Tag Archives: calgary

Weekly Update #14 World Cup Recap

The first block of World Cups is now done. Sunday, we finished up two weekends of World Cup action in Canada, and it was a great two weekends for several reasons.

First of all it was great because I had some good early season results. The first weekend in Calgary I had a 2nd place in the 1000m to go with m DQ in the 1500m (oops!). Being on the podium in the first weekend of racing was a good feeling, especially since it was my first international race since December of 2011 due to my fractured shoulder. I was quite satisfied with the final especially, as I was among some pretty heavy company. All three of the other skaters in my race had been World Champion at one point. In fact, those three guys have 8 World Championships between them.

From a team perspective, our relay team, me included, went out and beat the World Record on the first day of competition. We always target the relay and it was awesome to get the record back from the Koreans. Unfortunately I fell in the final, which put a bit of a dampen on our spirits, but we were happy to have taken the record and are looking forward to receiving our Brothers of the Wind World Record rings!

I also had good individual results this past weekend here in Montreal. I managed to make the A final for both distances that I skated, which I believe is a first for me. I ended up coming away with a 2nd in the 500 and a 5th in the 1500. I think the highlight of those two races was the fact that the hard work and time I have been investing in my starts from day one of this season is paying off. It was special to be on the podium with my good friend and long time teammate Liam Mcfarlane. We’ve been training together since 2005 and have been through a lot in skating together.

So far this season I have been in an A final in every distance. Consistency is one thing that the best skaters in the world have and I hope that I can keep that consistency across all distances going.

The second thing that made these two weekends great was racing at home. And by home I mean where I always train or have trained (as is the case for Calgary). Don’t worry, Yellowknife and the Northwest Territories will always be my home! I was literally floating the entire week we were in Calgary. I love going back there. Its so much fun to walk the Oval and say hi to literally every second person. Seeing so many athletes from different places and sports all in the same place, all pushing their limits and striving to be the best is what makes the Oval a special place to train.

It also felt like home because I had so many people that came out to cheer me on. I don’t think I’ve ever had my own cheering section, but on the sunday I did. Thanks to my parents and sister, Keith, Sarah, Thompy, Brendan and Rosanna, Linda and Blair, Jim and Jo-ann, Dan and Tara, Shane, Karin and Hannah, Laini and Emily, Ben, Fran and anyone I’m forgetting for coming out. I’m sorry I couldn’t make it up to the stands to say hi to all of you!

Montreal was almost the same too. Our Canadian team took advantage of tough ice conditions that we know so well to achieve 12 podium performances, which is a record haul for us! Again, we had great crowd support, me included. My Dad made the trip out and I had Jess, Michele and Kirstin in my corner all week! It was pretty interesting waking up in your own bed and heading to the same rink I go to everyday, only to find out that a World Cup was taking place.

This post is getting a little long, but I can’t finish without a shout out to the Olympic Oval ice makers. Those guys are absolute masters of their art. The ice in Calgary was unbelievably fast this weekend and they have the World records to prove it. Its the fastest ice in the world and the Short Track record books were rewritten. Thanks guys, you’re doing a great job!

Thanks to Oakley Canada for the new glasses and to our team sponsor Auclair for the new gloves!

We recently installed new contrast bathes at our training center. Our team sponsor Intact decided to give us new bath robes to celebrate. Thank Intact, #1 sponsor of speedskating in Canada

I’ve posted a few of my race videos from the past two weeks in the video tab above, so take a week if you’d like!

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Weekly Update #13 World Cups in Canada!

We travelled last night to Calgary for the second time already this season. Reason? World Cup #1. Its been nearly 10 years since Calgary has hosted a World Cup, and I’ve been looking forward to this competition a lot ever since word came out that Calgary would be hosting. I doubt I’ll ever have the experience of having a world cup at my home rink in Yellowknife, so this is about as close as it gets for me, and its pretty exciting.

The last few weeks of training have been all about refining and tweaking our training slightly in preparation for this set of competitions (there is also a World Cup in Montreal in two weeks). Overall, the past few weeks have gone really well, and I’m feeling good about my fitness for the start of another World Cup season.

This morning I headed down to breakfast and ended up sitting with the dutch team since I was the first from our team to arrive. Its been 8 months since I was last on the world cup, and this was one thing I missed the most. As we travel to each world cup, we tend to see the same people over and over. Its a bit of a traveling circus, and everybody gets to know each other. Its a fun vibe and one of the best parts of competing on the World Cup circuit.

If you are in Calgary, or Montreal, come out and watch. There is no hockey this year, so why not check out something new and exciting!

In Calgary, you can get your tickets at: http://oval.ucalgary.ca/stwc

For Montreal, check out: http://www.coupedumonde2012.ca/

Hope to see you there, bring your flags, noisemakers and wear red!

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!