Sunday, 20 May 2012

Bend, Orgeon

After just a week of time to settle into Canmore I am now in Bend, Oregon for the my first training camp with the Alberta World Cup Academy. Bend is unique in that it feels summery warm in town and just a 20 minute drive up the road one finds Mount Bachelor which is at a high enough altitude and good enough snow area that it still has a huge base to ski on well into May and June. We are here to get back on skis and work the technique as well as continue building on last year's fitness base.

Mount Bachelor - cool mix of Alpine and XC
 Training has been going well and it's really fun to be back on snow so soon. Coming from Ontario, I have never skied for real in May so this is pretty neat! Interestingly, today I ran into former XC Ottawa teammate Karl Saidla on the trails. He is headed to Portland for a conference and decided to check out Bend on the way out so I was quite happy to get to ski with an Ottawa friend.

Karl enjoying May skiing
Another cool thing about training here in Bend is the huge crowd of skiers from all over North America who are also training here. The Canadian and American world cup teams are here as well as the B-teams, APU and of course, a bunch of us from Canmore. It's fun to see so many fast skiers out on the trails and catch up with familiar faces too.

Taking a snap break with Erin Tribe, yes!

Between ski workouts we have done some running on cool trails, one rollerski and a gym workout. I haven't looked it up to confirm but Bend definitely has desert feel to it. The running trails are dry and dusty and there are all kinds of different and pretty plants to admire. It's a nice contrast to the morning skis.

Scenery with Mt. Bachelor in the background, taken at the end of our street.
There is still another week of training here ahead and I'm really looking forward to it. My energy feels good and I'm working hard on my yearlong goal of enjoying and appreciating this opportunity to chase my dreams as an athlete.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Prairie Love.

I just drove across Canada (well, from Ontario to Alberta) for the first time in my life and boy oh boy was I impressed with the prairies. I absolutely loved the huge, animated skys and endless stretches of peaceful, open land. It felt like the perfect balance between air and land to cruise across towards my new home of Canmore, Alberta. More on the prairies later.

 I left Ottawa on May 2nd (one day after turning 24!) and drove to visit my parents in Mississauga for a few days before starting the real trek west. Its always fun to hang with my mom and dad and I also enjoyed loads of good food, wine, and time with our fatcat, Alexis.
Birthday party chez mes parents!
 I also did a fun run along the Port Credit waterfront trail which is just steps from my mom and dad's place, pumped weights at the ever-awesome Mississauga YMCA and went for a rip on my Anthem at Hardwood Ski & Bike.

break to play on the rocks in Port Credit on a run

The drive west took 4 days from our chalet near Hardwood. The first day was easy rolling north on the 400 extenstion through Sudbury and crossing over into Michigan at Sault Saint Marie ending in Marquette, Michigan. The next day was forgettable and I would probably be ok never to drive through Michigan and Minnesota again now having done it once. I must have been having an off-day since this was just not a fun one in the old Mazda T-D.

The main highlight of day 2 was locating a sushi restaurant off of the highway in North Dakota using no map, iPhone or internet, just sushi senses. Mike was quite impressed with me on this!

 Day 3 was fabulous. We started in Winnipeg with a morning run and then cruised through stunningly beautiful Manitoba and into Saskatchewan.

After miles and miles of road just like the one above the outline of a city suddenly appeared in the horizon. It was Regina, Saskatchewan. Being an admitted city-lover and needing a break to stretch my legs, we stopped to do some exploring.

Regina was beautiful, absolutely beautiful. It helped that it was a warm, sunny day but my impression was that the city would still be clean, fresh and pretty even if the weather wasn't ideal. There were big trees everywhere and lots of cute houses and shops.

Seriously enjoying Regina with Mike.
I found the house I would live in!

Before hitting the road again we stopped at a grocery store to get some snacks. I was pumped to find tinned smoked rainbow trout to have with some pita chips. This was delicious, healthy and unsurprisingly a disaster to eat in the car while driving. I'm hoping my car won't smell fishy for long.. ha.

Day 4 was easy. We did a run in Swift Current, SK before hitting the road for the final stretch to Canmore. For more fun pictures of the journey check out Mike's tumblr page .

Yoga is always a good choice before long drives.
I was giddy with excitement as we saw the first silhouette of mountains about 70km out of Calgary. Four days of driving on top of a crazy month of working, packing, partying and parting ways with too many good friends ended as we rolled into Canmore.

I'm now settling into my new house in Canmore and doing my best to get into the groove of training with a new team with some unpacking in between. I feel like I'm starting a big, big new adventure right now and couldn't be happier about it.

Thanks for reading!