October 11th, 2013
or Park City as it is more commonly known is nestled in the Wasatch Back Region in the Rocky Mountains sitting at the cautious elevation of 2100 meters. In 2008 it was voted by Forbes Magazine as one of the “prettiest towns” in the U.S.A. and more recently voted by Outside Magazine as the countries best place to live a healthy lifestyle. For these reasons and it’s proximity to the Soldier Hollow is why it was chosen by my team and myself for our Fall training camp. After spending a week in PC I prefer the more affectionate name of Park Silly as I am convinced the thin air is the only way to explain some conversations our apartment walls would have heard this week.
Originally I was slated to go to the Oberhof – Dachstein – Ruhpolding training camp with the A – team guys but after a frustrating August it was decided that it would be better for me to stay closer to home where I could more easily focus on energy management and getting the most out of the remaining days leading into the season. I had been to both venues for training camps and when it came down to it they were both great options but I had to go with my gut, I felt this was the easiest way to get me to buy into the training for the remainder of the year.
The week of training was exactly what I needed, a different venue but not far from home. It allowed the challenge of training and sleeping at altitude something that even though my experience is limited it is something I feel I respond well to and something to help stimulate some positive changes at this point in my career and season. The only thing I would change, I would stay longer. Between the challenging climbs we tackled in SLC and the high mountain passes we climbed on LSD days we challenged our mind and bodies in different ways from day to day. Some of our team even took the challenge of driving from Alberta – Utah, something I hope to take on this Spring on my way down to Moab.
September 19th, 2013
It has been a long time since I blogged anything. It’s not that I haven’t tried, I have started more than a few blog posts this summer but most have been DNF’s. Better here than on the race course I suppose.
When I write I usually aim for a few objectives, I may try to motivate through my experiences or create a opportunity for reflection for my readers. I also try to stick to the rule that “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” No one wants to read depressing drab and I don’t even like to write it but I feel that a few drafts this year were heading in that direction.
This season will likely be the biggest of my career, thanks to some solid performances last season I have already met my Olympic criteria for the 2014 OWG’s. But I don’t know many champions to rest on their laurels and I had no plan to do so myself.
I feel I started off the year in possibly the best shape ever for the Spring, through the month off I feel I maintained a good balance of strength, skiing and rest. But since then I haven’t seen where I could objectively show my hard work. Throughout the year we have field testing and lab testing and I have struggled to show any pb’s, more importantly I am not performing at the level I expected or the level which I find motivating to train for. There were times where I felt that I was strong, but never on a day where it counted or even mattered. I kept thinking theres still time.
I guess I was probably walking a fine line, in August we went to Jericho, VT as a team for the North American Biathlon Championships. I personally would have never went, Jericho is fine but it was foreign to me in the training sense and felt I had the best options for this time of year right in Canmore. But I went because sometimes going against the grain just isn’t worth it, inside of that week I feel that I may have peaked and crashed all in seven days. We had some workouts where I felt good and strong but by the weekend I had little energy to put into the races and very soon after I came down with the plague, an illness I have been trying to shake ever since. It’s not like I am walking around sick and snotty but there have been a few times since where my body reminds me that it’s still there waiting if you push it. And if you can’t push yourself what are you really doing?
In the end there is only one person that is accountable for my results and that person is sitting behind a keyboard because his afternoon workout for the day has been cut. Sometimes I end up just sitting reflecting how to get myself out of this predicament? And how could I avoid ending up here in the future. The funny thing is, not haha funny just smirky funny is that I feel the answer lies in a previous post, you probably don’t remember it because it was eons ago but it was about communication. To get myself out of this funk I am going to have to be able to communicate on the most honest level with my coaches even more so than before about how everything is going so that everything can start to fall into place. And communication should have been able to keep me out of this mess in the first place, had I better explained that I didn’t buy into the idea that Jericho was the place for me to go I may still be looking at a dream of a training season.
The point is the same as the last post but different because now you have something to reflect on. Your spring and summer training, maybe something has not fallen into place the way you expected, do you feel you could benefit from doing a bit more of your intensity ski specific this Fall? Or maybe everything has went according to plan but you just need a couple days off to travel home and see your Family and friends. Whatever it is your coaches won’t know unless you communicate, trust me I have worked with a lot of awesome coaches and never met one that could read minds, although sometimes my facial expressions. Or you could end up like me writing a blog post in the middle of the afternoon when you would rather be out kickin’ and glidin’.
June 18th, 2013
Probably anyone familiar with amateur sport is familiar with sacrifice. But I feel the quote above by Mia Hamm really says it all.
