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!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Last Racing of the Season

I know, this update is way long overdue.  Mostly a result of an activity filled vacation period and then with hacking away at school work for a few weeks (I take correspondence classes through AthabascaU).  I have had some other high priorities lately.  I figure it's good to have balance in life like that from time to time.  Cramming for school and what not.

Canmore marked the last trip of a long season of racing and training.  It was my first season where I was grasping at fading fitness and needed a true rest at the end.  Call it wrong training at the wrong time, or just general burn-out, there were a few mistakes made leading into the last month of racing.

Returning from Canada Games, I was in need of some rest and easy training.  Instead, I felt not-bad in training for a couple of days, and so I decided to just bang out the rest of the season's racing, ignore some signs from my body and hope for the best.  Unfortunately I didn't quite get the best in the end, but I did get the chance to improve my race experience.

I ended up racing at Sharkfest the weekend before Nationals and then did every individual race at the National Championships themselves.  It was a great time to be spending such a prolonged period of time in Canmore as it was the best snow I have seen in the ten years that I have been racing there.

Out skiing on the meandering rec trails at the Canmore Nordic Centre.  Trails that barely receive a dusting of snow in some years. 

 Stoked to be racing at the beautiful Canmore Nordic Centre, Canada's hotbed for cross country skiing, and where our National Team is based out of.  This Nationals marked the biggest ever for the sport in Canada.  

 I skied a strong and well-paced 15 km classic race at Nationals (unlike my loose cannon of a 10km skate), in warming/deteriorating conditions.  However, the field was blown away by some of the late starters who had special last minute wax alterations. 

 The classic stride-and-glide.  I feel I made a marked improvement in my classic striding this year with a few minor adjustments made. 
Bad luck befell (no pun intended. seriously. I just saw this. hahaha) my Nationals sprint day yet again this year.  Last year it was my ski falling off on a downhill corner in my quarter-final.  This year it was a dude falling into my lane 20 meters in.  

After I was taken down, I fought as valiantly as I could to catch back up but it was too little too late.  I felt great in my audacious pursuit of the field, it was just too bad I couldn't use all that energy head to head with others in a normal race setting.  I did however manage to nip 329 at the line.   

 Nationals racing was capped off with the famed 50 km mass start race.  As my first 50 km skate, it was a telling experience.  Being more worried about physically covering 50 km under my own power, let alone racing and competing in an event of that extent at altitude on a hard course, I suffered an uncomfortable demise brought on by my pre-race bonk mitigating efforts (read: gorging myself) coupled with my energy conservation strategy (skiing the 5 minutes up to the start instead of a warm-up).  Naturally, stinging cramps subdued my dreams of pack-drafting racing into a long, lonely, solo effort of a Sunday ski in no man's land.  For next time, I think I will try a regular warm-up and a modest-sized breakfast (so basically, I will approach it like any other race as opposed to cringing in intimidation at the daunting task ahead).

The 2011 National Championships was capped off by the banquet.  Heck, there's no way I can call that thing a banquet.  More like Nationals was capped off by an extravagant evening gala at the acclaimed Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, laughing and reminiscing over a bottle of champ of days gone by with old buddies and new buddies alike, all of us dressed to the nines.  Of exploration in the hotel's vault-like passageways and chambers, seeking out and soaking in the rich historical rendition of the resort, much like the railway tycoons of yore would soak their golf-wearied legs in the thermal springs of the region.  Descriptions of a night of indulgence aside (everything I just said is true, minus the champagne part.  I drank beer instead), I had a ball.  It's quite amazing the network of friends I have made in this sport.  Friends right across the country, from coast to coast to coast.

Very soon we have some exciting new developments to start out the new training season, so stay tuned!

Until next time.