Intro

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!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Weird luck at Rossland NorAm, and Christmas at Osprey

The last stop on the racing circuit before Christmas was the Rossland NorAm, which consisted of two skate races, a 1.6 km sprint on the Saturday and a 15 km mass start on the Sunday. An interesting note from the weekend is that I received better CPL points on the distance day than on the sprint day. Also of note, in the overall CPL ranking list for the year ending December 20th, 2011, my overall distance points were the closest they have ever been to my sprint points. Where the gap has historically been close to a full 10 points, I have managed to improve my distance racing to the point where the difference is a little over 2 points (I broke 90 distance CPL for the first time in my life and also dropped below 93 sprint CPL). I guess my distance focus over the last few years is starting to pay off and is turning me into a better overall skier.

Placing-wise I was better in the sprint than in the distance, but sensations were much better in the 15 km skate.

Luck, however, also played a big part in both of my races.

On the Saturday, I knew from the start that I would be hard pressed to compete with the top guys on the day. I was simply outclassed. I could see the opportunities in my quarter final, but had no extra gear to capitalize on them. Luckily, I made up a spot as the 2nd fastest skier in my quarter went down mid-way through the course. I also made another pass near the end to claim 3rd, a result that I had to be happy with on the day considering how I was skiing.

The race completely levelled me, and it was all I could do to keep my eyes open till 8:30 that night.

I'm in the left of the shot. Jess (#1) was unstoppable on the day, skiing away with a clear victory.

Morning of the 15 km mass start: Ooohh boy, this is gonna be ugly... I guess I will give it a shot in warm-up and see if things improve... (during the recovery from mono a 2 x 3.5 minute race day has similar draining effects to racing a 50 km.) Warming up, however, things turned right around. I started to have a good feeling on my skis. The full hour of warming up had transformed me and I was ready to give it a crack. Luck, however, had other plans for me. With 5 minutes to go before the start, I found out that there had been a mix-up and my race skis hadn't been waxed and were sitting in the garage at home. After testing a 220-lb recreational skier's skis and a junior's race skis, I had the good fortune of testing a pair of CVTC's wax testing skis. They proved to be the quickest over my make-shift 10 meter ski testing area, so off I sprinted to be the last skier in the start grid, getting my skis and poles on with only 30 seconds to spare before the start gun.

The adrenaline from the ski-scare did me wonders off the gun, as I was able to settle into position quickly and conserve energy away from the mayhem of the jostling masses in pursuit. To my astonishment, the CVTC test skis I had hastily grabbed proved to be among the top skis on the day, better than anyone I skied with, anyway. I skied through the first 3.7 km lap in 10th place, right with the leaders. Even though I skied a pretty comfortably fast first lap, the pace was unsustainable. Attaining that next level of fitness doesn't seem far off, and I am excited to see where I am at in a few years' time.

The rest of the race was a matter of catching rides behind skiers when I could, drafting and conserving on the downhills and skiing controlled on the uphills. Having just a little more energy to attack on the final lap would have made it the perfect race for me. A fixable detail.

Immediately after the 15 km skate, it was off to the Heyes' cabin at Osprey Lake for 10 days of winter holiday festivities.

Successful Christmas tree hunt with our guide, Rob.

Classy Christmas eve dinner with 19th century silver ware at Nat Brown's cabin.

Lovin' Nat's 7.2 km trail system that was groomed especially for us. 

The evident cougar activity in the area had me on high alert when skiing solo (sunglasses on the back of your head, anyone?).

The trail system has incredible history, with numerous National teams having trained in the area as well as Olympic champions such as Thomas Wassberg (who is said to have been hyperactive, constantly moving and on the go for 12 hours a day, whether it be training or cutting wood and digging ditches for hours on end).

Nat's ranch consists of numerous cabins and structures on a large and narrow parcel of land abutted by a creek on one side and a towering ridge on the other. Adam van Koeverden asked me today why I don't base my training out of here (my initial thought is the cougar infestation).



