Saturday, December 27, 2008
Our Calgary "family"
Also, if you would like to check out an amazing piece of music, check out the video below. The artist is John Butler of the John Butler Trio playing the song Ocean. He rarely plays this piece the same way twice but it always sounds amazing.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Liam and Harolds from Latvia on the way up to Chester Lakes.
End of the first day with Commonwealth Peak in the background.
The Spray Valley. Mount Nestor is the peak just left of center.
Last week was all about physio and doing as much training as possible. I felt like I spent half the week doing physio alone but my back is now starting to really get ready to go hard so that is a good point. We will take a couple days off for Christmas, as most of the group, except the Euros, will head home for Christmas. I am hoping to get out to the cabin at home and enjoy some more winter. Happy Holidays everyone!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
The Canadian Short Track team returned from a two week two in
The highlight of the weekend was definitely our win in the relay. We have been close to winning at every World Cup but have come up short three times. It was nice to be on the top of the podium even though I didn’t actually get to be on the podium because I didn’t skate. Another highlight of the trip was our dinner on the last night. We went out to this very small family owned Japanese restaurant. Everyone say around knee high tables with grills in the middle while plates of food are brought out to grill. They bring everything from veggies to meat to seafood and you just grill it up and enjoy. Everything was delicious and the meal was topped off with sake shots all around. We all headed over to a karaoke bar after. Check out the video below. Martin (the women’s coach is playing the air piano and drums while the Jess’s and Annick sing)
The restaurant we went to the last night...
Thursday, December 4, 2008
But this isn’t stopping me from all activity. Today our physio, Rebecca, suggested that I try some swimming so that I can at least keep active and try to help with a bit more stimulation of my core muscles. Now, I don’t swim very often (more like close to never) so I knew this would be an adventure. Lets just say I was not even as good as Michael Phelps at age 2. Under Reb’s watchful eye though I did improve a bit over the hour or so I was in the water, but was still getting killed by Rebecca at the end and she was only using her legs! So my swimming needs some improvement but as long as I don’t have any pain from it I will try to go back a couple more times this weekend.
Racing starts tomorrow for everyone else. I will be in the stands trying to keep my boredom levels to a minimum (you can only watch so many races when you know you should be in them). I’ll try to film a couple races and throw them up here after racing is over for the day.
This one is for CVD. He requested a picture of a beer vending machine. There is one right outside of our hotel room by the elevator. Beer in the vending machine costs $4.75 Canadian
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
View from my hotel room in late afternoon
Nagano is a very nice city. Almost 400 000 people live here but you would never know it. Everything is very neat and tidy. There are a lot of small houses and everyone seems very friendly. Nagano is also surrounded by mountains and the sunset every night is gorgeous. Today, we visited the Zenkoji temple that houses the oldest statue of Buddha in Japan. Very cool. The thing that struck me most about our first real foray into the city was how clean everything is. There isn’t any garbage anywhere and everything is in its place. And this is everywhere, not just on the tourist streets but even in the back alleys that we cut through to get back to the hotel. Now you might expect that the reason that there isn’t any garbage is because there a garbage can on every corner but this is not the case. Its almost impossible to find a trash bin. After buying some gelato, I had to walk almost ten minutes without seeing a garbage can and finally gave up and went in a store to throw out my trash. I found it amazing that there can be no garbage cans and no garbage. If only it could be like this is North America.
At the Zenkoji Temple
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Next post will either be from Japan or on the trip to Japan!
Below is the video of the 1500m A final
1. Sung Si-Bak Korea
2. Olivier Jean Canada
3. Park Jin-Hwan Korea
4. Lee Jung-Su Korea
5. Sui Boaku China
6. Michael Gilday Canada
Friday, November 28, 2008
Below is about half of my 1500m Quarter final from yesterday.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
We have also had the chance to get out and experience Beijing a bit as well over the last couple of days. Tuesday, we headed over to the silk market to do some shopping for knock off designer goods. In the ever exciting world of the marketplace, you have to bargain with over zealous vendors who will grab, pull, hit and yell at you in order to get you to come to there booth. Everyone is selling almost the same thing and there are more English speaking Chinese people at the markets than anywhere else is China I’m sure. They see a tourist and immediately try to grab your attention and get a huge mark up out of you. The best way to get your price is to make them think you are interested and then walk away. This alone often brings the price down by about 100 yuan (20 cdn). If you ever find yourself in Beijing and at the market, the rule of thumb is to never pay more than half of the initial offer and 90% of the time you should play less than that.
