Last week (well more like a week and a half ago) a bunch of athletes and staff from the Canadian Sport Centre Calgary got together to help volunteer for Habitat in Humanity as part of the new "Sport Inspires" initiative. I was fortunate enough to grab a spot and help out with the project; a set of condos going up in Cochrane.
Not really knowing what to expect, I drove out on a particularly rainy day to the site prepared do almost any sort of work, from painting or digging to donut and coffee runs. After meeting and going over safety and other procedures, we were broken up into groups: painting, framing, drywall, flooring and so on. I was able to snag a drywall putter-upper position; something that I have zero experience with. That's one of the many great things with Habitat for Humanity, your helping out with many of the projects going on at the construction site, and at the same time learning some pretty nifty things that could come in handy down the road. Next time: framing.
By the end of the day, the 20 or so volunteers had put in some good sweat and tears into the condos, which would then be handed off to the next set of volunteers the next day until the end of the project. On to the photos!
It was back to BC for our yearly "four-day stint in a small town with a long ride" camp, this time in Kaslo, just an arms length away from New Denver. Of the places I've been to (which is a considerably short list), Kaslo probably has the most ice cream shops per capita, counting four shops within a block of each other. But that's not the reason for staying there.
On the plan: the one day, 216 km ride dubbed the Silver Triangle within the Selkirk Mountain range, some double poling, and some running squeezed into the four days for good measure. All this mirroring closely with last years four day camp.
Last years ride saw only two of us finish the full 216, and this time around there was quite a bit more determination from a lot of the team to start in Kaslo and end in Kaslo on their bikes.
I will now stop talking and just move onto photo's with captions (sort of like the crust of a pie (which is like the best part of pie (unless you don't like fruit in dessert which is totally understandable))).
Coffee break in Nelson, 150km into the ride.
Post-ride debrief at the Kaslo Motel with a bunch of the guys just finishing their ride.
Clocked in 32 minutes faster than last year partly due to some fresh legs (too fresh) joining us with 80km to go, and quite a few hammer spots.
Kaslo Motel, great place to relax after a long day
We were right back at it the next day with some double poling up to Bear Lake. Like last years orange blur incident with Coach Eric G, Phil Widmer was clobbered by an extra large pole strap during the workout.
That afternoon we laced up the shoes and ran along the Wagon Road, an old connector trail from Kaslo to New Denver. Nishikawa and Goldsack running up the ridge.
Well that must have been one of my best weekends ever. In sort of all regards. The first Nor-Am races of the season at Sovereign Lakes were also the first set of the Olympic trials for Team Canada. Win the race, (and presumably) go to the Olympics. For me though, this was just another race, no form of selection or politics, just a a good old fashioned "give her all you got in preperation for Under-23 Trials in Quebec". This was however, my brother-in-law's and teammate's biggest race of his career. A temperamental back put this 15km skate race as his only ticket to Vancouver.
I don't really want to go through all the trials and tribulations of knowing Mr. Gordon Jewett. At first, one must be welcoming to the man dating your sister; after all, family first. Through many years of getting to know him, we both thought the next logical step for our bro'ship was to move in together. Seeing as he (and his wife/my sister) had a house, and I had things to fill a bedroom in a house, I made the move in the summer of '06. That was the year Gord also took me under his wing and turned average-Kevin into athlete-Kevin. His coaching could be one of the reasons I am still skiing competitively (and note: that sentence was not meant to create cheeseyness).
The two years following my move in brought up and downs, tears of both cry and joy (Gord actually almost made me cry once) and goods and bads between us, but they always seemed to be resolved. In the Winter of '08, and just after my first World Junior Championships, I moved out of the cozy #7 into the desolate solitude of CODA house #11. Neither of us like to discuss who instigated the kick-out/move-out; we both have our stories. My blender was too loud, they kept me up past my nine o'clock bedtime. Either way, if you ever consider getting a biography made on your life, you need to switch it up a bit and move on to the next chapter.
Fast forward countless memories and moments to December 12th 2009 and the biggest cross country ski race of Gord's life... to date. I started a minute-thirty ahead of Gord, and throughout the cheers and splits, the only thing I wanted to know for the entire 15km was how Gord's race was going. Granted I was having a good race and hell of a way to start the season but today was his day. After finishing my race (8th overall and 3rd Canadian) and Gord crossing the line just over a minute later, you could tell this guy did all he could to win. He laid exhausted, gasping for air on the ground for a solid minute, and this wasn't those typical theatrics you see at some finish lines. After some time to put warm up clothes on, we got the scoop - Gord was tied for top Canadian spot with 2.5km to go. Cue feelings of anxiety and nervousness.
