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!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Trials Recap

Its taken me a week to get to this trials recap. The truth is that I was pretty disappointed with how trials went ad didn’t really feel like blogging. After Fridays good day, I had two not very good days in a row in a competition where you have almost no room for mistakes. Despite the fact that I am disappointed in not fulfilling one of my main goals for the year, I have to realistic. I was forced to sit out three and a half weeks of training beginning at the start of December in Japan and stretching until just after Christmas. I was also unable to lift weights for almost two months prior to trials, and I had done almost zero starts or high intensity accelerations since my return to ice. All of this was due to my back injury. This would not be an ideal lead up to the biggest competition of the year by any stretch of the imagination. I am not one to make excuses, but in my mind this was a determining factor in my poor showing at the trials. The positives though are that despite a way less than ideal lead up, I was still able to put together a 7th overall, a result I would have been ecstatic about only a little more than a season ago. Now that result is hardly enough to satisfy. A second positive is that I will be able to compete in one more world cup this year. The top three, Charles Hamelin, Olivier Jean and Francois-Louis Tremblay, who will be competing individually at the World Championships will all come home for extra rest and preparation after World Cup 5. Speedskating Canada is sending the next three skaters, myself, Remi Beaulieu and Alex Boisvert-Lacroix to World Cup 6 in Dresden, Germany. Following the trials, I was also qualified for the World University Games in Harbin China. I decided to turn down my spot for this competition for a couple reasons. The first is that I want to allow my back ample time to heal and put in some really solid training before the last team trials in March, and also because I have decided not to take classes this semester in order to have a chance to have a between season break as our new season will be starting a month before the winter university semester ends.

For the rest of the team, there were some good and not so good results. The highlights were definitely Jess Gregg, who was second overall and is the top ranked female in the country this year and will compete individually at world champs. Jessica Hewitt also qualified to skate the relay at worlds as well as the rest of the World Cups. Marie-Eve Drolet also impressed in her return to trials and will skate World Cups 5 and 6. The men didn’t have the greatest weekend, but one highlight was Gilmore Junio, a junior who was 15th overall in his first senior trials. Below is my best race of the weekend, the 1500m semi-final.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day 1 racing

Day one of racing is in the books. It was a solid day for me with a 4th place finish. I executed my race plans well and had good legs all day. Our team had some other very good results. Jessica Gregg finished third in a wild women's final that saw three women go down and two of those get disqualified. The only skater to go down and not get dqed was the newest member of our team, Marie-Eve Drolet. Marie-Eve is making a comeback after retiring at the ripe old age of 20 following the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. She was skating very strongly all day and had herself in 1st place with 2 laps to go. Unfortunately, Ivanie Blondin made a tight pass and they both went down. Marie-Eve had to settle for 4th. Disappointing for sure, but still a very solid race in only her second race in almost 7 years. 500’s today. We are lucky this weekend as the FPVQ will be live webcasting the races starting at 1:30pm EST. You can find the races at http://www.tvgo.ca/fpvq/. This is the first time they will be doing this so check it out and support Canadian short track so that they will continue to do it in the future!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Canadian Championships

Well I managed to go another few weeks without updating the blog. I’m starting to sound like Kirsten Sweetland when I start a blog. So instead of boring you with all the excuses I don’t have, I’ll just jump right in. Alright, 2009 Canadian Open Championships. That’s what its all about right now. All of the top skaters in Canada are in Montreal this week for our second set of selection races. The overall results of this weekend combined with the overall results from our selection races in the fall will determine the members of the winter World Cup teams as well as who will compete at World Championships individually (top three overall male and female) and the members of the relay team at world Championships (4 and 5 overall combined with the top three). Needless to say, its one of the bigger weekends on the racing calendar. Its obviously really easy to look at this weekend and get nervous because the stakes are high. I mean peoples goals for the entire season could be on the line here! But there are other ways, some would say better ways, to look at a weekend like this. Some would say that it is better to look at this weekend as a reward. A reward for the hard work and dedication you have put in. A reward for the patience you have had with yourself when things weren’t going perfectly right. Or being rewarded with an opportunity to prove to yourself something that might not even necessarily have anything to do with racing but can be proven through racing. But there is one thing though that I think that rewards always bring. They bring fun. And that’s the best part.

I will do updates each day on the results of racing and how our team is doing. Also I've linked to a new blog in the side bar. Its the blog of my good buddy Andrew Matthews.

Get Some!!