Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer News

Yes, I know this Blog has terrible title, I was going to call it Royal Baby Pictures because then I would get a lot of views, but then I thought that would be a little too misleading.  Anyway, due to the June floods in Alberta all the early Haig glacier camps were cancelled, including ours, but those who are reading this probably already knew that. This meant that we had to complete our biggest volume weeks of the year in Canmore doing dryland training. I love going to the Haig. I like the way it’s removed in many ways from everything. I like the fact that there are people there who cook for you, I like that there is basically no internet so we end up spending our free time playing board games and I even like the 30min hike up the glacier every morning. Needless to say I was disappointed we were not going to be able to train up there this year. Training in the Bow valley, however, is never a bad thing. Although I have to say that rollerskiing is considerably higher impact than actual skiing, so the 4.5 hour days that are the norm for the time of year do leave you feeling very sore the next day.

 After two weeks of high volume and one week of mixed volume and intensity everyone was feeling pretty wrecked. It was a great volume block and perhaps the best one I have ever done, but it was time for a break. Luckily that was just what the coach’s had planned for us. One week of holiday in the middle of the summer when we are all encouraged to get out of town.

View from the Haig. Unfortunately this is from two years ago. Fortunately the camp has managed to open and our team is planning on spending a few days there in September!

Just one of our 4+ hour days in the Bow Valley. Sorry for the lack of a quality picture, but I never think to take one during these long training sessions.
So where to? Well my first choice was to go back east, but the cost of last minute mid summer flights soon put an end to that idea. The getaway needed to be within driving distance and needed to satisfy my easterner’s desire for warm weather and a lake to swim in. After a quick look at a map it was decided that the Okanagan met all of these criteria. So myself and Academy newbies Seb Townsend and Yannick Lapierre spent five days in Canada’s warmest region with light training and lakes to swim in it was a great way to spend our off week.
Picking fruit in the Okanagan

The loot and a bit of my foot

On the way back to Canmore however I wasn’t feeling as relaxed as I should have been. You see at the end of June I made perhaps the biggest purchase of my life so far. I bought a car. I had been looking casually on the second hand market for some time when finally the right one came up. A 2002 Suzuki Esteem station wagon. Cheap it was, sporty it was not. But I figured that Suzuki being from the same country as Honda and Toyota some of the reliability of those two was bound to rub off on their compatriot car maker. Also it was cheaper than any Toyota or Honda and being a station wagon it would be very practical for putting bikes, skis and bags full of training or camping gear in the back. And so after two years of riding my bike around Canmore rain or shine, winter or summer I became a car owner. Now my grocery runs would not have to in tune with the weather, now if I wanted to get out of Canmore for a bit of variety I could, now if me and a couple of friends decided to go to the Okanagan for a few days during a rest week I could put up my hand and say I can drive there. And so I did. Unfortunately my faithful steed had developed an annoying habit of stalling at low speeds even when the clutch was fully engaged or the car was in neutral. When this problem first came to light I did what any responsible car owner would do and ignored it, yet on the drive down to the Okanagan it reached a point where I could no longer ignore that my car nicknamed Shadowfax (yes after the horse in Lord of The Rings, “Shadowfax show us the meaning of haste”) was no longer working properly. So I took it to a mechanic in Vernon and after spending a significant amount of money the problem wasn’t fixed. Basically after spending time cleaning and fiddling the mechanic thought he had found the problem, but couldn’t get ahold of the part that he needed to fix it… damn. Since at this point we were leaving for Canmore the next day I had no choice but to drive back and see if I could get it fixed there. The next morning however the problem was gone. Making the slow trip back to Canmore on very busy mid summer long weekend roads I kept expecting to stall and hold up a long row of vacationers, but it didn’t happen and I’m happy to say that over a week and a half later shadowfax is still working brilliantly. I guess he did fix the problem after all… for now anyway.
Shadowfax in all its glory

The satisfaction of having a car that worked should have reduced my stress levels back to normal post vacation levels, but the heavy sometimes bumper to bumper traffic on the trans Canada and the summer heat (combined with Shadowfax’s lack of air conditioning) meant that by the time we reached Golden I had had enough. So we decided to stop and go for a run. I remembered that there was supposed to be a good rope swing in Golden and after a quick google search we found out that it was conveniently located right next to the mountain bike trails… perfect.

