Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Trials Month

I'm in the Quebec airport right now waiting for my delayed flight. I guess this is the reality of air travel in Canada. In other news, the Quebec airport is more or less brand new and is phenomenal. Other airports should take note: free wireless internet, high backed chairs in the waiting area, power for laptops integrated in the the chairs, food options on the secure side of the departure area. Boom.

It's been an intense but awesome month. It looks like the academy has qualified nine athletes for international trips including the Olympics. U23 and World Junior championships, and the OPA tour. Considering that our team includes twenty athletes that seems like success.

There have for sure been a few highlights so far:

- Gord's win in the skate at Sovereign Lakes, so close right up to the end

- Madeleine's win in the classic race in Canmore, honestly the best day of my life to date. That is not a joke.

- Heidi's utter domination of the junior sprints in Quebec

- Emily's final heat where everything finally just clicked and her skis were "so much faster".

- Marlis' decisive victory in the 10km classic to stamp her ticket to worlds

There have also been lots of success stories from a technical point of view. Overall, we've made really great skis and on a few days really stood out from the crowd. Out of all the races I'd say we only missed the mark once so far (skate sprint at Sovereign). The testing has generally gone smoothly and we've executed the plan.

There has for sure been some learning along the way and areas for improvement:

- Ski selection is huge. For sure the most important factor in overall speed. That has become more apparent to me than ever in the context of a large team.

- Hand structure is huge as well. Probably the most important factor that we can change after ski selection.

- Camber height and and closing weight are two different things. In other words it is quite possible that a 0.5mm ski could be softer than a 0.3mm ski. Something to keep in mind when selecting race skis.

Congratulations to all the Academy athletes. It's been a pleasure so far and I'm excited for more.

Force fate. Game on.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Total athletes: 19
Tomorrow's race: Pursuit
Total skis tested this morning: 97 pairs
Average per athlete: 5.1 pairs

Here is what that looks like laid out on the snow: