Thank you Hannah Clarke

Thank you Hannah Clarke

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Queen's University: varsity teams and new experiences!

Well I've been here at Queen's University for almost two months now and it's been a bit of an adjustment I guess. The people here aren't the same as the small town that I grew up, nor are they like my compadres over at U of Guelph. But if you know where to look in this private school of Canadian Universities, you can find some pretty cool people. So in my first week, naturally I did what I could never do at Guelph - I joined two varsity teams! Of course I was stoked to be a part of the cycling club, lead by none other than Patches O'Houlihan himself

This led to a get together in which I was having a drink with the captain of the ski team who happened to be going on a trip to Ottawa with the team and had an extra spot. He I said I'd come and that was that!
I've long known Bard at the races for being the guy with the best race expression
The weekend with the ski team was fantastic, and quite humbling - it turns out that I need more than just a motor to be a good nordic skier(I thought that I had been practicing it right though). I was chasing the ski team around all weekend "red lining" it and trying to pick myself out of the snowbank. I met some wonderful people who taught me to ski a bit better (nordic skiing is all about the technique), and as a bonus got to spend time learning to skate on the canal and seeing my little brother (the rocket scientist).

The second day of the training camp in Ottawa I was introduced to "skate skiing" which is one of the two techniques of nordic skiing, needless to say I wasn't great at it - but I tried! (unfortunately I can't share the video posted onto the nordic team on facebook where everybody is practicing but I keep falling)
The final day in Ottawa started with a race between Queen's and Carleton University - of course I wanted to be involved to my greatest potential. I would help with timing.
On the ride there however, I was convinced that through borrowing Brad's skis and using my shorter classic style poles, I'd be able to race. "Just use that big engine Chris!" they said. "Going to be fun!" They said. I was actually shocked to see that I was keeping pace with the race (or keeping the rear in sight). The ski race was one of the hardest things that I've done, but I'm really happy that I did put myself out there and gave it a try.

Following the weekend with the ski team was a weekend at the Forest City Velodrome. It turns out that our road cycling rivals MIT had been there the weekend before and wrote all about it - though we were told that we were much faster learners. Riding around a track is an exercise in pacing, control, and trust; we are riding bikes with neither gears nor brakes and on walls that would go up about 20 feet. The only way to stay on is to keep a clean line, and keep your speed up. I was very happy to see how well the team worked together and progressed over the weekend, and it was fun to be with the Queen's team not as a rival, but as a teammate.

Most recently, however we have just returned from a training camp in North Carolina, but in the interest of suspense you'll have to keep posted to find out about it!