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!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

>Insert Stereotypical holiday greeting here<

Looking along the right side bar of my blog yesterday I noticed something. At first I thought I was seeing in quadruple. But upon closer inspection, I just realized that everyone had published the holiday edition on their personal blog (if you are now looking at the right side bar to see evidence of this, don't click on another blog just yet...). So I have decided to join in on the conga line of holiday blogs that Denise, Gil, Liam and Andrew have all started and write my own version of a holiday blog.

I'll start by wishing everyone Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I hope that your Christmas holidays have been going well. Mine have been going well for the last five days since I jumped on a plane for Yellowknife last Tuesday. Right off the plane I headed to the ski club for the first of several skis I have gotten in since I arrived in YK. I skied with Thomsen and thought I did ok for my first ski in over a year, but I was put in my place the next day when I did some intervals and my pathetic arm strength showed through. Oh well, it was still good to get out with Thompy and Corey. I bumped my ego up a bit on Christmas day though by skiing with my dad haha.

Other than skiing I have been enjoying the fairly warm weather we have had lately (low minus teens which is pretty warm for this time of year in Yellowknife). We did a quick trip to the cabin yesterday and I have been out for some long walks with the dog too.

Surprisingly I have been getting quite a bit of training in too. We had a program to do, but I came here with the idea to do what I felt like in order to take a bit of a mental break since I don't have any major competitions for three months. But surprisingly I have been really motivated thanks mostly to getting back to training with Thomsen and my old ski coach Corey and also re-meeting Denise Ramsden who is now on the National Team for road cycling. When I think about it, Yellowknife has produced quite a few elite athletes for its smallish population I'd say.

The other day I also headed back to my old place of employment, Body Works, a local gym here in town. I worked there for a solid three years and went in to see the owner, Francis. If anyone from Yellowknife is interested in getting an early start on some New Years Resolutions that involve fitness, I suggest you take a trip down to Body Works and chat with Francis for a bit.

Well thats a pretty long one and I'm sure everyone is busy. Ok, now you can click on one of the side bar links now...

Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

National Team Trials WrapUp

Well since I promised it, here it is. But first let me say that I don't feel any obligation the blogosphere to put this out just since I said I would. or maybe I do... either way read on!

I guess the first two days are fairly self-explanatory. I don't think that I need to explain how good I was feeling because two wins and two world records in polar opposite distances speak for themselves.

Monday was a different story though. I was still strong physically obviously (just so you know, great form doesn't come and go from day to day, you have it for longer than that), but I had an incident where I was taken out in the quarter final of the 1000m. This threw me off a bit, but nonetheless I made it to the final handily. In the final I was in good position, but unfortunately, I experienced what we skaters called booting out (you skate boot hits the ice more than you blade causing you to fall). So down I went on my own. At the time I fell I was leading the race with just under 5 laps to go, a position that I would consider the best place to be. But instead I got to watch the rest of the race from far behind. But that short track, thats the way it goes.

In the 3000m I decided to try and lap the pack, which proved a futile effort. After chasing for about 5 laps, I headed back to the pack where I held on for a solid third place (out of 8), finish, which I consider good because I had basically sprinted the first 5 laps while everyone else just sat there.

A good competition for me in which I won the overall (a first for me, and I know the top guys weren't there but hey, you gotta start somewhere) and gained a bunch of confidence for the rest of the season.

So why so on fire this weekend you might ask. Well basically Jon and I have been trying a few new things over the fall. Nothing drastic but we have been trying to put in place some different methods of training and trying new amounts of training. Apparently its working...

If anyone is interested in watching video from the weekend, please check out the Brickhouseent's youtube channel here.

If this is the last time I post before the holidays, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all of the readers of this blog!

Monday, December 14, 2009

National Team Trials

Don't have a lot of time to do a long post. A More in-depth post will come soon. But until then here are two videos from this weekend. The first one is the 500m final. Then second in the 500m semi final, which I broke the World Record in by 0.1 seconds. Enjoy!



Monday, December 7, 2009

making a global impact on the local level?

Two days in Canmore. Thats how we spent thursday and friday of last week. Well we didn't spend the whole two days, just a couple hours out of each day. We had been displaced from our normal ice surface due to an invasion by all of the worlds speed skating nations for a World Cup. Obviously we don't like to get bumped out, but hey as short trackers we were happy to give up our ice for a couple days for the chance to grow speed skating (any publicity is good publicity even if it is long track) in our country and around the world. And while we were at it we would get a chance to skate in beautiful Canmore and as it turned out, even grow the sport a bit in our own little way.

On each of the two days in the mountains, we did our own workout, on ice which I must say was very very good for a rink that mostly sees hockey and is also quite cold, and then were joined by an enthusiastic group of skaters from the Banff/Canmore club. At first we weren't sure if the kids from Canmore were just happy because they were missing school to skate with us both days, or if they were actually pumped about skating with some National team members. Turns out these kids just love to skate and really got into it. But really, who can argue with missing some school right?

So on the program was some fun relays, slalom races and even a few drills to show them that yes, even when you train like its your job, you still have to do drills.


Dustin and I about to launch Cassidy and Siobhan
Yasu trying to get his team back to the front.

Even though we had to drive near white-out conditions and evade a massive six car pile up to get back to Calgary on friday afternoon, it was worth it. Maybe we didn't grow the sport on a global level like the long-trackers were busy doing, but we had alot of fun, and I think the kids did too. Mission accomplished.

While we are on the topic of crazy weather and growing a global awareness, how about this. I was reading the blog that my good friend Andrew Matthews writes, and ran across a post that he did about the United Nations Climate Change Conference that started today in Copenhagen. As a snowboarder, he was most appalled by a UN report that warned all downhill skiing could disappear by 2030. As a winter enthusiast myself, my interest was also piqued. So far it seems this year is a good snow year which will probably make people push the potential consequences of climate change to the back of their minds. But that doesn't mean that we can forget about it. Continuing to plagiarize from Andrew's blog check out the first part of Age of Stupid, and interesting movie made to open the world's eyes to the effects that climate change is having on our one and only planet earth.


Trials are this weekend. All prep leads to the races on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

(insert guitar solo here)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

So whats been going on anyways? (updated)

Well well, looking back at the last few posts I've put up, I see that there hasn't been anything lately about whats been going on with our training at the Oval. Other than the video I posted the other day, which has some of whats been happening but might only be understood by those that know the sport personally, its been a drought.

So heres the scoop. Basically its been boring. By boring I mean boring to most people but not to us. We've been training a ton, getting is some serious work before we get ready to compete again. Long days at the oval, with at least a couple hours of warm-up/on-ice in the morning and a weights/imitations/ice program in the afternoon (never all three, but normally a combo of any two). Its been hard, but its been good. Add in some school and its busy, busy, busy.

