Monday, November 14, 2011

It has begun!

Chandra and I showing off some of our sweet new One Way gear!.

I’ve been over here in Sweden for two weeks today, and we are still waiting for winter to join us.
Luckily the smart Swedish ski experts saved snow from last season that we have been able to ski on. Much like our very own Frozen Thunder in Canmore but large scale, here in Ostersund they buried an Ikea-sized mound of snow under sawdust last season. Slowly unveiling this pile a truckload at a time and turning it into a highly coveted ski track makes each day exciting as we hope for a few more hundred metres of snow to explore on our skis.

In the media over here they call it white gold, and that’s an accurate description of the pile of well kept snow that can only be found here. There aren’t many places in Europe to ski right now unless you want to do it in a ski tunnel.
That being said we did get a race in this past weekend, luckily the stars aligned for the small town of Brucksvallarna, and they pulled off one mens race and one womens race. We raced 10km skate on a 2.5 km manmade loop, but at this point we will take what we can get! It was awesome to put a bib on and ski as hard as I could, after putting the hours in all summer and fall I just want to race.

The snow crew here in Ostersund doing their thing, making skiers happy.

One day last week Chandra and I ventured out on rollerskis- which is something we hadn’t done in a long time, but we needed a break from what was then a 2km long saw-dusty loop with a little pavement and snow mixed in. The rollerski was actually amazing, we went out at 3:30 (sunset around these parts!) and explored all kinds of new terrain on our two wheeled skis.

From here we don’t really know what’s next. My plan had been to travel up to Rovaneimi, Finland (the home of Santa Clause) today and to do some races this coming weekend, but those too have been cancelled, and we are now taking things day by day. One thing is almost for sure, I will race next weekend, but at this juncture I’m just not sure where that will be.

Ciao for now!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Park City+Whistler=3 intense but great weeks of training

NST ladies and CVTC ladies still smiling despite the rain.

Ok, so I haven’t put much up here in the last little while, but we’ve been a tad busy. We finished up our altitude camp in Park City less than two weeks ago, and now we are just about done yet another camp in Whistler. Most of us haven’t been back here since Feb 2010, and although we have experienced a lot of precipitation it has been nice to check things out, and reacquaint ourselves with this Mountain Town. Chandra, Em Nish, Allyson and I came out 24 hours earlier than the boys to meet up with the CVTC ladies, eat some tasty food, do a little training, get some girls only time, and do some brainstorming with our sweet sport psych Sharleen. It was a pretty inspiring 24 hours that’s for sure!

It was also great to hang out with the CVTC gals, and hear about what they have been up to over the summer. They were kind enough to adopt me last year for the pre-Christmas Nor-Am Races, so I’ve missed hanging out with them, and feeding off their enthusiasm.

After the boys arrived we still managed to get out a few times with the ladies group. It’s so nice for Chandra and I to have a group to train with, and have a few other brains to pick after spending two weeks training exclusively with each other we have a pretty good idea what’s going on in each other’s lives!

Our Whistler camp is drawing to a close, having done three intensity sessions including one time trial thus far, and a ski striding intensity up tomorrow before we all hop on a plane and head to the closest pumpkin pie laden dinner table. After that it won’t be long before “Frozen Thunder” our stockpile of snow in Canmore is unveiled and we will be gliding around on some of last years finest and well-preserved snowflakes.

Monday, September 5, 2011

After my great Alaskan Adventure I was in need of some serious rest. The mens team was in New Zealand, so I headed East to cottage country to catch up with my family and friends, and some warm weather.
It was an amazing week of rest, nothing quite beats Ontario cottage country…

I did some windsurfing, though I could have used a little more wind…

And when there was no wind Scout and I just went for a paddle…

Oh yeah, and I trained a little. The new pavement between Almonte and Blakeny is a dream.