Another of Princeton's hidden gem's: China Ridge ski trails. Located only 10 minutes from downtown Princeton, the trails are perched 500 meters above the town on rolling, varied terrain with sweeping vistas.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Controlling the variables

All pics from Jesse Winter (www.jessewinterphotography.com)

After a disappointing sprint qualifier in Canmore last Saturday at Alberta Cup #1, where I placed 12th, I regrouped and had a career best 10th place (3rd Canadian senior) qualifier at the Sovereign Lake NorAm sprint the following Saturday (Dec. 10th - results).

Transitioning from chicken-run to double pole in Saturday's classic prelim.

No doubt, going from a 12th place finish in a lower-key western Canadian race in a race that I normally excel at, to placing 10th at the premier North American race circuit, in an event I normally struggle at, in less than a week, is no small feat.

In AB Cup, where a number of variables negatively affected my performance, I made sure to control these same variables for the next weekend.

Leading up to the first NorAm, I made sure I had proper preparation by:

- rising early all week to be prepared for the early race day wake up call (and being asleep at 9:00 the night before)
- spending an extra few days at altitude in Silver Star to acclimatize to the elevation (Thanks to the Sellars)
- going back to basics by writing out a detailed race plan (complete with a new breathing strategy that helped a lot)
- completing key training sessions and feel-good sessions on course

Having everything come together on race day, it is nice to see it produce a good result. However, being 8 seconds out of the top spot in Canada, there is a lot of work to be done. World Cup qualifying rounds are pretty much never 8 seconds for top-30.

Heats didn't go quite as well as the qualifier. I think more aggression is needed next time. 

I am now in Rossland, BC, for the second stop on the NorAm circuit, and a skate-ski-only weekend, with a sprint and 15 km mass start. Having a few weeks of break from racing after this weekend, I am even planning on racing both Saturday and Sunday.

Enough blogging, it's time to dust off the old skate equipment and dial in Saturday's course.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Season Opener: Alberta Cup 1/2

Just got the season underway on the weekend. After a week of suffering the effects of altitude in Canmore for the first time in a long time, I managed to pull off a decent result on the weekend. In hindsight, I am glad I spent a full week in Canmore in preparation for the weekend, cause boy, was I sucking wind up there.

The first day of the skate sprint/classic distance race weekend, I slogged through a pretty dismal qualifier, posting the 12th fastest time in the exact event/location that I have placed 2nd (2006 as a Junior against Seniors) and 4th (last year) in qualifying. With a 6 hour break before heat action got underway, I had time to regroup and refocus. I bounced back for a great afternoon of racing, managing to benefit from the lucky loser rule in the first ever timed heats in Canada. Made it to the final! After not much rest after the semi, toeing the line for the final I was still a little gassed, and tried in vain to hang on to the stiff pace led out by two of Canada's Olympians, Brent McMurtry and Phil Widmer. I skied in for a 6th, and a successful first day of heat skiing for the year.

A-final action. I am trailing on the far left of the shot. (Photo cred: Angus Cockney) 

I won't go into much detail about Sunday's race. When you start warming up for a race at 8:20 am and finish cooling down for a race at 4:30 pm the day before, you're bound to have some lingering fatigue. Sunday's 9 km race was a good fit for me, but 3 km in it was evident it wasn't going to be my best performance.
Photo cred: Angus Cockney

I am now in Silver Star, where my coach, Andrew, and his wife, Ginny, have generously offered me their condo for a few days of preparation leading into this weekends NorAm sprint race. With races taking longer than normal to recover from, post-mono, I have opted out of the distance event this weekend to ensure good energy for the following weekend of NorAms in Rossland.

I am excited to try my hand in this weekend's tough field.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Organic Food Sponsor!

I am pleased to announce that inspirEarth Organics from Pemberton, BC is now sponsoring me by supplying me with fresh/seasonal/local/organic produce on a weekly basis.

Initially, on a whim, I signed up with inspirEarth for their weekly food subscription ($20/week intro food box) at their booth at the Whistler farmer's market, and enjoyed a few awesome months of figuring out how to cook and prepare veggies and fruit I had never seen before (lemon cucumber, anyone?). Shortly after signing up for the weekly food box, I had the pleasure of meeting Peter Gorski, the young guy behind InspirEarth who runs the farm and distribution operations. Soon after that, I even got to go down to Pemby for a tour of the farm, led by Peter's assistant, Sharon, and had a great time seeing the beautiful riverside property and it's agricultural bounty, and the methods by which the property is cultivated.

