Category Archives: Photos

Sochi pictures

So, as promised, I brought my camera to practice today. Luckily, the sun came out!

Sochi has been great so far. The rink is new and nice and the volunteers are friendly and will check your accreditation more times that you can count. The biggest thing that we have all noticed is that the entire area from our hotel to the Olympic park (about a 15 min drive without traffic, 45 with traffic) is one enormous construction zone. Everything is being built. Roads, train tracks and stations, hotels, Olympic venues. You name it. Even one part of the road that we drive on is open only to us as its still under construction. It seems like there is a TON of work still to be done, but I’m sure that they will finish it all up for next year and that everything will look great!

Another shot of the main stadium under construction.

The main stadium under construction.

The iceberg is huge!

The iceberg is huge!

Security is tight even for a test event. X-ray scanners, metal detectors and pat-downs everytime we get to the rink

Security is tight even for a test event. X-ray scanners, metal detectors and pat-downs everytime we get to the rink

This building will house the IOC during the games. The dirt construction area is what everything around the rink looks like

This building will house the IOC during the games. The dirt construction area is what everything around the rink looks like

The temporary dirt road that we use to access the rink

The temporary dirt road that we use to access the rink

Contruction of something Olympics related

Contruction of something Olympics related

Flat roofed building is the Long track oval.

Flat roofed building is the Long track oval.

Morning view of the Black sea from my hotel room
The stadium that will be used for the opening and closing ceremonies is, like so many other things in Sochi, still under construction

The stadium that will be used for the opening and closing ceremonies is, like so many other things in Sochi, still under construction

Some snow up in the mountains. Kind of reminds me of Vancouver. Warm and ocean influenced city with snow capped mountains in the background

Some snow up in the mountains. Kind of reminds me of Vancouver. Warm and ocean influenced city with snow capped mountains in the background

The biggest rink is home to men's hockey.

The biggest rink is home to men’s hockey.

Inside our rink.

Inside our rink.

The Iceberg, the arena for Short Track and figure Skating

The Iceberg, the arena for Short Track and figure Skating

LOTS of construction all around the Olympic park

LOTS of construction all around the Olympic park

Advertisements

Weekly Update #22 – Canadian Champion!

Like I mentioned last week, this past weekend was our Canadian Championships. Its a big meet. Not only does it serve as the Canadian Championships, it serves as a selection meet for the remainder of the World Cup season and the World Championships, it also goes a long way in determining who is on the National team for next season.

Its a meet you want to be ready for. Lucky for me, I was. And I came away with my first ever Canadian Championship. Heres how it unfolded.

Friday was the 1500m. Despite a (as normal) nervous lead-up to the weekend, I had found a really good feeling in the last couple days of practice. During warmup on Friday, I could feel that I was physically on a good day. Knowing this, I stayed out of trouble in most of my races, made smart moves when I needed to and managed to win the 1500m. Good way to start!

Just after the finish of the 1500m final. A little bit of intensity... Photo by Patrice Lapointe, Fotosports.ca

Just after the finish of the 1500m final. A little bit of intensity… Photo by Patrice Lapointe, Fotosports.ca

1500m podium. Guillaume Bastille, myself, Vincent Cournoyer. Photo by Patrice Lapointe, Fotosports.ca

1500m podium. Guillaume Bastille, myself, Vincent Cournoyer. Photo by Patrice Lapointe, Fotosports.ca

Saturday, we raced the 500m. In the past, I have had some trouble with this distance. Too often, I have finished well down the results and failed to score big points. Since the teams for World Cups and World Champs are selected from a cumulative ranking of points amassed over two sets of trials races, it is important to count as many points as possible on any given day. This season, I have invested heavily in fine tuning a new start position in order to improve my start, which is crucial in a 500m sprint. It seems to be paying off. While I’m not always first off the line, I am in the mix a lot more often, and almost never find myself with a gap to close if I get off the line in last. Instead of focusing on closing the gap, I can focus on passing and winning the race. By the end of Saturday, I had made my way to the A final, a first for me at a Canadian Champs, and finished with a slightly disappointing (at the time) 4th place. Still, my best result in a 500m to date.