FasterSkier reporter Alex Matthews also joined me for a day in Almonte to do some training, you can read her summary here: FasterSkier Article
Check out here other articles on FasterSkier too, they are pretty rad.
I know it looks like I was mostly hanging out alone, this is certainly not the case, but I guess when socializing we were too busy to snap any photos. A big thanks to Neil and Luci for the use of the cottage, Mom and Dad for taking a week off work to hang out with me, Kieran, Pav and Sylvie for coming out and keeping me entertained!

Now it’s back to the grindstone, Fall is in the air here in Canmore. Crisp morning air greets me each morning as I step out the door and onto my rollerskis. Luckily we are heading South in a week for our second annual Park City camp!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Finally an Alaska update

My view for the last week and a bit has looked a lot like this:

Needless to say that is the reason that I haven't been doing much blogging, but I'm back from vacationing, and have compiled some photos and words from our two week women's camp in Alaska.

10 Reasons Alaska was an Amazing Camp:

1- 20 girls all rollerskiing together with similar mindsets and goals. I’m pretty sure I had never previously rollerskied with a group of 10 girls, so 20 was really mind-blowing.

2- Everyone else took lots of photos and shared them, so despite the fact that I didn’t take any, I still have an album labeled Alaska on my computer, and have some visual aids for my blogging. Thanks Matt, Lauren & Holly!

3- Eric came with us, and helped us stay focused on what we were trying to accomplish- he also did his best to get an Alaskan tan while on the glacier.

4- Chandra and I got to show off our sweet new One Way gear!

5- Salmon fishing season! Generous Alaskans were sending fish our way, and Matt and Liz sure knew how to cook it with an Alder branch and a BBQ.

6- They have snow machines on the Eagle Glacier! If the Haig had these, the “Glacier Dude” job would be even more highly coveted than it is already.
7- We all got to know each other a lot better, after spending two weeks living and training together I think we will all have a few new friends on whatever circuit we are on next winter.

8- Kikkan made us sweatshirts! NAWTA = North American Women’s Training Alliance. Look out! (especially for those hoodlums in the front row)

9- We got a couple of wicked helicopter rides from Alpine Air.

10- I finally got to see this place that Kikkan talks about all the time, and it is pretty sweet. More rollerski paths than you can cover in a week of training, a glacier just a short jaunt over a ridge, and fresh salmon just about everywhere you look.

Thanks to everyone for making this such a great camp, especially Erik Flora and the APU gang for hosting us, and the USST coaches, Matt and Grover. It was a wicked productive camp. Lets do it again sometime!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Maui Camp!

Haleakala hasn't erupted since the 17th century, so our team thought this 3055 meter above sea level volcano would be the perfect place for a training camp, and they were right!
We had an amazing 10 days of good solid training on Maui, most of which was done on the road up to the top of the legendary volcano which was perfectly paved at a grade that will most certainly make climbing hills in the winter a little easier.

We did some camping, some surfing, lots of good training, and eating, and had an awesome time. When you put our team plus our wicked support staff on a Hawaiian island it's a recipe for success.

View from the top of Haleakala

Lenny's favourite spot on Maui- there are windsurfers out there in the surf.

Devon in his element camping on the volcano.

Joel and I went for a run on the moon while in Maui...

Running in the crater, one of the most scenic runs I think I've ever done.

Thanks to everyone for a great camp, and to One Way for keeping us safe on the roads with our new training gear!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Training is once again in full swing, we just got home from our first camp of the year down in Bend, Oregon. It was once again a great camp with great skiing, great mexican food great afternoon coffee outings:

We timed our camp perfectly to have the Americans around to train with. The women will meet again in Alaska in July. North American Women's Training Squad (NAWTS?) We obviously need to come up with a name for ourselves...
I'm only back in Canmore for a few days before heading to Ottawa for a Fast and Female event on June 12th! If you haven't signed up yet, do it quick, there aren't many spots left. Go to: Fast and Female Registration

Bike month is also underway in Almonte, and I'll be out for a ride on the 11th. Those details can be found here: Bike month info
It will be sponsored by Baker Bob, so you know it's going to be awesome.

In the meantime there are lots of other sweet biking activities going on like bike polo!

