Monthly Archives: December 2012

Weekly Update #19 Shanghai Re-cap

On deck this week is a re-cap of my races at World Cup #4 in Shanghai.

After an unsatisfying week of racing in Japan, we did a short travel day over to Shanghai. The week of training went pretty smoothly. The rink in Shanghai is great. They do a great job of maintaining the ice. It grips a ton, holds up well and is quite fast. It keeps you honest though as you must be efficient or that speed will evaporate quickly due to how much grip there is. Because of this, it is a very fair ice.

I again skated a 1500m and 1000m. I had the opportunity to do a 500m after my teammate Olivier Jean suffered a concussion in Japan and couldn’t race in Shanghai, but I opted to stick with the same two distances in back to back weekends so that I could continue to work on the racing tactics that I was practicing in Nagoya.

Friday’s qualification day went well for me. Winning all of my races I tried to build some confidence for the weekend and I think I achieved that. The tactics and race strategies that I did employ, or attempted to employ, seemed to go smoothly. The qualification day is always a marathon of 10-12 hours straight at the rink and I was happy to be done and safely on to the rounds on the weekend.

Saturday was the 1500 for me. I had pretty good feelings in my warm-up. It is always my goal to be on the podium in each distance and I felt that on that day, I certainly had the legs to podium. In my semi final, I used a well timed outside move to get through a rough and tumble race and on to the final.

The final was, hmm how can I put it, interesting. Early in the race, I was well placed and thought I would be right were I needed to be when the sprint to the end started. Unfortunately, I gave up my 2nd position too easily to a Russian skater and thats when the mess started. That forced me to start working on the outside for the front. Only problem was that just about everybody wanted that route. In the end, I got tangled up in a collision in the straightaway between another Russian and my teammate Guillaume Bastille. This caused me to go down. You can see the video of this race in the post below.

I was none to happy with this race for a couple of reasons. First of all, I felt a bit like I wasted an excellent opportunity to be on the podium. Secondly, I made several tactical mistakes. Oh well, put it behind you and on to Sunday. Oh ya, we made the relay final at the end of the day as well. Moving up from the week before!

Sunday was 1000m day for me. Final chance at a podium? I think so. A couple of good races and I was on to the final. Once again, for the third or fourth time this year, I was in a final against the formidable trio of Kwak Yoon-Gy, Noh Jinkyu and Victor (Ahn Hyun-Soo) An. Also joining us in the final was Freek Van der Vart of the Netherlands. Again, it would prove to be a frustrating race for me. A slip on a well timed outside pass early in the race put me at the back of the pack. A couple of missed oppourtunities later and I was playing the last ditch card for bronze. Never a good card to have to play. It cost me, I collided with Freek and down we went, a Penalty for me.

So that was that. I guess the positives I can take from World Cup #4 is that my consistently is continuing to improve. I am hitting A finals often, and you have to make A finals to medal. Next step is transforming an A final in a win. Its coming.

After the competition, we were treated to an awesome show by the Organizing committee. We (the world cup skaters, staff etc) attended a circus/acrobatic/mind boggling show. My jaw was on the floor the entire time and my hands were sore from clapping. I also met up with my Chinese fan/friend Kyle on the bus ride back to the hotel. He was at the competition working as a journalist and got to check out the show as well. The organizers in Shanghai do an amazing job at putting on a show. I’m happy that the World Cup is supposed to stop there for the next 8 years!

So if you made it this far, congratulations! That was a long one. Check back in a few days. I have a bunch of photos from Shanghai, including a sort of photo essay on what a day of competition on the world cup looks like to share with you guys, so trust me, less reading is coming!

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Video from Shanghai

Here are the videos from my two rough and tumble A finals in Shanghai.

Weekly Report 18 – World Cup 3 Japan Re-cap.

You’ll have to excuse my lateness in getting this blog out. WordPress seems to be a bit of an unfriendly site in China so I’ve had to wait until my arrival back in Canada to get an update on World Cup 3 out.

The cole’s notes on World Cup 3 are:

1000m: Penalty for impeding in the semi final for 8th place

1500m: 5th place in the A final.

Relay: We won the B final for 5th place after a disappointing semi final showing.

Longer Version

After a long travel day to Nagoya, we settled into our hotel in Japan. Liam and I drew the short stick and ended up with what was probably the smallest room in the hotel. After some quick remodeling, we got settled in without having to sleep on top of our suitcases. Not bad to get a little lesson in space management. It seems to be one of the best skills of the Japanese. There is no wasted space anywhere in the layout of the city. Every inch of building space is put to its maximum use.

Practice during the week leading into the competition was a little bit weird. Normally, the first couple of days on ice, I feel a little bit out of sorts and only get back to feeling like myself on ice after a couple of ice sessions. This time though, my first couple days after arrival were probably my most comfortable on the ice. As the week wore on, I actually became less comfortable. I don’t really have an answer as to why. We did have the last practice session of the day on both the Wednesday and Thursday though, which essentially equated to skating at 5am at home, which may have had something to do with it.

Either way, everybody skates on the same ice during the competition and my Friday qualification rounds went off fairly uneventfully. I had set a goal for myself of trying a few different strategies out and it seemed to work fairly well. Often, it’s a bit nerve racking to move away from racing strategies that you are comfortable with, but it is important to be confident and comfortable in any scenario since short track is such an unpredictable sport.

Saturday’s World Cup rounds in the final brought a bit of disappointment though. Coming up against Noh Jinkyu and Kwak Yoon-Gy, I knew I would have to sharp. I have beaten both of the them at different times this season, but this time, I ended up getting a bit aggressive trying to pass up on Kwak with one lap to go and was penalized, ending my day. I did finish up with our relay semi, in which we had one of our worst outings in a while exchange wise and were eliminated. Overall, pretty bad day.

Sunday I had to redeem myself. I qualified for the final of the 1500m with a last lap double inside pass after putting myself into some trouble earlier on in the race. Although you never want to be passing up right at the end, it was a good move for me and I was happy to be in the final. The final didn’t go as planned though and I got caught dumping speed on a botched inside pass and had to settle for 5th. My goal in each distance I skate is to be on the podium and I didn’t achieve this. Nevertheless, I still felt that my level of skating was at a good level as I left the rink on Sunday.

As always, being in Japan was a pleasure. It never ceases to amaze me how a country that is as densly populated as Japan can be so clean, neat and civilized. I suppose this is one of the reasons that Japan works so well as a society, but it truly is amazing. The people are unbelievably polite, welcoming and helpful to us visitors who can’t speak more than two words of Japanese. Hopefully I can go back soon!

Here are a couple pics from Nagoya. I only took my camera with me on a little run /visit to the Toyota Commemorative Museum of History and Technology. It was a cool museum to visit. They had full size working models of automated assembly lines as well a history of the Toyota company. I’ll bet you didn’t know they started out as designing and making textile machines before they did cars!

Working assembly line

Working assembly line

The shell of the first Toyota automobile

The shell of the first Toyota automobile

One of the Toyota designed textile machines

One of the Toyota designed textile machines

Trumpet playing robot welcomes me to the museum

Trumpet playing robot welcomes me to the museum

My mustache and I on its last day

My mustache and I on its last day