.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

A Quick Sit Down with Team XC Ottawa 2012
By:  Katie McMahon   (2011/09/14)


Well, it is the beginning of a new ski season and XCOttawa is back as stronger as ever. So even though we only have one brand new member in Miss Kyla, I thought I would interview the entire team to get to know everyone a little bit better. The following twelve questions will shine a brighter light on what lovely personalities make up team XCOttawa 2011-2012.

1. Who, on the present or past World Cup Circuit is your favourite skier and why?

Anna: “Lenny Valjas because we are from the same club. Sara Renner cause that sprint vs. the three Swedes is the best race ever. Marit Bjorgen cause she is ripped and fast.”

Ingrid: “Petra Madjic because skiing with several broken ribs doesn’t slow her down!”

Andre: For me it's a tossup between Alex Harvey and the current ski king Petter Northug Jr. However, forced to pick one of these two stars I'd have to go with Alex Harvey mainly because he shows that you always have a chance to win even if you’re not a favourite or even if it's not expected of you.”

Matthias: “Alex Harvey- Young, fast, Canadian, and has a wicked “I’m a champ!” attitude.”

Lee: “Alex Harvey- He is the next big up and comer, great skier and to top it all off Canadian!”

Megan: “This is tricky...  When I was a kid, it was Stefania Belmondo.  Bjorn Dahlie came next.  Canadians like Beckie, Sara and Chandra, now Devon, Alex and Ivan.  I also had a long conversation once with Frode Estil which was pretty cool.”

Sheila: “Beckie Scott.  She did so much for Canadian XC skiing, wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, and is still giving a lot of herself to good causes (e.g.,  Right to Play).”

 Katie: “Hands down; Beckie Scott. I grew up watching her race and she was inspiration as a little girl to ski competitively. I could keep going, but for everyone’s sake I will just say that she is awesome and I wish she was still racing.

Kyle: “Alex Harvey, pretty exciting to watch an amazing skier of your own country tear it up! And also, Petter Northug, just for his swagger and flare that keeps it interesting.”

Vesta: “Bjorn Daelie - because when I started skiing he was the first big racer I got a poster of.”

Karl:  "Why limit ourselves to the World Cup which only started in the early 80's.  With no restrictions anybody would pick Sweden's Sixten Jernberg who trained by chopping wood until he was so sore that he had to eat his sandwiches and coffee doubled over.  He also won A LOT of important races."

2. What is the number one item you cannot attend a race or training camp without?

Anna: “Dry socks and my headphones.”

Ingrid: “Seeing as I always end up taking too many classes at school… a textbook.”

Andre: “My pillow! It's beat up, flat and old... and I love it! It makes sleeping before those stressful races that much easier.”

Matthias: “My blue Vauhti hat.”

Lee: “Socks, I need dozens of pairs of socks.”

Megan: “Earplugs!  The night I spent listening to Karl, Craig and Glen (former team-mate) snoring in unison convinced me that these were not optional.”

Sheila: “My own coffee!”

Katie: “My pillow case to cover nasty hotel pillows with and my lucky retro national team hat signed by Beckie Scott just in case.”

Kyle: “Easy question; wind proof underwear. Only takes one hard lesson and you won’t be forgetting them anymore.

Peter: “Absolutely need my Team Rudy Project Sunglasses. I have the Zyon Chasis with lenses for races in bright or lowlight conditions. Look sweet, super comfy and perfect for racing!”

Vesta: “Lots and lots of food, specifically the flavoured cans of tuna - spicy thai.”

Karl:  "My 14th pair of skis.  I tried leaving that pair at home last year once and I had to get Logan to break into my house and get them for me."

3. What is your favourite race distance/event? Why?

Anna: “Long distance classic. Why you may ask? Well nothing beats the rhythm of classic and in a long distance race you get to be out there doing it for a really long time.”

Ingrid: “Any skate long, long distance event, preferably with excessive climbing and no challenging corners.”

Andre: “The Free Style or Skate sprints are my favourite event, particularly 1200m courses instead of those longer 1400m &1600m sprints. I love them because they are basically max intensity, max effort combined with really good technical skiing. It's like fast-forwarding to the last kilometre of a mass start race and watching the exciting battle for the finish line!” 

Matthias: “50km skate- I’ve only done one of these but it was one of the best times I’ve had in a ski race.”

Lee: “The events I look forward to the most in skiing are actually Loppets. I love the more laid back atmosphere and the endurance challenge of long distance events. Hopefully I can do more loppets in the future!”

Megan: “I love the 15km pursuit.  I'm not really sure why, but I like the mass start and the added excitement of switching techniques in the middle.”

Sheila: “Hilly 15k skate.  I love climbing, and this distance suits me.”

Katie: “Any distance 10km and under, either style, however; I have taken a liking to the exciting prologue distance of 3km. I am hoping to start enjoying the longer races, but for now short and sweet is the way I like it!

Kyle: “15km Skate Interval Start. It just works for me. It is the perfect combination of pacing and grit.”