After a few days at home it's back to Canmore to unload my duffle bag, wash, and reload for our Hawaii camp!
June is shaping up to be a pretty good month, I even have lettuce sprouting in my garden, so I'm pretty excited.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spring Road Trip

Just got home from a road trip down into the Colorado desert to do some biking, and get some warmer weather!
Here are a few photos from the trip courtesy of one P. Wood who did a most excellent job of documenting our outings.

Time to get back at it!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Spring so Far

It's mid winter in Canmore...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thanks for a Great Year!

It’s that time of year again, we all start looking back and reflecting on our respective seasons, and start looking ahead to the next one.
As I look back at the 2010-2011 racing season I have to consider it one of my most successful. Especially considering where I came from last season. At the end of last season I was dragging myself around the race courses at Nationals in Whitehorse, having just recovered from a brutal cold and pink eye. My body was telling me something- it wasn’t happy.
I took a few months off to get some energy back, and made a plan with Eric about how I was going to get back on track.
It seems like the plan worked, I skied to a number of personal best results this season, and I feel like a completely different person than the tired sack that fled Whitehorse Nationals early because she could barely think rational thoughts.
It’s been a fun season, and I’m looking forward to the next one eagerly as I have an amazing team of people around me that have helped make this year a good one.

Eric and Justin were a great coaching duo all season. Crawford and Company Canada Inc, ADHS the Almonte branch of the Royal Canadian Legion and the Almonte Civitan Club were also key in supporting me this season. THANK YOU!

Here’s a few photos from the spring so far- Kieran has been out visiting, so he has been documenting the last week.

Friday, March 11, 2011

World Champs recap in numbers:

2- number of team members who were crowned World Champions!
6- where Dasha and I finished in the team sprint
20,000- number of people camping in the bush on Saturday night before the 50km
120,000- number of people who came out to watch the 50km
1 million- number of people so spectated throughout the championships
4 million- population of Norway (that means about a quarter of Norway watched part of World Champs live)
15- my estimate of how many hats my teammates and I made this week- amount of yarn was our limiting factor.
10- rating out of 10 I would give the 2011 Oslo World Championships

We have now moved to Finland where we will race this weekend, so here are a few Finnish stats:

106- my score from bowling last night
93,94- Eric and Nish’s bowling scores
200-Lenny’s bowling score (his arms are so long he only has half as far to bowl)
0- number of tasty meals I’ve eaten since arriving in Finland

And here's a you-tube video you should watch if you haven't already seen it:
Alex & Devon's race- by George

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A few notes on the Norwegian Culture

First of all I always knew that Norway was a country full of pride and nordic super fans, but until World Championships started I don’t think I realized just how into skiing they are. With crowds between 50,000 and 70,000 race days have been nothing short of amazing.
So, yes they love skiing, but what else?
-They love waffles, and brown cheese.
-There are ski trails everywhere- probably partly due to how deeply rooted in nordic culture they are, but around the Oslo area alone there are over 2000km of ski trails.

It’s not uncommon to see sights like this in urban areas...

Or a dude like this getting on a city bus or train...

Or a dude like this plowing his driveway...

-They love wool sweaters- and really anything wool.

And climbing trees I guess...

-Bjorgen and Northug are essentially rock stars, appearing in news papers daily every month of the year, and in the gossip rags that you find at the grocery store checkout.
-A sweet Sunday outing includes packing a backpack full of beer, sausages, reindeer hides, Norwegian flags, and chocolate, strapping on the cross country skis and trudging many kilometers.

Notice the flatscreens, this is out in the bush-waaay out.

-They built a sweet ski jump.

Sweet ski jump floating on the top of the holmenkollen hill.

-They like art that airs on the erotic side of the spectrum.

They are into skiing-all in, and the atmosphere on race day is something that can’t be matched anywhere else in the world of nordic skiing.

Oh, and they have a bit of a rivalry with the swedes.

Sprint-relaying tomorrow!
Thanks for stopping by, and thanks to Dad for the photos :)