Gord's post-race entourage. We watched nervously as racers would finish
Photo by Morten Myskov - Click the image to check out all his photos from the NorAm's
After the last skier had crossed the line, and times calculated, Gord had grabbed the top spot for the Canadians. No words can describe how happy I was feeling; of everyone on the trail, this guy deserved it the most. This coming weekend in Canmore will conclude the Olympic trials with two classic sprints and a 50/30km classic race. I'd be over the top if my sister could join Gord at the Olympics for the sprints. And after last weekends shenanigans, I will now be racing the 50km (my first ever mind you) on the 22nd, in a snowball's chance in hell of going to the Olympics. Here's to trying to join you in Vancouver Gord.
Team Sandau/Jewett: The movie
Silver Star still offers the beautiful skiing it's known for. Sorry, I shouldn't need to repeat this.
Lucas Jungmann still learning to smile. It's coming.
Hello. My name is Chris Butler, long time dedicated fan of Sandau.ca and member of the AWCA. Recently this illustrious site contacted me for exclusive coverage of the World Senior Champs in Liberec Czech Republic. Tickled pink with this distinct recognition I quickly jumped at the opportunity, wanting desperately to be associated with this up and coming site. Journalism is unchartered water for me, so bear with me. My fabulous accounts may be an little grammatically unaccurate.
Not counting yesterday’s travel, today marked day one of the trip. Currently we are in Livigno Italy. A nice little alpine town, with some killer cross country trails, that sprawl though out the valley. Two easy skis today helped to burn off some jet lag and reacquaint myself with training at high altitude. Mix the trails with first class hospitality and heaps of food (I think the cook decided that I was too skinny) and there is the perfect combo for an ideal training camp. The team will remain here in Livigno for two weeks, training and adjusting to Euro life. After this there is a world cup in Valdeintro and than off to Liberec. Unfortunately there are not enough start spots for me to partake in the world cup action, so I will be meeting up the OPA tour group for a weekend of racing in Germany.
Stay tuned for more updates. I have to apologize for those readers who enjoy pictures, my camera suffered an accident and is out of commission until I get back to Canada to deal with it.
From Kevin: Don't worry Butler, I drew a picture of you skiing in Livigno. Feels like I'm there.
Today is a sad day… it’s our last day in Livigno. Even though this is my second trip to Livingo, the effect is the still the same, awe struck, star struck, mind bottling. Call it what you will, Livigno, in my opinion one of the most beautiful places in the world. Nestled deep in the Italian alps, there are perfectly groomed trails winding alongside the town and through out the valley. At 1800m we are hovering on the tree line making for uninterrupted views. Obviously training here is effortless and the hours fly by. But, the true secret of Italy lies in the food, okay it’s no secret at all. But I am continually amazed at the enormous quantities of food here. Our waitress has made it her personal mission to put some meat to my bones. She seems to find it necessary to bring me seconds, sometimes thirds, and always, pudding chocolato.
On top of being awe struck by mountains, there is always the excitement of skiing side by side with the top skiers in the world. Slowly over the past couple days athletes from all over have been trickling in. I mention this because I am easily amazed at things. So much so that today I had a nice tumble gawking at the Italian super star, Mariana Longa. As I skied by her I used my best Italian and flawlessly said “Ciao”. Feeling like the man I promptly caught an edge and did a very graceless somersault into the snow bank. But no worries, I am sure she was still dazzled by my acrobatics.
Now I have been told from many people that pictures are more appreciated than text, so I added a few in. Unfortunately my camera is still incapacitated, so I had to borrow pictures from other people. I hate to say it though I couldn’t find any pictures of Livigno. I guess your all just going to have to make a trip here yourselves. But there are a few from the time trial we did in Val Didentro, the site of this weeks world cup.
Photo Credits to Shane Munroe
The ever smiling Shayla Swanson
Sean and George
Yves getting in a few k’s
Peri and Dasha sprinting it out
Liberec, the self proclaimed city of white snow track, has more than lived up it’s name. Every morning has greeted us with grey skies and snow, sometimes big white fluffy flakes, sometimes sharp little ice daggers. Combine this with temperatures around 0 degrees and things begin to get interesting. Glazed tracks, soft tracks, powder, ice, we have had it all in the span of half an hour. To say waxing has been tricky would be an understatement.
Luckily we came equipped with some of the best wax techs in the world. Every race has come down to the athletes personal decision, do you want grip or glide? Some countries opted for neither, but I have been a little less radical. I have been leaning towards grip and sacrificing some glide. It’s worked out fairly well for me, having posted my best world champ results ever 44th in the pursuit! Well it was my only my second ever race at a world champs. With only the 50k left for me I am thinking that I will go for glide. Just a thought.
