Friday, December 26, 2008

New Computer

Sam Got me a Dell XPS for Christmas and I'm just trying it out. 4 gig ram and 320gig hard drive. Very nice.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

One of John Thompsons friends set up a nice web page for John here you can write a note and keep updated on his recovery.


I'm glad I don't live in northern Montana these next few days.

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UV Index: 0 Low
Wind: From E at 17 mph
gusting to 35 mph
Humidity: 56%
Pressure: 29.87 in.
Dew Point: -39°F
Visibility: 10.0 miles
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

When it rains it pours

There has been so much going on right now its insane. First off finals are next week mon-thursday. Second, John Thompson is still in the hospital fighting extreme pain. He had 3 plasma transfusions. They put a direct line in the carotid artery and hook him up to a machine that looks like a transmission fluid changer. They centrifuge the plasma out and put donor plasma back in. It's odd because he can move his feet and legs in bed but he can hardly walk. Its like he has no strength and the pain is still severe. The nerve coatings were damaged so its like having open nerves when you get road rash or a burn, only its on the inside. He should be rounding the corner soon and be on the road to recovery. Sam and I have been helping out with his business of making skijor lines the best we can. We visited him yesterday. Its hard to see someone who was so fit and active get tired so quick just from walking out of the room and back. Maria Stewart came in when we left. He is getting a lot of encouragement from the cycling community and he is great full for it. He's fighting and staying optimistic that he will be back on the bike. The third and last thing that happened is my grandma passed away this afternoon. We saw it coming the last few days so it didn't really take us by surprise. She died at peace in bed at home which is the way she wanted it and everyone else wanted it. It is going to be a busy Christmas vacation for me. I just want finals over with so I can get going on what needs to be done.

I'll end with some good racing news. Sam took 18th in a short 11km preseason xc-ski race today at Theo-Wirth. He plans on racing most of the big ski events in MN this year to feed the racing bug. The little guy never gets out of shape.


Monday, December 08, 2008

John Rose Oval

I'm just going to post my update I wrote for skinnyski.
The John Rose Open was a great time this weekend. The conditions were a bit harsh but everyone had to deal with it. Saturday brought some strong north west winds gusting to 30mph which made it feel like hitting a wall coming out of turn 2. Sunday the temps were in the single digits with subzero windchills and some heavy snow squalls would periodically come through. Canada came down with a couple bus loads of skaters, and we had a total turnout of 100 or so competitors. This was my first time at an event of this scale and the volunteers and officials did a good job at getting skaters to the heat box ( the place where the skaters gather in their groups before going out to race), and keeping the races going smoothly. Saturday was the 800m, 500m, and 1000m. I was glad the sprint distances were during the windy day because it would have been a lot worse pushing a heavy wind lap after lap on Sunday. Teammate Andy Kostka and I were the only ones in the senior division so we raced with the only 2 intermediate girls from Midway. The Junior boys from Midway were heckling us about getting beat by a couple 17 or 18 year old girls while we were in the heat box. Honestly, I was a little concerned about this matter; I wasn't necessarily born with skates on my feet like most of the Midway kids, and when it comes to speedskating technique is everything. My fears were confirmed as I was beat by both girls by about the length of a blade in the first race which was 800m. Andy beat me by a little bit over a second. The second race was the 500 and I had a little redeeming to do. I still got stuck behind one of the girls going into the first turn and almost went around by the time I hit the second corner but had to fade back in. I did get around on the sprint and was gaining on Andy in the last 100meters only to get beat out by 8 tenths of a second. The 1000m race I just went right from the gun to the front giving Andy a free ride. He went around me 200m from the finish to take the 3rd win by 1.5 seconds. Sunday rolled around and the organizers decided to put Andy and I with the Master men for the 1500m and the 3000m. I was one of the last ones to make it to the line so I was stuck with a second row position starting on a corner. I tried getting behind Andy but was cut off at the start. I chased for a lap or two and eventually caught on. I had a lap to try and recover but no kick to pass Andy. He won by yet another slim margin of 1.3 seconds. For the 3000m I was able to get a front row position between Andy and Mike Anderson. Andy and I hit skates on the start and he had a little bobble. Randy Plett from Manitoba got the hole shot with Anderson in his draft. I was just off their draft going into the corner and put in a couple fast opening laps to try and latch on. I couldn't do it and my effort put me in no mans land well ahead of the rest of the field. I didn't dare look back and loose any time so I put it in time trial mode and listened to Floyd when I came out of turn 2. He would say, " Keep it there. Nice steady rhythm." The last 3 laps I was falling apart and wondering when everyone was going to fly by me. My back and hips were starting to lock up on the corners as I struggled to keep it upright. After I went by for the bell lap I was listening for the ring that would give me an idea on how far back the next person was. I got around the whole corner before I heard them ring the bell and I knew I had a chance. I gritted my teeth and made it home for a 3rd overall. Mike Anderson took the win 2 seconds ahead of Randy Plett. Floyd was impressed that I soloed 7.5 laps without getting caught. Andy ended up crashing after his pivot bolt came loose in one of the corners. I had a fun time and most importantly, I improved after every race. Floyd always tells me that racing is the only thing that will bring you over the next plateau. He's right, racing always pulls more out of you, it shows you both your strengths and weaknesses, reveals any bad habits, and makes the body push past any threshold that limits you during training. Patti Koehler has greatly improved her technique in the last couple weeks too, and she was able to take home some hardware to prove it. That's a key point in any sport, beginners seem to improve in great intervals but when you make it to the elite level things get more precise if you are going to get any better. It seems like you have to put in a lot of work for just a little gain.
All in all it was a long but fun weekend. The Canadians were great guests and they enjoyed their visit. Sunday we never had the pursuit because the weather was bad, and the Canadians had a long drive ahead so they forfeited. Thanks to all the volunteers, organizers and officials for providing the opportunity to compete in such a great sport. Next weekend is the American Cup II which is a two day Metric racing event. There are some US National team and World Cup hopefuls that will be racing so come on out and watch the fast guys race at 30+mph.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Not a whole lot of good news to report. A nasty cold is going around here at home and at school. If Sam gets a bad cold and my mom get it, it has to be a bad one. Sam hardly ever gets sick, and if he does, its minor and lasts a day or two. This one he is actually taking days off. I can't remember the last time that's happened. I've had the bug for over a week now and its still hanging on for dear life. I'm feeling ok but I don't want to rush things and get a relapse until I know I'm 100%. Lots of people at school sick too. This weekend is the John Rose Open. You can read about it on Skinnyski when it comes up. I'm going to race it for experience and the fun of it. I was 4 days down last week from the cold and I need to build my strength back up.

What John Thompson is going through belittles any cold or flu. Sunday night after returning home from the Jingle Bell Cross race in Iowa, he felt numbness in his hands and feet and got concerned. He went to the hospital on Monday and found out he has a spinal infection. The doctor says he has seen 5 cases of his infection in his 28 years experience. The infection is messing with his motor skills right now in his legs. Please keep him in your prayers.