Tuesday night we went out for dinner to a local hot pot restaurant. A hot pot is a basically a cauldron with fire in it surrounded by a ring of boiling water. You are brought big plates of uncooked meat and greens that you submerge in the boiling water until cooked and then remove them, dip them in a dipping sauce and enjoy. It was actually really good although the sauces were a bit weird. Our waitress was also hilarious. She was really concerned that we do it the proper way and found it hilarious every time a group of hungry athletes would throw a ton of meat in and then devour it in seconds.
the hot pot
Wednesday we had a the last practice time of the day (7pm) so we took advantage of the chance to go over to the Birds Nest and the Water Cube. After seeing these impressive structures on TV this summer, it was really cool to see them in person. They are truly spectacular up close. We were able to go in and walk on the field and see the enormity of the stadium from the middle. It is surprising how personal a stadium with 91000 seats can feel given the right architecture. The water cube was pretty neat too although we were told it is way cooler at night when they have a light show with the walls.
Usain Bolt's view during the Olympics
This thing is huge!!
It was nice to get to experience some touristy things while we were here. To often we travel into a country, compete and then leave. Even though what we did was very like any typical tourist it is still nice to experience what we can. But after a couple days of that, its back to competition mode. World Cup #3 starts tomorrow. I will be skating a 500m and a 1500m. I haven’t skated a 500m on the world cup since 2006 so I am happy to be doing one. I will try to do a summary of racing after each day. I have also posted a bunch more photos in addition to the ones here in my picasa account which can be accessed by the link on the right hand bar.
Lastly, good luck to everyone racing in Calgary this weekend.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
L to R: Liam Mcfarlane, Jessica Gregg, Richard Shoebridge, Jessica Hewitt,Michael Gilday
Saturday, November 15, 2008
On Wednesday we did some testing to see where we are physically. But first of all let me set this up a bit. The testing we do is done on the bike. We do this because doing the test on the bike is closer in terms of muscles and systems used to skating than the other way of doing the tests we did, which is running on a treadmill. We haven’t been on the bike much lately, obviously because we have been on ice training and competing, and I wouldn’t say we do a lot of biking except for at the beginning of the season, but we do a lot more biking than running. It’s obviously not a perfect situation, but as long as we do the same thing each time, we should get accurate results.
The tests that we did were an incremental bike test and a maximum aerobic power (MAP) test. The incremental bike test works like this. You jump on the bike (no ordinary bike, this is a teched out exercise bike called the velotron) and start spinning. Before any resistance is put on, your finger is pricked and your blood lactate levels are checked. As long as your blood lactate is under 2mmol, you are ready to go. A load is then dropped on (resistance). For myself, I start this test at 200 watts. Each three minutes, the resistance is increased by 25 watts and blood lactates are checked. When your blood lactate level reaches 6mmol, the test is over. This normally takes about 20 minutes give or take a couple minutes depending on the person.
The MAP test works as follows. On the same bike you start spinning. A load is put on. The difference here is that the load goes up 25W each minute instead of each three minutes. After about 8 minutes of this your are hurting really badly. This is where you try to push through. The test is done when you can’t finish a minute at a load. So for example if you start at 200W after 8 minutes you will have completed the 375W stage. The wattage is then upped to 400, and if you can’t complete a minute at this load, your test is over and you will have finished at 375W.
These tests have various applications to our training and the results are analyzed by our coach and our strength coach. They are then able to make inferences about our target heart rates for different aspects of training such as recovery and the development of our aerobic systems.
This round of tests was done at a time when we were in a fairly hard training block and as such we would have expected our results to be down a bit. But some people increased and most were similar to previous testing results. This is a good sign for everyone and shows that we are doing the right things even though the training we have been doing lately isn’t specific to the method in which the tests were performed (biking).
After finishing that hard training block yesterday, we are now heading in to a recovery week before we head off to the next set of World Cups in
On a completely unrelated note, I watch an interview on the news the other day with Melissa Fung, a CBC journalist who was held captive in
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Its like Christmas in November!!!