I mentioned getting ready to compete. We have a National Team trials coming up next weekend, Dec 12-14 (finishing on a monday which is different). These trials will generate 1/2 of the points that will go towards qualifying for the last three spots on the National Team and the 4 spots available on the National Development Team for 2010-11.

If anyone out there is interested in coming out and watching the competition, feel free to come by the Oval on any of those three days. Racing starts at 10am on all three days, with the 1500m on Saturday, 500m on Sunday and 1000m on Monday.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

After practice... (video)

After practice, do short trackers just change and take their own separate ways home? Not a chance. Everyone has to talk about pratice, and about what they have heard that will make them better than the next guy. Check it out...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Olympic Blogging Opportunity

The following is a re-post from my coach, Jon Cavar's blog. You can read all about it in the part below but I'll give you a little blurb first. The blog he recommends is written by his friend Hart Shouldice. Hart spent four months in Yellowknife during the winter of 2008. In his blog he writes very eloquently about his time there. I have read through it all in the last couple days, and his blog posts brought back quite a few good memories of growing up in Yellowknife. So, if you are from Yellowknife check it out. It might make you appreciate a few things about living in YK you may have taken for granted. If you aren't from Yellowknife and like a good read or want to learn about what its like in Yellowknife, I suggest taking a quick look at it.(You have to scroll back to the 2008 posts to find the ones on Yellowknife) And if you don't fall into either of those categories, why not just vote for Hart in the contest! (see below).

Opportunity of Olympic Proportions

Almost half my lifetime ago, back in Ottawa, I lived around the corner from a young man named Hart Shouldice. I was in the same grade as his older sister in high school. While I don't remember much of that time long ago I can say one thing for certain, that even back then he was more articulate than I. Or should I say than "me". Not sure.

Anyway.

Hart has entered a contest to become a writer for the Globe & Mail during the Olympics in Vancouver 2010. An amazing opportunity for any writer. A position that I am confident Hart would do amazingly well.

He needs your votes to win!
Vote for Hart
(http://journalismdream.theglobeandmail.com/entry_article.asp?id=887)

Hart is truly fantastic with the written word. You can and should check out his blog to see for yourself. You won't be disappointed.

A Harty Meal
(http://hartymeal.blogspot.com)


JC

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day 3, Charles' Day

Day three. First day of finals. Turned into a good day for the Canadians. But as Mark Mathies, National team Coordinator told me, it was good, but what was better was that it could easily have been great.

This day turned into Charles Hamelin's day really quickly. He started out with a semi in the 1500 that was quite difficult. Si-bak Sung, Apolo Ohno, Nicola Rodigari and Sjinkie Knegt. He made it through fine. The final turned into the real show though. With three Koreans in the final, Charles knew to stay close to the front and not let the Koreans dominate. Si-Bak Sung hit the front and it looked to be a done deal. But Charles held in second, and then sniped Sung at the line by .001 seconds. A great start that really pumped up the home crowd. On a side note, this was the first World Cup win in the 1500m in 12 years. Jonathon Guilmette was the last to do it.

Video of the the 1500m and post-race interview can be found here:

A second shout out goes to Travis Jayner of New Brunswick, who now skates for the US on getting his first individual wolrd cup podium.

The biggest thing that I noticed with the 1500m skating was that no one was going to let the Koreans just take over the race like they did in Asia. The Koreans finished 2, 4 and 6 a big difference to their two sweeps in China and Korea.

500s were next. Highlights on the womens side were Kalyna Roberge's silver. Almost better than the second place was that she had a great start and managed to pass Meng Wang early in the race. This is something Wang isn't used too, and will give her something to think about. Jess Gregg said that Wang in beatable and it seems the girls really believe it.

In the men's 500, Charles and Flou both had dominating performances through all the round and were one two on the line for the final. Charles lead, but Flou made a nice pass. Unfortunately for him though he slipped and had to settle for 4th. This opened the door for Charles' second win of the day.

From what went on today, it would be fair to say that Flou is back at the level that he was before injuring his ankle and he could have won today if not for bad luck. The only slight hitch is that Si-Bak Sung lost an edge and went down earlier in his semi, this not allowing us to see him in the final and the crowd missed out on what could have been an even bigger showdown.

I had mentioned that the ice was pretty bad earlier this week. Things aren't a ton better, the ice is still soft apparently, but the refs seem to be smart about making sure that there are lots of Zambonis so that the the ice is fair for everyone.

If you are looking for video coverage and live in the US you can check out full coverage of today's racing at universalsports.com.

Hope you all enjoyed the live coverage by CBC today. They will be back tomorrow as well so make sure to check it out.


Day 2...a bit delayed

Day 2 wrapped up last night. The day turned out to be a bit shorter, mostly due to the fact that one of the men's relay teams (possibly Bulgaria but I'm not sure) pulled out thus eliminating the need for a round of heats.

The 1000's went of pretty well for the Canadians. Unfortunately, Olivier Jean was dqed. He tried to pass outside to inside and made contact. Other than that all Canadians skated strongly and will skate on Sunday in the quarters.

Olivier's DQ and that of Cho Ha-Ri of Korea on the womens side really showed everyone the value of skating clean in a qualification meet. Their DQ's means that the team as a whole will have to pull together next weekend in order to qualify the full quota of three skaters. This is because qualification happens as a COUNTRY, not as an individual.

For example, Canada's worst result in the men's 1000m next week, regardless of who skates, will count with Olivier's DQ when the combined placings are added up. That means that our third skater will have to have enough points to get in to the top 32 overall after the WCup in Marquette, despite starting with zero, while everyone else starts with their points from this weekend. Therefore, another dq next week by any of the three Canadian skaters eliminates our chance of having three skaters entered in the men's 1000m at the Games.

Our mens team is very strong though and I know that everyone is motivated to go out and get three top results next weekend.

The second half of the day was the relays. Watching this was definitely the most exciting part of the weekend so far. For some countries, the relay is the best chance they have to qualify for the games. That combined with the aspect of the pride of racing as team for your country brought out a lot of emotion. The heats were tight for the second qualifying positions and this brought out good and bad skating. Mistakes can easily be made under the big pressure and they were. Others rose to the occasion and had excellent performance when they needed too.

The most tense moments were once the races were over. On the women's side, Britain and Hungary had an epic battle, with some contact early on causing the Hungarians to go down and the Brits to go off-track. Both teams got back in the race, but the Brits had a substantial lead. With three laps to go, it looked like the Hungarians would be hard pressed to close the gap and they put their top skater Hiedum Bernadett out to do three laps (almost never done). She was closing fast on the British who completed their last exchange with 2 laps to go (normal). As Bernadett went to pass, she collided with the British skater who had given the relay push to their anchor. She fell, essentially ending the race for them. But wait, they had to wait for the refs decision. Both teams waited anxiously on the ice, and in the end the British were DQ'ed. They were crushed, the Hungarians elated. The emotions and pressure of Olympic Qualifications personified.

