Andrea Dupont

Archive for December, 2009

Beautiful Brown Corduroy!

It sure is great to be with family for Christmas, however the snow situation out here on the east coast leaves a lot to be desired.

The east coast was hit with two days of solid rain before I arrived, putting a serious dent into their less than optimal snow year. Despite all these set backs the local ski club has managed to groom some of their trails. Amazingly, the groomer has managed to till the overly icy conditions into beautiful super fast corduroy, unfortunately most of the trails don’t have quite enough of a snow base and many sections of the trail are more brown than white. But with lots of training hours to put in over the next week, to ensure I have the base to be fast for the Canadian World Cup early February, I am just happy to not have to put in all these hours running on a treadmill.

Here are some photos of the surprisingly fast dirt flavored snow.

I hope everyone is having a fabulous holiday and that you have more snow than we do!



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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Who would have known that one weekend of trials could contain all these…Saturday was unbelievably good! I could not have asked for my first day of trials to go any better. I may have skied a little too reserved in the qualifier because training on the course during the previous week had taught me alot of respect for the toughness of the course. But I knew that only the final position mattered for trials and focused on skiing well in the heats.

The heats went off almost flawlessly. I was able to easily advance in my Quarter and Semi-finals without too much effort with lots left in the tank for the final.

The final had Dasha ahead and Madelaine, Rhonda and myself climbing the final hill together. As I crested the hill slightly behind Madelaine and Rhonda, I knew all I had to do was be in contact with them on the downhill and that I could pass them in the finishing stretch, because although they are stronger climbers I am a much stronger double poler. So I tucked in behind Rhonda on the downhill unfortunately we’d lost contact with Madelaine. I was able to sling shot past Rhonda and almost catch Madelaine in the finishing stretch. I finished happily in third, knowing it was one spot off of an Olympic spot, but knowing that the next day I had a chance to try again.

Sunday was very similar, but not quite as good. I had a slow qualifier but felt stronger in the heats, only this time the same top girls that were in the final the previous day met in my Semi-final. Dasha, Shayla, Madelaine and myself, all lined up for one stacked heat. Again when I crested the final hill I was behind Madelaine, only this time I remained in contact. Dasha and Shayla were out front. I was completely relaxed going into the downhill knowing that I was close enough to draft Madelaine and should have an advantage going into the finishing stretch. Somehow I skied the corner a little wide and lost the draft. And then to top it all off my skis were slower so, as we both tucked the downhill, I watched her slowing gaining ground. The best double poler in the world could not have made up the ground lost on the downhill. This put me in 4th in the semi-final and demoted me to the B final.

And this is where the ugly too place. I was disappointed not making the A final but also pretty fired up and determined to dominate the B final. Then less than 100m into the race one of my competitors cut across 2 lanes to cut me off and trip me. She was later disqualified, but in a sprint if you fall the race is over.

This was a tough way to end trials. You really want to go out with a fight, not with a face plant!

So now the focus shifts to peaking for the Canmore World Cups in February 2010, with a classic sprint on a course that I now feel super confident on.

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Training is OVER!

With only a few days left before trials I find myself looking up at the course and thinking that this is the toughest sprint course I have ever seen. With 45m of climb in 1.47km, the course will probably take the top skier more than 4:30 mins. I know some of you are thinking that 4.5mins is not really a sprint, and you would be right, this is going to be the longest sprint ‘sufferfest’ ever.

I have caught myself a few times this week thinking, I really should go out and do some long and hard intervals to get used to this tough course. But I have had to remind myself more than once, that training is OVER. Training has actually been over for more than a month. Any hard work done now would only hurt me on race day. Some of you may be laughing as you have known me to race myself into shape each year, but these last few weeks I have been shocked, in a good way, of how it feels to race after a solid summer of training. It feels great to race a sprint start to finish without dying and to even last to the final heat!

In these final days all there is left to do is wax, test some skis, do some baking for my waxers, chillax and mentally prepare for this crazy tough course. Even with all the training from this summer, this one is really going to hurt. This course is going to be won by the person who goes out and hurts the most.

So here is to a weekend of lots of pain!

You can check out results for the next few days at

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Warm-up for trials

I could not have asked for a better race at the Alberta Cup last weekend. With all the Canadian girls that will be at trials in attendance but racing on a somewhat easier course it was a great warm-up for trials. My new found super sprinty striding technique worked like a charm. I felt really strong climbing and I had way more staying power than I have in the past. Now having said this, in the final Dasha absolutely obliterated the field, with Shayla and I hot on her tail sprinting to a lunge worthy finish. It felt good to know that I was still in the mix, on trails that are being used for trials! Now to prep to feel just as strong on the extra hill they are throwing in for trials.

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SSS on snow

I left West Yellowstone fairly happy with my races (except for the crash in the sprint) but with the feeling that my classic striding needed some serious work especially when sprinting. When I was racing I would slip when climbing hills, even when I knew I had enough grip. This told me that something was not quite right.

So I sat down with my coach to decide how to deal with my technique issues and hill sprints and classic on snow SSS was the prescription.

SSS refers to Ski Specific Strength. In the summer SSS is the hardest workout you can imagine. It involves intervals climbing a hill, pulling a bike with a coach that applies enough pressure to the breaks that you are required to be explosively powerful with every stride or you literally do not move. I am aware that this may make our team sound somewhat crazy, but it really helps fix technique issues because if your technique is off the power disappears and literally stop in your tracks.

SSS in the winter is more about muscular endurance. It may involve double poling or legs only for an hour or for shorter time and steeper hills. So we set out with stickier wax than the conditions required, on steep Canmore hills, that most find hard climbing using their full body. The workout was to climb a steep 2 stage hill with a gradual climb at the end and then descend and climb again. I have to say after a couple of reps of the hill I was really starting to question the method behind this madness, the hill was really too steep to have nice long strides and half of the time I had to resort to narrow harringbone on the steeper bits. But somehow this continuous legs only striding helped me to find that perfect position for optimal grip and balance. At the end of the hour we did a couple of reps of the hill that started legs only and just as we hit the steeper pitch we were aloud to cycle in the arms and do a short sprint. Suddenly with everything balanced I was able to accelerate up the hill. By being centered and stable in my core I was able to move my limbs way more effectively. I am pretty excited to test out my new found sprinting striding in the classic sprint this weekend. Until then.

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