Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Team DHL Blog

In other sponsorship news...

The Team DHL Blog was launched today. As mentioned in a previous entry Tony has created a sponsorship deal with DHL for our group of Para-Nordic Racers... Check out the blog for updates.

Way to go Tony!

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New Sponsor - Rudy Project!

Good news today!

I heard back from Rudy Project today - they will be sponsoring me for 2008 and 2009.  I am very happy with this sponsorship since I LOVE the products...  I have bought several pairs of Rydons over the years and I also use the Rudy Syton Aero helmet in my triathlon races.

I've been using my Rydons while racing on the snow but Rudy has a few Nordic-specific products I will definitely be trying out soon.

I suggest you all try these great glasses, helmets and accessories....  www.rudyproject.com 

I wonder if they have any eyewear specifically designed for carrying boxes like I will be doing this weekend :(

Wearing my Rudy Project Rydons at the BC Cup

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Monday, February 25, 2008


...cuz this week is likely to suck.  I try not to be negative but there is no way around the fact that moving kind of sucks.

We are hitting the packing full throttle as of today....  it's been all I can do to get Sacha to procrastinate this long.  (I feel that one way or the other we WILL be packed by moving day March 1st so we might as well put it off and live normally as long as possible... she has graciously agreed to try my technique though I can tell it is causing a bit of anxiety for her.)

I enjoyed my first weekend without a race in a few weeks....  logged some awesome family time.  Did two runs with Mattias...  he's a real trooper - up to about 3-5k now.  I find that his ability to run and my ability to distract him with conversation are directly linked....  no convo = no run.  So I plan all sorts of stuff to talk about before the run...  It's a blast because he just chats away.  
I've taught him all sorts of fun drills - buttkickers, high knees etc. the usual... but my favourite is that I have trained him to "Dig Deep" on hills - he says it every time....  "Dada, dig deep..." "OK, Mattias, will do..."  it's fun.

I am predicting that all of our move preps will cut deeply into my training this week - but I'll be able to make up for it up in Whistler...  (We are spending the next month living in Whistler which should set me up well for Nationals in the Callaghan Valley March 18-23.)


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Friday, February 22, 2008

End of the week...

Friday!  Sweet....

It's been a nice week since we got a break from the @#$! weather....  Training looked like this over the last few days:

Wednesday - Masters (longer sets on Wednesday - felt great to be back in the pool after letting the shoulders rest for a few days)

Wednesday - IF with Richard - nothing too crazy - still hitting the ski specific exercises pretty hard and I feel it is helping.

Wednesday - Quick 70 minute cycling blast out along the low roads of the North Shore with Richard, Rob and Sam....  fun to be outside - not too cold...  Power felt OK on the hills (until Richard blew by and I thought I was in reverse...)

Thursday - Skate Ski with Tony....  I needed this.  Haven't been skating as much lately as the focus has been on classic.  My confidence had dropped a little due to the layoff.  Working mostly on posture.  

Friday - Masters - 3 lanes today so I was in with the fastest swimmers which I love....  makes for a hard workout but the challenge is great and I like being there.

And still to come is another Friday IF workout and maybe even a little jog with Mattias this afternoon if the weather holds....

Dinner at the Banana Leaf tonight (mmmmm....) with Llorn and Kari - should kick the weekend off right.

Have a good one!

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Coast Cup #5 - Race Report

Callaghan Valley - Whistler, BC

The Coast Cup races are pretty small and kind of low-key.... they're enjoyable, good training races for the bigger ones like Nationals in March.

This race was a big one for me though.... It would be my first chance to compete against a National Para-Nordic Team athlete from my category. The National team is my mid-range goal - so this race offered an excellent chance to get a feel for how far I need to go to make it.

The prep for this race was odd to say the least due to some funny business that I really can't explain - 60 minutes out the race distance was changed from 5k to 10k, 30 minutes out I found out we would be starting in 15 minutes... These types of changes are not ideal when you have pre-race routines and visualizations let alone course preps that are now useless (since you are skiing a different course...)