Finals today in the 1500 and 500. Come out and support the Canadians if you are in Montreal or watch live on CBC 5pm EST, 3pm MST.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 1 over.....finally!

Just got back from the rink. 500's are in the books. All Canadians are through to the next round easily. Everyone will try hard to rest up before as tomorrow is another long day.

Only really big surprise today was that Kwak Yoon-Gy went out in the first round after stripping his edge (From what I could tell anyways). He was completely unable to put any pressure on his left skate.

One thing I also saw today is the intensity of the skaters and the staff of the various teams. They know what is at stake. Every race really counts. Not that they don't at every world cup, but with Olympic berths on the line, you have skaters looking closely at times and placings to find out where they stand.

Another thing that I have been learning this week is that many countries have standards on top of just placing skaters in the top 32 after the two weeks or racing. For example in Germany, to qualify in the 1500, you not only have to be top 32 after the two qualifying World Cups, but you also must achieve a top 18 (semi final) either this weekend or next. (This only applies if Germany does not qualify a relay team. If they do qualify a relay team, then anyone who reaches the ISU standard of Top 32 is eligible to race individually in the distance they have a top 32)

Remember to check out live TV coverage on CBC friday and saturday.

Live!

I've been at the rink now for a few hours. Not as long as the racers though. One thing is becoming really clear though. These are loooooooong days. For someone skating both distances today (1500 and 500) the day started probably around 7:30am with arrival at the rink for warm-ups. Racing got under way at 10:15 with the 1500's and they wrapped up just before three. The 500's are going right now, and the schedule has the day wrapping up around 8pm tonight. Talk about a long day. Oh and everyone will be back to do it all again tomorrow.

Canadians are doing well. Olivier and Charles are through in the 1500, Bastille is out. He got into some trouble and was a bit unlucky to not have been advanced.

On the womens side, both Kalyna and Val Maltais are through, while Tania ran into a very very hard heat and did not advance.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

World Cup #3 update

Competition starts tomorrow. For those interested in minute by minute updates check out these two link

ISU Results webpage click on the live button at top for real time lap counter and positions.

Tony Chung's Twitter. Tony is a dedicated short track fan from the US who films tons and tons of video at races across North America. He does do some sales of his video from various events so visit www.shorttrackhd.com if you would like to order anything from him. He also does regular blog updates from events and he will be twittering like mad.

Schedule of what races are when can be found here.

CBC will also be showing live coverage on both Saturday and Sunday on the main CBC network and also streaming live on their website. This will be a first for Short Track in Canada. If you are a fan of amateur sport in Canada watch this! The more viewers the more coverage Short Track will get. It airs at 5pm Eastern, thats 3pm for all of you in Alberta and the NWT!

So, lots of options for live coverage. If you are in Montreal, come and check it out in person. I know all the athletes will appreciate a loud Canadian crowd.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Observing a World Cup

So again somehow I managed to go almost a month with no update. Might have been worth it though so that everyone got there dose of Jess Gregg's video and told their personal contacts about her personal dream of getting sponsored by Old Dutch Chips.

But enough of old posts. I'm in Montreal right now. Have been for a week now. Since I'm apart of the Olympic Alternate squad, we were invited out here to train with the team and help them out with some relay stuff in preparation for the World Cup this week that serves as the qualifying meet for a country's starting quota at the Games. I also managed to get up to Chicoutimi for an Elite Cup which I somehow managed to win despite being at the end of 4 exceptionally tough weeks of training.

These two weeks are all about different experiences. After settling into a routine in Calgary over the past few months, I was looking forward to changing things up a bit and coming out here. It really helps my motivation to go out and do new things with my training. I feel like you can learn a lot from training with different people too, and that can only make you better. My french is also loving being here in Montreal. This past weekend up in Chicoutimi was complete immersion for me and my french has never been better.

Enough about me though. Since I'm here at the World Cup, and I'm going to be trying to learn as much as possible, I am hoping to share some of my observations with all the short track fans out there who can't be in Montreal personally. I'll have my computer at the rink and will try to update a couple times a day if possible.

But to start here are a couple things I have observed to so far:

1. The ice was bad today. From what I could see it was really soft and wasn't freezing very well in between zambonis. There are about 12 hours of practices a day though so that will take a toll on the ice. Hopefully they can get the ice in top shape by thursday.

2. Countries are putting everything into this competition. If you don't do well in this World Cup and the one next weekend in Marquette, Michigan, you don't skate at the Olympics. Countries can qualify up to three spots per distance by placing skaters in the top 32 at the two World Cups. I got here two weeks before the start and by the time I got here, Italy and Great Britain had already arrived and were training in Montreal. The Netherlands, Hungary and Poland were all training in Trois-Rivieres, before they could get on the ice this past saturday. Poland was actually driving the 1.5-2 hours from Montreal to Trois-Rivieres each day.

3. Kind of unrelated, but it is really hard to find plain, unsweetened yogurt in the grocery stores these days.

4. Injuries are the talk of the competition so far. Two big names are out as of recently. Jordan Malone is out after a fun-wrestling accident. The biggest news is that Ho-Suk Lee has broken his ankle. Both of these skaters can still be at the Games though as the World Cups qualify spots for countries, not individuals.

Keep checking in.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hewitticious

I now present to you Hewitticious. Video and lyrics created by Keara McGuire and Kaylin Irvine. Jess Hewitt asked me to post this because she wants to see how many views it can get on youtube. She has been shamelessly self-promoting this video for a while, but it has only hit youtube recently. It is pretty sweet though, so if you haven't seen it, check it out.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Things that are REALLY awesome day


I thought we had a well sponsored team. Well the truth is we are. But this is a little over the top. And awesome.

From Fasterskier:

Flying Start for the Swedish National Team

The Swedish National Team is aiming high this winter and they are reaching the sky with the help of their own airplane - Swedish Ski Force 1. “This is literally a lift for us. With our own chartered plane we’ll save both time and energy when traveling,” says Olympic hopeful Emil Jönsson, 24.

Last season the Swedish team presented their unique wax truck. The impressive, easy to spot Scania truck gave the team many advantages on the World Cup and at the World Championships in Liberec. It is a great advantage to be able to travel from race to race with your own mobile workspace with room for 600 pairs of skis, poles and waxes. Now, get ready for the sequel: an airplane - Swedish Ski Force 1. The plane is painted in the Swedish National Team colors, just like the Scania truck.

A few days ago the athletes were told about the plane, their newest weapon when battling the other skiers on the World Cup, and they gave it two thumbs up! “It’s a nice, cool and very comfortable plane. We will feel like kings traveling to and from the World Cups like this,” says sprinters Emil Jönsson and Robin Bryntesson. Both Emil and Robin were onboard for the first flight, a domestic flight between Bromma and the Östersund/Åre Airport.