Having recently developed a passion for the sustainable, local, organic food movement, and after a few conversations with Peter, I felt that my values were closely aligned with those of inspirEarth, thus sparking the idea that a partnership between us could be a great win-win.

I am ecstatic to spread the good word of inspirEarth among my friends in Whistler, and I am even more stoked to be eating an almost entirely organic diet for the first time in my life (organic veggies and wild meat from my dad up North? Decent.).

The benefits of local organic farming are extensive. A few off the top of my head:

- the food is grown near where I live, cutting down on fuel consumption for transport (ain't no blueberry from Chile)
- fertilizer for inspirEarth is manure from the horses at the farm next door.
- no pesticides/herbicides, meaning no harmful residues contaminate the harvest
- gut flora health benefits from organic soil residues on produce
- polyculture growing methods (more than one species on a plot) means increased yields and a hardier crop that is resistant to pests and diseases
- other intangible benefits, like sense of community (at farmer's markets, shoppers have 10 times more conversations than at supermarkets)


I am still learning a lot about agricultural practices (especially since I come from a place where there is virtually no agriculture within about 1000 km), and am looking forward to spending some time volunteering at the farm come spring time and the end of my ski season.




The contents of a weekly winter (read: not much fruit...cause it's seasonal) package: bunch of apples, cabbage, red onions, beets, carrots, acorn squash, kale, garlic, big dirt-covered potatoes, etc.

 For sponsor recognition, my girlfriend, Kajsa (she is sponsored too - we share the food pkg), and I tweet or Facebook photos of things we make with inspirEarth goodies. Here we have beet/chocolate muffins (more like cupcakes if you ask me - so sweet) that Kajsa baked. 

 At the farm.

 Purple kale bunch. Having never eaten kale before, I am now a fiend for it. Chopped finely for a salad or sautéed, it's become a star in my books. Kale is so robust that it continues to grow in the winter under the snow.


 Nothing to see here, just a giant zucchini. 

 For winter growing, inspirEarth put up a great big greenhouse this summer. 

Thanks inspirEarth! I am looking forward to a great partnership this season.

Thomsen

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Can I survive a distance race?

The answer is yes. 

Yesterday I put my post-mono fitness to the test in a 10 km time trial with the CVTC and BC ski teams. The purpose of the test was to determine whether I could endure the rigours of prolonged high output and to make a call as to how many distance races I want to start in December (I can still pull off decent sprints despite poor fitness). Saturday's mashed potatoes 5 km course was the epitome of "rigour," and is a condition that I, as a power skier, struggle in. Nonetheless, despite course conditions and still being on the recovery from mono, I finished 6 seconds from the top, a performance benchmark similar to how I was racing last year. 

This is an extremely encouraging and relieving result. It means I can virtually vault headlong into the race season this December. 

With a solid dump of snow last week, the roller skis were put away (mid-snow storm, in fact, as I was caught 3 km away from home with 3 cm of snow on the road!) and it is now full-on winter mode. 

Skiing at the Whistler Olympic Park has been great this week. Thanks to the CVTC and BC Ski Team for inviting me to participate! 


At 9 km, about to put 9 seconds on my 30-second start quarry.

Stay tuned for my first race that is taking place December 3rd! It is an Alberta Cup skate sprint tune-up race in Canmore, AB, where I will rejoin the NWT Ski Team and my Yellowknife Ski Club crew. I am improving by the week, so it should be an exciting season opener!

Thomsen 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Back in Business

After a 7 week bout of mono, I am officially over the illness and feeling great again.  I am in fact 3 weeks back into training - I held off on spreading the news right away in case of a mono relapse.

I felt like crap in the first two weeks of light training after getting the OK from my doctor, but now, after my 3rd week of training, I am starting to feel strong again.  I was really hoping to get to take part in some hard intensity with the National Team while they were here in my 2nd week back, but I wouldn't have been anywhere near that level at the time.

Here is a short video of training from yesterday afternoon here in Whistler.  Visual proof that I am back in action.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thanks lululemon!