My mind-set: I have nothing to lose. I SHOULD lose.... it was comforting actually, and I felt very relaxed and focused on doing my best - the competition was not a concern for me.

Interval start: I started 15 seconds behind my competition.

I had a great session with Tony on Thursday at Cypress and I was feeling far better on the hills and also on the flats - unleashing my new and much improved kick-double-pole featuring proper timing...ha ha - I used to do it "backward" but those days are over.

2km - I was gaining and skiing well.
3.2km - I passed.
3.6 km - I got caught on the downhill and then my competition inexplicably bailed into a snowdrift.

I was puzzled but continued on with the final 6.5k or so of the race...

After falling my counterpart DNF'ed and I never saw him again on the course. After the race he shook my hand and complemented me on my race - he regretted the DNF. I am sure he'll be looking for a better showing at Nationals on the same course in March.

My time for 10k was 38:40.... My pace was MUCH faster, even though the race was twice the distance of the BC Championships at 100 Mile (though that course was a bit tougher.) I felt pretty good the whole way - my grip was less than ideal at times but over-all I was delighted with this race. I finally had a wipeout/missed turn free race! This one was a real milestone for me - first 10k race, first GOOD race (just my opinion), and a first place against a direct competitor.

What I learned in this race:

- Relaxation and focus were KEY especially as the race was changed by others at the last moment
- Technique is more important than power (I finally FELT this)

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day on the Trails

What a great coaching session with Tony tonight!

I made HUGE gains in my understanding and execution of the classic technique. The improvement right now is so motivating.... A tip here and a tip there are making a huge difference in my skiing.

Tony, Courtney and I were out there for about two hours practicing and I am PUMPED for the race this weekend.

It's Valentine's Day and I would be remiss if I didn't mention how lucky I am to have Sacha - what a great lady, planning our V-Day event for yesterday so I could ski tonight!

We went to Me & Julio's on Commercial Drive for some awesome Mexican food... I had a margarita or two and really enjoyed the evening with Sacha.

Sacha, if you are reading this, I love you!

Sacha and I in Hawaii after the Honolulu Marathon

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

BC Championships - Race Report

Race Weekend schedule looked like this:

Thurs - Arrive
Friday - Preview the course - 60 minute gentle ski
Sat - 5km Classic Race 10 am
Sun - Relay Skate Race 11 am
Mon - Depart

I had a great solo ski on the course on Friday with heavy snow falling....  it was pretty weird being alone - literally, alone - as in nobody there at all - not one car in the lot.  The course was ungroomed with about 6 inches of powder sitting on it.  It was really well marked which was a relief (after getting off-course at the BC Cup I am a little cautious about knowing the course...).

The course is a hilly, technical track (I think - with not much experience to compare it with other courses.)  Steeper but shorter uphills and downhills.


The scene on Saturday was a little more low-key than I expected...  I thought there would be a bit more fanfare for the provincial championships.

Tony had arranged for Jamie Stirling, a Nordic Racers coach to be my wax tech for the race...  lucky too since I haven't had any instruction in the complicated world of x-c waxing.  After getting the skis dialled-in I went through my warm-up.  I got Jamie to add more "grip" several times - until I heard someone say, "Go light on the grip, I figure I'll be running up the hills anyway."

This single sentence made me think twice about all the grip wax I had requested....  I would certainly be "running" up the steep hills on this course (which would mean that a strong grip was a lot less necessary).  Oh well, it was too late.

Out on the course I felt pretty decent....  some of the hills were steep enough that the "running" more closely resembled "walking"....  but I noticed that it was this way for a lot of others as well.....

I was about 3.5 or 4 k into the race and enjoying one of the longer downhills on the course when I spotted a woman in front of me in the tracks.  Her location was definitely not ideal as I would have to jump out of the tracks at high speed to go around her....  I wasn't looking forward to the manouevre but had very little time to worry about it.

Yeah... you guessed it - I bailed.  Right at the fastest part of the course.  Lost all the speed that would have carried me a long way.  Got up and finished it off.