It is the very progressive airline NextJet that will be sponsoring the national team with specially chartered flights, carrying Sweden’s fastest skiers to their destinations. “This sponsorship agreement means that we can, on very short notice, fly skiers to and from races all over Scandinavia and Europe. We will save a lot of time. We don’t have to deal with the difficulty of buying tickets or the long layovers in airports. In addition, we’ll minimize the risk of exposure to sick travelers,” says Johan Sares, head of marketing for the national team.

“We are happy if we in any way can add to the team’s success and victories, says Magnus Ivarsson the CEO of NextJets. He adds, “I’m also exited over the fact that 13 out of the 15 national team skiers live in my native Jämtland (region in Sweden).


Friday, September 18, 2009

Nouvelle Blogue - Laurie Marceau

Pour les francophones qui lisent cette blogue, et je pense qu'il y en a, car il y a un link sur le site du CNCP, je vous presente la blogue de Laurie Marceau, patineuse de l'equipe nationale. Comme vous le savez peut-etre deja, Laurie est dans sa premiere annee sur l'equipe nationale Canadienne.

Vous pourez trouver sa blogue ici.

Je m'excuse si il y a des defauts dans cette petite paragraphe, mais ca fait longtemps que j'ai ecris en francais.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Old Age

This morning I read a story about Japan populations. Apparently, Japan now has more than 40 000 people that are aged 100 years or more.

http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2009/09/11/japan-centenarians-record.html


It got me thinking about a conversation I had the other day with Jeroen, the coach of the European mixed country team that trains with us. Basically the debate was this. I figured that because I am an athlete, and therefore eat very well, don't smoke, don't drink excessively, get alot of sleep, exercise daily etc, I would be a likely candidate to live to 100. Makes sense right? Jeroen didn't think so, and I think his point is valid too. He figures that the exercise that I have to do to get to and stay at an elite level is actual harmful to my health. Each day an elite athlete breaks down there body in training. Doing this repeatedley over many years can't be good he argued. Of course we take time to recover, but all that training has to be hard on the body. Probably true. Will I live to 100? It's probably all genetics anyways...

Food for thought I guess.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Olympic Trials recap

Its now been a week since the last day of racing at Olympic Trials that had any meaning. With the team mathematically decided after Monday's racing, Tuesday was an opportunity to have some fun. I ended up finishing fourth that day. My legs were still strong, but unfortunately, I managed to somehow lose my whole left edge and fell on my own two laps into the race. Not a great finish, but after the emotional low of the day before, I wasn't really worried about the outcome. It would have been nice to go out and beat guys that had made the team over me one more time for pride, but it wasn't to be I guess.

Since then I have been dealing with the fallout of not qualifying for something that I had spent everyday of the last four years working towards. For the first couple nights, I had alot of trouble sleeping as thoughts swirled through my mind about this and that. I had expected a let down after trials no matter the outcome, good or bad, just because there is such a build-up to a competition that is as important as Olympic Trials. What I didn't expect though, was that I would feel so free at moments and then so crushed in others only minutes after. Its basically been like a big rollercoaster with plans of doing stuff that I have been putting off because it conflicts with training occupying the highpoints and then having something like a news story, that triggers a memory of a close call at trials bringing everything crashing down. Its tough to say the least, but there are many people in worse situations that me, so life goes on.

Coming back to Yellowknife has been good for me too. I haven't been home for a year and a half, and to be back in a familiar situation is very comforting. Everyone here has been so supportive and really seem to understand the sacrifices I have made to get to this point. The support I have gotten from this town has been truly amazing.

So whats next for me? Well I am still on vacation until Friday when I head back to Calgary. After that I am not exactly sure. I plan to get back into training slowly as I feel ready. There are no competitions for non-Olympic skaters that have any serious meaning until December, so there is no need to train at a super intense level right away. My coach Jon mentioned to me that I shouldn't just jump back in with my brain set on the next Olympic right away, lest I risk completely burning myself out. After failures at major competitions, I often tend to become hyper motivated. This time, I would like to take a couple months of easing back in and making sure that I have good variation in my training and life so that I can be 100% sure that I want to commit myself again at the level that is needed to be one of the top skaters in the world. I will be back in school after a year and a half hiatus this fall, something that will be tough, but is necessary too.

This next season will be tough because there will be so much attention put on the an Olympic Games that I wanted so badly to be at, but I can still make it a good year. Look for new posts that will move away slightly from the norm that you see on this blog coming up in the future.


Monday, August 17, 2009

So close...

I brought it all today. Two second places. I raced the best I could in the 1500 and was inches from pulling it off. It came down to a mano a mano race between myself and one other and I just lost out in the last lap and a half. As it looks now, I won't be on the Olympic team. More to come in the next few days probably, I just can't bring myself to write anything now. Thanks to everyone for your support, I know it gave me the legs I had today. 

No regrets.

2 more days

"Men or Women don’t decide of their future, they decide about their habits… and their habits dictate their future."

My first coach at the Oval, Yvon Deblois, sent out this quote. I think it makes alot of sense and goes along well with my personal philosophy to training.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Day 2

Today was a day. Nothing special, but nothing terrible. Two 5th places in the 500m and 1000m. In the 500m this was my best placing ever at a National Trials, but I was left wanting more after winning the start in my semi final then proceeding to butcher the rest of the race to finish third. The thousand was a bit of the same. I made a couple of smallish mistakes and had one twist of bad luck that cost me dearly. Winning the two B finals provided a bit of consolation but definitely left me unfulfilled for the day. But this is a long competition. We aren't even half-way yet. There are still lots of opportunities to get some revenge. Going into the competition I wrote that I had no regrets and was confident about my form. None of this has changed. I still know that I have great form and it will carry me through this competition. I can do this! 

Props to Liam and Jess for their big wins today! and thanks to everyone who has sent their best to me the last few days. It is much appreciated and gives me confidence.

And now, two days of fun!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day 1

For those who are interested, here is a summary of the selection criteria for this years Olympic Trials. 


Short Track Speed Skating Olympic Selection Criteria and Procedure
Olympic Selection: August 9-18, 2009, Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, BC

Pre-Qualification

Athletes had a chance to pre-qualify by finishing in the top-3 overall, prior to the 3000m, at the 2009 World Short Track Championships. Pre-qualified athletes do not have to skate at the Olympic Selection event.
Pre-qualified athlete: Charles Hamelin

Olympic Selection Format

16 men and 16 women were invited to skate in the Olympic Selection. The list is enclosed. Each distance (500m, 1000m, 1500m) will be raced three times. The best two results of each athlete will be used for the ranking per distance.
A maximum of 5 male and 5 female skaters can be selected for the Olympic Team. One position for each gender will be selected at the discretion of the High Performance Short Track Committee, leaving four female and three male positions to be selected at the Olympic Selection event. 

