Age: It’s important to leave a few mysteries for athletes – guess!
Hometown: Almonte, Ontario
Racing Category this Season: Open Man
Major Racing Goal this season: Thea’s Race Team Sprint Podium
Favourite snack of all time? Good quality old cheddar cheese and crackers.
Worst training experience ever? As an athlete? Tearing my hamstring playing soccer one spring, totally ignoring it, and repeatedly tearing it all summer and fall to the point where I couldn’t walk without lower ab and hamstring pain. Then having to take 6 weeks off in the late fall to recover, stretch, and learn to not be an idiot.
If you were a Harry Potter character, who would you be? Kingsley Shacklebolt. Ends up running the Ministry of Magic pretty well by accident. I feel like that relates to my life.
Favourite race course/location? No favourite course, but favourite conditions would be skate, -5, fresh corduroy. Enough texture that your kicks are always solid, and firm enough that you get a solid punch on your poles. Location has to be Silverstar just for the summit ski.
Do you want to climb Mt. Everest? No. The Himalayas would be amazing to see, but have you read accounts of hiking in the ‘Death Zone’? I like going faster and harder, not higher and slower with a Sherpa carrying my stuff.
Double poling or striding? Striding a perfect grade on an extra blue day in fresh groomed powder has to be one of the best feelings in life – period.
Worst pre-race food consumed? Anything with milk.
Most impressive teammate you’ve been around, and why? Derek Hartman. His job on the UW ski team was to filter my good ideas from my stupid ones, and keep me organized. He’s now one of my best friends.
Best race experience? In a race that I’ve been in – 15 km classic mass start, OUA Championships 2009. One of those days when you feel like you have non-stop energy to attack at all times. It was a ton of fun to keep chasing people down and picking them off. I had spent so much time classic skiing that winter it was awesome to see it pay off.
What inspires you most? Being a part of something bigger than myself. Buckle up, this story is going to take a little while. The best example I can think of is from 2010, in my last year of university. When I was in first year, I had made a goal that by the time I had graduated, I wanted Waterloo to get a medal in the OUA relay. By my fourth year, we had put together a rag-tag – but solid – group of guys from rookies to Masters’ students who were committed, driven, and all right around the same speed, and we felt like we had a chance to go for it. My fourth year coincided with the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, and I had to make a choice – do I go to the Olympics with my family, or do I go to OUA Championships? (It turns out OUA Championships doesn’t really schedule around the Olympics.)
Look, when your only sister makes her first Olympic team and it’s a home Olympics, it’s truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. The decision wasn’t that hard to make. But it did mean that that crew of people that I had trained with, cared about, and had built a ton of excitement and memories with was going to be racing when I was watching skiing on the opposite end of the country.
I remember coming back home from the races at Whistler Olympic Park, the same day as the OUA relay, jumping on my computer, and just mashing refresh on zone4 and my email. I was so stoked to see that our crew of guys – Henry, an American who was studying Theoretical Physics at the Perimeter Institute, Andrew, who we had taught to ski the previous winter, and was a residence Don and full-time Kinesiology student trying to get into Med School, and Tim, a crazy first-year – hadn’t just medaled but had straight-up won.
It’s the thing about my four years of university skiing that I’m most proud of, and that I still find the most exciting. Which is kind of silly, as I wasn’t even there, there is no guarantee I would even have been on the team, and I personally didn’t get a medal. But it was awesome to feel that I had played a part in it (even a really small one) of working with the guys at training, experiencing cold and rainy bounding workouts together, and car and bus rides all across Ontario. It’s a huge part of what attracted me to coaching.
Facebook/Snapchat/Instagram/Twitter? Twitter – it forces you to be witty, engaging, and smart because of the restrictions.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Nachos. They’re versatile. Want breakfast? Throw an egg on top. Need more veggies? Add peppers, tomato, onion. Vegetarian? Refried beans instead of beef or chicken.
Sundby or Johaug? Sundby – because of his beard-growing skills.
Best training experience ever? Running 100m sprints on North Campus at Waterloo in the dark. There is always another gear, and, man, things seem to move fast when you have no reference points.
If you had to compete in a summer Olympic sport, what would it be? There really is no other answer aside from the 100m. Watching Donovan Bailey win in Atlanta in 1996 is a pretty foundational memory for me.
Hardest workout completed, and why? Distance skate ski with an ear infection. Plugged ears mean no ability to balance, and the trail felt like it was sliding sideways. I puked on a downhill just getting back to the Barn.
What movie have you watched the most number of times in your life? Probably The Matrix – it was on TV every Saturday and Sunday afternoon during undergrad. A close second is UHF starring Weird Al Yankovich. Don’t ask.
Book you’re reading right now? David and Goliath – Malcolm Gladwell. I have some issues with Gladwell, but I would define his writing as ‘research entertainment’.
What is the most epic workout you’ve ever done? Silverstar training camp December 2014 classic skiing over the mountain to Sovereign Lakes and back. Over the course of the climb we went through about 4 different conditions from perfect kick, to brutally icing skis, to having no kick. Plan was to ski Coming Around the Mountain (which brings you back the short way around the side of the mountain) but the trail hadn’t been groomed and was knee deep powder. Instead we skied over the summit going through freezing rain, sleet, and finally fresh powder on the top. Cary and I came down the mountain on the twisty turns straight into the bakery for cinnamon buns and espresso. Best cinnamon bun and espresso of my life.
Bowling or mini-golf? Mini-golf. Unless the bowling alley has the radar gun to tell you your ball speed, and lets you enter your own names so you can write puns. Then bowling.