race ever.  I was by no means in the fight for the W, coming in at 39th place in a large and deep field, but the race was fun for me on a day with difficult conditions when others were hating life at certain points.  Its funny, I keep having these feelings lately where I sense that a good distance race performance is just around the corner...

Warming up for head to head heat racing on Saturday in the 1.4 km Classic Sprint. 

 Rounding the corner at the bottom of the new bridge at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre.  I skied my quarter final pretty much as best I could and conserved as much energy as possible for the final push to the line, but unfortunately was dispatched by some better finishing kicks. 

 Our Silver Star trip ended with a highly contested game of pond hockey.  As my 3rd time on ice with a hockey stick, I am confident in saying that I can now somewhat handle a puck from time to time.  Luckily I wasn't too out of place in terms of skill level. 

This weekend we are in Rossland, BC for the next stop on the NorAm series.  This weekend is a mini-tour style event, with 3 races happening from Friday to Sunday.  There is a skate sprint on Friday followed by a 10 km skate and a 15 km classic pursuit-style on Sunday based on Saturday's results.

 Today we skied up at the Paulson trails up and over the mountain pass near Rossland instead of at Black Jack.  Up at the higher altitude trailhead we were met with new snow and freshly groomed tracks on narrow, winding trails - perfect for a meandering 30 km distance ski. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

AB Cup Uno, Dos

The weekend was successful on the whole.  Due to my current laziness I'm going to do things a little differently for this blog update.  Here are my training log entries from this weekend:

Day 1, Saturday, December 4th.
1 km Skate Sprint
CPL: 92-93
End result: 7th

Good sleep, couldn't sleep cause of the anticipation.  Ear still plugged and uncomfortable.  Still some congestion.  Activation core/spiro then up to race site.  Warm-up with 2 x 1 min getting hard.  Some starts getting used to hitting tempo. Qualifier went well, skied it like I had hoped.  Not overly powerful or snappy, but able to maintain free skate and hold form to the line.  4th.  Huge rest in the aft, back for 4pm heats.  Gut off, in the washroom a whole bunch.  Short warm-up with one hard effort.  First heat made gut feel better.  Controlled my quarter.  Rested when I could, passed when I needed to.  Semi was good, but got boxed in a few times.  Got gapped coming into the finish.  Not able to get back on and settled for 4th.  Thought my day was over (like indicated at coach's meeting), but turned out there was a B-final.  Managed to get back into the right headspace FTW.  Happy on the whole, but think I could have made A-final.  

Day 2, Sunday, December 5th
9 km Classic Individual Start
CPL: 87-88
End result: 22nd

Deathly tired going to bed last night, still deathly tired upon waking despite huge sleep.  Ear still plugged and slightly congested.  Carcass drag of a warm-up, body ravaged from long sprint day.  Feeling better with a 4 min z3 effort.  Race 3 loops of 3km.  Skied controlled and smooth but lacked some jam on the last lap. Skied slightly too hard at end of 2nd lap. Race was much better than expected.  1:57 off over 25 min.  

My training diary entries on sprint days are almost always longer than distance days, unless something particularly exciting/unusual happens on a distance day, ie. a good result.  And here are some pics from the skate sprint day, courtesy of Michaela's dad, John Lynn. 

Qualifying during sunrise. 

Quarter final action, feeling in control.  (in third)  Ended up winning this heat. 

Look at that forward lean!

 Unable to bridge the gap coming into the stadium in the semi-final (#204).  Settled for 4th and went on to win the B-final. 

Tomorrow I head back to Whistler for a few days of training before travelling to Silver Star, BC for the first highly contested NorAm races.  I will race a classic sprint and a skate distance race next weekend in The Star.  

It is always a great feeling to finish the first race weekend and get the butterflies out.  Stay tuned for next weekend's races!