Less than half an hour later we were running along twisting trails high above Golden. After hours spent in a sweatbox it felt unbelievably good to be running on what was to me a brand new trail, no drink belt, no heart rate monitor and no idea where the trail would take us. After a week of trying to relax and trying to think about other things than training it was now back training that I felt the most relaxed. Ok it wasn’t a real week off, I was still doing some sort of exercise most days, but still this was a good reminder of why I love skiing and all the training that comes with it, even if sometimes it is really hard and can make you feel like a bag of s***.

After about an hour the seeming weightlessness that I felt at the beginning of the run was gone and replaced by the blocks of cement feeling that is more typical with dehydration and being in a car for hours on end. Still it was great run and that combined with a couple of jumps into cedar lake from a rope swing (which was a lot bigger and a lot scarier than I had imagined) meant that by the time we got back to Canmore late at night on what were now nearly deserted roads I felt ready to get back into the swing of things and put my body through a few more months of hard work before we get to the fun stuff.

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures or video of the rope swing, but for those who are curious if you were to search cedar lake rope swing on youtube you would find videos of other people on the same rope swing. 

On another note, I am happy to announce that I am now an Athlete Ambassador for Rundle Ski, a new rollerski company out of the Bow Valley. Rollerskis have been made in the same way for years and besides the use of a few new materials they have progressed very little over the past decades. Rundle skis adjustable suspension design (which make it feel more like a real ski as well as flatten out bumps on rough roads) is the first genuine leap forward in rollerski design in years. And no I’m not just saying that, yes they really do work really well and if you don’t believe me I hope you get the opportunity to try them soon. Anyway, I’m very excited to be working with this young company as they continue to develop their products.
The Rundle Ski. Check out their website at:
That’s all for now. Well actually it’s not, I have decided just now as I’m writing this to add a section at the end of each blog that lists what I might be reading, watching or listening to recently and that I feel the need to share. No I am not the first to come up with this idea and no I don’t claim to have particularly good taste in any of the aforementioned categories, but I’ll let anyone brave enough to listen to my advice be the judge of my tastes. Also I have decided to put in a quote with each update. This might be something I find particularly inspiring, but will more likely be a random quote from one of my team-mates that I find funny. So here is the first list.

Reading: Racing Through the Dark: Crash. Burn. Coming clean. Coming back. By: David Millar. Just started this one and yes it is the biography of a doper. Being a huge cycling fan I felt I needed to get a better understanding of just what happened during this dark period. The book is so far so good and has managed thus far to avoid an overly self-pitying tone. I will report back later though once I have finished it.

Watching: Besides the newest season of Top Gear I watched the Movie Hanna (2011). Basically it is this: Lots of action, limited story line and a decent amount of violence… not usually my thing, but this one was quite entertaining.

Listening: Metric Synthetica: This album has been out since last year, but I just got around to listening to it… and it’s great!

Quote: This is from a team-mate who will remain anonymous, who after a three hour run over a pass in the pouring rain stated in a very matter of a fact way “the rain made my hair wet”… yes it’ll do that. Maybe you had to be there.

That really is all for now.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Alberta Floods

As everyone will have seen on the news Southern Alberta was hit by some pretty severe flooding this past week. Everything started with the overflow of cougar creek on the east side of Canmore and quickly spread to the flooding of the bow river and much of Calgary as well as towns south of the city. Now I have to admit my own experience has been without any major drama thankfully, but plans have been changed and as I write this I’m back in Canmore, with all my possessions (many of which were stuck in Banff for a few days) I will get to details on that soon, but first a short update on how things have been going this year.

In early May I arrived back in Canmore rested up and ready to start a new season. It’s hard to believe that this is my third year with the team. Time really does go by fast. Anyway after getting back into training with a week in Canmore we were off to Vernon for our first camp of the year. Vernon is a pretty amazing place. Right in the Okanagan valley summer had very much arrived when we got there and with Sovereign Lakes just a short drive out of town (all uphill of course) we were very close to great spring skiing conditions. Although the snow pack wasn’t that deep this year (it was like plus 30 the week before we got there) we still had good skiing conditions our entire camp.
This if from a hike during a short spring camping trip to the Adirondacks before heading back out west.
left to right: Seb Townsend (one of my long time team-mates at Nakkertok and new member of the Alberta World Cup Academy), my brother Andrew, myself and long-time Nakkertok team-mate Steffan Lloyd.   

 Spring Skiing at Sovereign Lakes
View from where we were staying on Lake Okanagan. The water wasn't too warm but we still got some good cliff jumping in.