Peter: “I really prefer the mass start long distance races. Race strategy becomes more important and it’s not just about who can endure the most pain!”

Vesta: “Classic skiing because it's what I've been doing forever! And probably middle distance.”

Karl: "50km individual start skate.  This is a real bummer because there hasn't been one in Canada since 1997."

 4. If you weren’t a ski racer you’d be a ___________.

Anna: “Morbidly obese.”

Ingrid: “Really, really nerdy food scientist.”

Andre: “Maybe a swimmer? Swimming has always come quite naturally to me and it would probably have made for a fun sport to pursue.”

Matthias: “Bike and sailboat racer.”

Lee: “Scientist.”

Megan: “Well, I AM a Patent Examiner which is pretty exciting...”

Sheila: “...home more often”

Katie: “Sport’s psychologist or coach...but who am I kidding, I would never be anything but a ski racer J!”

Kyle: “Ski bum?”

Vesta: “Dendrochronologist!”

Karl: "The lead singer of a band with country/folk/rock influences and dark humorous lyrics." 

5. What/where is the coolest place you’ve ever taken your skinny skis?

Anna: “I roller-skied up the champs-Elyees once before the tour de France.”

Ingrid: “I’d say either Canmore or Whitehorse.”

Andre: “Back country trails in the Gatineau Park.”

Matthias: “White Pass, Yukon.”

Lee: “We summated Feather Peak at the White Pass on the BC-Alaska border a couple years ago. Perfect snow conditions and great weather allowed us to have some awesome telemark skiing on the way back down.”

Megan: “This is a hard one, my skinny skis have been so many cool places ranging from the single track trails right across the road from my house in Gatineau Park (our friend Liam named one of the most hair-raising downhills "Dunn Dirt Cheap") to immaculate trails with cafes beside them in Villard de Lands in France, to skiing on the Haig glacier in Alberta.”

Sheila: “Tahoe Donner, California last March during an incredible 10-day snowstorm.”

Katie: “My future home, aka Canmore. I also loved Callaghan Valley and Mt. Washington Vancouver Island.”

Kyle: “To the top Callaghan Lodge in Callaghan Country, BC.”

Peter: “I think probably the most interesting place I have ever skied was in the ski Tunnel in Voukatti Finland! A really cool experience for anyone looking for a great summer training!”

Vesta: “Mount shark, or anywhere out west!”

Karl: "Trail 3, Nakkertok North."

6. What do you say to yourself when it starts to “hurt real bad” during a race?

Anna: ‘Alright, let’s go girl’ – I know so cliché”

Ingrid: ‘It is not your place to wonder why, but to do or die’. I heard that phrase a lot when I was a swimmer and people would complain about sets.”

Andre: “MINE!" I tell myself that this is my race, my chance to win and remind myself that no one can take it from me.”

Matthias: “Why can I only get Katy Perry (insert any number of horrible artist’s) songs in my head right now?”

Lee: “Often a variation of the song from “Finding Nemo”: “Just keep skiing, just keep skiing, just keep skiing, skiing, skiing.”

Megan: “If I fall down and hurt myself again, I'm quitting."

 Sheila: “Pain is in the brain.”

Katie: “You got this!” or for those shorter races “more pain, more pain!!!”...When you like the pain it means you are good ;)

Kyle: “Kyle you love it, this is what you live for. And Andreezy is probably hurting way more…”

Peter: “Shut up Legs.”

Vesta: “Owwwww!”

7. You are quietly skiing along; about to start a set of intervals and a bear comes out of the woods and starts lumbering towards you! What do you do?

Anna: “This has actually happened to me once so I have a real answer! I screamed slammed on my breaks and did a 180 turn and biked as fast as I could the opposite direction (I believe bear experts would say that is the wrong thing to do).”

Ingrid: “Use it as extra motivation for my interval.”

 Andre: “Challenge the bear to a race... since it is a sleep walking bear after all, I would probably win.”

Matthias: “WOW BEAR! I AM HUMAN!”

Lee: “Not worry because I know that bears hibernate in the winter.”

Megan: “Swear loudly and hide behind Karl ;)”

Sheila: “My fastest interval ever.”

Katie: “Wave my poles like a mad-woman then start doing an anti-bear dance.”

Kyle: “Go back to bed silly bear. I got some business to take care of!

Peter: “Wonder about climate change and hibernation :P”

Vesta: “Watch my heart rate jump and then react depending on the bear species!”

8. Favourite training/race meal?

Anna: “My Mom’s homemade Mac and Cheese.”

Ingrid: “Any type of pasta.”

Andre: “Scrambled eggs plus toast with strawberry jam.”

Matthias: “Kyle’s rice pudding.”

Lee: “Pre-race I always like to have a toasted bagel with peanut butter and banana on it.”

Megan: “Hmm, well I've been told that you should eat quesadillas after training in the rain...  I think my favourite would be Finnish pancakes at Lappe after a race and a sauna.”

Sheila: “Something delicious – preferably with whole grains, lean protein, and lots of veggies.”

