Take a look at this freeriding video produced for network television a few years ago. Just dug it out of the archives. I had the good fortune to work with Jay Hoots and several other experts and coaches to create this feature about injuries and how to avoid them. One of the most spectacular and dangerous sports around. Some really accomplished riders in this piece.
Some outstanding photos here of the RBC GranFondo Whistler bike race this past weekend by Dustan Sept.
Here’s some coverage:
They came, they cycled, and most of them got here in the inaugural RBC GranFondo Whistler bike ride.
The event, which featured 4,000 keen cyclists pedalling the 120 kilo-metres from downtown Vancouver to Whistler mostly on a dedicated lane on the Sea to Sky highway, went off with few hitches on Saturday.
“We’re very proud of what we accomplished, proud of all the 4,000 riders and the 600 crew and volunteers who made it happen,” said RBC GranFondo Whistler cofounder Kevin Thomson.
A serious crash occurred early in the ride on the Upper Levels highway in West Vancouver, however. A male rider was rushed to Lions Gate Hospital under emergency conditions. Thomson said he was still waiting for details on the accident, and added that all aspects of the event would be reviewed over the next few weeks.
In light of the enthusiastic response to the event, which is modelled after mass rides of the same name held in some parts of Europe for decades, the plan is to increase the race to 6,000 next year and 10,000 in 2012. A Gran Fondo is also planned for the Okanagan next summer. The results and complete times of finishers was to be available on the event’s website ( http://www.rbcgranfondowhistler.com)at midnight Saturday.
No, it’s not a medal, but the breakthrough for Canadian men’s XC skiing is phenomenal. In Norway, this relay is regarded as THE prestige event. The cheers that erupted when Bjørn Dæhlie crossed the finish line 2nd in Lillehammer in 1994, 1st in Nagano in 1998, and likely when Petter Northug left his opposition in his wake in the final sprint today, would be deafening. For Canada to be in the top 4 in this kind of company is unprecedented. Another result to savour. Congrats to Devon Kershaw and Alex Harvey.
Cross-country: Canadian men’s team achieves new benchmarks
BY MIKE BEAMISH, VANCOUVER SUN
FEBRUARY 22, 2010
WHISTLER — From eighth to fifth, and now fourth: In successive races, the Canadian men’s cross-country ski team has set new benchmarks for achievement in the Winter Olympic Games.
Alex Harvey of Ste-Ferreol Des Neiges, Que., and Devon Kershaw of Canmore, Alta., finished fourth in today’s men’s team sprint at Whistler Olympic Park, two days after Ivan Babikov of Canmore was fifth in the 30K pursuit and a week following Babikov’s eighth-place result in the 15K. Before the Vancouver-Whistler Games, Canada’s highest finish in the history of men’s Olympic cross-country competition was Pierre Harvey’s 14th, at the 1988 Calgary Olympics.
Today’s result sets up Canada for a medal possibility in Wednesday’s 4×10-kilometre relay. The four-man Canadian team — Babikov, Harvey, Kershaw and Geroge Grey — are considered stronger distance skiers than sprinters.
Read the entire article here.
Amazing results from the Canadian trio of Babikov, Grey and Harvey.
Three skiers in the top nine. Just fantastic!
Canada was the only country with three skiers in the top 10.
Ivan Babikov of Canmore, Alta., led the way, just 9.1 seconds back in fifth place.
National team veteran George Grey of Rossland, B.C., was eighth in 1:15.32, immediately followed by Alex Harvey of St-Ferreol-les-nieges, Que., in ninth place.
Harvey was 11 seconds behind Grey.
Devon Kershaw of Sudbury, Ont. was 16th at 1:16.23.6. A total of 64 from around the world entered the competition.
The Canadians took turns flirting with the lead pack. Grey and Babikov were sitting sixth and seventh respectively at the 22.5k mark, with Harvey overtaking them for a while.
Canadian men have never reached the Olympic podium, but the performance was cause for hope.
To put it into perspective, the top trio of Canadians finished ahead of previous Olympic medallists Petter Northug of Norway, Dario Cologna of Switzerland and Pietro Piller Cotter of Italy.
Real disappointment from the Canadian Alpine Ski team. No one can be more disappointed that Manuel Osborne-Paradis. His Olympics are now over.
Do they have the skiers to redeem themselves in the remaining non-speed events?
Over the past two years, Osborne-Paradis has done his best to downplay the Games, at one point saying he would rather win the overall World Cup skiing title than an Olympic gold. In the lead-up to Vancouver, countless reporters asked him how he was going to handle the pressure of skiing in front of hometown fans. His answer was always the same: I’ll treat it like every other event. This afternoon, standing in front of reporters yet again—his medal hopes dashed—he was asked whether the pressure finally got to him. After a long pause, he answered this way: “I liked the pressure. I liked the fact that people’s eyes were on me and wanted me to do well, because I think I’ve always done better like that. The expectations push you harder. I liked it. There was a lot of it here, and it was more than we’ve ever had, but I don’t think I succumbed to anything. I think it was just a good opportunity, and it was an opportunity lost.”