Back in Canmore after our camp we got back into the swing of day to day training. It’s amazing how much of a difference a year can make. Last year at this time I was struggling to keep up in workouts and not able to always recover enough to complete the training I had to do. This year so far has been a completely different experience. With one more year under my belt I feel as though I am able to handle training much better.

Anyway this brings me to just over a week ago. We were packed up and ready to head to Nelson BC for our annual bike camp. This is just a short camp that is centred on a 210km very hilly bike ride around the Kokanee area of British Columbia. Two days into our camp however, on the day that we were supposed to head out on our ride we woke up to 10 degrees and heavy rain. As you can imagine the idea of doing 210km in cold pouring conditions with the strong possibility of getting sick was not the most appealing concept ( I know we’re not very tough are we) so we decided to change our training and do rollerski intervals and a GYM workout instead with the idea of being able to ride part of the way back to Canmore the next day. 
G-kill and Russell making the most of the change of plans
The next day however we woke up to rain again and even colder conditions. We heard through people back in Canmore that there was some risk of flooding and washouts and to be honest we didn't think much of it. To give you an idea June in Canmore is known for having some crazy weather especially rainfall, locally its known as monsoon June. Last year flooding washed out many trails at the Nordic Centre and flooded some basements downtown. This year however after looking at the news and realizing that Canmore had declared a state of emergency it was obvious that this would be more than a few flooded basements and washed out trails. With the realization of what was happening back in Canmroe we decided to high-tail it back with the hope of getting into town before the roads closed.

As we drove further out of Nelson the magnitude of what was happening began to dawn on us. Cougar creek which runs right through the middle of the east side of Canmore (the opposite side as the Nordic Centre)  and is often no more than a dry stream bed had turned into a raging river and was quickly eroding the banks and washing away back yards, fences, decks and in some case foundations of the bordering houses. It also became apparent that we were not going to get back to Canmore as the roads in and out of town were quickly closing due to mudslides and erosion. Sure enough once we got to Radium we were told that the road heading east was closed and likely not to reopen for a couple of days. Since we figured there was a better chance of the road heading out of Golden (100km to the north) being opened sooner (since it’s the Trans Canada) we decided to head there for the night and since the rain had let up we decided we might as well bike there. The next morning we heard that the Trans Canada between Golden and Banff was open to local traffic so we quickly jumped on the opportunity to get one step closer to home and headed to Banff. Once in Banff we were told that although the highway between Banff and Canmore was closed we were allowed to bike there. With many of the athletes and coach’s wanting to get home and pump out their basements and prepare for more flooding we decided to leave as quickly as possible.
CANMORE, CANADA - JUNE 20:  Houses damaged along the edge of Cougar Creek are shown June 20, 2013 in Canmore, Alberta, Canada. Widespread flooding caused by torrential rains washed out bridges and roads prompting the evacuation of thousands. (John Gibson/Getty Images)
Cougar Creek became a raging river taking out backyards and foundations

Cougar creek on a normal day

It was a rather surreal feeling biking back on the Trans Canada. It was raining heavily and it was cold. We had the road to ourselves and could hear the sound of multiple helicopters overhead. The eastbound lane that we were riding on was not significantly damaged, but the westbound had a huge three meter wide and three meter deep gully cutting it in two just a couple of kilometers outside of Canmore. Add to all this that there were 30 plus semi-trucks parked outside of Canmore and the entire scene made for something rather discomforting, like something out of a zombie movie.
Once in Canmore we were greeted by flooded streets and a Bow River that was almost up to the height of the one road bridge that connects both sides of Canmore.
The Bow river sometime before it peaked. usually there's a few metres of clearance  for this bridge.
The entire experience was very strange. You read and hear about these types of things all the time on the news (most far worse in terms of loss) but its only when you see it happen first hand that you truly get a grasp of the situation.

Now slowly things are getting back to normal in Canmore there is still no way for none locals to get into town and the only way to Banff is by bus. Most of the trails will need lots of repairs, it will take months to get all the roads in the surrounding area open and there is still a boil water advisory in Canmore. Of course these are all fairly minor inconveniences for those who lost their homes in Canmore and elsewhere in Alberta it will take much longer for things to get back to normal.

In terms of training, the Haig camps have been cancelled until the end of July since the trail in has been damaged, the roads into Kananaskis country are still closed and the helicopters in the Bow Valley are being put to more important use than flying up our skis and gear to a glacier, for the time being. So looks like there will be no skiing in July this year. Wow, it is really hard to write that last sentence without sounding spoiled. The life of an athlete is very good indeed and the recent events only help to put in perspective just how lucky I am.
That's all for now.


