Racing team updates

Meet the team 2014/15

Left to right: Emily Beirnes, Graham Ritchie, Tomaz Cigler, Noah Thompson, Malcolm Thompson, Matjaz Cigler, Kate Beirnes, Shaylynn Loewen, and Lindsay Raymond. Absent is Lauren Nawroth, who is recovering from a basketball injury. 

Emily, Graham, Tomaz, Noah, Malcolm, Matjaz, Kate, Shaylynn, LindsayEmily, Graham, Tomaz, Noah, Malcolm, Matjaz, Kate, Shaylynn, Lindsay

 From skiing on frozen grass to a couple inches of snow in early November, followed by 2' of pow a week later to skiing on icy, rutty trails in early December, our skiers will appreciate the first track set. May be this weekend. We shall celebrate!

All skiers set goals for the entire season, only to be changed on the fly as life's changes are imminent. 

We have skiers Kate competing at High school races and Emily, Graham, and Shaylynn also attending some Ontario Cups. 4 boys have set targets for all Ontario Cups and  this year's Nationals in Thunder Bay later in March 2015, these are Tomaz, Noah, Malcolm, and Matjaz. Tomaz is the youngest, and he will compete in the Midget category this year, his top event will be joining the Rabbits with Ghislain at the Midget Championship held again in Temiskaming. Matjaz, Malcolm, and Noah will aim to qualify for either the Ontario Talent Squad or in Noah's case, Team Ontario. Noah has set ambitious goals this year, its the kind of ambition that is required to meet his commitment to reach his long term goal to become an Olympic champion some day. This includes doing one more thing every time, you basically never stop doing more than anyone else at your age. Wow. Noah is itching to get that first real on snow race in to see where he is at. He is lucky to have so much support from his team, he will need to draw on it. He learned a lot last year, cracking into the top 10 nationally.

All our team members maintain a 6 day week of training. One day a week its rest, no matter what. Our skiers work hard for close to 8 months before they compete on snow. That period is broken into several phases including some running and roller ski competitions. Each session has an objective, and as coach, one gets a lot of feedback what is working and what is a waste of time. Logs are kept daily, and monitored regularly. Put me on a pair of skis anytime with these skiers, they are an absolut blast to ski with.

We have been on skis now for about 7 weeks, from absolut crappy conditions to not quite so crappy conditions. Not complaining here, this is the real thing our skiers  learn to be ready for that. I am always amazed they keep coming back to practices like that. Wow! This way no single session is like the one before. Perfect, as apparently according to the latest sport science, random structured practices are the highest level of training. Another challenge is to get the level of intensity into a session, intensity required to make a faster skier, faster than before. So our skiers all do incredible sprint starts now, Tomaz can break a pole on command!

Speed is done in gears up to 6, which cover the range of recovery pace to all out. These ain't gears on a bike, no cable to shift gears in skiing. These are perceived gears that are a mix of strength, endurance and cadence. The combination of all that strength training and building a big engine over the summer to reach never before speed and endurance is on the agenda right now. The technical skills adaptation has to be maintained right through. In skiing the demand is high to think dynamically what your arms and legs are doing together to get to the finish line faster. All limbs are initiated or for a lack of a better word, fired directly from our skiers core. So that is why core is the most important strength factor for a skier.

Lauren doing pull ups. 

LaurenLauren

Some events throw every possible variable at the entire team and service staff. These variables include dealing with poor gliding and kicking skis. Our skiers prep their own skis at school races and SOD events. Ontario cups require the absolut best in testing and prepping. Pa Dave Thompson is in the game of doing most of the work, thank you! In any case, bring it on, our skiers shall be ready. You can follow results on Zone4.ca  All dates are posted on our calendar

A group of 4 skiers, photo: left to right: Tomaz, Malcolm, Matjaz, and Noah will be skipping the high school race to prepare and train, and travel to Thunder Bay in preparation for the first Ontario Cup at Lappe Nordic  december 18 to 20. The plan is to drive straight through with a 1 hour stop in Wawa for some skiing at the Wawa airport. Get a good nights rest and pre-ski the courses for 2 days of races following that day. Dates are December 19 to 21.

The boys The boys

"Life is crazy" no kidding. Lindsay had to find out the hard way. She got injured during a training session at the club and will be out for the season. She has the support of the entire team to recover properly. Lauren, who has been dealing with a basketball injury. She wants to be a sport psychologist some day or build bridges as an engineer. Wow, she is doing all of that right now. These two are close friends and they will get beyond this much better together. Big shout from the team! Hoping to have you back next season. And be sure to talk to Rebecca, our physio specialist with a good take on skiing. 

In January we will have a near full team at the World Junior Trials in Duntroon. This is a 5 day North American Cup, Noram for short, that includes classic sprints and distance events in both styles.  January 7 to 11. Classic sprints are one of the most demanding events. Afer an initial qualifier, as short as it is, 400m up to 1.2 k, depending on age category. If you make the top 30 you could be going another 3 times finishing with 5 others in the A or B final. A huge challenge physically, but a near breaking point mentally if you are not mentally prepared to deal with all kinds of issues.

Classic sprints,  technically there are 2 options.  You need great kicking skis (option 1) or if you decide to double pole the bloody thing (option2), you use skate skis and long poles. Hammer it. Its risky but if it works its a blast. Try it some time, double pole the Lynx trail, no herring bone please. These kids do, and they love it.

So what are speeds in km/hr during these? We ran a test some years ago with a radar gun, this was done in skating style. 15km/hr? 20,25,30km? What do you think? Top speed was 33km/hr on a flat trail. Think skiing next time you reach that speed on your bike, eh! On downhills the elite reached 76km/hr in Sochi last year, and that is on these skinny skis. Phew!

So if you see us on the home trails, we may be doing some odd stuff or just standing around chatting. Trust me, all this stuff mentioned is on these kids minds. Lets help them reach high and have fun. Fun is nummero Uno, always.

A big thank you to all the parents who help out at events and get their kids to practice. 

It takes a village to raise an athlete.