This week has been full of inspirational results. Special note goes to Alex and Kikkan. Alex threw down in the pursuit, coming off the classic leg 30 sec down, he posted the 7th fastest skate time to end up 22nd. Not bad considering that with a few k to go he was in contention for top 15 but had a spill. And no need to tell of what Kikkan did, suffice it too say her sprint race was spectacular. Watching these two and others its hard not to get the attitude that anything is possible, and the time for North American domination has come.
All photos credit Chris Butler.
Harvey skiing hard in the quarters
Phil Widmer doing the same
Sean Crooks in the qualifier
Alberta World Cup Academy's own Shayla Swanson in the sprint qualifier
Kikkan Randall in qualifying. She kicked some ass, finishing 2nd for the day
That’s it that’s all. With the conclusion of the 50k my first world championships has come to an end. 50k. It even takes a long time too say. To say that I was nervous was an understatement. I had a whole week after the pursuit, to squirm, fidget, dread and yes even make excuses. But the 50k was my self proclaimed man challenge and I was finishing no matter what. Turns out all the dramatics were unnecessary. I don’t even have a good bonk story to retell. I guess all that carbo loading paid off in a big way. Ivan on the other hand should be full of stories of that race. For those who don’t know what I am talking about, download the race. Because this is something that needs to watched not written. I will say that watching Ivan do a barrel roll over the fence gave me something to laugh about for the rest of the rest. But true to the rumors, that man is as tough as nails. He came back from two crashes and finished 16th!
Canada kept up the ball rolling for the rest of the championships, posting two solid relay results. Peri and Sara stepped up in a huge way for their final in the women’s sprint relay. The girls skied like champions, didn’t give up any ground and pushed for a medal. It was very exciting to watch and they did Canada proud. Next came the men’s 4 x 10km relay, which is not usually Canada’s strongest event. But the boys made a name for them selves out there. Their performance left the rest of world thinking that Canada is a serious medal threat for the Olympics. Turning heads and posting best ever results the Canadians made it very clear that we are now serious medal contenders.
What an experience it was. Myself personally I learned that it’s possible to ski with the best. I just need a little more patience and a little more training under my belt. This in mind I have now turned my focus to Nationals. Hopefully the conditions here will be a little more user friendly than in Liberec. But the forecasted +9 and rain on Friday should make things very interesting. Currently I am enjoying the hospitality of the Neumann’s, crust skiing through endless meadows, and catching up on some much needed sleep. Enjoy the pictures courtesy of Shayla Swanson.
The boys after their impressive relay
An easy way to get a photo of the action: the Jumbo-Tron
Myself enjoying 50km of Liberec trail
Ivan racing to his 16th place finish
[A note from the admin] Although this is undoublty the end of Sandau.ca's exclusivity of "The Butler Chronicles" (known as"The Chronicles of Butler" in other regions), we are in the works of prepping Volume 2, just as long as he makes the 2010 Olympics...
Wow: It's only the 9th of October and Canmore skipped fall for some early winter action. With a snowfall, -18 degree weather and the Nordic Centre blowing snow, these sure are exciting times. Check out the photo's posted at Sandau.ca/photo to see whats up.
David Ben Gurion
Kevin grew up skiing with his family on the Nordic trails in Kananaskis Country, just outside Calgary, Alberta. At first, he would enjoy watching his family ski from a child carrying backpack, then being pulled on a towrope a couple years later, and eventually skiing himself when the time was right. A member of Foothills Nordic Ski Club, Kevin progressed through the Jackrabbit and Racing Rabbit programs where he enjoyed competing in only races that gave out medals, and only playing capture the flag at training.
Kevin soon began to apply himself fully to the sport after a few years of mentoring from coaches and athletes following high school. After a successful 2007 - 2008 season where he placed 21st at his first World Junior Championships, Kevin built off that success and has continued with it into his senior racing years.
A Calgary native, Kevin now resides in Canmore, Alberta where he trains with the Alberta World Cup Academy.
[highlight class="white"]Skiing Highlights[/highlight]
Overall Winner - Western Canadian Champs Canmore, AB
1st - NorAm 15km Classic Sovereign Lakes, BC
1st - NorAm 15km Skate Rossland, BC
5th - 15km Skate World Under 23 Championships Otepää, EST
2 Gold, 1 Bronze - Canada Winter Games Halifax, NS
2nd - 50km Classic US Nationals Sun Valley, Idaho
13th - 15km Classic World Under-23 Championships Hinterzarten, Germany
13th - 30km Pursuit World Under-23 Championships Hinterzarten, Germany