September 3rd, 2014
I fell right off the blogging wagon this year. Not sure if I needed a break, was just too busy or wasn’t that inspired to write. There is a good chance it was all of the above.
So far the structure this year has mostly felt like any other training year in Canmore. A little bit of this and a little bit of that.
The biggest difference is the absence of Jean-Philippe Le Guellec and Megan Imrie. They have been on the National Team as long or longer than I. Jp and Megan were also a part of every World Cup season I competed in. I imagine there will be moments throughout the coming year/years where their presence will be missed by those still racing and those used to travelling and rooming with them during past decade.
This summer I reluctantly returned to Jericho, VT this season for North American Biathlon Championships. Anyone that has seen the results has probably surmised I was hoping for more. That being said, for me personally it was still a little better than last year.
The racing was far from the highlight of my travelling out east. The highlight was getting to check up on my recently retired Olympic teammates Megan and Jp.
JP, just like last year was in Jericho but in a different role. In the past he would have been training and competing with us. But this summer he was busy giving back to our sport by taking on a coaching/consulting role with the Quebec Biathlon Team. It was good to catch up and see that he was busy studying and prepared to take on the next challenge.
I also bumped into Jean Paquet, a coach who was with the team since my first World Cup season. Although I didn’t have time to fully catch up with Jean it was obvious he was enjoying his new role with the USBA organization.
As the week was wrapping up I was getting excited to fly to Winnipeg, Manitoba. To anyone that knows Canada that probably sounds a tad eccentric. But I was excited. My girlfriend and I were going to hang out with Megan Imrie and her boy Scott Edmunds. We weren’t going to be hanging out in Winnipeg though, we would be hanging out at Falcon Beach Ranch. Falcon Beach is where Megan grew up and began her biathlon career, over the years of training and touring I have heard many amazing stories about the area. Our team even visited the ranch one January eons ago when we were travelling back from Duluth, MN. I knew then it would be a place I would have to revisit during the summer months.
I had few goals for my time in Falcon, mostly get some rest and catch up with some friends. Rest was something that was seriously lacking in my last year of training maybe even the last couple. This time last year I came down with something awful after Jericho and never managed to completely shake it until a month later, losing a couple rest weeks in the meantime.
My week in Falcon was perfect. Jodi was happy to ride or even just hug a horse every day and Megan having trained so long understood the perfect balance for a rest week. You want to enjoy your time and be active but be able to restore your energy levels at the same time. I could go on and on about the cool things we saw and did in Falcon but will stick to one day. Easily one of the coolest days of my life.
The Day as I call it started at 9 am when Jodi got a message from Megan saying her dad would be jumping in his plane to go fishing in a nearby but isolated lake. And if someone was interested there was a open seat. Sadly I have to admit I didn’t even ask if Jodi wanted to go as I jumped in my clothes and started heading for the door. After a quick breakfast we left and were up in the air within 20 minutes. Like many athletes I have flown in all sorts of aircraft but this was a completely new experience. As we reached 55 NM the plane rose into the air leaving Barren Lake with a thrust more common to a car than any airplane I had flown in before. It allowed you to truly experience flying compared to the airbuses we are used to. You could feel the air temperature, the air currents and could truly experience the flight.
After about 20 minutes Lake Beauchemin was within site and we were gliding along it’s surface. And moments after that we were standing on floats casting for what would hopefully be supper. I was just enjoying the moment, casting, reeling and floating when I turn my head and see a gorgeous wolf hunting the shoreline. I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t know what to do but keep casting and watching the wolf as we slowly drifted towards the shoreline it was hunting. Unfortunately the fish weren’t biting so when the wolf disappeared as mystically as it appeared we jumped back in the plane and headed back to Barren Lake. Before the day had started I had never flown in a single engine plane, seen a wolf or fished from a float. All events that on their own would have been awesome!
This was all within 2 hours because before I knew it I was at a driving range with Edmunds, driver in hand trying to give the pines at the back of the range a good knock.
After Scott showed me up with the right handed clubs, he hits left. I decided we better call it a day. Not as in the day was over, just shanking golf balls was.
We then headed back to Barren Lake, the cool thing about the area is that there are so many lakes. And depending on what time of experience you are looking for you can find one to suit your mood. With Megan having grown up here it allowed us to see as much as possible without getting lost. A other first was coming up, something many would think considering the years I have dedicated to skiing I would have already tried. But nope. Jodi and I had never tried water skiing, but we were about to. After a few tries and some patience from the Edmunds Imrie duo we were cruising across the glassiest water you could ask for. I learned pretty quickly that water hurts, even so I probably crashed with a huge smile on my face.
It only made sense to finish a day like this off with a couple scoops of ice cream on top of a waffle cone. There were many more details that made this day awesome but my writing skills are rusty at best and I don’t want to test your patience which is probably challenged anytime you visit. http://blogs.fasterskier.com/scottperras
Our holiday in Falcon Beach was awesome! And big thank you to Megan and Scott and their family for letting a couple of fellow prairie kids hang out with them for the week.
It was great to get some good rest but it was even better to see that Megan and Jp were doing so well in the next chapter in their lives. I know I’m not ready to be done with Biathlon myself, but when I am life looks good on the outside.
Until next time.
Photos in no particular order.