Friday 30 January 2015

A Day In The Life Of Lisle Compton

My response to my coaches request of a play by play of today 3km skate prologue:

As I woke up in the morning, sun was trickling through the window. i looked outside and noticed a deep dusting of snow.  I was rudely awakened by a rude girl named Elora. the team and I decided to go for a slight jog (15 min). When we came through the door, we could smell the delightful smell of bobs steel cut oats roasting over the flaming stove top. After breakfast we packed, found great Instagram opportunities and packed a lunch.
around 11:45 AM (eastern time) we hopped in the beached whale AKA the blue van, and headed to the race course. It took us 23 minutes and 22 seconds. We found the perfect parking spot and headed to the chalet. We set at up camp at beautiful bench, which included a table. 
As I walked outside to start my warmup I took note of the surrounding environment: Condition: sky’s where Mainly Clear, Pressure: 102.4 kPa, Tendency: rising, Visibility: 24 km, Temperature: -15.5°C, Dewpoint: -20.9°C, Humidity: 64%, Wind: NW 23 gust 39 km/h, Wind Chill: -25

“Freedom is such a gift.” -Ryan Gosling

I did a 39.4 minute warm up, and took in the immense beauty of the Gatineau area. The trees standing tall, swaying back and forth in the strong wind. The birds quietly chirping in the background. It was a full moon, you could just make out the cries of the nearby local francophone wolves. My warmup included a 3 minute interval, with a 3 minute rest followed by a 2 min on, 2 min off, than 1:30 on, 130 off and finally 1 min on 1 min off. 

“I love being Canadian. I think growing up in Canada gives you a world perspective that I certainly enjoy.”-Ryan Gosling 

Off to the start line!!!! I felt relaxed, fairly relaxed. As the wind blew through my luscious pony tail, I realized the wind was strong. And I felt nervous for the wind to have to hit me at such a high speed. As I was caught up in the moment i reflected on a quote I once read. “ But that's where I am, there's no escaping it. Time's a trap, I'm caught in it”. -Unknown with 5 minutes  and 23.4 seconds to my start,  I took off my white, red, orange, and grey Kenora nordic and biathlon jacket, it was slightly sweaty after my intense warmup. I could fell the frigid air cutting straight to the bone. I grabbed my skis and walked at a pace of 2.31m/s towards the starting line. fg= -510.12 N, FN= 510.12 N  acceleration = .643 m/s. it took approximately  32 seconds. 

“If people want to put me on their walls, ill love it.” -Ryan Gosling 

As I stood in the starting gate, glancing reluctantly towards the starting clock. The clock ticked down from 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, I didn't get to see what came after 3 because i was already gone. heralding down the trail, with pristine technique, coaches were in awe. my beautiful technique blew everyone away, i even managed to hear a comment from a Stefan Khun. (AWAC) “is that johaug”. As i continued down the trail, i powered up the first hill, keeping the girl in font of me insight,  i began to gain on her.  I did some insane hop skate, and literately flew up the hill, the next feature of the course was a long downhill, followed by a long rolling up and down section, where i managed to pass two girls. There was than a 40 degree angle up hill that was quite a “slop fest” -Ben Dearing. As I was passed through the stadium i could hear the chants of 500 people cheering my name. I gave the audience a quick nod of approval as i re-evaluated my priorities an become once again focused in the race. All that was left was a slight uphill, followed by a hairpin turn back into the stadium. I killed this section and gave’r  into the finish line. Where  the chants of my name grew louder, the hope of the podium glimmered in my eye, as i shed a tear. unfortunately the tear froze and my dreams got crushed.

 “For me, I sort of felt like it was kind of a fairytale... but an interesting one. I don't know of anybody who has had a romance quite like this, but I certainly know people who have stuck it out.” -Ryan Gosling

All in all it was a good race and a good experience, super happy with my results. :)


Wednesday 28 January 2015

The Return of the Better Era

Cries of joy were heard throughout the land as the message was passed forth that Elora would once again reclaim her rightful place as blogmaster. The beacons of hope have once again been ignited. Bells chimes to the holy rythm of Waka Flocka Flames fourth symphony, $*&$  ^%!@ in G major.

This monumental day of triumph included a trip to costco, loblaws and tim hortons. The plane ride was relatively uneventful as Conor managed to remember all of his equipment. In a sudden change of events Conor kept his own belongings not only in sight, but in sudden act of heroism pointed out Lucas' forgotten water bottle, surprising us all. To fulfill our curiosity Conor explained his new method of keeping track of all his stuff, which is calculated using a complex mathematical sequence which appears to be working quite well... (items*sin/square root of -6 to the power of pie to the power of y=x)

In Costco many things were also discovered, while waiting with our kale, large quantities of questionable hemp seed and organic quinoa. A new waiting space was provided, Thanks to the sample wicker furniture. While Simon and Elora collapsed after a hard day of travelling and selecting lettuce the cart was left in the middle of the lane. Sonya exemplified why Megan sent her with us by responsibly moving the cart, followed by a parent like scolding. Leaving her role as the responsible one/keeping the immature older athletes in check evident.