Actually one more thing. This is a video I recently found of the late great Steve Jobs. I rather like the message and I think it applies very well to sport (and many aspects of life).

Monday, April 15, 2013

And That's a Wrap

The first half of the season was full of racing from NorAm cups to World Cups to the World Under 23 championships it felt like I was constantly racing and travelling  Once Eastern’s were done however I was back in Canmore and facing a slightly less busy second half of the season. Next after the Eastern Canadian Championships was the Western Canadian Championships in Grande Prairie Alberta. I had never been to Grand Prairie and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The race trails were surprisingly difficult given that they were in a place named Grande Prairie and as an easterner my first thought when I hear the word prairie is of a flat landscaped where you can see the curvature of the earth. As it turns out however Grande Prairie does have hills and they make good use of them on their race courses. The weekend was set up as another minitour just like at Eastern’s but with the techniques changed. We started off with a skate sprint I had a relatively good day on the narrow fast course and managed to make it into the final to finish the day in fifth, my best ever NorAm skate sprint result. The next day however I woke up with a sore throat. I decided to race anyway but unfortunately I had very little energy and finished a distant 15th. After this race my coach’s and I decided it would be better to skip the last race and get ready for the rest of the season rather than risk getting more sick.


This year nationals were being held at Whistler Olyimpic Park one of my favorite race venues. With Nationals being held very late this year, we had a lot of time between races in the second half of the season. Luckily we filled this with some Alberta Cup racing.

Nationals for me got off to a decent start. I teamed up with Steffan Lloyd for the second year in a row in the team sprint. Last year in classic we placed third, this year however it didn't go quite as well for us. We got off to a bit of a rough start in our semifinal and just made it in to the final. The final went much better for us and we managed sixth. Not quite a podium but a good result nonetheless.
The Team Sprint is the one race a year I get to wear my Nakkertok suit!
Photo: Kevin Jones
Team sprint final
Photo: kevin Jones

The very next day was the 10km skate. After a bad night’s sleep I woke up feeling very tired. I felt I had very little energy in my warm up and just hoped I would feel better during my race. My first lap was not good and I managed only to have the 73rd fastest time at the half way mark. On my second lap however I got a good ride from Knut Johnsgaard and started to feel much better. I posted the 13th fastest second lap placing me in 27th overall in a very competitive field. This wasn’t by any means an amazing result yet it was still perhaps my best individual skate race this year and considering how I felt in the morning I had to be satisfied.
Rounding the last corner in the 10km skate
Photo: Kevin Jones

After one days rest it was time for the 15km classic. This proved to be the warmest day of racing at Nationals. Since it didn't feel that warm in the morning I had neglected to bring a t-shirt to the race venue, I realized a couple of minutes before the start that my race suit was going to be much too warm and decided to do something I wouldn't normally do and race with just my bib. I realized a couple of minutes in that this was the right decision since even with my limited clothing it was still a hot day. I started hard, trying not to make the same mistake as in the 10km and posted the 17th fastest time on the first lap. On the second lap I dug deep and managed to move up to 12th as the 10th Canadian. This was probably my best distance race since before Christmas so I was very happy to be racing that well so late in the season since that is something I have struggled with the last couple of years.

Next up was the classic sprint, my favorite event. I started the day off with a bad qualifier managing only 21st. I told myself that it didn't matter since I had had very good days before after bad qualifiers. This day, however, turned out to be different. I had absolutely not energy in my quarterfinal and had trouble keeping up on the long climbs (usually my favorite part) I got dropped on the second big climb but managed to catch up a bit on the downhill and flat coming into the stadium. I managed only fourth in my quarterfinal, not good enough to move on. This was a huge disappointment and was the first time since becoming a senior that I have not made the final in a NorAm classic sprint. Clearly something was wrong. I was just tired, I had managed a few decent races from simply being determined and ignoring the constant bad nights of sleep and lack of energy but now it had caught up to me in a big way.

After talking to my coach’s we decided to cut the upcoming 50km in order the rest and get ready for a couple of races I was planning on doing at Super Tour finals in Truckee California the next week.   

With that my Nationals were over and a few days later I found myself heading to California for the first time in my life.  


