Monday, November 27, 2017

On Snow and Throwing Lead


       The first NorAm of the season was this past weekend here in Canmore. Naturally, it was a sprint and pursuit. For most of the athletes it was a chance to try out the race day process. Something that most of us haven't done on snow since March. That, coupled with the effective hard workout these races didn't have much more purpose to them. If we were going to make a mistake these two races were here to soak it up before the more deciding races ramp up.

        The sprint race had it's high and low points. On the low end, we did not have best skis out there. The snow was warm and being on top of the wax was a limiting factor. I'm not complaining, but it was without a doubt, a note worthy part of the day. Saturday marked our fourth day at altitude. Canmore isn't super far beyond sea level but far enough to feel. The extra oxygen deprivation is often at it's worse for athletes around their third too fifth day at altitude.  There were three targets left not hit after my prone stage. While the wind was a little tricky I can't make any excuses about those misses. The focus wasn't there and the nervous tension took it's place. On the high end, the three misses in prone were all the misses I had on the day. The pressure was on and I wasn't in the mood for more penalty loops. So it felt nice to clean that standing stage.

       The pursuit race on Sunday was not unlike the sprint races with it's wanted and unwanted parts. They went with the age old NorAm method of dividing everyone up by five second intervals. A normal pursuit has you staring at whatever your time back from the lead was. In Sunday's case you could win the sprint by two minutes and still only start with a ten second advantage over third. Anyways, it started to rain just before the start. More surprising, was how dirty the snow was. We all decided afterwords that going with a clear base racing ski would have been a wining choice. Needless to say, I didn't choice the best ski base and lost time, yet again, on the downhills. I missed three in the first prone stage again, but this time there was another prone stage to make up for it. The group was low and left so I took some clicks before setting up for the second stage. I missed one, cleaned the next standing stage, but missed another two in the final stage. The legs felt a little stronger over Saturday's feeling, but still sub par. The best part of the day was being able to put in a strong surge on the long climb in the final 2.5km loop.

        Overall (without excuses used), the performance was behind what I've been training for. I know I can put together better shooting than that. More than anything, having some faster boards to glide on would change things the most. I look forward to acclimatizing some more in the coming ten days. That should help bring the spring back into racing. Hopefully Canmore can get a little colder (but not too much colder) and start making more snow.  There is still plenty of hope left in the tank so on that note I'm going to go dryfire for a little while.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

From Right to Left Canada Style

Quick update here!

* The on snow micro camp in Foret Montmorency was a success. That early season snow touch break in was taken care of

* The flight to the north left went by adequately smoothly. I packet as many skis as I my ski bag could fit.

* So far Canmore has been unseasonable warm. It rained all day today and training got shut down for tomorrow.

* This was for preserving purposes for the NorAms this weekend

* Energy is solid. Can't wait to see where the race shape is this weekend.

* Shooting is still doing well

* More info and quick updates to come :)

Alright so these are from last years Canmore, Camp. But they will have to do for now. 

Groomed and ready to be conquered in Foret! 

So long Maine forest. I'll be home for Christmas. 

If you know what town this was taken in then you're probably awesome.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Head Lamp Season

        November can be a gray area in more ways than one. This is the touch and go time of year for winter sports. Athletes and coaches are chomping on the bit to get on snow. Making the call on travel plans and training ideas can be difficult. On a more literal side, the sky is seemingly always gray this time of year. The plans for me this year are admittedly not what I was hoping for, but the confidence is still in a good place.

        The last training block was a success. The cold and sore throat in the middle of it didn't help, but a few months without succumbing to a stuffy nose would actually make me nervous. This was the last big push for training before things get more specific and refined. The energy level last Wednesday reminded me of what it's like finishing out a training block in July. That was the indicator that let me know I was doing it right. It was also nice to know that last Wednesday might very well have been the last roller ski session of the year. Which is a good thing. 

       Next week will have me in Foret Montmorency, Quebec. This is only a three and a half day stretch. That's just enough time to push enough on snow training to remember what it's like to ski on actual skis rather than roller skis. There are a lot of different muscles used when you're on snow. Enough to warrant making a trip like this happen. Even if it is only for a few days. The latest trail news suggest that the snow is part wood chips. For now, this is fine, because you can't say "the snow is part wood chips" without saying "the snow."

       Later on in November has me back in Canada. This time it will be on the western side in Alberta. Good old Canmore. Canmore has the chance to make you feel cold like no other place. It comes down to three reasons: It's November and you're not used to anything below freezing, much less winter like, Canmore in November can be brutally cold the way January can be in northern Maine can be, and they really like there snow guns. Blowing man made snow when it's -20 forces the air to be humid when it shouldn't be humid. The end result is me spinning my hands around in circles trying to force warm blood to my frozen finger tips. These days, you never know what the weather will do. I'm banking on getting lucky and having functional temps and great snow conditions.

       The USBA group that I'll be working with will be based out of Canmore for a few weeks. Travel is never fun so this should give us enough time to settle in. There are a couple of NorAm cups in Canmore to test out the racing skills. The real racing starts later on in December, but for now this is how I plan on tackling the overcast of November. Part of these trips are covered and the rest is not so I can't thank the recent support that's come in enough. I wouldn't be making these training and racing trips happen if I didn't still think I had a chance at the Korea team and I wouldn't be able to make the trips happen without the support. So again, many thanks! 

I charged the battery in my camera this time so it's up to Foret's ski trails to look pretty enough for a picture next week.