Sunday is the longest, and hardest day, of trials. Why? Well first of all we already have two days of racing in our legs, and second we have to race the 1000m four times, as well as finish an intense weekend with a grueling 3000m. In the 1000m, I again made my way into the final and like the 500m finished 4th. In all honesty, I was a bit disappointed with this result. I never really managed to make a move in the race and felt like a bit of a passenger. I have to give kudos to the distance winner Charles Hamelin though, because his skating was a big part of that feeling. He was simply extremely strong on that day and I think all of us in the race felt a bit like passengers on the “Locomotive de Ste-Julie” as world famous announcer Dany Lemay likes to call him.

Next up was the 3000m. What can I say. The 3k is always a slog. A stressful weekend of racing takes a lot out of you and grinding out 27 laps is going to hurt. I managed to win the bonus points sprint after nine laps with a cheeky little acceleration. After that, for whatever reason, I decided that I should go ahead and pull about 15 of the remaining 18 laps. That kind of effort catches up with you and unfortunately for me, it caught up with me in sight of the finish line. I was passed 3 times in the final lap to finish 4th again. I’ll save you the details, but I was definitely cursing myself. In a weird twist of fate though, Charles, with who I was battling for the overall, fell of his own accord and thanks to my taking the bonus sprint, I managed to have just enough points to take my first Canadian Championship by a razor thin 16 points (very slim margin, as each distance is worth 1000 to the winner)

All in all, a good weekend for me. With that result, I’m qualified for the last two World Cups of the season and I will also be competing individually at the World Championships. I’m excited for the rest of the season! Thanks to all of my supporters, especially the Government of the Northwest Territories, currently my only personal ‘sponsor’.

Lastly, below is a picture of my new World Record Ring. My teammates  Charles Hamelin, Olivier Jean, Francois Hamelin and each received one of these last week for our record breaking relay at the World Cup in Calgary this past October. The Olympic Oval has the fastest ice in the world and anybody who breaks a world record there become a member of the brothers of the wind and receives a ring as recognition. I am happy to be part of the club!


 

 

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

Weekly Update #12 – Now with bonus weeks!!

Alright here we go. Whats new? Well, first off, World Cup trials week came and went. The first trials of the year always bring out some nerves in everyone. After not racing for the summer, everyone is anxious to test out their form and see if the changes they have made over the summer are starting to pay off.

For me, the trials marked my return to racing since breaking my shoulder in January. Even though I hadn’t raced for the better part of 8 months, the longest period I’ve gone without racing since 2004, I was surprisingly relaxed going into the weekend. Maybe it was that I knew that I had put in a good summer of training, or that I just felt at ease in my old home rink and favourite speed skating facility in the world, the Olympic Oval, or maybe it was the awesome lead up to the weekend I had thanks to my sister letting me use her kitchen to cook exactly what I wanted (she cooked for me a couple times too – Huge thanks goes out to here for being my #1 support crew that week). Im going to go with a combo of all of those things.

By the end of the weekend, I had racked up some up and down results. We did each of the 1500m, 500m and 1000m twice. My 1500m was consistent, I finished 3rd and 2nd, which were good results for me. My 500 and 1000 were also consistent, but not were I wanted to be. I finished 11th in both the first time around and 6th in both the second time around. Obviously I’m looking for more in those two distances.

Normally I’d be mad with those results in the 1000 and 500. But I honestly felt like I raced well. I know that I am capable of great results in both of those distances, its just a matter of being patient. I am definitely on the right track.

The good news was that after all that, my overall result was good enough to qualify me for the World Cup team for the first 4 World cups this season. I finished 4th overall. Our team for the men will consist of Charles Hamelin, Olivier Jean, Francois Hamelin, myself, Liam Mcfarlane and one more person to be named by the High Performance Committee as a discretionary choice.

Photo credit – Tracy Hillis

Photo credit – Tracy Hillis

Following trials, I had planned to take a couple of days off and head out to the mountains for a couple days of camping and hiking in the backcountry with my good buddy Reid. We were super lucky to have perfect, perfect september weather for the three days. I absolutely love spending time in the mountains and of course, living in Montreal, I get out way less often than I wish I could, so it was great to get out and enjoy some time away from skating.

Life is tough – Hanging out on an unnamed peak after scrambling up

Smooooke on the waaater. Literally. This is smoke from our campfire.

Ladies, this man is single

Before I wrap it up, I should mention that my blog is now featured on sportcafe.ca alongside the blogs of many other awesome Canadian amateur athletes. Check SportCafe out, they are the leading resource for news and updates from your Canadian Olympic athletes!