I can’t speak for everyone but I know that I have personally become accustomed to sacrificing many things throughout the years. When I think back over the years it seems crazy when you begin to add up all the missed weddings, stags, funerals, graduations, birthdays, anniversaries it becomes unimaginable and kind of sad.
I guess that is why we are taught to set both near and distant goals. I feel this allows us to strive after something right infront of our noses day after day. For me it lead to a head down approach often in an almost selfish way, but in return I progressed and improved day after day and achieved some things I’m not sure I ever could have imagined somewhere nearing a decade ago.
This year is not much different than others in regards to my approach to training or even the racing but obviously for many of the nordic elite the focus is going to be Sochi 2014. It is my dedication to becoming an Olympian that allowed me to sacrifice a passion of mine and sell my motorcycle. I could not justify the risk or the cost of owning and riding such a machine. In regards to risk, I knew I wouldn’t forgive myself if I ended up having to stay at home in February because of something as silly as a slick road or a gravel patch. And well the money is going to a good cause, I think… it will cover a portion of my National Team fee of $6500.
I think the moment that sacrifice becomes too much it’s time, time to hang up the boards and fold out the classifieds in search of another two wheeled ride.
p.s. my girlfriend thinks the first thing I may want to look for in the classifieds might be a job.
May 21st, 2013
I imagine by this time of year most athletes are back to full time training or are working their way up to full time training. Personally I chose to keep skiing and training a bit after the season because the skiing was really good in Canmore and decided to take a late April break from training. I find the older I get the less I am able to step away from training in the offseason, otherwise I will lose the gains I worked so hard for. For that reason I also spent some time in the gym over the offseason. I am not even sure why I am referring to 4 weeks as a offseason but lets move on.
Naturally athletes start to make goals this time of year for the upcoming training and racing season. It can be a long year and goals can keep you focused when you are on your umpteenth interval of the week. I was asked a few weeks ago what could I do that will allow me to perform when it counts this season, hopefully in Sochi. After lots of thought I decided the “Difference that will make the difference” this year will be communication. I am someone who likes to make goals which can easily be quantified but this year I really want to work on communication, it’s actually really easy and will likely allow for a more enjoyable work environment. I will turn to a quote for some help, “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place”. To me this means that everyone needs to be aware of who they are talking to and how it is being received. I have personally seen to many meetings in my career where everyone is agreeing in the moment only to hear their true opinions later. This is when communication becomes difficult, it can be hard to disagree when training and performance is something everyone is taking seriously or when you feel you are not being listened too.
If you use this post as a example you can easily see my communication skills are far from perfect, in fact you may have little to no idea what I am trying to say but if you ask and we start a dialogue maybe you will get a better understanding and we will get closer to understanding each other. Yay another run on sentence.
So yeah I am using my little place on the internet to encourage you to get out there and communicate. Maybe there is something you haven’t said to your coach that is still bothering you from last year, maybe it’s bothering him or her. Maybe you have been meaning to tell a sponsor how much you appreciate their support for another season. Whatever it is say it.
I have always liked quotes as I find they say what I cannot, so I will leave you with this.
“Effective questioning brings insite, which fuels curiosity, which cultivates wisdom.” Chip Bell
April 15th, 2013
This year I was named the Biathlon Canada Male athlete of the year. My first thought was “sweet” my second thought was “why me?”
Sure this year I had some PB’s and made some minor improvements but no more then anyone else on the team. Gow had a great first full season on the World Cup and LeGuellec claimed Canada’s first ever Biathlon World Cup victory for a male Biathlete. Not to mention there was Green who was stuck at home but was tackling physio and rehab exercises with a dedication that can only be described as religious. And thats only to name a few of my peers. So I was sure I wasn’t named male athlete of the year based on performance or dedication alone.
Then I started to remember when I first took my Firearm and Hunter Safety Course. The course instructor explained to us the maturing mindset of a hunter/shooter. When you first start hunting you are all about getting out there and hunting, you will nearly shoot any legal game. Slowly you mature into a hunter that passes on smaller animals waiting for a trophy which takes more skill and provides greater sense of reward when harvested. These hunters have gained a incredible amount of respect for the skill and sacrifice it takes to take a trophy and along they way has gained a great amout of respect for the animal. Lastly you go out for the hunt simply to be outside and to mentor younger hunters and to see the joy they get from their first hunting experiences.