My race reports will now feature a new section at the end it is:

What I learnt at this race:

- Don't overdo the grip wax - skis get really sticky and can cause slowness and even wipeouts.  I'm not blaming the wax for my wipeout though
- Don't leave it till the last second to get out of the tracks on a fast downhill if you have to pass
- Practice jumping in and out of the tracks

So, on the whole I was pretty happy with the race.... gotta let these falls go.... they won't happen often once I have more time under my belt (positive thinking:)  My time was pretty decent but can definitely be improved upon.  Another step in the learning curve.  Most of all I am looking forward to a race free from problems......  no missed turns, no falls etc.  


Relay day was fun.... just a three person relay (3.5k skate each).  Courtney, myself and Courtney's guide, Jen, did the three legs of the relay - I went second.  

I actually found this race harder physically, my shoulder was screaming at me from the first minute.  I will need to look into the problem and probably skip a bit of swimming this week to rehab it.

Beautiful sunny day and a team event made for a lot of fun.

Next Race:  Coast Cup #5 - Callaghan Valley.

P.S.  Yes, this does make me the Provincial Champion....  but, until there are a few more people to compete against I'm not going to start feeling too proud of the title!    

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Monday, February 11, 2008

100 Mile House Slideshow

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Spring Lake Ranch

Awesome trip!

First off I have to recommend Spring Lake Ranch to all of you...  what an amazing spot.  It is at 111 Mile on the #1 Hwy, you take a right and drive 15km into the wilderness.  Our first time down the snow covered, winding 15k road we saw a Moose, 2 cows, a deer and a HUGE eagle.  Wow!  

Upon our arrival we found our idyllic little cabin right at the top of a perfect tobogganing run (I could see how my days were going to be spent....)  At the bottom of the toboggan run was a frozen lake with a hockey rink cleared!  This is about as Canadian a scene as your ever likely to see... so Canadian I had never seen anything like it!

Myrna and John (tho ranch owners) were awesome - John took Mattias on a bulldozer ride, he "groomed" the toboganning hill for us and Myrna's cooking was great... (they have an opt in or opt out meal system that is great.)

Apart from my racing, our days were spent toboganning, checking out the horses, playing in the snow and hanging out in our cozy cabin.  It was a really nice place to spend a few REAL winter days.  On the last day Mattias dragged his toboggan up the hill and with tears on his face said "I don't want to go home."  That's when you know your kids enjoyed a holiday...

One of the obvious highlights for me was the awesome birthday celebration planned by the kids (and Sacha)....  complete with Pin the Tail on the Donkey.  Thanks guys!

The funniest quote of the weekend:

We're filling up with gas at a Chevron in 100 Mile...

Aia:  Momma who's that man?
Sacha:  Which man Aia?
Aia:  That one shaving his car.  (Pointing to a man squeegeeing his windows...)

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Living, Working, Training - gettin'er done...

The weekend was great - still glowing from that awesome football game.  Also had my Father-in-law Gary's birthday dinner at the in-law's house - always spectacular food and company.

The week has gotten off to a good start....  Not much out of the ordinary.  Just trying to get a few good workouts in before leaving for 100 Mile House on Thursday (for the BC Championships.)

I've had a couple of great IF workouts - perfect high tempo, low weight, cardio blasts with long stretching sessions at the end.  Feeling pretty good for the weekend.  

We leave Thursday, the drive is apparently VERY long.  We have a great little cabin booked at Spring Lake Ranch.  Should be fun.  I plan to ski Friday - gentle, course preview type-thing.  Race Saturday - 5km Classic and there is talk of a relay for fun on Sunday.

We will celebrate my 34th Birthday on Sunday after all the racing - the wife and kids have been hard at work preparing the festivities so I am pretty excited.

Should be an awesome weekend.  Tune in next week for your trip wrap-up and race report.

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Superbowl XLII

WOW!  What an amazing game...  I have heard others say that there have been better Superbowls but I don't think I've ever seen one that good.

What a burn for New England - 18-1!  OUCH!

Kudos to the Giants and Eli Manning though...  not to mention myself for wrangling some $$ out of Caesar's Palace by betting on the Giants to cover the spread!  Thanks for placing the bet Llorn!  

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