Ladies:
As there are no pre-qualified women, selection will be done as follows:
A If the same athlete is ranked first in all three distances, she will be selected, along with the next best ranked athlete in the 500m and the next two best athletes based on overall classification in the 500m and 1000m. 
B If two athletes are ranked first in the three distances, they will both be selected, along with the next best ranked athlete in the 500m and the next best athlete based on overall classification in the 500m and 1000m.
C If three different athletes are ranked first in each distance, they will all be selected, along with the next best ranked athlete in the 500m.

Men:
As there is one pre-qualified man, selection will be done as follows:
A If the same athlete is ranked first in all three distances, he will be selected, along with the next best ranked athlete based on overall classification in the 500m and 1000m, and the next best ranked athlete based on overall classification in all three distances
B If two athletes are ranked first in the three distances, they will both be selected, along with the next best ranked athlete based on overall classification in the 500m and 1000m.
C If three different athletes are ranked first in each distance, they will all be selected.

Day one went well. I won the 1500m and was 7th in the 500m. Definitely a good start, but there is lots of racing to go though and I will be taking it day by day. 

Video of the finals is already up and youtube and can be found here.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

its the fi-nal count-downnnn

One more practice to feel confident. The 2010 Canadian Olympic Team Trials start tomorrow afternoon. I am ready. I know that I can be confident that I have put all the necessary work, focus and sacrifice in. I think that I am lucky because I am able to say that no matter what happens at trials, I have no regrets with my preparation and training leading up to these trials. I have made sure to try new things in order to improve and have made the necessary adjustments to get the most out of each day. Nothing left to do but execute, let my body do what I have trained it to do and have FUN. 

its the fi-nal count-downnnn

One more practice to feel confident. The 2010 Canadian Olympic Team Trials start tomorrow afternoon. I am ready. I know that I can be confident that I have put all the necessary work, focus and sacrifice in. I think that I am lucky because I am able to say that no matter what happens at trials, I have no regrets with my preparation and training leading up to these trials. I have made sure to try new things in order to improve and have made the necessary adjustments to get the most out of each day. Nothing left to do but execute, let my body do what I have trained it to do and have FUN. 

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Vancouver Olympic Trials

Van Van Van Van Van. We are back in Vancouver. Trials start on sunday but first heres a shout-out to J-Gregg, who has been blogging occasionally for CBC sports over the past few months. 

You can find her latest here.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Another General Mills plug...but its worth reading!

My living room is slightly more cramped than normal this week. The reason for this is that I received a large (20 boxes!) shipment of cereal from General Mills this week (thanks guys!). Ten boxes of each of the two types of cereal my picture is on, Golden Grahams, and Multi-Grain Cheerios. Of course they have been there for a few days and not moved except for the removal of a box to be consumed. The other day Liam, one of my teammates, was over and as he was leaving he asked if he could have a box. Being the generous person that I am, I said 'ya no problem' but made him promise to put the code in. Well he did and he even wrote a hilarious blog about it which can be found here. After laughing about it, I realized the photos he took demonstrate exactly the steps that are required to support an aspiring Olympian. And so I present Liam McFarlane in "how to donate $1 to Michael Gilday"

Step #1

Buy a delicious and nutritious (p.s these two words are a hint for an amzing post coming up later this week, check back for it!) box of either Golden Grahams or Multi-Grain Cheerios from your facourite local grocery.









Step #2
Arrive home and promptly pour yourself a bowl because you know you can't wait to have some. Note Liam's serious face here. Making a serious face is important if you want to get the most out of your cereal.





Step #3
Riding the wave of energy you have received from your meal, proceed to www.everdaycelebrations.ca/aspiringolympians. If this is your first time entering a code, you will have to create an account. This only takes seconds. Find out how on the website!







Step #4
Select Michael Gilday from the list of athletes and enter the code provided on the inside of the box. Also, for added fun, check the box at the bottom to enter a monthly draw for some Aspiring Olympians swag.




Step #5

Good Job! You have just supported an aspiring Olympian. Smile and enjoy, just like Liam!










Thanks to Liam for the pics. He also blogs and recently has been updating daily. Check it!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

By popular demand and continuing with a trend

After receiving a rather straightforward comment this morning from an anonymous poster asking me to update more often, I have decided to oblige Mr./Mrs. Anonymous and write a another blog update. Now since I just updated yesterday about the goings on of training, today will have nothing to do with skating and will somewhat continue my cycling trend. 

Todays post will focus on two ads I came across on two different, but topic related blogs that I read from time to time. The two blogs are BikeSnobNYC and Fatcyclist. Both of these sites are cycling sites and I find them to be quite entertaining. But that isn't the point. I honestly doubt you care about hearing what types of blogs I find interesting. The point is that yesterday I was reading BikeSnobNYC (who happened to have posted about Fatcyclist that day) and noticed a World of Warcraft ad along the side bar. 



For those of you who don't know what World of Warcraft (WOW) is, it is an online role playing game that requires paid monthly subscription and is (in my opinion and the opinion of several of my friends who play it) highly addictive and never ending. It is my opinion that this game consumes people and causes them to disappear into this alter-world for long periods of time with no communication with the real world. But I digress. After finishing with BikeSnobNYC, I checked out Fatcyclist and noticed a similar trend. As I scrolled  down the page to read, I noticed another WOW ad, and then later, another ad that pushed an online gaming site called Perfect World International. This is another site that offers online role playing games. 






What surprised me when I read this was the fact that WOW and others like it were being advertised on a blog that was primarily aimed towards those that are cycling enthusiasts, who I would think, are fairly active people that don't spend there lives in front of a computer screens. For me, this can be explained a few different ways. First, it could be that WOW is losing subscribers and is reaching long and far for new players. Or it could just be that these are randomly generated Google ads, although I was under the impression that Google matched up the type of ads with content, none of which involved online gaming. Or, I guess it could just be that my view is just plain wrong and that more cycling enthusiasts that I thought lead secret double lives online courtesy of one of these games...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Things that are awesome day #4

Summer.

No big long post today, just a list of accomplishments since my last post, which was written while I had a big fever.