We are very lucky in Canadian speedskating to have number of great sponsors.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
After the competition it was time to unwind a bit. A banquet was hosted by the organizing committee at a restaurant near to the hotel. The girls all decided to pay tribute to the greatest moustache in speed skating (owned and worn proudly by
We are now back in
Early in the Final
I am trying to get a video of the final up. In the mean time you can check out one video of the race that Pate Neumann posted on his blog.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Today was another early morning to skate the repechage. I skated smoothly and won each of my three races to advance to the World Cup rounds. Skating the repechage isn`t the best thing for the legs, but its kind of fun to do since all of the guys are having fun it seems. The atmosphere is quite a bit more relaxed than when there are alot of people watching and the pressure is on. In my semi I was up against six guys that hadn`t had the luxury (not!) of skating three rounds in the morning. I had set a race plan that I normally wouldn`t do, but was the best for the situation. I followed it to a T and was very close to advancing to the final. Unfortunately, my last pass that would have put me in a qualifying position wasn`t clean and I was DQed. Now this is why I call it the best DQ I have ever had. It wasn`t that I was dqed that made me happy, it was that I was able to follow a race plan that put me outside my comfort level and do almost all the right things. This is really a positive step for me.
As a mens team today we had some tough luck today, but Charles Hamelin topped the day off with superb win in the 1000m. What an amazing race and great for the home crowd. Frank Hamelin also managed to slide in for third so it was a positive day all things said.
Tomorrow is the 500`s and 1000 (2). We will be hunting for A finals and medals all day! Both Canadian teams are also in the A final for the relay.
Rock n Roll
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Charles Hamelin: 1000,1000
Francois-Louis Tremblay: 500,1000
Remi Beaulieu: 1500, 1000
Olivier Jean: 500,1500
Francois Hamelin: 500, 1000
Michael Gilday: 1500, 1000
I am not sure who is racing what on the womens side. With all the hype this week staying relaxed will be key. We have our own change room that lets us get away from it all and hopefully this will give us the chilled out atmosphere we need to take on the world this weekend! Again results will be streaming live at www.isu.org.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
That basically sums up my weekend. Some good racing, some not so good but lots learned. This weekend we are in Vancouver for stop 2 on the World Cup circuit. We are at home here and there are lots of media requests to fill. Its all good publicity for the sport in Canada and hopefully it brings out a few more people this weekend. If you are reading this and plan on coming out this weekend, know this: When a Canadian steps on the ice and is introduced, listen for the slow-clap to start. When you hear it join in. The more noise the better and it will get all of us pumped up even more!!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
On the mens side, I think that there was some disappointment for sure. We only had one person in the A final (Charles Hamelin) and I'm pretty sure we were expecting more than that. Remi was also in the B final and Olivier was DQed in his semi. Definitely not the best day but today will be better I'm sure.
Sorry for the short post, but hopefully I'll have something better to say tomorrow.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
On the womens side it was also a successful day with the majority of the girls qualifying directly through to the evening sessions. Jess Hewitt had a couple tough races in her first world cup and will have to do the repechage to advance to the finals in both of her distances. Marianne St-Gelais also had a tough heat in the 500m and will have to go through the repechage. The women also qualified for the semis in the relay behind the Italians.
Yesterday was a marathon at the rink. We were there for almost 12 hours. Luckily though, we can rest all day today as we don't compete until 6pm. It should be a really good show tonight. They are expecting a sold out crowd. Yesterday the rink was about half full, which is awesome for a work day and the crowd is quite loud. In my 1000m heat, I had one of the Americans with me and every move he made was loudly cheered. The crowd is also right at ice level and are very close to the skaters so you really feel the energy. I think everyone is really looking forward to tonight as it will be broadcast on NBC. I don't think it will be live, but its awesome that short track is getting the exposure and that people are coming out to watch. I know our whole team is really hoping that we have amazing crowds next weekend in Vancouver. It is great to have people come and watch and when the crowd is cheering for you as the home team its even better!