Truckee California is situated in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Lake Tahoe and is known for getting meters of snow every winter. Unfortunately this winter was not a normal winter and after some of the driest weather they have ever experienced the organizers had to scramble to pull off the event. Many of the races were moved to a higher venue which at 2200 meters above sea level was 600 meters higher than I had ever raced before and is nearly as high as the Haig glacier.
I went to Truckee planning on racing two races. This being the end of the season and knowing that I was getting tired I thought it would be better to focus on having two good races rather than planning to do all four only to get tired and not do well in the races I wanted to.

California at it's best
Photo: Sam Tarling
My first race was a 15km classic mass start. I had had possibly my best race of the year in this same event in Silver Star in December so I was looking forward to racing it again. The race started fast and I was immediately left chasing on the winding technical course. On the first lap I moved up a few places on the one big steep hill but soon found that I was losing positions on the rest of the course. No matter how hard I worked there was no getting around the fact that my skis were running very slow. Each time up the courses biggest climb I would gain a few spots only to lose them again on the rest of the course. I finished the day a disappointing 30th far from what I had been hoping for.
Hot weather and thin air many of the best skiers simply walked up this hill
Photo: Mark Nadell

The next race was going to be my last of the season so I was very much looking forward to it especially since it was a classic sprint. Unfortunately the night before I had a high fever and barely got any sleep. I got up the morning stuffed up and definitely sick. Since it was the last race of my season however I decided to give it a try anyway. I gave it my best shot, but unfortunately I just didn't have the energy I was exhausted and simply couldn't push and for the first time in my life I didn't qualify for a domestic level classic sprint. This was a disappointment for sure but given how I felt I couldn't be too surprised.
Classic sprint, no energy and no speed it was time to end the season 

It’s always hard to end a season on a bad note, but I have to stay positive the truth is I have had a very successful season with many good races. This season I got my first NorAm podium and then followed it up with two more, I started my first World Cups and traveled to Europe to race at the World Under 23 Championships. Sure I didn't finish off the season with particularly good races, but hopefully in time that will only make me more motivated for next year, but for now I’m just going to rest.

I would like to thank Classic Wood Mouldings and Dr. Beverley Mckeown dentistry for their support this year. Without them I would not be able to chase my athletic dreams. I would also like to thank Salomon  for their equipment  support as well as the Alberta World Cup Academy for making me work hard every day. Lastly I would like to thank my Dad. It’s not easy to be successful in the sporting world however having the support of those closest to you can make all the difference.
Our race entries included free lift tickets and rental gear at Sugar Bowl
Photo: Russell Kennedy 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thunder Bay, Austria, Czech Republic and Nakkertok

The last month has been busy. Just over a month ago I was in Thunder Bay getting ready to race trials for the under 23 world championships. Since then I have qualified for the trip been to Europe trained in Austria Raced in the Czech Republic Travelled back to Canada and raced Eastern Canadian Championships at my home club before coming back to Canmore where I am now writing this.
Thunder Bay

Trials for me got off to a rough start. With the lack of snow in Thunder Bay the courses were modified. The classic course which lacked significant climbs meant that a large pack stayed together until the exchange. I was lacking something on the day and finished a disappointing 20th.   
30km Pursuit
Photo: Martin Kaiser

The sprint day was much better. Classic sprints are my best event and after a disappointing pursuit this was by far my best chance of making it to Worlds. I had a decent qualifier and made it without a problem into the final where I skied to second. This was only my second Nor Am podium and being the top U23 on the day meant that I had guaranteed myself a spot at the Under 23 world championships in Liberec.
Photo: Martin Kaiser
Second Nor Am podium of the season (and my life) and a ticket to the Czech  Republic
Photo: Martin Kaiser

The day after the sprint was the 15km skate. This is generally my least favorite event, but even so I was disappointed with the result. I started much to slow and although I felt better than in the pursuit I finished the day a disappointing 29th.
Starting the 15km skate as you can tell by the way Colin is warped up it was pretty cold with the temperature only just above the legal racing limit.
Photo: Martin Kaiser

With the last of the trial races completed I was off to Canmore for a few days of training before heading to Austria for the pre worlds training camp. I was confident before heading over to the Czech Republic. Although my distance racing in Thunder Bay was not great I felt I could achieve a good result in the sprint in Liberec.

Our pre worlds training camp was in Ramsau, a town which hosted the World senior Championships in 1999 and is famous for the Dachstein glacier where many of the best skiers in the world put in hours on snow during the summer.  I had actually been to Ramsau before having been there for a training camp with the Quebec ski team two years ago.
This is actually from the Czech Republic. The courses were closed one day so we went skiing in the mountains around the city. We weren't the only ones. As it turns out skiing is pretty big there. Here me and Colin (taking the Picture) tried to escape the crowds by skiing on a smaller trail. 
Photo: Colin Abbott

We didn't have much time to get used to our surroundings in Ramsau since we were only there for a few days before heading to Liberec.