Since last fall I have had the pleasure of representing Whistler's lululemon athletica store as a part of their ambassador program.  It has been great to team up with lulu since we hold many of the same values: grass roots community events, promoting active lifestyles, being adventurous and fun, and having an overall optimistic outlook on life.

Some of my highlights of working with lululemon, so far, include: setting up a yoga class with world renowned trials cyclist, Ryan Leech, at last year's Crankworx; doing an on-snow photoshoot at Lost Lake in the spring; and modelling clothes up on the peak of Whistler for the 2011 winter line of clothing for the store's "Vision."  Another huge highlight is, obviously, the fact that I get to wear all sorts of awesome clothing on a regular basis!

Thanks a lot Sue, Kathleen and everyone else at lululemon Whistler!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Leaping Into The Fray

I figure I’ll do my best to throw in another opinion into the heated dialogue over Canada’s purported shortcomings at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics in Daegu, South Korea.  In the following recent articles on CBC.ca, a number of readers have taken the liberty to post scathing criticism of Canada’s high performance sports system.  (http://www.cbc.ca/sports/blogs/juliawilkinson/2011/09/my-response-to-a-journalistic-slap-in-the-face.html and http://www.cbc.ca/sports/track/story/2011/08/31/sp-worlds-canada-gains.html)

Here are my two cents regarding the rampant callowness of some CBC.ca readers…

For the layman, grasping the tangible benefits of sports in Canada seems as simple as medals equals happiness, and 4th place onwards equals outrage, the emotions being especially relevant to how well they think their tax dollars (despite it being a pittance for high level sport in Canada) were spent. 

Of course, the benefits of having high-level Canadian athletes run far deeper than whether they dominated the world stage or not. 

An Active Progression

The pursuit of sport starts at a young age for most.  For some it is a social avenue, getting to hang out with buddies before or after grade school in an active, physically invigorating environment.  These young people will often continue to pursue this outlet in their respective institutions as they embark on continued studies (university, college, trade school, etc.).  To a small minority, however, sport represents something more to them, and they decide to pursue it to the fullest, putting education and employment on hold.  This decision comes most often upon the major turning point of graduating from high school.  It might mean pursuing their sporting hobby as a means of pause while they figure out a course of study, or it might be the pursuit of a true challenge that drives them.  Above these reasons, some may pursue high-level sport with the intent of improving the lives of others by being a role model. 

The positive impact of healthy, active role models in a community is a no-brainer.  When I was 17 years old, a close friend (a high-level athlete in snowboarding) and I started up a mountain bike camp for kids ages 8-13 aimed at getting kids active and spending time outdoors in Yellowknife.  In the 6 years since then, camp participation has skyrocketed, especially the participation rate of girls (upon this year’s introduction of a promoted girl bike camp).  Beyond this action, I also enjoy speaking to school classes and with athletes in my local ski club about my adventures in sport (I have even spoken at the NWT Young Offenders facility).  And I think that if you looked at other high level athletes in Canada, you would see similar initiatives within their communities aimed at empowerment and promoting healthy lifestyles, especially among youth. 

One commenter on CBC.ca questioned the validity of high-level athletes acting as role models directly affecting the health of youth in mentioning how the USA as a sport power house also has one of the highest obesity rates around.  I would argue that it takes commitment from both sides, requiring a certain initiative on the side of governments and educators to ensure a minimum basal activity rate by providing daily phys ed. classes at such an important stage of young people’s development.  With ubiquitous tight operating margins at US public schools, the unfortunate truth is that physical education class is being left by the wayside in a large way.  Of course, in North America, other factors contribute to an increasingly sedentary youth lifestyle, including television, computers, and video games, not to mention the nasty dietary affliction of junk food and soda pop. 

Sometimes it’s hard for us high-level athletes to maintain our end of the bargain inspiring youth when they are so deeply mired in early health problems.

The vision of full-time high-level athletes isn’t of lucrative sponsorships or “real job” avoidance at all cost, but of something far more refined.  In this day and age, there is no better cause than empowering and inspiring youth for current and future challenges (because they will abound in spades).  Being but one of the positive side effects of an athlete role model, lifelong physical activity is proven to pay dividends in society. 