- Kicked the flu
- finished the last few days of the camp well, all health problems considered.
- recovery
- Two weekends of riding Highwood with Liam and also with Pate Neumann and Phil Wood the second time. (Pate you didn't get your legs ripped off, you were riding with a fruit-to-go wrapper keeping your tire inflated!)
- two sets of mock races (including a nice little 41.2- ya handtimed but still)
- a ton of Tour de France watching hours logged
- beat a case of "Tour withdrawl" (sort of...)
- couple of good mountain bike rides
- enjoyed some nice weather on a couple patios
- and oh ya...train train train

does this feel like a cycling blog right now?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I wish I wasn't writing this post...

because the reason that I am writing this post sucks. I am sick at our training camp in Vancouver. The rest of my Calgary teammates got to head out to the Richmond Oval to do their morning session at the new Olympic venue there, but I am stuck in bed nursing head and body ache and probable fever, as well as a good old cough that probably kept my roommate Cory up half the night. Anyways this will be a short one because of that. The camp was going great up until today. It's great to be back on good ice. Highlights so far include Rick Hansen speech at the SSC awards banquet (seriously see him if you get a chance) and putting in some solid training. Thats about all I can write. I thought this would cure boredom but its just making my head hurt more...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

What a deal! 3 in 1 blog post

Lots has been happening lately so today is a special three in one edition of mgilday.blogpost.com. It's going to be a longy...(pronounced long-eee)

Part 1:

First up is our second week of cycling at Highwood Pass. As all of you dedicated readers will know, our first weekend was good but left something to be desired in the weather department. Well if the first weekend was a bust in the weather department, the second weekend could be considered a boom (hurray for economic terms!). We really hit the jackpot for weather. Sunny everyday with temps climbing into the twenties made for much more comfortable riding since we weren't bundled up under 5 layers.




                                 Short sleeves and legs on Highwood?!? noooooo


This time we were out for three rides, two of which were on the weekend. With the nice weather and the road closed until the 15th, the Highwood Pass area was probably the most popular place to be if you are a cyclist. Literally hundreds of people were out on Saturday and Sunday enjoying the chance to bike in beautiful scenery and not have to dodge traffic (except of course for the odd bear, mountain sheep or moose). 


Mother black bear and cub that we saw in the same place on different days...


After two weekend of going up and over the pass, Liam, Tyler, Dustin and I were a little bored of riding back and forth over the same bit of road. Of course the only sensible thing to do in that situation is to go exploring. After passing by a dirt road that we thought went up to Elpoca falls numerous times over our two weekends of riding, on Sunday we decided that even though it was a gravel road we would ride up it and see what we could find. Gravel didn't seem so bad for the 2km that was posted on the sign. Well it turns out you can't ride to the falls, despite our best efforts, but the road did continue. And since the road was there we figured we had better go down it because "there could be something sweet down there". Well, turns out there was. After another 2km of bumping along the gravel we ended up at a bridge we had spotted from the highway. There was a sort of falls under it and we walked, in full bike gear (inculding slippery road shoes) up this little trail to see what we could see. We found what would be a sweet spot for a whirlpool, if the water wasn't glacial and a trail that would be worth exploring farther in the future. We went down the road a ways longer, but didn't find anything else noteworthy. Luckily we all made it out of the gravel road without puncturing or wrecking our road bikes in anyway which was a nice plus!


Hanging out on the bridge on the road to nowhere...at least as far as we went...


Looking over the rail of the bridge down to the falls

We climbed under the bridge for a better look...

                                                  Whirlpool anyone?

                                                       Group shot on the bridge. 

So another good year of Highwood is over. Heading out there is a good change of pace for us and lets us have some fun while putting in some good volume. If you have the chance to check out the Highwood area on bike, I highly recommend doing so especially if you go when the gates are closed. Lots of wildlife and beautiful scenery. Of course its mostly up-hill...


Topic 2:

On Tuesday this past week I went down to Vulcan, Ab for the annual County Central High School sports award banquet. The owner of the local grocery store, Scott Mitchell had asked General Mills if one the aspiring Olympians that are on various General Mills cereal boxes would come down and speak at the banquet. So off I went. It was very cool to go down and attend an event like this. Everyone seemed to know everyone at the banquet and this reminded me of home. This really was a community event and a lot of kudos has to be given to Scott and his team at Market Street Grocery. They sponsored all of the food at the event (200 plus people!). Everyone in Vulcan was very nice and I would like to thank Scott for having me down and makig sure everyone there knew how to go online and get General Mills to donate to an aspiring Olympian (If you want to find out how, click on the red Aspiring Olympians banner on the right had side of this page). I was hoping to have some pictures to post up so if you are reading this Scott, could you send some to me so that I can post them up?

Topic 3:

Last but not least today is the day that we are off to Vancouver for our annual training camp. Just like last year, we will be taking advantage of being able to skate at the Olympic Short Track facility and get as much home ice advantage as we can. I really like training camps because your life becomes eat, sleep, train. I find I get the most out of training in these situations. Everyone will be looking to figure out the last little details that will be needed when we have out Olympics selections in August. We'll be skating lots, but we will have some time to explore the west coast and I'm looking forward in particular to doing some fishing. Olivier Jean organized a salmon fishing trip for our rest day. Should be fun. 


Alright thats it for now. Hope you made it this far. Look for some updates during the camp, and from the Speedskating Canada Awards Banquet that is happening tonight, and hopefully a good fishing story!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Things that are awesome day #3

Today's thing that is awesome is a website:

http://speedskateworld.com/

This site is run by Peter Doucet from Ontario. While it is primarily an inline site, he also covers short and long track. Nobody has a more up to date site than Peter, so check it out once and a while. You might even find a link to the blog of yours truly!

Peter also post skating videos on youtube on his channel shaloheat.

Check it!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Highwood, Highwood, Highwood

So if you check out the last post, you'll see that I was hoping to avoid a repeat of last years gorgeous weather. Well, no dice. It seems heading out to the highest (elevation wise) highway in Canada, which is conveniently nestled in the rockies at the start of June doesn't come with a guarantee of warm weather. Who would have guessed (read: sarcasm, in case you didn't get it).



As you can see from the pic above, this year didn't look a whole lot different from one year ago (see pic in post below). Anyways, a little snow wasn't going to stop us from getting in some solid volume in. Day one we woke up to this: 




To be honest it wasn't a huge surprise seeing as there were close to white out conditions the night before. (It was a bummer though because only the week before I was hiking in +25C weather only 15km down the road from where we were this past weekend) Anyways we bundled up and after three hours of riding up and over the pass we got back to the campground soaking wet, cold and thankful that we were staying RVs and not tents. Of course as soon as we got back the sun decided to make a quick appearance. 



                            Drying gear while the sun was out for a few minutes (notice the volume of clothing - this is just my gear).

Day two dawned with more promise as it was sunny and it looked like we might get a dry, but coldish, day. I got a nice surprise though when I went to get my stuff out of shower (I had been storing it there because we didn't have alot of space, and since it was house rules to not use the shower inside the camper when there were showers down the street it seemed like a good storage space). Well one thing you should know about campers that I didn't is that the grey water tanks aren't very big. In fact they don't even hold as much water as the camper can carry when full of clean water. And so the grey water tank had backed up into the shower. With all my stuff in it. After proceeding to throw things out of the camper (just to get them outside) and borrowing a jacket we got our second day underway. After a good start weather wise, things started to turn mid way through and the ride ended in another whiteout snowstorm. No worries though just another (fun!) day on the bike. I say fun because I saw two grizzlies. And not together but just two different sightings. Pretty cool. 



