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, 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:


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!