For my first real update about my own personal skating this year I present a post about the Fall World Cup Trials that were held last weekend here in Calgary.
This season, like many before it was set to tee off with a trials. And as usual, the trials came early (actually a little later than normal but early none the less). This year, being a post-olympic one, would see a little bit of a different qualifying format being used. We skated all three distances (1500, 500, 1000m) twice. In order to determine final ranking, your best two combined distances would count (i.e counting 2x1500 and 2x500 and not 1x1500 1x500, 1x500 1x 1000). From these rankings the top three overall skaters would automatically selected to compete at all 4 fall world cups stops. The remaining three spots on the team would be decided by the discretion of Speedskating Canada's (SSC) High Performance Committee. The reason for this is that at the start of a new Olympic quadrennial, it is important to give experience to younger and less experienced skaters who may be integral parts of future Olympic and World Championship teams.
Anyways, enough with the technical blah blah and on to the competition. For me personally, the trials went quite well. As you may have seen in the press release I posted on sunday night, you can see that I finished 2nd overall behind Charles Hamelin and qualified for all four stops. I was quite happy to have qualified automatically and decide my own fate, instead of waiting for the committee's decision. After not competing on the World Cup circuit since March 2009, it will be good to get back to racing at the highest level.
Another positive that came from last weekend was that a number of my teammates also performed well, and as such will have the opportunity to test themselves on the World Cup circuit for the first time. As I mentioned before, one of SSC's goals for this season is to introduce younger and less experienced skaters on to the world cup circuit. This meant that Dustin Miller, Liam McFarlane and Gabby Waddell, all of who train in Calgary will be traveling with the team to the 3rd and 4th World Cups.
I guess I should also mention where the Fall World Cups are being held. The season will kick off in Montreal Oct. 22-24 followed by a stop in Quebec City Oct 29-31. After a month long break, things will continue with two stops in China, the first in Changchun Dec 3-5, followed by a stop in Shanghai Dec 10-12. So if you live in or near any other those cities (im guessing more readers will be close to Quebec haha) come out and watch. We always appreciate spectators!
For those that are interested, the following are the men that will be competing at each of the 4 World Cups (I apologize for not having the women's team, I can't remember t exactly and don't want to put false info.)
Montreal: Charles Hamelin, Michael Gilday, Francois-Louis Tremblay, Francois Hamelin, Remi Beaulieu, Guillaume Bastille.
Quebec: Charles Hamelin, Michael Gilday, Francois-Louis Tremblay, Francois Hamelin, Guillaume Bastille, Maxime Fortin.
Changchun and Shanghai: Charles Hamelin, Michael Gilday, Olivier Jean, Remi Beaulieu, Liam McFarlane, Dustin Miller.
Lastly, here are a couple pics from the weekend courtesy of Tracy Hillis.
Leading Francois Hamelin and Gabriel Chiasson-Poirier in a 1000m quarter (I think)
Start of my heat in 500 #1
Leading 1500m #2 A final, which I eventually won.