Do Canadians have a right to be disappointed, not only in you, but the rest of your teammates? “They have a reason to be disappointed,” he said. “Everybody has a reason to be disappointed. That’s what the expectations were—and that was our expectation, too.”
Insightful article by Stephen Brunt on Manny Osborne-Paradis’ tough run today. Truth be told, it was a wild assault on his home course and in the end he couldn’t hold the speed and the aggressive approach he took all the way through to the end. If ever an athlete showed that you can want something too much, Osborne-Paradis did that today.
The Globe and Mail
By Stephen Brunt, Monday, February 15, 2010 9:15 PM ET
There are different ways to ski a race, even for the very best in the world.
Everyone wants to be on the top of the podium, but anyone who lays it out every time, who forces the issue no matter what the circumstances, isn’t going to survive long in this dangerous game. All kinds of factors come into play, weather and hill preferences, physical condition and nerve.
So some days, they’re skiing with contending in mind, some days they’re skiing only to survive.
And sometimes – for the champions, most of the time – everything comes together in a perfect balance of risk and reward, and the only thought is to get to the bottom first, the only goal is to win.
For almost all of this World Cup season and the second half of the last, Manuel Osborne-Paradis has been in that happy place where his confidence and abilities are in a parallel crest. There wasn’t a race he couldn’t win, and he knew it.
Coming home to Whistler for the Olympic Games downhill, to the mountain where he learned the sport, coming into a situation with wild, unpredictable weather, where he knew so much more about the hill than his competition, there would obviously be no holding back.
Osborne-Paradis was .12 seconds back of Defago’s time at the first interval, and had pulled even with him by the second. The crowd at the finish erupted when the numbers flashed on the big screen.
But at nearly that same moment, heading into Coaches Corners, he made a mistake that slipped by in an instant.
“I had the ski fully loaded,” he said afterwards. “You go right into the dark (shadows) there, and I just couldn’t see some of the bumps, and it almost high sided me over”
In real time, it didn’t look like much, but it was enough. The speed lost in that corner killed Osborne-Paradis – who is normally a great glider – in the flats. His times slipped farther and farther behind Defago’s, and by the finish, he was 1.13 seconds – an eternity – back, which would eventually leave him in 17th place.
“One turn blew my whole race,” Osborne-Paradis said.
Read the entire article here.
Best of luck to the whole team in the upcoming Super G!
Article by Charlie Smith
Vanoc and the International Luge Federation have announced that the Olympic luge track will reopen in Whistler on Saturday (February 13) after the walls are raised at the exit of curve 16.
In addition, Vanoc and the federation have announce “a change in the ice profile” at the Whistler Sliding Centre.
There will be two men’s training runs earlier in the day, followed by competition beginning at 5 p.m.
Georgia athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili died today following an accident in the final corner during a training run.
The federation conducted an investigation and concluded that Kumaritashvili “came late out of curve 15 and did not compensate properly to make correct entrance into curve 16”.
“This resulted in a late entrance into curve 16 and although the athlete worked to correct the problem he eventually lost control of the sled resulting in the tragic accident,” the federation stated in the joint statement.
The investigation concluded that there was “no indication that the accident was caused by deficiencies in the track”.
Named to the team today are:
• Brigitte Acton, Mont Tremblant, Que.
• Emily Brydon, Fernie, B.C.
• Marie-Michele Gagnon, Lac Etchemin, Que.
• Anna Goodman, Montreal
• Britt Janyk, Whistler, B.C.
• Shona Rubens, Canmore, Alta.
• Erin Mielzynski, Guelph, Ont.
• Julien Cousineau, Lachute, Que.
• Robbie Dixon, Whistler
• Jeffrey Frisch, Mont Tremblant
• Erik Guay, Mont Tremblant
• Louis-Pierre Helie, Berthierville, Que.
• Jan Hudec, Calgary
• Michael Janyk, Whistler
• Tyler Nella, Toronto
• Manuel Osborne-Paradis, Invermere, B.C.
• Ryan Semple, Mont Tremblant
• Brad Spence, Calgary
• Trevor White, Calgary
Funny image to post right after the last Christmas image, but … this is the icon from the Canadian Cowboys (Alpine Canada ski team) facebook site. The FB site is here.
Even though the team has lost 5 members to season ending injuries in the last month, they still have some very strong medal contenders among them. North Vancouver’s own Manny Osborne-Paradis comes to mind.