So whats been going on since Christmas? Honestly, not a whole lot out of the ordinary. Upon returning from Yellowknife for a short Christmas break, it was time to get back to business and put in our last bit of work before we headed off to the Canadian Championships in Montreal Jan 21-23. The Canadian Championships, as they do every year, determine who will compete for Canada at the last two world cup stops and the World Championships and World Team Championships.
Early in the season I had set my sights on this weekend as my main goal for the year. With Worlds being my main focus this season, I would have to skate well at the Canadian Champs in order to qualify.
The weekend started well enough, I finished 3rd in the 1500, but things quickly took a turn for the worse as I was disqualified in my heat. At this point, I knew that I wouldn't be able to accumulate many points in the 500, and in a competition like this where cumulative points from four distances qualify a skater to the team, consistency is key. Coming back on Saturday, I wanted to just skate well and get as many points as I could (30, compared to 1000 for a win). I did this and looked forward to Sunday and the 1000 and 3000m distances.
Leading the 1500m Final. Olivier Jean and Francois Hamelin behind. Photo: Paul Shoebridge
Overall on Sunday I felt I really brought my A-game physically and mentally. But it was a terrible tactical mistake that I had been making all week that cost me a spot in the 1000m A final. Following this, I figured for sure my chance of making the team was over.
But, as they say, its never over til its over and there is perhaps no other place where this is true than in Short Track. Following nearly 20 (out of 27) laps on my own trying to lap the pack, I managed to finish third in the 3000m and claim 5th overall (5 go to worlds) by only 28 points. I don't know if I have ever hurt as badly as I did in that 3k.
Needless to say, it was a roller coaster of a weekend for me, but I showed myself that I am improving as I did not need to have my best performance to make the team. A few years ago a weekend like this would have left me way back in the results. I know what needs to be fixed and changed.
So with that weekend behind me, its time to look forward to the rest of the international season. On Sunday, Jess Gregg who was the other Calgary based athlete to make worlds, and I will head to Montreal to meet up with the rest of the team and head off to Moscow, Russia and Dresden, Germany for two weeks of world cups. Following that I will either return to Calgary for a few days, or head straight to Montreal to train with the rest of the guys prior to the World Championships which take place in Sheffield England, and the World Team Championships in Warsaw, Poland.