Welcome! My name is Michael Gilday and I am a Short Track Speedskater from Yellowknife, NWT, Canada. I currently train at the National Training Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I've created this blog primarily to let family and friends know about competitions and travel. I also hope to educate a bit about short track and maybe even entertain. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I missed the memo...

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 Vancouver the temperature hit 30 one day. I was thinking to myself that I was used to walking out of the rink to -30 and blizzards in Chicoutimi and not heat and humidity when I compete. I also caught myself saying “didn’t you do that back in the fall?” to one of my team mates the other day as we were discussing some testing that was done in June. My body had been tricked into thinking that it was already mid season even though we are just getting underway competition-wise.

I guess that is just the reality that we face now with sport. There is no such thing as winter and summer based sports anymore. Every season is training season and even sometimes competition season. To be the best you have to commit to a full year of training.

Anyways, if you want to see some sweet photos of another winter sport training during the summer check out the latest post at pateneumann.blogspot.com. He is a cross country skier that lives and trains in Whistler and man am I jealous of the training group there. You wouldn’t ever need motivation to get out of bed and train if that was your backyard.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A bet, World Cups and our team

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.

World Cup trials took place last week in Vancouver at what will be the Olympic venue in 2010. For me, the trials didn’t go as well as I would have liked, but I still managed to skate well enough to get selected to the fall World Cups tours. There are two tours this fall. The first is during the last two weeks of October and we will compete at World Cups in Salt Lake City, Utah and Vancouver, BC. Competing at a World Cup in Canada is awesome and hopefully lots of people will come out to watch in Vancouver and cheer loudly for Canada. It will be the first and only International competition (I think) to be held in Vancouver prior to the Olympics next year. The second tour is the Asian World Cups. They will take place at the end of November and early December in Beijing, China and Nagano, Japan.

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 Quebec skaters in Canada. This is the first time in a while that so many western based skaters have been on a World Cup team. With our coach Jon, we have worked hard over the past seasons to slowly improve our rankings and get the experience we need to crack the World Cup circuit on a regular basis. Hopefully we can keep this momentum going until 2010!