Is Competition So Bad?

Maybe other countries are up, nipping at the heels of the historical greats in Athletics.  For a developing country to succeed on the international stage shouldn’t be cause for western commentary to belittle the domestic athlete’s shortcomings, it should be a reason for jubilation in light of the barriers the foreign athlete overcame, and of exultation for what it could mean for youth in the athlete’s country who have maybe never had a positive role model in sport to look up to before.  I know for a fact that the 800m silver won by Abubaker Kaki from war-torn Sudan will have caused a light to turn on in at least a few youngsters’ minds (of those who were even fortunate enough to see his performance in Daegu on television or over the net).  For those not lucky enough to see Kaki’s televised performance, upon his return in person to Sudan he will be celebrated as a hero and the radiant, positive energy will give hardship stricken kids a sense of empowerment and inspiration in life. 

And to the country like Canada whose athlete may have been unseated or pushed a little further back in line?  Let’s not lambaste the system’s shortcomings, let’s praise the virtues and hard work of our athlete’s top-10 and top-20 finishes and find the positives in them all the while acknowledging the victory of those who have less than us in getting a positive role model in their community.

Bounding Forward

To those whose insolence defaced the comment board on CBC.ca, think about your youth and recall the athletic inspiration that got you out on the ice, court, field or trails and whether in any way that impacted the way you pursue a healthy lifestyle today.  And if you never had the pleasure of being inspired or of dreaming big, please stand aside and let the next generation be empowered without hindrance. 

It is my strong belief that if our country can come together in providing adequate physical activity opportunities to our youth, while at the same time maintaining a strong high performance sport pipeline for those who are serious about their sport and who act as a driving inspiration to kids, the resulting synergies will result in deep-rooted sporting culture for all ages and just might bring us back into contention for the coveted Athletics medals, as well as medals in every other sport.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Setback

So last week I got the rough news that I have mononucleosis, aka mono.  Doctor's orders to take a month off training was a tough pill to swallow.  Thankfully, a setback is a set-up for a comeback.

It all started with a tough week of training up at Kajsa's cabin at Osprey Lake, where I was feeling unusually bagged in the dying days.  Initially I thought it was from my first 2 days of training in the heat this summer, the 2nd day of which I became dehydrated during a 3 hr ride, leaving me with persisting symptoms into the next day.  I figured the ill effects from this perhaps manifested itself into lingering fatigue 2 days after.  I still managed a great rollerski intensity session at Seymour Demo Forest in Van after a day off, but cooling down after the workout was a complete carcass drag.  The tiredness of the carcass drag cool-down remained with me for a whole week of easy training, some days of which I would hit a fever post-workout.  I knew something was off and matters were made worse by a sore tummy that would hurt whenever I breathed in while training.

Being tired is a normal feeling after hard training, and it sometimes even lasts a full week after a hard block.  However, occasional fever and constant abdominal pain while training?  Time for a visit to the doctor.

I was tentatively diagnosed with a strained diaphragm, and told to do nothing to exacerbate the discomfort.  We decided to do routine blood work just to rule out anything serious, and I peed in a cup to rule out kidney dysfunction.  That afternoon I got a call back from my doctor saying that I had mono and that's why my tummy was hurting.  My spleen was engorged with blood and inflamed from combatting the virus.

Luckily a return to exercise is a month after symptoms begin, and so I figured I was 10 days in already.  This reduced my time off to 3 weeks.

So what have I been doing with my spare time so far, you ask?  Mainly a ton of reading, but also some school on the side (after finishing the first half of the course in 3 weeks back in April, I took a 3.5 month break before my 3 week push to finish the 2nd half of the microeconomics course).

Books I have been reading since my diagnosis 5 days ago:

- "The Vertical Farm" - by Dickson Despommier (finished it)
- "Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures" - by Vincent Lam (finished it - great read about the medical profession)
- "Transport Revolutions: Moving People and Freight Without Oil" - by Richard Gilbert and Anthony Perl
- "The Rational Optimist" - by Matt Ridley
- "Anges et Démons" - Dan Brown (practicing my french)
- "Ape House" - Sara Gruen

I usually diversify my reading between 3-5 books at a time so as to not become bored of a single one.  However, "Bloodletting" was a riot and I read it almost all at once.