This was my first time in the Czech Republic. Unlike the last two time I had been to Worlds (Juniors) all the teams this time were staying in the same Hotel where everyone was eating the same food from the same cafeteria. The Hotel itself (called hotel Babylon and supposedly themed on the ancient middle eastern city) was pretty unusual. It was in a part of the city, which although wasn't far from downtown, was surrounded by industrial buildings. The Hotel featured an indoor shopping Centre, water park,  mini amusement park with bumper cars and palm trees as part of the décor. All these attractions under one roof made me think of a cruise ship even though I have never been on a cruise ship and this experience made me want even less to ever go on one.
Hotel Babylon décor 

The race venue which was built for the 2009 World Championships  was somewhat anticlimactic. Here is what I mean. When Canada was selected to host the 2010 Olympics the government spent millions building a state of the art facility which includes a new 13km long paved two lane road into the venue a day lodge, recreational trails through Callaghan country as well as the over 10km of race trails which were cut through the forest and were designed to showcase Canada’s wilderness to the world. The Czech’s had a slightly different idea when it came to building their venue for the World Championships. Vesec (the name of the venue) was built in a park on the outskirts of Liberec (for those from near Ottawa think Mooney’s Bay but with bigger hills). The venue has no recreational trails and features only one permanent building (a race office/timing hut). The road in is only 200m long but is single lane and unpaved. The trails essentially snake their way around fielded areas and I would imagine they would not be distinguishable from the surrounding landscape during the summer. When we arrived in Liberec thanks to warm weather before we got there the organizers only had 1.5km of trails open. While we were there they were essentially building the trail system, sometimes only opening a new part of trail the day before we raced.
Russell getting his cheer on during the juniors relay

The sprint was the first race and the one I had been most anticipating. In fact I had been thinking about this race for the better part of two years. Unfortunately when it came to racing the qualifier I was flat. I tried my best but just felt like I couldn't dig deep. I felt like I had nothing to give. I ended up 39th and just like that the race I had been most looking forward to was done. To say I was disappointed would be a huge understatement. I almost couldn't believe it. Qualifiers are the weaker part of my sprinting, but here I was with a great opportunity to get some international results on what was a perfect course for me and I wasn't able to race the way I felt like I could.
Not the day I was hoping for in the sprint

The next race was no better. In the 15km skate I never found my rhythm and felt totally drained of energy.

All of this meant that I wasn't exactly full of confidence heading into the 30km pursuit (the last of our races). I hadn't had a good distance race since before Christmas and a 30km on what was a very hard course seemed like an unlikely way to turn things around. The pursuit, in the end would prove to be something of a turnaround. In classic I tried to ski efficiently and stay out of trouble and before I knew it I was changing over to skate in a position to fight for a top 30. Unfortunately the skate leg would prove my undoing. I skied as long as I could with the group I had been with in classic but began to suffer in the last 5km. I ended up 47th and although this was not an amazing result it was better than my recent distance races and at the very least was a step in the right direction.    
As you can tell I had lots of support out on course during the pursuit

After our races were done we spent one night in Prague (which is pretty amazing) before travelling back to Canada.
View of Prague during the day

Prague at night

After racing in the Czech coming back to Canada and racing at Nakkertok (my home club) was a welcome change. Its always nice to be able to stay at home for racing in the middle of the season.

The first race (we raced three days in a row in a mini tour format)  was a classic sprint. I had a great qualifier  putting me in second before the rounds. In my quarter-final and semifinal I felt great and made it to the final without any trouble. In the final I pushed hard on the climbs trying gain some sort of advantage before the finish. I came into the final straight in first, but ran out of gas in the last 15 meters and had to settle for second again. Normaly I would be really happy with second and I was but since I felt so good on the day and since it was on my home course I couldn't help but be a little disappointed.
Sprint finish. It was a pretty close race
Photo: Bernard Pigeon

The next two races would prove to be pretty good. Although I have to say I was pretty tired from travelling and racing. I managed to not loose too much time in the 15km skate and skied well in the 30km classic to finish 10th overall in the minitour. 

That's all for now thanks for reading
30km pursuit start at Nakkertok is always a fun race
Photo:Jo-Ann Holden