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Steep Boundaries

A few times throughout a training season I get a chance to do a workout that blurs the line from typical and pushes the boundaries of epic. For the final day of this year’s Mammoth Camp, I did one such workout. We usually call long workouts (over three hours) overdistance, but this one went well beyond that. Starting from Lake George, I ran the Mammoth Crest trail then looped back on the Pacific Crest/John Muir Trail. Covering a distance of nearly 35kms in just under 5.5hrs, all above 2700m of elevation. The highest point of the run was 3412m. Some of the views along the run were simply astonishing. Whether it was when I entered the area that surrounded the Deer Lakes or running alongside Duck Lake. It is impossible to say which was more stunning. Glazing into the abyss of a vast valley below from the far edge of Duck Lake. Or meander through the wooded sections surrounded by enormous trees that had to be hundreds of years old. To the view from the top overlooking the Mammoth Lakes valley below. It was a fantastic way to wrap up the final major camp of the year.

It was a great camp overall. Incredible weather throughout meant consistent training and high-quality workouts. I was able to put in a lot of time Roller skiing; working on subtle technique changes. A few of which made huge differences in my skiing. It still amazes me at times, what effect it has to move a few muscles differently. As a post on Facebook recently stated;

It’s fairly simple:

1. Train a lot.

2. 20% of it pretty hard.

3. 100% of it thinking about technique.

As I headed Northward after the camp, I had a few interesting days of travel. As I left California, a snowstorm was blasting its way through Southern Alberta. I made it to Calgary without much trouble, but it was a slow, slick drive from the Airport terminal to the nearby hotel. When I arrived which was Monday, near midnight already 20cm of snow had fallen. I stayed the night in Calgary as I had a noon flight on Tuesday, on my way to Prince Edward Island. On Tuesday, I boarded my flight to Montreal just before noon. I walked off that flight over three hours later, still in Calgary! The aircraft had never left the terminal as we sat waiting through delay after delay. Finally, the Captain requested that we disembark. I took that as polite speak for this flight was going to be canceled. I went directly to customer service. Moments after I was changed to a Toronto flight which was already delayed but leaving shortly, the Montreal flight was canceled. I boarded the Toronto and this aircraft did depart the terminal but spent a couple of hours waiting on the tarmac. After close to seven hours sitting on two airplanes, but only traveling maybe a kilometer, I took off eastbound. By this time the damage had been done. I was flying to Prince Edward Island and should have arrived at midnight Tuesday night. I was to attend the investiture ceremony for the Order of Prince Edward Island at 10:00 Wednesday morning. There was now no way for me to get to the Island on time. I searched through every possible routing; nothing was going to work.

I want to take a moment and Thank all those that contributed to the investiture ceremony. To all those who were able to stay even after my very tardy arrival. I had a perfectly laid out plan, and a snowstorm royally got in the way of my plans. It was not how I envisioned receiving the Order of PEI. It has been one of the greatest honors to become a recipient and member of the Order of PEI. The Order of PEI represents having made outstanding contributions to the community. I want to say it is an honor to be acknowledged as having done such but that I still a lot to share! With my community, my province and my country.

After a shorter visit to the Island over the Thanksgiving holiday (something I haven’t done in years). It was time to return to the West. However, my travels to the Mountains were only momentary before I continued westward to BC. I was trying to squeeze in a short training camp. Speaking of things I haven’t done in some time. To kick off this mini-camp, I ran a cross-country running race for the first time in what has to have been over ten years. The Larch Hills Nordic Club was hosting an 8.5km run on Sunday up at the Larch Hills Ski Center. My local BC teammates, coach Robin and I took part. The course was extremely fun; a balanced mix of double-track ski trails and single-track. If I can say, it was a course that suited me very well. I took advantage of some of the late steep climbs to finally open a small gap on Robin. Though on the fast descent back to the stadium Robin made up some time. I guess his two-armed flailing descending technique was better than my single-armed flailing technique. I was able to maintain a lead, just, and take the win. It was an awesome but hard way to start the camp. The next day I had a scenic roller ski tour of East Kelowna. Tuesday was an easy double with a Skate roller ski in the morning. Focused on technique, mainly working on my offset. In the afternoon, three of us went for a run in the Myra Canyon Park, running along a historic stretch of railway with its several trestles. Incredible feats of engineering nestled in the beautiful backdrop of the autumn landscape. Wednesday was a hard intensity before Robin, and I made our way back to Canmore.

On the eve of the opening of Frozen Thunder 2018, it feels like the training season is coming to a close. In the blink of an eye, the competition season will have started. I look forward to getting on snow and bringing together all the gains made this past year, to test myself once again.

A view from Myra Canyon, exploring the engineering feats that are the trestles in this area.

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