If I tried to relate that to my biathlon career and my position in the team I am some where in the middle. I am now 29 and even though I started Biathlon at a very late age I have been on the Sr team for a fair amount of time. I was once the rookie on the team or even on the World Cup Team but am now a veteren. Pushing myself has always come naturally and something I enjoyed but I am getting more and more enjoyment out of pushing others and being part of a team that can accomplish some pretty great things.
I feel that I have matured into the athlete that can be equally happy for a teammates success as though it was my own. I know that I was thrilled when LeGuellec won the first WC of the year, I was thrilled to see it happen to a friend and to know that maybe I was a small part of what pushed his limits a bit higher. I also know that I want to be a part of the next podium and that to increase my odds of that I need to give myself selflessly to my training and my team. Easier said then done but thats where I hope I am headed.
So maybe it was my contributions as a teammate or maybe I shouldn’t over think everything and just enjoy the moment, after all its an honour I may never be rewarded again especially considering the competition.
March 9th, 2013
Soon after Nove Mesto I flew into Oslo for a week of downtime before getting back to business on the World Cup. I was ready for some downtime after Worlds and Jodi my girlfriend was going to be joining me for the two weeks in Oslo. We rented a small apartment downtown as it was one of the only affordable options, it was small but quiet and certainly did the job. I had been to Oslo many times before but this was going to be my first with some down time, normally we stay in Holmenkollen which is normally quite isolated. Staying downtown was going to allow for a totally different experience.
Staying downtown without a car meant that we would be taking transit if we wanted to go anywhere out of walking distance. Being that both of us never grew up using a transit system it took a little while to get used too but once we had a good understanding we saw how easy it was and why so many people in Norway choose it over driving a car. Unfortunately even when we had the transit system down it still took an hour to get from our apartment to Holmenkollen or Frognersettern the T-Bane stop where we normally got off to go skiing. Transit was a long but easy and a cool experience. I never imagined that so many people would be travelling on transit with skis and poles. It was so normal most people didn’t even wear shoes and would just wear their ski boots from door to door. Once we decided to embrace this part of the ski culture it got alot easier. The next cool part of the transit experience was when when we got closer to Holmenkollen, because the last half of the ride is uphill kids use it to ride to the top of Holmenkollen with their sleds and toboggan up and down the hill without ever climbing a step. It wasn’t uncommon for to see 30+ kids get on at a time with their sleds, gt snow racers or crazy carpets.
Closing out the first week I was beginning to feel rested and ready to jump into the last trimester of racing.
On the Monday before the races we were picked up by OC transport and shuttled to Holmenkollen and checked into the Park Hotel which provided a great view of the city we just spent a week taking in.
By the time the races rolled around in Oslo I felt ready, I had a great race prep day and felt some pretty good energy coming into the Sprint. Unfortunately my skiing was not as good as I thought it was and a finished a disappointing 60th. This meant I qualified for the Pursuit which is good but it was not where I expected I was going to finish when I woke up that morning.
The Pursuit was a couple days later and I was starting over 2.5 minutes back and would have to put in a good race if I didn’t want to finish at the back of the field. It was windy and getting through Prone was going to be a game of reading the wind. I clicked no less then 15 clicks up/down and right/left between the two Prone bouts and limited my Prone to 1 miss. I was moving through the field and after a quick clean bout of standing I was ready to finish well within the points. 2 misses in my final standing made sure that never happened and I eventually finished 42nd.
So that was my time in Oslo, the racing was fun, the weather was great and it was another great experience in Norway. I am currently in Sochi and hope to add some pictures to this post and later write about our week here but with my Mac being nothing more than a paper weight this will have to suffice for now.
Thanks for visiting.
February 23rd, 2013
I’m back! By that I mean back to blogging, I hope that my absence from blogging has given me a creative edge that you will see in the posts to follow this year. I have apologize to my fans, Fasterskier and to anyone who looks forward to reading my blog. I enjoy writing but my writing was being made fun of and as you can imagine thats not overly motivating. It was brought to my attention that even though my writing is not perfect I provide some interesting perspective and food for thought.
As you likely know we just wrapped up the 2013 IBU World Championships and are moving onto a equally exciting part of the year the pre Olympic World Cup. Nove Mesto in many regards was a success. Personally I started a little slow and unfortunately failed to make the Pursuit for the first time this season. I learned a few things however I feel I learned a few things that I can apply to next season and should allow for greater performances when it counts in 2013 and beyond.
