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, February 17, 2009

Dresden is Awesome!

Even though I obviously won’t be posting this from the plane (although soon I might be able too), I am writing it on the plane back to Calgary from Dresden. According to the map on the plane, we just passed over Reykjavik and are traveling towards Greenland. But do you even care about where I won’t be when you are reading this? I doubt it. So on to the stuff that you might care about, or at least be interested in (at least I would assume so if you take the time to check this blog out…).

So World Cup #6. I didn’t update each racing day because we had to pay for the internet and it was a bit of a precious resource. So I’ll summarize. This weekend was a bit different, as the top three men and top two women weren’t with us. The racing on Friday was average ending with a trip to the repechage for me, Laurie Marceau, Marc-Andre Monette and Alex Boisvert-Lacroix in one of our distances. Everyone else qualified in both of their distances. Saturday was another up and down day. The obvious high was the fact that we had three men in the 1500m A final (myself (5th), Remi Beaulieu (3rd) and M-A Monette (DQ)). Unfortunately the race didn’t play out as well as we would have liked and we only came away with one medal, a bronze for Remi. The other high for the day was our relay. Our team consisted of Guillaume Bastille, Alex, Remi and myself. None of us are going to World Championships, but we still managed to stay right with the Koreans in one of the faster races this season. This was an excellent semi final for us as none of the four had much experience in bigger relays. The lows for the day included, Francois Hamelin being involved in a brutal crash with an American skater. He ended up with a lot bruising on his left thigh, a totalled suit and also had his bell rung a bit. He felt a lot better the next day and should be back soon. M-A Monette also went down in the A final in a bit of a cluster between myself and the Korean skater Park Jin-Hwan and ended with an ankle injury that also kept him out of the rest of the weekend. The other low was the women being DQed in their relay semi. Sunday was a new day, but didn’t really bring much in the way of good skating. I went out in the repechage final of the 500m. We only had one skater in the semis and none in a final (minus our relay final). This was Marie-Andree Mendes-Campeau and she ended off with an excellent 5th place considering the 500 is not her specialty. We had a good opportunity to redeem the day with a good relay, but we fell early in the race and spent the rest of the time playing catch-up only to finish 4th by about 5m. We did secure the overall World Cup title in the relay though by making the final so this was a small consolation.

Freiberger Arena in Dresden

Sunday night we had the season ending banquet. I had to be a bit late though because I was selected for doping control. After a disappointing relay, the last thing I wanted to do was go and pee in a cup, especially after I had just gone to the bathroom right before the relay. But you gotta do what you gotta do so off I went. What could have been a ten minute procedure turned into a two hour waiting game in a small room in the very back of the arena. But luckily for me I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t pee on demand so it wasn’t that boring. I finally made it to the banquet only about a half an hour late, After a quick dinner and some awards, we tried to get a dance party going. It turned out to be pretty hard but we managed to haul a few people up.

View from my hotel room window in the early evening.

All in all, Dresden was awesome (the results weren’t stellar so I mean this in a non results based way). The food was great (in my opinion!!), the hotel was comfortable and the arena was phenomenal. This was the first short track World Cup that Germany had hosted and they did an excellent job. Everything ran on time, transportation was amazing and it is also a very beautiful city. I also found everyone to be very hospitable and nice. They would help you with anything. I hope that they will bid again so that we can return there again someday soon! The other thing that made a big difference in this being a very successful world cup was the crowd. Even though there weren't a ton of them (about 1000) they made it for lack of size in volume. These were the most vocal fans I've seen at a world cup. There were tons of Germany flags, microphones, and big groups of the crowd even lit up some sparklers for the relay final. Germans love their sport!

Biking around Dresden on an afternoon off


Anonymous said...

cool stuff


AndrewMatthews said...

I guess next time I watch you at a world cup I'll have to bring some drums, lasers show home kit, and megaphone so that you can't miss me and I show those germans who loves their sport more.