It's the first part of my season end break; backcountry skiing up at the Wapta Icefield for the Jewett's 5th year anniversary. Awesome skiing and lots of sun from the first weekend of April! Check it out below.
Right now I'm halfway through my ten days in Maui, enjoying some fun in the sun before heading back to Canmore for another season of training. Definitely taking advantage of the +25 degrees before that happens!
Norway's gotta be one of the best places to race in the world. Besides the pretty spectacular ski trails around Oslo and at Holmenkollen, it seems like Norwegian spectators have a soft spot for Canadians. From start to finish on Saturday's 50km at Holmenkollen Park, there was no end to the shouts, "Go Canada Go!".
"Yikes." - that's how last weekends 30km skiathlon in Lahti, Finland can be summed up for me. After catching a cold in the final few days in Seizer Alm, my energy levels took a steep dive and remained low long after I got over the sore throat and runny. Upon arriving in Finland and skiing on the race trails, my body felt like dial-up internet yearning for some DSL. Come race day I was playing everything by ear, and after a hard warm up I figured the body was reacting well enough to give it a go. I didn't make it far into the race. Coming into the stadium at the 11.25km mark of the classic leg I pulled the plug and put a DNF (Did Not Finish) next to my name on the results sheet. With a serious lack of "oomph", or anything for that matter, it turns out my body wasn't quite ready to get back into racing yet.
But that was last week.
Fast forward to now and I'm less than 24 hours away from racing the 50km Holmenkollen World Cup here in Oslo, Norway. The body is feeling recharged and ready for a race that has been on my bucket list for this season. This is my first time in Norway, and let's just say the Norwegians love their Nordic skiing. With thousands expected to be lining the 8km loop tomorrow here at Holmenkollen, it sure will be quite the thing to witness. (I'll be packing earplugs just in case)
Holmenkollen Ski Jump mixed in with the fog, which I feel like they get a lot of
I’m back in Europe - Italy to be exact. After wrapping up the Canadian NorAm Circuit last week, I grabbed the FIS Regional spot, giving me starts in all the March World Cups, including the Finals in Sweden. Rewind back to my last update, I had just finished racing at Callaghan Valley near Whistler and was in tight contention for this trip to Europe. Using the best of 8 races, it was a battle royale between club/sprint/teammate Brent McMurtry and I. After finishing 1st at the Western Canadian Championships in Canmore, and 2nd a couple weeks later at the Eastern Canadian Championships near Ottawa, I was able to lock up my spot to Europe and the opportunity to race the last three weekends of World Cups.
Racing has started up again for 2012, and I'm back in Whistler for what seems like the millionth time for some NorAm races. It took awhile for me find my legs in yesterday's 30km, but by the time I transitioned to skate, things were looking better and I was able to grab the win.
Taking a turn at the front in the skate leg, thanks to Angus Cockney for the photos
Brent McMurtry and I to the line, making it 3 for 3 for distance races this season. Jesse Winter grabbed this shot of the sprint to the finish - check out his shots at his website here
Tomorrow is the skate sprints, something I've started growing a soft spot for. We'll see how this one goes...
The racing is over and after hanging around in Rossland for a couple days, it's back home for me for some good ol’ Christmas time. Greyhound could be a bit more reliable with their bus service as I'm stuck in Revelstoke for the time being, but it's given me some time to do some computer jamming and whip out an update.
This past weekend's NorAm's were a bag full of firsts for me, particularly in the skate sprint. I can't really remember the last time I've moved on past a quarterfinal and on to the later rounds. Saturday was a bit of a welcome surprise to me, as I started off the day with the 4th fastest qualifying time. Turns out there is a bit of sprint in me.
The straggling bits of jet lag have passed and the racing season in Canada is in full swing. Upon returning back home from Europe, I had a week and a half of Canmore time before packing up my bag again and returning to the road. This time Sovereign Lakes and Rossland NorAms.
Already having more than a few races in the bank this season, I was excited for the 15km classic race at Sovereign, generally a good distance for me. There were a couple things I took away from my World Cup experience in November that I wanted to apply to Sunday's race, specifically speaking: ski smooth, long, and efficient.
My bad. Looks like my wish of being able to ski up at the Canmore Nordic Centre year round has a fighting chance. Waking up this morning I didn't think the snow fall warning for the Bow Valley area had too much merit, but I guess the +20cm dump was to make up for the lackluster snow we had in November and December.