Nove Mesto was a excellently executed event and even though everything out of my control went well I was still controllably anxious about the event. I personally have been through this process before, four years ago to be exact in the country of South Korea now home to the 2018 OWG. To understand what I mean it will take a bit of a explanation so please bear with me. The IBU determines a countries Olympic start quota by compiling the countries performance from the two World Championships leading into the Olympics, so for us that meant Ruhpolding 2012 and Nove Mesto 2013. For the 2010 Olympics it was Ostersund 2008 and Peyong Chang 2009. I took home some unforgettable memories from everyone of those championships some good and bad, unfortunately the one the stuck in my mind for the last four years was when our coaching staff told us in Pyeong Chang that we were sitting in 21st overall and would only have one individual start spot at the Olympic Games and a relay team.
I knew that we had a stronger team then ever before but doesn’t stop shit from happening. As anyone knows you can pack, unpack and repack and still forget something.
As I already mentioned we had a slow start in Nove Mesto but turned that all around in the 20km. We shot 91% as a team, took 4 top 1/2’s 3 of which were good enough for points. We were sitting pretty well in terms of WCH Nation Cup points, and with anything better than a melt down in the relay we would have 4 men starting at the 2014 games.
However in between the 20 km and the Men’s Relay the Women’s relay took place and I am pretty sure my jaw dropped as I watched Romania place 12th only to be DQ’d for being on the wrong side of a v board separating the lap and finish lanes. I never said anything to anyone before the Men’s relay as I didn’t want to create any unnecessary worry. But I realized a similar mishap could result in us again having 1 start in 2014. I packed, unpacked and repacked so to speak as I prepared to do my part in closing the deal. It wasn’t until congratulatory hugs, high fives and handshakes following our relay that I exhaled and allowed myself to believe that we would have 4 men starting in Sochi and that I can continue to fight to hopefully represent Canada at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Now lets go back a little bit to my actual races in Nove Mesto. I raced 4 races in Nove Mesto starting with the mixed relay, the mixed relay was kind of uneventful by the time I started as there was already a bit of a gap and I essentially finished where I started in 15th. That being said I was grateful for the start. Our team is getting stronger and stronger and to compete along side our women is both an exciting and rare opportunity. But afterward I could tell my fitness wasn’t where I needed it to be and I wasn’t sure if it was 2 workouts, 1 week or even longer away. I hadn’t lost confidence but was cautiously optimistic.
The Sprint from start to finish was a disappointment, I thought my skiing felt ‘ok’ and thought that with 3 penalties I may still qualify for the pursuit as I felt the shooting conditions were difficult and others would also suffer penalties. Oh was I wrong, athletes either got better shooting conditions then I or rose to the occasion leaving me in a disappoint 60 something. Maybe the worst thing was that I was going to have 3 days before I could have another shot.
Now that next opportunity was the 20 km Individual, and simply put I had a pragmatic outlook. I knew where the opportunities would lie on the range, they did the year prior in Ruhpolding WCH when I entered the range in position for a top 25. It didn’t materialize but I knew this 20km could be different if I executed my plan. I ended up 26th with two shooting errors and even though I wasn’t immediately satisfied I later realized that it was my best WCH result and that had someone offered me 26th that morning I probably would have taken it.
Ok we are getting close as I already partially covered the Men’s Relay above so this will be short. I was the anchor man and although I appreciate the faith my team showed in me it is a responsibility that does not come lightly. It is a precarious position, if someone on your team has a rough day the pressure is lower, there is usually not much you can do but race your own race and try to gain a position or two. But when everyone on your team has a good day…well lets just say it different. I was tagged in 9th, which would seems some what ordinary except for the fact that it is at World Championships and we as a team have struggled in relay so far this year. So I was tagged in 9th and it was still a tight race, after an hour of racing we will within a couple minutes of the leaders. I paced myself well on the first lap despite the desire to give everything in an attempt to catch Ukraine and I ended up shooting a quick prone and was quickly in 8th. Now this changed things, 8th is a big deal for a National Sports Organization in Canada. Sport Canada and funding partners look favorably at a top 8 but it has to be at World Championships. To top it off it would secure personal funding for the 4 of us for the next two years. Ok so I push that out of my mind which wasn’t actually all that difficult I had a race to execute, but only minutes later I am standing on my shooting mat in lane 8 and there are teams front and back I am looking at two targets left and I have two spare rounds left. I wish I had some sort of a black box because I can’t totally recall those moments but luckily I did something right and managed to leave the range still in the chase. I started that final lap in 10th and drew motivation from every possible corner of my brain and managed to cross the line in the coveted 8th position. And I was pretty satisfied at the time but now I am thinking 6th would have tasted even better and what I could have done differently. But like I said I can’t even remember those moments so I will just have to leave it at that.