Meanwhile, at Loblaws, the group of guys who weren't trusted to restrain themselves at Costco shopped for anything we couldn't get at Costco (not much). Activities included Cam getting ousted after trying to ride in the shopping cart, Lucas attempting to buy his way to Nationals through small savings (dat 2 for 2$ aluminum wrap, tho) and shopping for heart-shaped pillows for Valentines day. Cheez Wiz and Lucky Charms cereal(?) were requested to no avail.

Then came the drive to our accomodations (Chateau Edelweiss). On the way we picked up Ben at Carlton and discovered the wonder of walkie-talkies. We tried to be professional about it, even assigning code names to the vans (mucho burrito, tango mango and beached whale). Communication was at a high (conversion even switched to French and Spanish at points), we were always up to date on what was happening. We knew when Beach Whale left the beach (started driving), we knew when Mucho Burrito had turned portside and that there was a (disputed) train going by us. Unfortunately, when things were going perfectly we "lost visual of the Beach Whale". Panicked, we didn't relocated the Beached Whale until it was "Beached" (arrived at the chateau and parked).

The "Chateau" we're staying at is pretty incredible. Located at the bottom of a downhill resort, it has 8 beds, 2 bathrooms and 3 couches throughout 2 stories. On the second story is a hot tub and a kitchen (as well as a few bedrooms). To top it all off there is a dinning room table! It felt like a great luxury to not be eating on a couch or around a crowded table.

goodbye all, don't worry more professional posts are sure to come, as the sun rises on this new era

This blog is a democracy written by; Simon, Elora, Conor, Lucas and possibly others. Everyone is welcome to contribute.

great picture elora drew on snapchat

lucas leaning in for the kiss


Monday 19 January 2015

A blog master's last post (for now)

Hello again everyone, it is now time for the final blog post of this trip, and what a trip it’s been. Since I failed to update you about yesterday’s happenings, I shall do so now. Yesterday was a day of near glory for many members of team Manitoba. Several skiers missed out on qualifying for the sprint heats by very small margins, the smallest of all being Simon Giasson, who missed out on qualifying by 0.16 seconds despite a small fall. Various members of the team raced 3 different sprint courses, with Maya and Katy racing a 1.3 km course with 2 big climbs, followed by a screaming downhill into a long finishing stretch. The junior boys/ girls raced 1 km which included a big climb, then a long downhill with a crazy right hander into the stadium. And finally the Juveniles raced a 500m course with 2 highly technical right-hand turns (including a 180 degree turn, which saw many fallers (including Simon and Conor)) a short uphill, and a very fast finishing stretch. Conditions were hovering around -3 and the tracks were hard packed and very fast, which made for some exciting races. Levi N, Conor, Katy, Lucas and Maya qualified to the heats, with Conor advancing to the semis and ultimately the A side final. He was seeded third and stayed in that position until the uphill portion of the course. He then made one of the most impressive passing moves many of us have ever seen, both technically and physically, passing both the 1st and 2nd seeds. He then went on to win the A side final with a comfortable 20 metre lead, to thunderous applause and cheering from the Manitoba faithful. After the awards ceremony, we returned to the chalet to rest, rehydrate and relax. Later after yet another fabulous dinner made by the Betsy and Pauline, the girls and guys returned to their respective cabins. That night, I witnessed one of the funniest things I have ever seen. The trap music was loud.  The lights were low. Conor McGovern finally gave in to the multiple requests to dance. Here are some facts about Conor: We all love him. He’s a great athlete. He cannot dance. We assume at this point that he was trying to match Levi N’s freestyle moves from earlier in the evening, but to no avail. Later after much laughter and many immature jokes (thanks to Levi W), we all went to bed. Today (Sunday) was the final day of competition at the 2015 western Canadian ski championships, the freestyle distance race. The Juveniles race a grueling 6.6 km course that was made up of two laps of the 3.3 km course. The course included relentless climbs and steep technical down hills, but I think you’ve come to expect that out of Canmore at this point. Simon Giasson quite literally left it all out on the course (and somewhat on the Betsy). He did however end up finishing, showing one of the gutsiest performances of these westerns. Simon finished in 34th place, Liam Allan in 31st and Conor McGovern in yet another first place position. In Juvenile girls (also racing 6.6 km) we had Claire Hensrud with a strong performance as the only juvenile girl from Manitoba. In Junior boys (racing 3 laps of the 3.3 km course) we had Cam Roe with another solid race, Levi Warkentine in 24th and Levi Nadlersmith with an amazing 8th place finish! In junior girls (racing the same course as junior boys)  we had Amelia Kovachik in another solid position (those who finished in a “solid position” failed to remember their actual placement), Lisle Compton in a solid position as well (I think it was 19th) and Sarah-Lynn Bergen with yet another solid finish. Karly Lockhart also forgot her finishing spot, but she also had a you-guessed-it solid race. In Junior Women we had Katy Lockhart with… wait for it… ANOTHER SOLID RACE! Also in the junior women category we had Maya Boivin with a stupendous race (I got tired of saying solid). We then returned to the lodges to pack up and eat lunch. As per usual, the packing included a lot of running around and yelling on the part of the coaches and athletes. Earlier Coach Alan had very skillfully managed to get the Uhaul van up the very narrow icy gravel road to our cabin. It did in the end take the combined strength of several skiers to get the van out of the ruts it was stuck in, but we managed it (without the help of Beckie Scott this time). It was a lovely van ride with just Pauline, Simon, Lucas and I. it included much judgement of music by Simon. Near the end Pauline and I decided to try and convert him to the good side of music. We played some Cat empire. It didn’t work. We played Jack White. No success. It was then that Pauline and I discovered that we shared a love border-line obsession for Dave Matthews. We spent the next 20 minutes two-stepping all along the watch tower. Simon however found it too much. Funny the way it is that some people have so much to say about some music. If only he had some sort of rhyme or reason to his rant. He said it made him want to lie in his grave. If only he could find a grave digger. He claimed he’d listen to him only when the world ends. He tried to crush me but I just stood up for it. Alright I’m done now. We then arrived to the airport, and we finally got Simon to admit he was talented. Baby steps, right? We then unloaded all our bags onto carts and entered the airport to check our bags. Levi N had a slightly more successful method of transporting the ski bags, this time in a vertical position. We went through security and began to binge on pizza and burgers, because a weekend of Pauline’s delicious super healthy food can’t help but leave you with a craving for junk. As we boarded the plane, there was an announcement. “There is a small black suitcase with wheels that was left in the waiting area. Please come up to claim it.” Conor made the walk of shame to fetch his bag to the smattering applause of the Manitoba skiers. We then took off, and that is when I began to write this blog, and it is now that I must leave you again. As I sit here and we begin our decent into Winnipeg and look back on this trip, I can’t help but smile. So many great memories and so much great new racing experience made it an unforgettable experience. Thanks again to Conor for providing course descriptions and correcting a few of my grammar mistakes. So long from Canmore!