As I put in the last post, results are being posted in real time along with lap times on the ISU site. The link to that is below.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Charles Hamelin: 500m 1500m
Olivier Jean: 1500m, 1500m
Francois Hamelin: 500m,1000m
Francois Louis Tremblay: 500m,1000m
Michael Gilday: 1000m,1500m
Remi Beaulieu: 1500m,1500m
Jessica Gregg: 500m,1000m
Anne Maltais: 500m,1000m
Jessica Hewitt: 1000m,1500m
Marie Andree Mendes-Campeau: 1500m,1500m
Marianne St-Gelais: 500m,1500m
Valerie Maltais: 1500m,1500m
Hopefully there will be results posted live, or close to live on the ISU site. You can get to that link here. Also check for daily updates on this blog and at ohnozone.net.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
We arrived in Salt Lake Sunday night after a seemless short trip from Calgary. It feels great to not have to travel for a day or two to get to a competition. So far everything is going really well. We have been on ice each day and the ice is fast. Now I know most of you are reading from Calgary and you are like oh ya can it really be faster than our ice there. Well it can and it is. Today we did a 7 lapper with the opening lap at 8.4. But heres the thing, we didn't finish on 10.5, we finished on 9.1. So its fast. The main reason for the extremely quick ice is that the altitude here is quite high (around 1400m or more i'm not sure). We definitely felt it the first two days as your lungs feel constricted and also burn while skating. Today was better though and I think everyone is adjusting well.
Obviously though, we are not skating all day everyday. So after we get all the recovery activities out of the way, ie eating, napping, massage, physio etc, we have some time to check out the city and the surrounding area. We are lucky that Speedskating Canada rented us a couple vans so we can get around without walking and wasting energy. Yesterday we went on a quick drive around downtown and into the mountains surround the city. On the way through downtown though, we had to stop for a minute so I could run through a fountain. It was a bet and I made 50 bucks for running half naked through some random fountain at a downtown office building. I had to spend the next hour or so in soaking jeans (it wasn't warm out either) but I think it was worth it. There was lots of video taken so look for a video of it up on Jon's blog or on facebook. We also took a quick trip out to Park City in the late afternoon to check out some deals at the outlet shops.
Back to skating, we aren't sure yet which distances we will be skating but I post about that when we know for sure. Also, I'm sorry I can't post any photos, but I don't have a computer here.
Here is a math question for you to think about
Jess Hewitt+Ipod cranked+forklift backing up=
Sunday, October 12, 2008
We are heading out to
Look for updates regularly this week and next about the WCups, results and potential replays of the intense euchre action that normally materializes on trips. Unfortunately my euchre team mate Liam will not be there to lay the smack down on the Jesses but I’m sure I’ll find someone that can help me beat them. I mean its not that hard to beat them anyways…
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Showing off the Speedskating Canada Booth
The press conference was pretty cool with a really good turnout of media. Except for the power going out a couple times due to a freak hailstorm that rolled through, it seemed like a success. I also got to chat with Clara Hughes and watch her handle to media super professionally (she also knows everyone too now that she has been media and athlete).
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Yesterday I had the chance to go and see Babes for Breasts, a group of female singer-song writers that are touring around
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
As we hit the first day of fall last week, the trees had started turning to orange and yellow and leaves were falling. Riding to the Oval in the morning is cold too but it’s the afternoons that are really different. It’s supposed to be 25 today, it was 24 yesterday. That’s downright summer weather. They are even watering the lawns at the university again (which I personally think is pointless because this weather could just as quickly turn to full winter). But the crazy weather isn’t the main subject of this post. The main topic is that I think I missed the memo that told everyone that Short Track speed skating is now a summer sport. I know short track is in the winter Olympics and all but I’m having a bit of trouble believing that lately. So far this season we have already been on ice for 5 and a bit months and have competed once. All of this has been in the summer (or spring). Normally we don’t start on ice until July, which still makes for a long summer ice season, but because of when World Cup trials are, and Olympic trials are next year, we have to start earlier in order to be in top shape by the time trials roll around in September. Normally competition season doesn’t get rolling until October and by then you normally feel like its fall and the season should be getting under way. But this year has thrown everything upside down. During the trials in
Friday, September 26, 2008
So, Welcome to my first blog post. First off, I’ll tell you how this blog came to be. My friend Thomsen asked me when I was going to start a blog. Well I had kind of thought of it for a while but never really got around to it. So we had a bet that if I qualified for World Cups this fall I would start one. So here we are.
The best part about the trials last week wasn’t that I qualified, but that our team had three others that also qualified for World Cups. Jessica Hewitt and Jessica Gregg also qualified for all four stops on the women’s side. J Gregg has done a bunch of World Cups before, but these will be the first ones for J Hewitt. On the men’s side, Richard Shoebridge qualified for the Asian tour. These will be his first World Cups as well. The reason that I say this is the best part is because our team is a fairly small one that is competing in a sport that is dominated by