Winter is fast approaching along with the start of the racing season. With less than three weeks until the first official races of the year the focus and specificity of training has been ramping up. I am now just on the tail end of a 10-day training camp at Forêt Montmorency where I’ve put in over 400km’s on the 2.3km loop they have here! If there is any incoherency in this post, it’s because I’m still dizzy from all the laps…
Prior to travelling to Quebec for our final training and first on-snow camp of the season, we had team pictures and headshots done with photographer John Sims. It was a grey, rainy day, but we still got some great shots.
We all travelled to Quebec on October 30th, where we spent the night in Quebec City before driving about an hour north of Quebec City. Unfortunately, out drive up was interrupted by one of the wheels on our rented trailer locking up and the tire subsequently flatting. Fortunately, we were near the agency where the vehicle was rented from and were able to gingerly make our way over to rectify the situation.
We had to unload all of our baggage from the trailer and transfer it into the replacement cargo van we were given. With a team of 14 athletes this year, there were a lot of ski bags full of equipment.
As top national level skiers, we are all very fortunate to have access to ski, boot, and pole suppliers who provide us with equipment outright or at a considerable discount. Some athletes had their new equipment for this season arrive while we were in Forêt, but I am still waiting on my new skis and boots from Salomon, which should be shipped to Thunder Bay within the next couple weeks before I head out West for the start of the race season. I’m psyched!
In Forêt, my team was joined by members of the Ontario Ski Team and National Talent Squad, including my brother Ryan and several members of my club, Team Hardwood. It has been great to be able to see and train with them. During our time here, we also shared the trails with Canadian and American World Cup and National Team Skiers like (cue name dropping) Alex Harvey, Jess Cockney, Noah Hoffman, Kris Freeman, and Ida Sargent. It was cool to see them out training everyday, hanging around the facility, and in the cafeteria at meal times.
While the main objective of the camp was to get used to being back on snow, and get some kilometres in the bank, we also did two intensity workouts during the camp. The first was a steady zone 3 classic workout, the other a 9.4km skate time trial.
For the time trial, the team was joined by some of the athletes from CNEPH, making for a pretty solid field of athletes and warranting bibs to help keep track of who’s-who for the 7 and 10 laps races.
The time trial was on Friday, which left the weekend for some long workouts where I enjoyed some early starts to the 3-4hr skis. There wasn’t much to boast in the way of sunrises, but the grey mornings made for crisp tracks – even if they were a bit brown.
Over the weekend, there was some overlap between the older and younger OST groups and one evening Mike gave a short presentation/story about his life story as a skier, basically. I think the talk was well received and appreciated by everyone. Mike is heading straight to Europe after this camp for the first period of World Cup racing while the rest of us make our way back to Thunder Bay for a couple weeks before the SuperTour and NorAm races kick off.
And that’s a wrap!
Before I sign off, I’d like to spare a few lines to make more thank you’s to everyone who has supported my Start Line campaign, and SkiErg Fundraiser with Team Hardwood. The response has been incredible and has not only helped provide me with the means to pursue my racing goals this year, but has also given me extra motivation to every time I get ready to go out, train and race to the very best of my ability.
So thank you all again – looking forward to a great season (without breaking another leg).
Bonus – insider photo from NordicFest video production