The Olympics! We had a pretty big week this past week. Lots and lots of volume and laps. Which was awesome. I’ve always been an endurance type of athlete and I loved big volume weeks when the intensity levels are a bit lower and I can put a real focus on my technique. Despite the high amount of laps, I was riding a high going into the end of the week. Friday was the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Obviously, being in an Olympic sport, and since I have had the Olympics on my brain since I was a kid, I get pretty pumped for any Games, winter or summer. I’ve been glued to the T.V all weekend watching non stop coverage and reading every story that I could. I sometimes think I should get into broadcasting since I spend so much time digesting Olympic and amateur sport related materials. There is nothing like watching an amazing race or effort by someone, even more so if they are Canadian, and then being completely inspired and energized to go and do your own training. On Friday, I watched CTV’s Olympic preview show. They played the video I’ve posted below. I definitely biked to training overly excited to train.
Not too much to report this week. Fairly routine week as short track goes. The highlight of the week was probably Friday. We were lucky to be able to do a little test of two new events that the ISU Short Track technical committee is hoping to have in Short Track sometime in the future.
The first event we tested is called the Madison. Named after the Madison event in track cycling, this event is also run in inline speed skating. It is a two person relay contested over 30 laps. There are sprints with at laps 24, 18, 12, 6 and 1 lap to go. Points are awarded for the sprints (5,3,2,1 and double for the final sprint). There are six teams and teams may exchange at any point in the race except on the sprint laps and as many times as they like. This made for lots of different strategies. Personally, I was on a team with Max Gauthier and we decided I would contest the sprints. I was useless on the first two and only managed to garner 1 point after two sprints. We did manage to improve though, even winning the last sprint worth double and finishing 2nd.
The second event is called the Miss and Out. It’s a 3000m race contested between 10 skaters. It’s a fairly simple event. The last skater to cross the line with 21,18,15,12,9,6 and 3 laps to go is eliminated. At three laps to go, 3 skaters are left and they duke it out for the win. Despite a couple close calls, I managed to stick around until the last elimination at 3 to go, good enough for 4th.
Overall, I think it was fun to try these events out. Personally, I think it’s important to try new things and continue to evolve our sport in order to encourage growth and excitement for fans. I hope to see one or both of these events at World Cups/World Champs/Olympics soon!
The Dog Days of Summer are here. Even though we’ve only just started our season, I find this time of year to absolutely be the toughest. Why? Well, first of all, we are working hard. The programs are tough since were touching physical systems in training that haven’t been trained for a while. Second, its hot, humid and muggy in the city and I’m stuck here since I’ve got to be close to the rink. And third, I have to put up with all the photos, status updates and stories from my friends and family about the beautiful weekend they spent at the cabin, or out on the lake. The photos of people at home in Yellowknife enjoying the hot days, cool nights, cool lakes and midnight sun are the toughest. Man do I miss Yellowknife summers!
Yearning for, and dreaming of my favourite place on earth, the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, NWT.
Needless to say, with all that running through my brain, this past week was one of the toughest of the season so far. It was a hot week in Montreal which makes recovery all that more difficult. Rolling around around in a pool of sweat in bed during the middle of the night is not conducive to recovering from back to back speed endurance sessions let me tell you! I find that I tend to struggle in these weeks since I really am not used to hot, hot weather. Thankfully, I can camp myself out in front of the fan and watch the Tour de France each day after training!
These weeks will pay off later in the season! I’ll get my Yellowknife summer soon enough…
I had a random thought the other night. It dawned on me that this season, I believe, is my 20th season of short track speed skating. Pretty ridiculous when I think of it. But time flies when you’re having fun, and I must be having a bit of fun to be doing it this long.
Canadian championships in 2003 with Dustin Miller in red and Dave Laurie in the green/black. Still friends with both of these guys.
Its doubtful I’ll last another 20 years as a skater, but things are going well for now! Another week is in the bag and it was a solid one. One of the hardest things about technique in speed skating is being able to repeat it time after time, lap after lap, at speed and while fatigued. When I attended the Olympic Excellence Series in May, Kristina Groves used most of that to describe what she sees as performance on demand. And that is exactly what we worked on this week. I’m pretty happy with the number of quality laps at high speed I have in the bank already. A lot more than last year anyways.
Happy 145th birthday to the greatest country in the world!
This week was a short week that was marked by what can only be described (with tons of sarcasm) as the Canadian National Teams favourite thing: Driving 40 mins each way to practice at the rink in Chateauguay because Maurice Richard Arena isn’t ready! Yes, we had to do that again this year. But luckily, unlike last summer, when we did that commute for a month and a half, we only had two days of it. The whole team was very excited to receive word on Thursday that Maurice Richard was ready to go for Friday morning.
Speed Skating Canada was also holding its Annual General meeting in Montreal this week. That meant the annual awards gala on friday. This meant a rare chance for the team to dress up nicely. My work clothes include sweat pants, shorts and a skin suit, so myself, and the rest of the other guys often relish the chance to pull the suits out of the closet and unleash our inner James Bond. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures, but everyone looked great. Congrats to all the award recipients for their accomplishments.
Back to the hard work this week, and trying to stay cool in the Montreal summer humidity!