Monday, December 1, 2003 - Athlete Perspective
Gordís Ski Newsletter Vol.6, No.1: Early Test and Checklists

By: Gord Jewett

Volume 6! Itís hard to believe Iím entering the sixth year of writing this often inconsistent newsletter. I think that in almost every edition I have listed the many things that I have learned and need to put more focus on, and despite the fact that I am starting to feel old on the Canadian ski circuit, that list continues to grow. This is a good sign because when the list of lessons and new goals runs out the top of the podium is the only place I hope to be. Athletes chase perfection everyday of their lives with the goal of eventually reaching the pinnacles of sport, and with a new racing season underway this hunt is no less diminished for me.

The first race weekend of the year in Silver Star, BC is a day old and itís time to take stock of my form and look for areas that can be quickly and efficiently improved before the season gets too old. This weekend was arguably the most successful opening to the season that I have had, but there are nevertheless many weaknesses that need to be addressed over the next month before the important races begin.

I am back with the Canmore Training Centre Team this year after getting the boot from the National Ski Team in the spring for not producing the results expected of me, and it has been a move for the better. I had a lower abdominal injury that kept me away from training for the first half of the summer and being in a low pressure situation and on a new team was just what I needed to come back properly. I am also working with a new coach, Eric DeNys, who besides providing a breath of fresh air in my training has taken me back to the basics of ski technique to make badly needed improvements. The results of that improvement were evident over the past weekend, but of course there is always room to do everything a little better.

Late October and early November marked an extremely large training block for me, and although I am still feeling the fatigue from that period I know that it will give me the base I need to race fast after Christmas. We were extremely lucky in getting the best early season snow that anyone can remember in Canmore and that allowed us to stay at home and train without the inconvenience and fatigue of traveling. Going into these races I wanted to test my form and ski technically well: mission accomplished. I skied better than I had hoped in two of the three races, and perhaps learned the most about myself in the last race where I had the poorest result.

The weekend began with a 15km classic race, which traditionally is my worst event. I started far too slowly, underestimating my level of fitness, and lost a lot of ground in the first 5km of the race. The good news is I skied the final 5km of the race very well to move up to 5th place at the finish. This is a strong early result, but I clearly need to improve the pace of my race starts. The sprint races the following day (in which I finished 3rd) offered the most hope for a good season, as I had a very good level of speed and was able to out ski many people who have traditionally been stronger sprinters in the early season. This shows that I have the necessary speed; I just need to apply it to the longer races.

The final days racing was a 15km duathlon, which includes a 7.5km classic, a triathlon like transition zone and a 7.5km skate. The pace was not fast for the first half of the classic race and I skied well, but it quickly became clear in the last few kilometers that I didnít have the legs to go with the pace on that day. After blowing up on the classic the skate leg was a bit of a suffer fest trying to hold on to the finish where I finished a disappointing 8th. Given that I am still feeling the effects of the large training block that ended a week ago, it is not surprising that I ran out of steam for the last race of the series.

We now have a two-week racing break before the next series in Calgary, which will allow me to get in some more training volume, continue to improve on my technique and address all of the weaknesses that have recently been identified. It is definitely nice to have the next races near home, since there will be no big travel day midway through the week leading up to the weekend. After a few more tests before Christmas I should be ready to properly challenge in the important races I will contest after Christmas.

Sincerely,

Gordon Jewett
(In the team van driving home to Canmore, AB)

Gordon would like to thank his sponsors:


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