-Liam Allan        

 Chillin in the cabin
Nobody wanted to leave

Friday 16 January 2015

Day 2 of Westerns

Hello from Canmore everybody! Friday the 16th marks the first day of racing at the Canmore venue. The day began at around 6:45 for some of our older athletes, as their races began around 10 o'clock. Coach Andrew was at the venue at 6:15, despite a evening that included many a pulled pork sandwich. Most athletes took a short ten minute run in the morning to try and awaken themselves from their slumber, and then we enjoyed a lovely quinoa/hemp/brown rice/oatmeal blend, courtesy of Pauline. Pauline's personal belief was that this concoction, and this concoction alone, was why we had such a strong showing today. We then prepared our gear, loaded the vans and were of to the Nordic centre. As we spoke about potential methods of charming our way into a parking spot if there wasn't one, Pauline's wheels were self declared as "flat", despite her previous nationals record of utilising her wheeling techniques to reserve a parking spot. The tracks were hard and fast today, and became a little bit glazed as the sun came out, creating a fast and exciting race. The course was essentially a long, winding climb culminating on the infamous "Beckie Scott" climb, which was then followed by a long downhill with a few technical turns (including one which saw one skier falling off a cliff, only to finish the race in the top third). Then there  was a final killer uphill and another long (ish) downhill into the finish. It was a tough course where pacing was crucial as you could easily burn yourself out the first time up the big hill. Cam and the Levi's were up first with their junior boys race. It was a very impressive show, with Cam coming in 40th, Levi W. coming in 35th and Levi Nadlersmith finding Manitoba's first podium of the 2015 western championships with a strong second place finish, just 3 seconds behind Canmore's Ty Godfrey. In the junior girls category we had Amelia Kovachik in 44th, Karly Lockhart in 43rd, Sarah Lynn Bergen in 40th, and Lisle Compton with a 9th place finish! In the juvenile boys category we had Liam Allan in 32nd, Lucas Smith in 24th, Simon Giasson in 21st and Conor McGovern with another podium finish with a second place finish just 14 seconds behind Black Jack's Remi Drolet. In the juvenile girls category we had Claire Hensrud in 44th place. All in all, it was a very impressive showing by the team. We then cleaned our classic skis, scraped our skate skis and had lunch (which for many of us included the bacon cheeseburger, at Coach Andrew's recommendation, of course) while we waited for the awards ceremony to start. After both Conor and Levi N. received their prize mugs (to thunderous Manitoba applause) we departed for the lodge. Once we'd returned to the lodge we mostly just chilled out, with activities including pool playing, leg drain selfies, leg waxing and listening to some quality trap music (a la Liam Allan). We then had another amazing dinner of Thai stir fry and you-guessed-it, quinoa. We're now in full preparation mode for the freestyle sprints tomorrow- making lunches, writing race plans and stretching/ rolling. Tomorrow our Juveniles (Liam, Lucas, Simon, Conor and Claire) will race 500m, the Junior Boys/ Girls (the Levis, Cam, Karly, Lisle, Sarah Lynn and Amelia) will race 1km and the Junior Women (Maya and Katie) will race 1.3km. As I sit here and watch the team make their in between race snacks for tomorrow, I realize how creative a wrap maker Lucas Smith is. His wraps included honey, hemp seeds, almonds, peanut butter, nutella, carrots, broccoli, cucumber and hummus. I think you can figure out in which ingredients were combined together. If nothing else, he will have the most creative lunch at the Nordic centre tomorrow. It is now that I must conclude my second post, I'd like to extend a special thanks to Conor McGovern for his contributions to this blog. So long for now!