                                              Bear 1



                                             Bear 2

Seeing two bears in a day makes up for everything else. It was a good weekend and its a good thing it was good too, because we get to do it all over again this weekend. Cross your fingers for bad weather.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Off to Highwood Pass

We are off to Highwood pass this afternoon to do some long biking volume in the mountains. We'll be camping (in RV's...ya highrolling! haha) for the weekend and hoping that we don't get a repeat of weather conditions from last year (see pic below)

The forecast is not looking promising though (after 10 days of summer). Cross your fingers for us!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Things that are awesome day #2

I know I had a thing that was awesome only a few days ago but....

Things that are awesome day #2: Days like today.

Aerobic relays in the morning, 2hour36min bike ride in the afternoon on a new route in 27C without a cloud in the sky.

Awesome.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

General Mills Aspiring Olympians Update

Alright so first off a big thanks to anyone who reads the blog and has bought a box of specially marked General Mills cereal and entered the code online! Your support much appreciated. Right now we are at $311. But now that the ferry is open the boxes should be flowing into Yellowknife and hopefully lots of people will get out and enter a code! Just think, if each person in Yellowknife bought just one box of cereal and entered the code that would be almost $19000. Most everybody eats cereal and you have all the way until the end of February 2010 to get out and support Canada's Amateur athletes (and hopefully be slightly biased towards yours truly haha!) Also, starting in June, General Mills is running a special bonus. There will be Gold boxes of original Cheerios on the shelves of grocery stores. These special gold boxes will have $5 donation codes on them instead of the usual $1 codes. Of course you still submit the code the same way as before but the bonus is that the code is found on General Mills' best cereal, Original Cheerios and the codes are obviously worth five times as much. If you are wondering to yourself "where can I find info on which boxes to buy, or how to put in a code?", just click on the link that I have put on the right had side of my blog, just below my amazing sponsors logos. 

Alright enough shameless self promotion. Keep watching the blog!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Things that are awesome day #1 **UPDATED**

I'm starting a new "feature" on the blog. It will be called things that are awesome day. I'll put a new one up whenever I find something that I think is awesome or that I might think would be awesome to pass along.

Today, for the first installment I give you the short highlights package on Carlos Sastre's epic win in the 16th stage of the Giro D'Italia. Today's stage was 237km long but had a TON of climbing and took the leaders just over seven hours to complete. Seven hours is crazy enough with all of the climbing they did but to be able to attack like Sastre did on the last climb of the day to Monte Petrano is awesome.

Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9Gt2-uLb6Y

I would embed it but embedding has been disabled for this video.

**Update** Check out a riders description of stage 16. This article is written by Michael Barry, a Canadian who rides for the Columbia Highroad Team. He is a very good writer and gives a very descriptive view of what he called one of the hardest days he has ever had on the bike.

The article can be found here.

You can watch the full Giro live everyday at universalsports.com

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Quest for 8.9

A barrier was broken yesterday. The first lap under nine seconds of the season. Now I know for those of you who read this and are skaters you are going to think "are you kidding me???" or "good, those guys must be skating terribly" or something along those lines. But heres the catch. We aren't skating at the Oval right now. We have been on ice at another Calgary rink for the past two months. Its a quite cold rink with ice that has next to no glide when compared to the Oval. So when Wim de Deyne of Belgium went 8.98 seconds in a flyer (a single lap full out) yesterday it was a big moment. There had been alot of 9.0's and 9.1's but no one could break the 9.0 barrier (this is kind of ridiculous because on normal ice we would do somewhere in the 8.2-8.5 region). The ice was always too brittle, with too many ruts and too little glide.But finally the Quest for 8.9 was complete! Anyways in all seriousness it might be hard on the mind to not be anywhere close to a half decent lap time, but as long as we keep it in perspective as to why we aren't going super fast and look at the positives of being able to skate through the worst ice conditions we will see all year, we can be confident we are on the right track.

Also check out a new blog. Liam McFarlane is a teammate of mine and he started a blog earlier this week. You can find it here or on the side bar.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pain season!

Its that time of year again!! The time of year when you get out of bed in the morning, stand up and stretch and feel like you have been in a street brawl the night before. Yes its pain season again. No its not bad pain, in fact its the type of pain that is good. The type of pain that comes from knowing that you are doing your workouts properly. Despite the fact that we are still a little over three months away from starting our competitive season, this is the time of year where the biggest gains can be made physically and technically. During this time, we put it in what I will call "quality" training. Its not that we don't train with quality all year round, its just that at this time of year we don't have competitions and travel getting in the way of putting in big blocks of solid training and smart recovery. Its actually a fun time of year (if you enjoy breaking down your body and then trying to find the best way to repair it quickly before the next workout, that is). I also find it to be a very rewarding part of the season as well. Rewarding because you notice that you a training session is easier than it was last week, or you can lift more in the weight room than you could a few sessions ago, or you notice that all of a sudden you aren't thinking about a technical point you were working on, but you are still doing it.

And now for something completely off the above topic....

If you are looking for some great listening while you are doing your spring cleaning, or if you are lucky, enjoying then sun out on the deck, check out CBC Radio 3. They play all Canadian, all independent music. There are a ton of podcasts available for free too so check it out and expose yourself to some great Canadian music!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Kidcasters

Today I had the opportunity to participate in a program that is put on by Lisa Bowes of CTV, Equity Transfer and Trust, Big Chief Beef Jerky and the Calgary Board of Education. I went out to COP to meet a class of Grade 7 students who had been learning what it is like to be a reporter. I was brought in so that they could have a mock up press conference. Each group of students had questions about the life of an athlete that ranged from the issues surrounding funding for amateur athletes, to more personal questions about university and what I do outside of sport, growing up etc. I was really impressed with the amount of thought and research that had gone into the questions that they had. After the “press conference” the students will be writing reports that are filmed by CTV to present to the class. This was a very cool experience for me and a lot of fun too! Thanks to Lisa Bowes for asking me to do this and to the whole class for all of your amazing questions!!

Lots of questions!!

With the class

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Trailer

Below is a trailer for a a video called A Ride with George Hincapie. Hincapie is one of the best American road cyclists of all time. He was Lance Armstrong's right hand man for many (not sure how many but could be all) of his 7 tour de france wins. This guy is a beast on the bike.