Looks like its time to put back the bike (seems like that flat tire didn't fix itself over the winter...) and get ready to make some sick snow forts, or just keep the skis out.
I leave you with this, and probably the chaos that will ensue for the next couple days...
Nothing like capping off three hard weeks of training, half of that spent in possibly the most expensive place in the world. Or at least in my limited travels. The Academy just got back from our training camp in Whistler, which seems to have gone pretty well. There was a bit of worrisome thought towards the fires going on around Lillooet and training in smoke (something I’m not too big on), but a full day of rain on the drive there cleared the slate for some Grade-A training days.
The whole Whistler area offers amazing training locations. Skiing up to Callaghan is quiet and nicely paced (although the drive to and from Whister is a bit of a downer), and endless downhill runs gave us enough room to play a round of "45-minutes of intensity" with accompanying ride down the chair lift (the Banff Gondola training experience now pales in comparison). Even roller skiing in a mainly touristy town is a bit more forgiving. Granted, most tourists are a lil bit more patient with three abreast roller skiers down main street than say one of the locals. And when we just needed to get away from it all, the freshly paved Duffy Lake Road offered an amazing road ride as well as roller skiing time.
Coincidentally, one of the biggest parties/mountain bike fest thing was going on the same time. Kokanee Crankworx. This was fun, not like our first dinner out to Mongolie Grill (bills in the range of $50+ and Lucas taking the cake for his $58 meal and $8 tip). On one of our day's marauding around the worx, we took part in test driving Volkswagen cars on their "off-road course", getting free chocolate milk, Monster Energy drinks and endless cliff bar samples, and a deer in headlights moment by me with one of the hottest Kokanee girls. O well, next time.
A snippet of the crowd at the Slope Style Finals
After our days were up in Whistler, we took a more relaxed return trip home, cutting the ten hour drive into two day segments. After a five hour ride/ski out of Whistler and up Duffy, we stopped at a gas station which boasted the best bannock in the world. (I was a little surprised to learn it's bread instead of a trailmix type snack I though it was.) After a quick stop there and a glance at some fires in Lillooet we stopped in at Cash Creek, a small and cozy truck stop town.
Gord says I don't have enough female flare in my photos, so on our last ride of the camp, Lucas and I decided to bike with Megan Fox and leave Gord behind.
Forest fires, straight ahead.
Cash Creek. Nice Views.
After our night in CC, we drove to Kamloops for our last workout in BC. With the day teetering over 30 degrees it was nice to have support vans following close behind. I think I topped just over 5 L for the 3 hour workout. The road that we skied up, which led to the nordic centre and beyond, was 30km of some of the quietest, best paved road in Canada. And being able to take off the boots and jump straight into a lake, not bad.
And lastly, I wanted to do a shout out to @JessCockney. You owe us a new picnic chair.
Woops, sort of let laziness take the better part of me. It’s been since May from the time when I had anything worth updating about. Things have been slow. Training is normal, and life is same old. I keep trying to rack my brain for some sort of update, but let’s face it; winter is just a more exciting time to unleash my thoughts. I almost had an update for June, something about the Stanley Cup Playoffs and a farmer’s bet, but after being pegged as boring and too far-fetched by my publisher, I had to scrap the entire idea. I went into a state of skier-website-blog-depression.
With my passion and excitement reinstated, I found so many things to write about. Like how two weeks ago my team and I went up to the Haig Glacier for an on snow training camp. It was a very serious camp, with the main goals for the team being purely training, eating, and sleeping. And it was; my iLog has the following hours in it: 30 hours of training, 70 hours sleep, and 68 hours of eating. Seems about right. It just so happened that the 2nd Annual Las Haigas Glacier Resort Disc Golf Championship was happening while we were up there. Similar to last year, Chris Butler remained undefeated champion of the event.
The event was the biggest turnout to date. More drawprizes, bigger prizes, and a formal awards banquet that seemed to have gone undocumented. Meh, next year.
John Frosst - Top Gun - testing out the new terrain park before letting the athletes injure themselves on it
A shot of Gord Jewett and Dan Roycroft on their final run out of the Haig as athletes. A rare photo indeed.
Now that I got my writing spunk back, updates should be more forthcoming. And with another training camp in Whistler come August 9th, I'm sure there will be plenty of things to type about.
Over and out.
(Somehow this took me 6 hours to write. Please appreciate it)