-Liam Allan

 Liam Allan climbing Beckie Scott
 Levi W. climbing Beckie Scott
 Coach Andrew providing some encouragement for Levi N.
 (That's Maya under the hood)
Karly Climbing Beckie Scott

Thursday 15 January 2015

The new era

Move over Elora Adamson and Sam Anthony, there's a new blog master in town. As I sit in my quaint high altitude chateau with fair trade coffee brewing and maple baked salmon in the oven, I have a chance to reflect on the past two days of our grand quest for westerns glory. Yesterday's travel day was relatively quiet, with the exception of Levi Nadlersmith attempting to fit two horizontal ski bags through the airport door, and coach Andrew finding an exceptional parking spot at the airport rental car lot (That also happened to block off the only entrance to the lot). We arrived in Calgary around 3:45, and we loaded the rental vans and were off to the local Costco. We stocked up on giant cans of tuna, UFC endorsed protein powder (exactly as Pauline had instructed) and hunted for the best samples, because we all know that's the only reason why we go to Costco. We loaded up the vans with groceries and we were off to Canmore! As Andrew, Cam, Simon and I drove down the freeway, Andrew made a startling discovery. We had lost the Betsy. Somehow, everybody had failed to mention to the beloved Kenora coach that we were leaving, and more importantly where we were going. Eventually we found her, and the rest of the drive to Canmore went smoothly. We arrived at the Alpine Club of Canada, after the grueling fight with altitude sickness as we drove up the base of the mountain. We had to stop several times along the way to let everybody acclimatize, and then we had the near impossible task of finding our cabins. Conor McGovern made a slight reading error, which resulted in us wondering around for what felt like hours in the majestic backcountry of Canmore, dodging cougars left and right. It turns out the first cabin we had approached and that Conor had dismissed as "Definitely not our cabin", was in fact our cabin. We settled into our accommodations and enjoyed some lasagna for dinner. After dinner, we ventured into Canmore on foot for a short half hour jog, and then we returned for snack and bed. In the morning, Maya Boivin and Katie Lockhart were off to lake Louise for their junior women's race. Fun fact, lake Louise is the highest inhabited place in Canada (in context of altitude), so it was a very impressive show since they have limited altitude training. The rest of the team went on to the Canmore Nordic centre to pre ski and check out the facility. Some of us flatlanders (me) had some trouble with the tight downhill corners, but no injuries or broken skis occurred. We were all feeling well prepared and ready to race after the session. We then returned to our lodge for some active rest, which for Cam Roe and Lucas Smith meant hiking halfway up a small mountain, while the rest of us either napped or played pool in the common area of the hostel. Later in the day, a small group headed into Canmore to check out Switching Gear, a local used consignment gear shop. As we were leaving the store, the store clerk stopped us and asked, "Do you have a Conor Mc on your team?" and held up Conor's jacket that he had left in the store when he'd last visited Canmore, almost two months ago... We then returned said jacket to Conor, who accepted it with mixed emotions. "Yeah! I found my jacket!' and "Oh crap mom is going to kill me...". It was at this point that I began writing the first post on this blog, and now I must leave you. The thought of the maple baked salmon and quinoa salad is much more enticing than the thought of continuing to find ways to get Conor in trouble. He also just mentioned that I will "Rue this day." That's all for now from Canmore folks, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my first ever blog post.

-Liam Allan        
 Levi's infamous horizontal ski bags
 The gorgeous Canmore sunrise, captured by Pauline
The obligatory post-training car selfie
Our quaint high altitude chateau