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Welcome! My name is Michael Somppi and I'm a competitive cross-country skier. I developed this blog so sponsors, family, friends and fans can keep up to date with my life as a full-time athlete. You can expect regular blog posts about racing, training, and life in general. Check out other sections of my blog by clicking on the tabs above.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Summer Tales


Summer really kicked off for me in August.  After a very successful month of hard training in July I travelled to T Bay for a visit with family and friends.  I managed to fit a lot into 8 days at home!  Played a round of golf and had a night on the town with the Five Mile boys, had a very successful fishing day with my Pops, and spent a night camping at Quetico Provincial Park (yes we did it all: swimming, canoeing, bonfires) with family.  Although it was a rest week, I still fit in some good training days including two Lappe Nordic club practices and a trail running race.  It was great to see so many familiar faces from the local ski community.

I need to give a shout out to the Fresh Air trail run series because the race I did was one of the most fun races I’ve done in a long time.  Let me paint you a picture.  It was my last day in town and it poured rain all afternoon.  I was on the fence about running the trail race.  After wavering on the decision, I hopped in the car and drove through the steady downpour to the Kamview Ski Centre.  There were only a handful of cars in the muddy parking lot as I pulled in and I thought to myself, “Why am I here?”  I walked into the Nordic centre and started to remember why I was there… because the Thunder Bay ski community is top notch!  When I questioned if they would still run the race in this weather Fresh Air manager, Al Cranston, asked me, “Would you do a ski race if it were snowing?”  Of course they would still run the race!!!

I headed out in the rain for my warm-up, curious to see what the racecourse would be today.  To my surprise, it was most challenging course I’ve ever run at Kamview!  It was full of punchy climbs (a few were more than punchy!) and twisty single-track sections including a steep single-track descent from the Lookout.  The added difficulty: everything was wet and muddy. 

By the time I was back from my warm-up the rain had subsided and plenty of people had arrived.  I threw on my racing spikes and had a great race!  The atmosphere reminded me of spring High School mountain bike races.  There were lots of smiling faces and even more mud!  Nearing the finish of the race I misjudged just how much mud there was and slid out on a corner, going down on one knee and one hand, essentially taking a mud bath in the process.  It only added to my spring mountain bike racing nostalgia.  So thanks for putting on a great trail race Fresh Air!

Successful fishing day with my Pops
The Nishiki (my trusty TBay all terrain bike) is back up and running with flashy new yellow tires!
I travelled back to Canmore at the beginning of August with Britt where we then proceeded to do more summer activities, like picnicking and swimming at the Quarry, hiking Mt. Rundle, and going for ice cream at Canmore’s popular ice cream bus.  Unfortunately the good times puttered out when I came down with a bad head cold right in the middle of our team’s testing week.  The good news is, pre-sickness, I set a new PB and had my best ever performance in the prologue test.  The bad news is the remainder of the testing was negatively impacted or missed altogether.  The worst part of it all was how long the cold lingered.  I wasn’t healthy enough to travel with the team to Whitefish, Montana for our August training camp.  I was sidelined completely for 5 days and missed the first few days of the camp.  It was a setback that really frustrated me.  I was starting to think I couldn’t get sick in the summer time and was maybe being a little careless with my lack of recovery time.  Lesson learned.

Not all was lost, as I drove to Whitefish solo and met up with the team for a full week of training.  It was a very gradual process getting back to 100% health so training had to be tweaked a little; even so, I put in a good amount of training hours over my week in the summer land that is Whitefish.  And yes, I did get in my fix of swimming and even an afternoon of ripping around Whitefish Lake on a Jet Ski (my first time, it was awesome).

Arriving back in Canmore I finally felt back to normal.  I did a 134km solo road ride as I was itching to make up for the long road ride I missed while being sidelined.  Pushing myself to get up the Silver Tip climb at the very end of the ride, then careening down at 85km/h was more than satisfying.  With summer fading to a close, my attention is once again on ski training.  August was a summertime blast and I am ready to make September a ski training success.

Beauty views from the top of Mt. Rundle with Britt.

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