Tuesday, March 31, 2009


It has been brought to my attention that I failed to spell check yesterday's post prior to putting it on the internet.

I'm sorry for any inconvenience the error may have caused :)

Re: fundamental
Fr: Paul

According to the International Phonetic Alphabet, if I were to write the
word 'fundamental' into a script I would do so as follows:


...and not..


...and certainly not..


As such, you can't even blame phonetics for your error.

In short, "fundimental" is not a word; "fundamental" is.
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Monday, March 30, 2009

More Details

While eating breakfast this morning I was re-reading last night's post and realized I should maybe clarify a few things:

1. I did the skate race yesterday, not Madeleine. She was busy winning the Buckwheat Classic, a totally random, totally awesome 50km classic race in Skagway, Alaska. Google it... you'll find some hilarious news stories and pictures about the event.

2. Simple Jack ≠ Jack Cook. If you have seen Tropic Thunder then you understand the reference. If you haven't stop what you're doing and find a copy. It's good stuff.

Now... on to the update. It's funny to be writing an update about myself doing a ski race, but it was an awesome day.

The race was a fund raiser for the Canadian Cancer Society in honour of Roger Tetrault. This is a guy who laid the foundations that make Fast Trax what it is today. He is a cancer survivor and an inspiration!

It was a super flat course that covered a 5km loop at the Strathcona Wilderness Centre. My skis were fast... stupid fast actually, which is a big part of why I managed to finish this thing :) 30km is a long way for a guy who is used to testing skis. That process normally inolves skiing at race pace for a few hundered metres, then stopping to compare sensations and switch skis.

Anyway, the laps were taking about 15 minutes with average heart rates over the first five laps as follows: 175, 178, 176, 172, 170. It was at this point where things got interesting. Lap 6 took about 19 minutes with an average heart rate of 162 (not even zone 2). The interesting part was that despite the fact that I was going a lot slower, and my heart rate was a lot lower, there was no perceived change in exertion. I had bonked... to the max.

Luckily, immediatly following the race I dominated on half a dozen oreos, a smokie, and a coke. And that my friends, is the fundimental difference between a racer and a coach. I've been to a lot of races with Madeline... tons and tons of them... and have never seen her refuel like that.

It was an epic day and a ton of fun. I don't regret that recovery meal at all :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

30km Regional Race

Things were going well until about 25km (the start of lap 6) and then, bingo; Houston, we have a problem. Simple Jack time.

Overall, conditions were unreal and it was for a great cause! Great event!

More details to follow tomorrow.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Shark - part 2

Le neige au maximum. Spray lakes road = totally impassable. Today's race is cancelled.

Upcoming: time line of the weekend events.
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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Not at Shark?

This is what you're missing. Spray Lakes road is a skating rink, probably 30 cars stuck.


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Thursday, March 19, 2009


This update is going to be a montage of different topics:

1. Montage - definition (maybe this isn't technically a montage)

2. Strong Bad Montage - sbemail

3. Bente Skari - this montage gives me chills

4. The last post about running shoes has for sure been our most controversial to date, generating significant discussion both for and against. Let me add more fuel to the fire:

- A midfoot strike is the most efficient and fastest way to run. The heel strike = applying the brakes (making you slow) and creating impact (making you injured) with every stride. Being slow and injured with make you sad.

- Running on your toes is probably not a good plan either (unless you're a sprinter). Using only propulsive muscles means that you are not using the body’s natural cushioning system. This puts too much vertical movement into every stride, and that leads to inefficiency and considerably more impact, muscle and tendon stress on the body. Specifically, if you’re too far forward in a sprint position, you’re overusing your calf and hamstring muscles and putting a lot of strain on your Achilles tendon. This will also make you sad.

- A midfoot strike is the most natural way to run. To prove this point, all you need to do is run a few hundred metres barefoot. You'll immediately discover that when running barefoot you're not landing on your heels = you're landing on your forefoot. Before the advent of running shoes that changed our biomechanics, I would contend that the frequency of heel striking runners would approximate nil.

- I am not suggesting making a cold-turkey transition from your Grid Stabils to lightweight trainers. If you are a traditional heavy heel-strike runner, you have a technique change to make; this change is going to take some time. Frequently, runners get excited about their new shoes and make the transition too quickly. To adapt to your new running technique you need to start with short, slow runs (say 1 - 3Km) twice per week. Focus on good technique and increase your time and distance as the body adapts. Too much too fast = you will get injured. This will make you sad.

- Last week, Jack ran 50Km barefoot on the treadmill (Jack's post). It took him three years of work to build up to this effort. Take your time.

5. If you are going to build a homemade heatbox (see Marty Hall. "Hot Boxes: Do's and Don'ts." SkiTrax Feb/Mar 2009: 46.), be very careful. Your skis are not tough = temperatures as low as 50C can cause the bases to move. The wax doesn't need to be totally melted to make its way into your bases. That being said, Marty is correct: the heatbox is an incredible tool and if used properly will help produce some very fast skis.

6. This weekend is the Mount Shark Alberta Cup, which is always a good time. For an added dose of awesome, I'll be working with Mike Mappin of Solda Canada. He is one of the best in the business and it's a fantastic opportunity. Expect updates throughout the weekend.

7. If you think that the new Nordic Hole Ski from Fischer (website) is just a gimmick, early indications are that you are dead wrong. This new ski appears to absolutely be the goods. I'll be doing testing in April, more to follow.

