Saturday, June 22, 2002 - Athlete Perspective
Phil’s XC Journal: 4 Double Espressos...To Go!

By: Phil Villeneuve

Hello Everyone,

I’m back for another season of writing, training and of course my favorite...racing! In order to give you a break from my endless mass email jabbering and give myself a chance to recover mentally from all the strain of figuring out new topics to write about next, I decided to give my journal a break for the spring. I’ll try and give you advance notice next time and not quit on you cold turkey!

The Olympic games have come and gone once again and although I did not reach my objective to race in Salt Lake City, I did make another step in the right direction. I would characterize my season as being ‘solid’ with some good consistent racing which, for those of you that know me, is a very good sign since I usually crash and burn shortly after Christmas. So, with this past season behind me I’m looking ahead to the next step...the World Championships in Italy this winter. I still haven’t quenched my desire to race at this level and have decided to continue my drive as a full-time x-c skier and keep chasing down those elusive rings.

It’s mid June already and I’m fresh off blocks for what looks to be a very difficult but exciting dryland training season. In addition, as team manager for the X-C.com Racing Team, my involvement with this elite racing team will make for a very busy summer (Coming soon on the x-c.com website: the 2002-03 X-C.com Racing Team members, online coaching program details, promotional events calendar and a brand new look!).

After a few weeks of relaxation in Canmore following the US Spring Series, the bank account started screaming at me again so I blasted off in search a way to fund this passion of mine (My mother would argue that it is more like an addiction!). Just as I did last spring, I went back to that old faithful tree planting gig in BC and worked my butt off through the month of May. Not one day passed where I wasn’t wishing that I was back in Canmore training regularly twice a day, with the luxuries of home within reach. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to move forward. The month of May was mine. I still managed to put in about 15hrs/week but I have to admit that after an 8 to 10 hour day where I’d have planted over 2,000 trees, the quality of training wasn’t always there!

The day finally came were it was time for me to get back to reality. I couldn’t wait to start my ‘real’ training, to be back in Canmore and push my body to its limit once again with the rest of the posse. Sometimes we don’t necessarily think things through while in a haste to get somewhere. I’d like to share an example of one of these ‘brain freeze moments’ with you. When I drove out of Burns Lake (were I was planting), it was about 9pm. My plan was to drive to Prince-George about 2.5hrs away, stay at a friend’s overnight and continue the remaining 7hour drive the next day. Unfortunately, my friend wasn’t home so I said to myself: “Why not just keep going, I’ll be home by morning“. I made a quick pit stop at a coffee shop, picked up 4 double Espressos, drinking 2 and taking the others ‘to go’. Now, I’m not a big coffee drinker. Actually, I hardly ever drink coffee. So those double Espressos ‘REALLY’ got me buzzed. I was a little worried about nocturnal wildlife jumping in front of my truck at high speed, especially after my brother hit a moose coming home from planting last year. Well, you can be certain that with all that caffeine in my system and with the techno tunes blasting away, not one set of ‘glow in the dark’ eyeballs went unnoticed within range. My eyes must have been bigger than toonies. I was like an eagle searching...or rather, avoiding prey. I even cracked out my eyeglasses to get even better visibility. Once I got to Jasper, the morning glow started appearing over the mountains and visibility got better every minute. I rolled into Canmore at 6am, 9 hours after having left Burns Lake.

Throughout my drive I observed 5 black bears, at least 8 deer, I don’t know how many elk, 2 hares and one little unidentified rodent that, even though I gave my truck a swerve worthy of the great “swerving king” Chris Paulson (my planting boss-he would have been so proud), I was unable to avoid the inevitable ‘squish’. Sorry little guy.

For all of you that have endured this lengthy Journal début of year 2, I have two recommendations:

1. I don’t recommend you try driving through the night. It can be quite dangerous and also takes a while to recover from.

2. I do recommend you try drinking 4 double espressos...it’s kind of a neat feeling.

That’s it for today, Phil


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