Recent reading I have been doing on the net includes an article on the Central Governor Model of exercise (brings into question training theory applied by virtually all sports in Canada), and an article outlining the woes of dietary cereal grains (I figure that now that I am not training, I can't be cheating on my diet so as to avoid weight gain for my impending comeback).

I guess other stuff I have been up to can be summed up in pictures.

Talk about weight gain - the other day we picked about 20 lbs of raspberries in Abbotsford (the 20 lbs doesn't include the 5 lbs we ate while out in the field).  Luckily Kajsa's family took most of them home with them. 

My first ever u-pick excursion down at North Arm Farm at the end of July. (Abbotsford berries proved to be way bigger)


My birthday dinner up at Osprey Lake.  Smoked baby back ribs with seasoning purchased from the Canadian National BBQ Championships that were held in Whistler. 

The Hollyburn crew at their Osprey Lake camp.  I helped out as technique model. 

While up at Osprey Lake for my birthday week, we made a day trip foray across the border to raid cheap US stores and a straight-from-Jalisco taco stand.  

Scenery along my 90km road ride towards the states along the Similkameen River.  Old Hedley Road is one of the most fantastic road rides of my life.  Unfortunately, the body was a bit out of whack that day and it could even have been the first day of mono.  

The Academy (ski team from Canmore) just rolled into Whistler recently and was shown to the local swimming hole of Logger's Lake, rope swings and all.  A true gem of a local haunt. 

With my current time off, I got to take in a day at the Squamish Live music festival, where I saw one of my fave musicians, John Butler.  He was incredible, especially his rendition of his 12-string instrumental "Ocean".  Check it out if you haven't heard it.  

Also, a few days ago I did the Slow Food Cycle down in Pemberton, where 5,000 riders biked from farm to farm tasting all sorts of goodies that the Pemberton valley has to offer.  

Posing next to a cabin up in the hills above Princeton in the heart of redneck country.  I am in fact NWT bound in a few days to spend some of my mono recovery in Yellowknife.  

Speaking of Yellowknife, I recently came across this video on facebook, made by a few Yellowknife kids.  It's shot on the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, probably my favourite place in the world.  A place where the landscape, and the fish, are larger than life.  I used to spend 6-10 days there every summer with my family, but haven't been in a few years.  One of the many reasons why I love Yellowknife!



Anyways, hope you didn't mind this extra circuitous collection of musings.  I am sick, after all, and so have an excuse.

Check back soon for an update on things in YK.  

T

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Return of One Fit Man: the Hermit Edition

With the exception of a short 3-day vacation to Kajsa's cabin and a relatively painless laser eye surgery operation, I have had my feet firmly planted in Whistler for the last month and a half, getting work done.  

95% of training sessions are completed straight out my front door, avoiding time wasted driving (not to mention gas burned), and ensuring rapid recovery upon finishing each session, with food and a shower within 15 minutes of completion.  The training options from my front step are exceptional and varied enough to avoid boredom.  

Having trained like this consistently for this chunk of time, the changes in fitness are becoming apparent.  I have made big gains in the weight room (notably, I can now deadlift twice my own bodyweight a few times), to my running (practicing running technique and range of motion downhill is paying dividends), to my cycling (attributable to long hours throughout June along with 2 hard Toonie race efforts), and to my respiratory system fitness (swimming and by practicing breathing large volumes (5L) on spirotiger).  

It seems that the current approach to training is working and getting me into a good position for the rest of the summer!  The goal is to continue this approach until I stop improving, then to switch it up.  It's encouraging, because right now is one of those obvious moments where I know I am in the best shape that I have ever been in. 


 Embarking on a "full hand" day of training (5 hours) with LT, summiting peak 2 and 3 of the Squamish Chief first thing in the morning as part of the extended LT training camp where I was pushed to my limit in both cycling prowess and training volume.  

"Camp LT" was followed by a relaxing visit to the Heyes' cabin at Osprey Lake, but the training did not diminish despite a day of wine tasting in the Okanagan and a Salsa party one evening.  Kajsa's brother, Zayne, and I completed a 5 hour mountain bike ride in the surrounding hills on quad trails, and I made a point to train twice per day regardless of whether or not I was playing tourist at Okanagan wineries. 

