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, February 20, 2012

Parlez-vous Français?

I recently joined a small but hardy group of RMR skiers on a 2 week trip out East for the two NorAm stops at Nakkertok (Quebec side of Ottawa river), and at Mt. Orford (1 hr drive east of Montreal).

The trip was notable for its fantastic weather and for giving me the opportunity to practice my extremely neglected french skills. I really enjoyed skiing at both sites, but Mt. Orford stood out as a true gem especially with it being my first time to the area. Orford boasts 50 km of diverse trails that wind along lakes and swamps and through the bright hardwood forests of the region.

Cruising along lakeside at Orford

Andy Shields of my past team, NDC Thunder Bay, striding it out on the big 10 km race loop

Easterns 30 km at Nakkertok

I had a lot of fun racing out East. The course profiles suited me a little more than other places in Canada (not so much climbing), and it was nice that it was a lower elevation than other sites like Canmore. I especially enjoyed the 30 km pursuit start classic race at Nakkertok, a race in which I was able to find a good rhythm for long sections despite skiing solo for a lot of the race. At Orford I was stoked to race a single lap distance race - a rarity in NorAm action. It was a nice change to focus solely on different sections of a long loop, rather than focusing on the pacing of each individual lap. The second day at Orford was another memorable day as racers focused more on wind brief layering strategy than pacing strategy. Fresh snow and -26 windchill for a 20 km skate mass start added an element of difficulty that played into my strengths garnered from being born and raised in Yellowknife, NT, Canada's city with the coldest spring, coldest winter, coldest year-round, driest winter, most extreme wind chill, longest snow cover season, most cold days (-20 or less), most deep snow cover days (10 cm or more), most high wind chill days (-30 or less), most hot and cold days, sunniest spring and sunniest summer. Although I am highly adapted to those conditions, I found myself lacking motivation in the early stages of the race. Perhaps that was a good thing, as I had a lot left on the last lap to catch and pass a half dozen skiers.

I was encouraged by how well I was able to recover from 3 back to back days of racing at Eastern Canadian Champs at Nakkertok, especially with a 30 km race capping off the weekend. This year so far has been a struggle in recovering from races, something I went into in depth in my last blog post. Although I wasn't satisfied by my racing fitness on this trip, it was nice to see that my ability to recover is coming around post-mono.

A big shout-out to Luke and the RMR for a great trip out East.

I am now back in Whistler for a long period of much needed training. There is a lot of work to be done to get to the level that I want to be at. To kick start my training period, I recently woke up at 4:30 am and skied up Whistler mountain. Although this didn't improve much other than my granny-skating, it was an unbelievably beautiful ski. To watch the brightening colours transition into a sunrise over the Spearhead range was a truly magical and breathtaking experience.

Looking down the musical bumps, watching the sunrise over the Spearhead range in Whistler, BC.

Fresh tracks