I am currently in Oslo for some downtime with my girlfriend. We hope to enjoy the many kilometers of ski trails surrounding the city before getting ready for the next round of World Cups which will feature the ever intriguing Russian venue of Sochi.
October 24th, 2012
Its that time of year again, you can count the time until the start of the season in days rather than months. In exactly 35 days the IBU World Cup will kick off in Ostersund, Sweden with the mixed relay. There is a lot that can be done or undone in the next 35 days and I feel its important to really make the days count.
Obviously you always want to make the days count but we really turned it up on our last training camp which took place in Germany and Austria. It was a hard training camp and we accomplished a lot. Between the DKB Ski Halle and Dachstein glacier we skied a total of 10 days. We also payed another visit to Salzburg for a technical shooting analysis. As well we were able to make use of some different rollerski terrain for intensity, as great as Canmore is for training it doesn’t offer any of the steeper terrain we seek for skate off-set intensity but there is no shortage of such terrain in Europe.
We had great accommodations and weather for this training camp but its never an easy camp. It seems you are either waking up early and heading for the glacier or warming up your body for another of the many L4 workouts.
We finished up the training camp with some intensity in Ruhpolding because we really like the course profile and then finished the camp off with a a few hours spent at Oktoberfest.
Shortly after returning home I headed to some natural hot springs for a couple days of R & R and returned back to Canmore to the increasingly popular Frozen Thunder.
As I am writing this the snow is falling, the snow guns are blowing and winter looks like its here to stay for the rest of 2012.
September 10th, 2012
September might just be my favorite time of year, the leaves are changing color, the mornings are getting crisp and the training is getting specific. There is no mistaking the season is getting closer.
If your training has been going well you get to this part of the year healthy, in shape and ready for the final third of the training season. For me the first two thirds of the training season represent quantity and some experimenting. I like to take some of the feedback I received from the previous season and turn it into something I can cash in on. But that takes a lot of testing and more reflection to see if it is something that can work for you now, later or never. I have worked hard over the Spring and Summer months and feel I am in a good position heading into the Fall.
The Fall or final third of the training year for me is a time where I like to get all my ducks in a row. I need to make sure I am ready to hit the start line mid November all the while making sure I will have the foundation to make sure I have my best form in February. Likely for anyone regularly visiting Fasterskier this is nothing new, it takes a Balance to find your form and the balance point is different for everyone. I am feel I am getting closer to finding the right balance point for myself, and that when I am off balance its not nearly as far as prior years.
Over the next few weeks the Biathlon National A-team and B-team will be going their separate ways. The A-team to Oberhof, German and Ramsau, Austria for a training camp while the B-team will stick to North America taking advantage of the Haig Glacier and Solider Hollow a little later on. Before we could separate it was only appropriate that we do some testing and see if the experimenting has paid any early dividend. The last seven days have been full of testing, a uphill double pole test, 600 precision shooting test, uphill rollerski test, NT shooting test and North American Summer Biathlon Championships.
Overall I saw encouraging improvement for the team. I personally also had some decent improvements, but as we all know it won’t be until the ground is white, we have buffs around our necks and 190 cm board on our feet till we really know if what we did is enough. Now if you made it to this point of my post you are probably a bit bored and have a bit of time. So take a couple minutes for some reflection, have you done all you could do? what more could be done? The snow guns will be humming in no time and you don’t want to be sitting at home reflecting on what could have been.
July 26th, 2012
I wish I had more to post about this year, but its the training day in and out that allows us to achieve our best come winter.
Because of some funding shortages we have had to make some cuts this year, one of which was the cycling/shooting camp we had last year in Germany and Austria. The reality is we have a smaller budget but I am still positive my team mates and I can improve on our results from last season. We wrapped up our first testing block a couple weeks ago, Jean-Philippe Leguellec came out to Canmore on his own dime to train and test against us. It was definitely motivating to have someone travel across the country on his own accord to train with you, it motivated me to bring my best everyday so that we could push each other.
Overall training has been going well since our training camp in Bend, Ore. I have had some up and down results in testing but for the most part everything has been positive. After evaluating the testing for myself I have some work to do on my running fitness and precision shooting. I feel that improving these areas will allow me even greater growth in the more specific aspects of Biathlon.
I usually split the training year into 1/3′s as it allows me to focus on certain areas for a significant but not overwhelming amount of time. I am satisfied with the first 1/3 but obviously there is even more to come and only a good balance will allow me to get the most out of it.
We laid down a double intensity today, here’s a short clip from the morning sesh.