Katie: “Pesto pasta with chicken. And for breakfast...well pretty much anything I can get down, which usually isn’t a lot.”

Kyle: “No preference, as long it’s got boat loads of energy. Now post-race favourite meal is whole other story...”

Peter: “Granola with raisins, chocolate chips, oats, peanut butter, almonds peanuts and cheerios.”

Vesta: “Lots of pasta.

If Canada isn’t in the race, who do you cheer for?

Anna: “Malta.”

Ingrid: “Heja Sverige!”

Andre: “Norway, something about those red suits that just demand you cheer for them!”

Matthias: “Andy Newel or The Swedes.”

Lee: “In skiing I would say the Americans. Or Petter Northug, I like his style.”

Megan: “Karl tells me "Estonia of course".

Sheila: “The U.S.”

Katie: “Kikkan Randall representing the US of A”.

Kyle: “Well, lately they’re always there!

Vesta: “Norway or japan.”

Karl:   "Estonia of course"

10. Ok, so after seeing Marit Bjorgens disgustingly amazing muscles, and maybe shedding a few tears, what is your favourite “Bjorgen-abs” exercise to do at the gym?

Anna: “Exercise ball between your feet, do a v-sit and transfer the ball to your hands. Lie back down, do another v-sit and transfer to your feet and repeat.”

Ingrid: “Excessive time spent doing the plank.”

Andre: “Wheel roll-out. Don't quite have this one dialled in but I'm working on it... and yes I wish my abs were as beast as hers!”

Matthias: “100 crunches, 150 bicycle/row times two followed by a mix of plank exercises and then do the first crunch-bicycle/row deal again.  This is also Lee and Kyle’s favourite so if they put anything else down they are lying.”

Lee: “I like just basic crunches. Keep the feet off the ground and crunch up. Feel the burn in no time!”

Sheila: “Here’s the truth – I save specific ab exercises for the end of my weight workout.  By the time I sit down on the mats I’ve used up a lot of my motivation and time lifting heavy weights, and usually decide it would be better to do the ab routine at home later. Let’s just say it doesn’t always happen. So, that’s one reason why my abs don’t look like Marit’s!”

Katie: “Dual ball stability ball roll out. Your feet are up on one stability ball, your arms on another in a plank position then you bring knees to elbows and roll back out into a plank as many times as you can. The most I have ever gotten to is 10, that is how hard it is. This exercise also provides great entertainment for everyone else at the gym.”

Kyle: “The crazy 400’s: 50 crunches/50 bicycles x 4 continuous. A Matthias Purdon trademark workout.”

Peter: “Side Abs.”

Vesta: “Situps balanced on an excercise ball or situps throwing a medicine ball against the wall.”

11. Favourite movie of all time?

Anna: “Gladiator- I have seen it so many times and usually have to pause it at the end because I am balling my eyes out”.

 Ingrid: “Soul Surfer.”

Andre: “Catch me if you can.”

Matthias: “Point Break.”

Lee: “Hard to say, there are a lot of movies I like but I would say Fubar.”

Megan: “Auberge Espanol.”

Sheila: “Of all time – that’s hard. Maybe not the best, but I thought Saint Ralph was entertaining (Canadian Michael Mcgowan’s film about running). It’s about a 14-yr old derelict catholic school boy who runs the Boston in the 50’s.  It always comes to mind when I hear Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah because the soundtrack has a great rendition of it by Gordon Downie.”

Katie: “Sound of Music”

Kyle: “Couldn’t possibly pick one. Fight Club, Boondock Saints, Inception, Inglorious Bastards, Fubar 1&2. Been known to enjoy a scatter’ chick flick as well.”

Peter: “Forrest Gump”

Vesta: “Depends on the mood – either super troopers, mean girls, or garden state!!

Karl: "A Fistful of Dollars"

12. We all know how much Karl loves white water rafting and how much Katie loves stopping on top of big bridges...what is something you would rather not do?

Anna: “Well I am a nurse and all my co-workers are aware that Anna cannot deal with issues involving eyes.”

Ingrid: “Ski jumping! I’d fall and break all my bones!”

Andre: “Anything that presents the danger of being caught underwater does raise the heart rate a bit.”

Matthias: “Roller-ski through goose poo on the Ottawa River bicycle path in the rain.”

Lee: “I’m certainly not a fan of roller skiing down a hill with traffic lights or stop signs at the bottom. Feels a little too much like rolling the dice.”

Megan: “I would rather not sprain my ankle....it makes me cringe just thinking about it.  Also, if you are running ahead of me and slightly twist your ankle, I may just freak out a bit.”

Sheila: “Bungee jump.”

Katie: “Be in an airplane that is going through crazy turbulence with a bunch of passengers who have the flu and why not throw some poisonous snakes in there too.”

Kyle: “Run in the woods, in the dark, alone (except for bears, wolves, foxes, ligers etc). Just reminds me of some bad horror movie, so I'd rather not.”

Peter: “Not finish what I started.”

Vesta: “Have wet feet and no dry footwear.”

Karl: "Hurry."

Thanks for reading!


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