Today was the day that the Hell of the North Bike race went off. Most would know it as Paris-Roubaix. George Hincapie is a perennial favourite to win this race but this year, like several in the past, he ran into some bad luck that ended his chances of winning. On his twitter site he wrote "Rough day for me today. Bad luck again. Not going out like that!!! Back next year." What a cool attitude. While I was watching Paris-Roubaix thi morning, I saw some similarities to short track. When Hincapie flatted, he calmly started taking off his flat wheel while waiting for the support car to come. Even though this put a major dent in his chances of winning, instead of freaking out, he calmly did what he could then got on a rode hard again. It was out of his control and he could only help the situation by recomposing himself. Alot like Short Track. Later, towards the end of the race, there were only six riders left in contention for the win. Coming around a corner on the slippery cobblestones, Juan Antonio Flecha went down taking several riders with him and ultimately ending their chances. Again out of their control and again like what can happen in Short Track. But all the riders jumped back up and keep riding. Today, none of them would come back and win, but it could happen another day. And thats why they got up and kept riding.

Friday, April 10, 2009

For those who have been there, this story is hilarious!

I ran across this story while checking out the Amateur Sport section at cbc.ca/sports. Any athlete that has had to do a doping test will find this blog written by Kevin Light, a member of the the gold medal winning Men's 8 rowing team from the Beijing Olympics, comical.

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/blogs/2009/03/going_to_the_bathroom_with_my.html

While you are checking that out, look also for blogs that my teammate Jessica Gregg has been writing for the CBC leading up to the games next year.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

We're Back!! (In more ways than one...)

Welcome to the 2010 Olympic season! While most winter sports are just wrapping up their seasons and thinking about some well deserved downtime, Short Track is back at it in preparation for the all important Olympic trials in August. After three weeks off, we started up our season on ice last week. But before I go more into how we are back to training, I’ll start with the “off-season” (can a season be three weeks long???).

After trials it was time to relax. Of course, after a few days of doing nothing, the body starts to get restless. Luckily for us, we had Oval finale (a season-ending long track meet) to practice for. Never having done long track myself, I decided to sign up for the 1500m. Most wondered why I would sign up for this as it is considered one of the hardest races (similar to the 800 in track, its not a sprint but its not an endurance race either). But I had some rationale. Being a rookie on claps, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to go full out or start that well (hence no 500) but didn’t want to go extra hard and be in extreme pain (hence no 5000m or 10000m). So the 1500 it was. I managed to finish in a respectable (so I was told) 1.49.01. It was really fun to do something a little different but man did I gain a respect for the type of pain long trackers experience. It’s a lot different than a short track burn but you are totally wasted after going full out for that long.

After finale, it was off to Arizona for a little vacation. My Dad and I took our bikes down to the Flagstaff/Sedona area to do some hiking and biking. Bikes turned out to be a great way to check out the local scenery at our own pace. What a cool part of the world that is. There are endless hiking and mountain biking possibilities in a really temperate climate. The road biking is pretty good as well, although some of the highways don’t have much of a shoulder and are quite busy in the tourist seasons. It wasn’t exactly the typical athlete vacation of sitting on a beach and doing nothing, but I don’t get the oppoutunity to just hike and bike as much as I want very often because I should be resting instead so it was nice to take advantage of some time off to get in an activity I really enjoy.

Big Wall!!
At the top of a 13km climb to Sunset Crater
How do these not fall down????
The Grand Canyon in all its splendor
In the words of Bubbles "Deeeeeeeeecent"

Arizona wrapped up my off-season and we were back on the ice the day after I got back. It hasn’t been that hard to get back into the groove of things because we weren’t off for very long and because I did some long track which is nice. In a normal year we would spend at least a week or more just getting used to being back on skates, but this year we can really just get back into it comfortably and we are still in relatively (not really-but better than a normal year) good shape. So that’s pretty much it for the last few weeks. Like the title says, we are back in more ways than one. The first is that we are back on the ice, the second way is that I should be updating the blog a lot more often now that the season is getting into full swing. I’ll try to have some quality content for you each week. Remember to buy your Whole Grain Cheerios and Golden Grahams and put the code in online! There is a new link on the right had side where you can get all the information about this!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Our last trials came and went last week. Not a great weekend for me but it was overall a pretty solid weekend for the men’s Oval program. We toke 6 out of 9 podiums and Cory Rasmussen won the competition. For me it was not a very good weekend. I had to rely on a good last day and some luck to cement my position on the National Team (pending the High Performance Committee meetings next month). Not the way I wanted to finish the season, but at least my last day was solid (2nd in the 1000). I’m not going to bore you with all the ups and downs of the weekend so I’ll just leave it at that. Instead, below is a slideshow of some of the things our team did this past season.
video

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Rant

It was cold yesterday in Calgary. It wasn’t ridiculously cold, only about –25 or so, but it was cold enough that the good old van wouldn’t start. Now don’t get me wrong, I love that van. It has been a great vehicle for a long time, and still is a great vehicle. The fact that it wouldn’t start wasn’t an enormous surprise as I had neglected to plug it in the night before not realizing it would be so cold the next day.


So as I sat in the car running the battery down and praying it would start so that I wouldn’t have to miss my physio appointment (I did by the way), and being mad that I would miss physio, a thought occurred to me. I wished that I wouldn’t have to use a car anymore. Earlier that morning I had used my bike. I just walked outside, jumped on and rode away. The bike didn’t care that it was –25. In fact I doubt that would have changed if it was –50 or +50 even. My bike works no matter what the conditions outside. Sure it was cold outside but if you dress for the weather its not that bad at all. I personally find it very enjoyable and it costs me almost nothing. I bought my commuting bike for 50 bucks. Since then I have put ZERO dollars into it in three years. The car on the other hand (again its great and I realize cars have taken me to a lot of cool things/places) cost me (in the last year, according to my CO-OP membership annual thingy) almost $800 in gas. That number is probably more if you count the other stations I have filled at. We barely use the car. Maybe once or twice a week each between my sister and I. Imagine if you drive every day for 30 mins to work and back!! When I have to plug it in, there is an unknown amount of power just flowing away for hours on end. I’m sure its more than if you just left your lights on in the living room all day and night. Those are only two examples and I didn’t even include the invisible cost of emissions. I guess what I’m trying to say is wouldn’t it be great if everyone lived in a place where you could ride to work/school/the store/other stuff easily and quickly. I recognize that cities and urban sprawl have made this almost completely impossible for the vast majority of the North American population, but imagine the individual savings. In today’s society, where eco-friendly is trendy would it be that tough to tell people that they could save thousands of dollars, get in shape and help the environment all at the same time?? People pay big money to join gyms and get in shape. By riding a bike to work, you pay nothing, get in shape and get the satisfaction of knowing you are doing good. Somebody should package that up in a fancy ad campaign and call it the Velo Diet. Take that Atkins, South Beach and Jenny Craig. Anyways, I know I’m not going to change the world here, and that the car is not going away. I even know I will use a car probably thousands of times more before I die. The car is not going away, it would just be great if we didn’t have to depend on it so much. That’s just my two cents anyways.

On the skating front, we had our last on ice workout at the Oval of the season today. We are off to Montreal for trials on Sunday while Jon and the Jesses head to Vienna on Saturday for Worlds. Expect some updates next week and during trials.