I have been trying to find some good paralympics coverage, and I have to say that CTV dropped the ball on this one. Their website was great for mainstream Olympics, but actually pretty terrible for papralympics, especially considering they are on now! I have a new poster by my office showing the medal count for Sweden and Canada (none so far) and I will update it the way I did for the mainstream events. Hopefully we get some medals soon! McKeever seems a safe bet, anyway. Competing against him will be a Swedish guy from Östersund. One of my work buddies Thomas lives in Östersund, and one of his buddies is a leader for a blind XC skier. There was a neat little vignette about them on the news. The leader skis in front and uses a cox box (like for rowing or dragon boating) and the skier follows the voice, and maybe gets some instruction about what is coming (hills, turns, other skiers, etc.). This particular leader says “bra… bra… bra…”, Swedish for “good… good… good…”. A long time ago when I lived in Victoria I peddled a tandem bike with a blind athlete. she had been involved with BC blind sports for many years and had a lot of experience . I am not a very strong biker, but she was. She gave me lots of tips on when to change the gears and how to work together. It is kind of ironic that I was supposed to be the sighted ‘leader’, but she was really calling the shots.
We went out for a ski on the trails today with some new ski buddies. Jennie and Richard have just arrived in Gävle from Waterloo, Ontario. Jennie will be working on research at the CBF, and Richard will be teaching at the English school. They are both REALLY sporty, and have each done lots of ultra-, multi-sport, adventure and really races. We brought them to Sätra for XC skiing. It was a beautiful, warm sunny day. Unfortunately for me, the tracks had kind of melted away, leaving some weak grooves in hard ice. It was fast for double polling in the open areas, but a bit sketchy in the downhills and turns without the tracks… I guess I rely on tracks more than I thought. I think I got off pretty easily considering how many times I wiped out; I have only one sore spot on my hand. Jennie and Richard are really good at skiing (even on ice) but are still a recovering from jetlag so they didn’t mind leaving after only 10km. It is nice to share the long walk there with some new friends, walking in the sun makes for a good chat.
Everyone else seemed to be enjoying the extra speed and glide (in areas where there weren’t pine cones and branches brought down by the snow melting off the trees.) I think it would be alright if they groomed it, but that may not be in the cards for the free trails. Maybe we can give Hemlingby a go next week and see if they are grooming. Once the snow is no good for skiing I would like it to be gone so I can run on the trails – but there might be a long awkward icy-melt stage where it is not much good for anything. I guess I will be in the gym!