8. One of my favourite hobbies is plotting world domination with respect to skiing. I had a great telephone session of that today and am ridiculously amped for next season. PS... next season starts in April. Game on.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Big, Cushy Running Shoes - bunk

I couldn't agree with this paper more. Throw away your big cushy shoes and get yourself some lightweight trainers. Your running technique, and body, will thank you.

Running shoes

The absorption of the shoe prevents injuries by reducing the runners’ shocks on the body.

The clinical and scientific results do not support the fact that shoe absorption reduces the incidence of injuries for a runner.

The absorption of the shoe does not change the stress on the skeleton (bone and cartilage) since the body adapts its behaviour, moderation impact (absorbs more or less by himself), according to the hardness of the shoe.

My opinion
The foot is the organ that connects us to the earth. It informs us about the surface, adapts to its irregularities and absorbs the weight of our bodies. The foot, just like the rest of the body, is a biomechanical marvel that fits ... for better or worse. The shoe is the interface between the body and the earth. An essential interface protects us from the cold and dang erous surfaces... a useless feature for the majority of our daily activities... and an harmful interference for activities involving neurophysiological mechanisms.

Technological development of the running shoe, based on clinical concepts without scientific evidence, exploded in the 1990’s: more absorption to reduce the stress on the bones and integrated technologies to footwear (stabilization system calcaneal, anti-pronator, arch support) to control the foot considered abnormal in its biomechanics. These technological advances which were designed to reduce the incidence of injuries have propelled the shoe to a weight, size and price ever higher. As the shoe is modernized, there is a complex manufacturing phenomenon that is moved to the foot which causes lost of primary tactile sensations by the thickening of the sole. Like the modern and sedentary man, unconditioned to physical dependency, eg maladaptive patterns and mechanical stress, the runner, constantly prot ected, has become lazy. A laziness not only found in the muscles of the feet, but a loss of absorption reflex capacity responsible for the efficient and mechanical protection. The shoe is now the leading cause of impairment in running biomechanics! As for injury prevention, it is disheartening to note that one gets hurt more than before; that the runners that wear shoes are injured more than barefoot runners; and that those who pay more (and therefore better quality footwear with more technology) do not reduce the incidence of injuries.

In terms of performance, the absorption at the heel and its elevation relative to the forefoot has disrupted the whole biomechanics of the racer who, protected from the impact of the ground, is unconsciously converted to a formal initial charge on his heel. In the biomechanics of a modern man comes an ineffective and possibly harmful braking phase.

The appearance of protective footwear has always been appreciated. Sinc e the beginning of times, leather played a shell against pointy rocks, cold and snow. The day fabrication technologies have improved and where new materials were discovered, engineers, influenced by the marketing departments, were swept away with catchy designs. The evolution of the shoe was as important in the past 20 years than in the 4000 antecedent ones.

Blaise Dubois PT, RCAMT, Sport Physio Diploma

www.therunningclinic.ca / info@therunningclinic.ca

PCN physiothérapie et médecine du sport de la Capitale

4205, 4e Avenue O, suite 103, Québec, CANADA, G1H 7A6

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Is anyone else seeing this?

Ok, I admit it... I just recently found out what Twitter is, but I'm learning fast. This ridiculously simple website seems to be revolutionizing skiing coverage. To that extent, FakeFasterSkier is the bomb (FakeFasterSkier). This feed has stolen a ridiculous amount of my time over the past few days and I'd suggest checking it out... better yet, just subscribe. Slowerskier is also good, but deals more with legit coverage.

Some FakeFasterSkier instant classics:

- Excerpts from the 1973 AD diary of the patron (and spiritual guide) of the #birkie - Saint Masterblastus (PM - I always appreciate a good burn like this...)

a) "He who raceth the first kilometeric length in the most aggressive fashion shall be the victor." (Vermilion loppet, anyone?)

b) "If though stompith thy neighbors pole into bits and pieces, eternal glory is assured." (This is true. There was a lot of this at the Birkie. Team FT fell victim to some of it.)

c) "Should your waxations prove ineffective, 'tis always best to blameth their failings first, for surely it is their fault."

- For you classic skiers, Toko kick wax has been fast exactly never (This is also true.)

If Steve McQueen were reincarnated as a ski expert, his name would be Zach Caldwell. Yeah, that much of a badass. (Confirmed)

Finally. A legit use for Peltonens - http://tinyurl.com/bjde6d

Every time Therese Johaug skis by, I Andy Samberg myself - http://tinyurl.com/5cymxf (Phenomenal)

Watching the non-US nations flail around on the Callaghan trails. Zach Caldwell is basically Ski Jesus. Man, you guys are screwed next year. (Confirmed. Canada, we dropped the ball.)

I could go on and on. I'm sorry to bring this Twitter feed to your attention. You're about to have one of your all time least productive days at work.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

With respect to the temperature...

"It's colder than Old Man Winter's crotch."

- Paul Moore, describing his feelings on the temperature

In reality, it is pretty cold in Edmonton right now. This morning it was -38 at the airport. Lucikly, it's currently +1 and raining in Collingwood with a forecast for -3 and flurries tomorrow. In another stroke of luck tomorrow's race is a medium distance classic.

I think I'd still take insane waxing conditions over Old Man Winter's Crotch. I'm just saying...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Wondering what's up?

I'm not going to pretend that I've been doing a great job of keeping the site up to date over the past two weeks. Madeleine has been in Europe and had a great trip. You can read her updates here - Mado's FT Page

Luckily, nationals started today which will provide a lot of new material.

Is anyone else starting to get tired of the snow? I love winter as much as the next person, probably even more than most, but I am getting seriously fed up with shovelling the sidewalk. It's time to move on to the summer version of skiing...