Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Spring update: Sand, Snow and Northern Adventures

Summer Solstice was a few days ago, the days are getting shorter again, my roller skis are finding a more permanent home under my feet and the thought that I will be back on snow in just over a month is starting to flicker at the edge of my thoughts more frequently.

My past two months have been focused on building strength, building capacity and implementing new methods all without too much focus on roller skiing. Almost all my ski specific training in May was technique sessions on snow. The past two months have been great; this is the first summer in two years that I haven’t gone into spring training treading cautiously. Following my recovery month which I spent the latter half basking in the Hawaiian sun trying to improve my surf skills, followed by a short trip to Vancouver Island, it was back to skiing. Also for the first time in a few years, I felt like I came out of April in pretty good overall shape, so getting back into the gym and going on long runs wasn’t such an ordeal.

Seaside Yoga, playing tourist and checking out the sites on Maui. 
Seb and I enjoying the beautiful running in the Haleakala crater. 


Our new year started with quite a few great skis up a Sunshine. Despite the low snow year, the sunshine village grooming crew gave us great tracks to train on. One of the big changes we’re making this season, as a team is technique based. Working with our new technique coach Kathy we took advantage of the snow to break down our technique and start building it back up, better than ever. The rest of the spring has been a mix of gym workouts, long runs, a running race, time on the roller ski treadmill for technique and testing as well as a 3 day Alberta World Cup Academy mini bike camp at Nipika. I had never been to Nipika before, and I was blown away by how beautiful it is there, needless to say we had a great camp with a good mixture of biking, running, double poling and sauna(ing). This was the first time we had (almost) the entire team together. It was great to get to know the new teammates. The bike camp was also at a perfect time, one week before the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay, in which I raced two legs on a team with friends from Whitehorse.  The KCIBR is a bike race that goes from Haines Junction, Yukon to Haines, Alaska, this race is a mainstay among many Yukoners and Alaskans.

Maya and I (L-R) looking pretty matchy on the last up at sunshine.
Flying up to Whitehorse a few days before the bike relay just in time for solstice was a great chance to spend time with my family and catch up with many of my amazing sponsors. The bike race was a huge success as always. Other than a flat tire that my teammates fixed in about 45seconds, the race went really well. Strong headwinds made for a really good workout and my new purple kit from Icycle Sport made me look super speedy. 

Cheering on Kendra and getting ready to race my legs while enjoying the beauty of the Haines pass with Claire and Travis.
Photo: Claire

Crossing the finish line in Haines. Photo: Claire
After the race was over I had a mini rest period up north before I flew to Montreal/Mt. Tremblant for our present camp.
 In my four days at home I took advantage of the lack of structure. Starting with a gorgeous hike in the Haines Pass with friends. We found lots of snow up high and I remembered how much I love the northern alpine. While at home I was thoroughly spoiled by my sponsors. Icycle Sport our local bike and ski shop has sponsored me with a brand new Giant Trance Advanced 1 mountain bike. I took it for its maiden ride the other night and oh my, it is AWESOME!!! I can’t thank them enough for the bike and the continued support they have given me. Thinking things couldn’t get any better I went to visit two of my other sponsors. Stopping in at Alkan Air to see Wendy and catch her up on how training was going, she offered to send me out for a flying lesson the following morning. Instructed by my former classmate Drew who is now a flight instructor, with a bit of help I took off and flew a Cessna 172 up over my parents cabin out of town and over a few mountains that have taken me hours and hours to hike up. I got to the tops of them in 10minutes. It was really fun to learn how planes work and all the different things that go into flying. Once it was time to land Drew took over and got us smoothly and safely to ground.  Still feeling the adrenaline of being up in the air I pulled my old basketball shoes out of the cupboard and set off the play a games with my old team against the current Team Yukon basketball team. Other than some very sketchy shooting on my part the movement and feel came back instantly. Playing with my old team, it felt like we’d never been apart working together and reading each other like we still played together four days a week, not once every 4 years. Coming home and slipping my feet into my new pair of moccasin was a perfect last night in the Yukon. The slippers, a gift from my sponsor Delmar Washington, owner of Capital Helicopters, who I went to visit when I was home were made by his mother a Haines Junction elder. Solstice in the Yukon is always my favourite time of year and this year was no exception. Filled will family, friends, my favourite activities and such amazing gifts, my trip home left me feeling spoiled and thankful for my community.  


Bike relay team enjoying a post race hike in the Haines pass and looking pretty cool... haha

My new bike!!! Note my really excited face in the window refection


First ride!


Such beautiful artistry!!
View from the air!!

Proof that I flew a plane

Posing with my Cessna 172 after the flight. 

First time the family has all been together since last June. Crazy how time flies.




Best team ever!! Great to reunite for a game while I was home.  Photo: Claire

Our group working really hard during 1 minute all out repeats. One of three bike test at P2 in Montreal this past weekend. Thanks to B2Ten for having us. Photo:Chris
Maya and I stepping up our matching game with our bamboo fibre Swix shirts. Skiing on the F1 race track in Montreal. 

Every year solstice marks a transition in my training season when I re-forge that daily bond with my roller skis and spend a bit less time in the saddle and a top mountain passes. Now out East, the sun is setting early and the training centres have all assembled for our first National camp of the year. We have just had two hard days of testing at B2Ten and P2 in Montreal and are now on route for ten days of training in and around Mt. Tremblant. I am really looking forward to a great camp with so many Canadians training together and am doing my best to hold up in the heat and humidity! As I’m sweating profusely these next few days I will be thinking of the New Zealand winter and the now I will be seeing in just over a month.


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