 Wine tasting at the fruit orchard winery Elephant Island.  

Kitsilano pool in Vancouver, in which I enjoy the odd swim from time to time.  My swimming ability is improving even though I swim way less than I did 2 years ago, when I first started.  I completed 4 km earlier this week!

 Da bears are out in full-force, especially along the Callaghan Valley road.  Silently gliding by on a road bike is a great way to site see.  Another great way to site see is to venture solo onto un-tamed single track and startle a bear cub up the tree in front of you, not knowing where mama is (happened to me a few weeks ago - not recommended).  

 Whistler is beautiful this time of year.  When it is sunny and warm that is.  The season is late this year and you hear more than a few complaints about how cold and gloomy things are.  Makes for good training though as there is no intense sun to drain precious energy.  

Swimming at Adventures West private beach after an evening run with Antoine.  If I were ever to buy a small place to live in Whistler, it'd be here.  

Below is a short video of me training with my new training partner, Burton, banging out some steep ski bounding intervals. 

video


Thanks for checking in!
Thomsen

Monday, June 6, 2011

Callaghan Country Lodge on-snow camp with quick video

Here's a quick vid I pieced together from short clips I took recently while staying up in the mountains at 1400m at the Callaghan Lodge for a week of phenomenal training on the 8 km loop they maintained for us.  I banged out a fairly big week of 23 hours, almost all of which was skiing.  It was pretty easy to train up there with the skiing out your front door and awesome leisure activities close at hand as well, including sauna, pool table and ping pong.  And talk about a lot of snow!  Still 4 meters of base at the end of May!



On another note, mid-week while up at Callaghan Lodge I snuck down to Whistler to see The Wealthy Barber speak in the Village.  Having been introduced to his book a few years ago, he got me interested in personal finance and saving, triggering a change of direction in my education - I am now studying Finance part-time through correspondence studies with Athabasca University (not super-seriously though).

The Wealthy Barber (David Chilton) dazzled an audience of 500 with his priceless anecdotes of writing the book while only 25 years old, and with his urgings for Canadians to save more money and to watch their debt.  The dude didn't miss a beat for 2 hours!  What a champ.  And what a privilege - I would highly recommend seeing him speak if given the opportunity.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Yellowknife Visit





While back in Yellowknife I also had the opportunity to make it out on Spring Hunt with my dad and his hunting buddy, Francis.  Being aboriginal, we have the opportunity to hunt geese in the spring time.

Kajsa retrieving a goose from the marsh.  With the marsh frozen right to the bottom, melt water had pooled on top of the ice along the section we hunted. 

The Old Man playing the waiting game.  The tranquility would be regularly interrupted by trying to call in geese, followed by rigid stillness with only our eyes following the birds as they came in towards the decoys, ending finally with the excitement of an intense shooting bout. 

An attempt to broaden my culinary horizons by eating soft-boiled half-formed goose eggs.  They were pure orangey yolk, covered by a tough, veiny membrane.  The pungent cousin of the household chicken egg wasn't completely appetizing, even though my yellow lab seemed to think so.

Out at the Yellowknife Sap Suckers' open house out in the forest on a beautiful northern spring day (sunny and 20 degrees and no mosquitos!).  The birch syrup operation had sampling of the sweet soy-sauce-like concoction accompanied by northern cranberry pancakes.  Visitors could also guzzle birch sap tea (warm birch sap) from one of the large boiling vats.  

A day where we had scheduled to ski out to Bechoko (115km Northwest of YK).  Even though the wind and ice surface ensured easy 20km/h averages, the unknown ice conditions at the North Arm and the promise of a great day of paddling on the Yellowknife River with friends convinced me to hold off for the time being.  

A picturesque evening on the ice at Prelude Lake out at the Tumchewics' cabin around the time of John Tumchewics' routine cabin birthday party.  Kajsa and I had a great dinner and visit with Alicia and Rob even though the evening out at the cabin lacked it's characteristic borderline-overboard ebullience without John, a great friend whose untimely passing last summer has left many missing him within the community.