Off to work I go - Journal entry by James Monson

1-Home for the holidays

2-Great Ice at Susan Auch Oval

3-Canada Post Cup #1

4-Next Stop Nagano, Japan


(1)-Just a quick update for everyone. I spent the Christmas holidays in Winnipeg with my family. I was there for 8 days. It was a really nice break to be at home with the family. I was able to spend time with them and I saw most of my friends.

(2)- Even though I went home I didn't get anytime off of training over the holidays. I was able to do all of my workouts at home, so that was good. Winnipeg has an outdoor natural oval. It's called the Susan Auch Oval. It's located at Sargent Park. It was really awesome too because the Ice tech who works at the oval, is very dedicated to his job. He is constantly trying to make the ice as best as possible. The weather unfortunately is out of his control.

The first day I skated it was -3 degrees and the ice was awesome. Nice and smooth with good glide. The next few days we had heavy wet snow and some rain. Then the next day it snowed a whole bunch and the last day I skated it was -26 degrees. Amazingly we had ice every day and regardless of the weather those tough Winnipeg speed skaters were out in full force. It was great to see.

I had some good workouts and it was great that I could count on the ice be ready to skate. Shannon Rempel was also home for the holidays and skated a couple of times. Cindy was home as well but wasn't quite ready to skate. I think her first day back on the ice was Jan 1 in Calgary. It's great to see she is getting back into skating and she should be able to recover fully if not by the end of this year, next year for sure.

(3)- I also competed in the Canada Post cup #1 this past weekend. The competition was to help decide the rest of the national development sprint team and to decide the all around national team. I Skated a 500m and 1000m on Friday and a 1000m on Sunday. On Friday Mike Ireland beat Jeremy in the 500m and got a pb. of 34.58. It had been three years without a pb in the 500m so he was pumped about that. I finished third behind them with a 35.60

In the 1000m I finished 4th behind Mike, Jeremy and Sterling Sobczak. I skated a 1.11.49. It was a solid race but nothing great. I Skated another 1000m on Sunday and finished first with a time off 1.11.00. That race was a little better and I had a decent opener of 16.77. It was a good feeling to finish my last race before World Sprint on a good note.

(4)- I leave for Japan tomorrow and will be gone for two and a half weeks. We will spend just over a week in Nagano, Japan and then go to Harbin, China for a week to do a world cup. It should be a lot of fun and I am looking forward to it. I am also feeling a lot better physically than I have over the past few weeks. That is very encouraging as I had a low grade cold for about three weeks. I was able to train through it and still race ok. So now that I am feeling close to 100% my races should be even better.

Thank you to everyone who sent me holiday wishes and words of encouragement over the past few weeks. I appreciate them very much. I will send out my next update after I get back from China and let everyone know how I did. If you want to get results right away got to

The team will be competing on Jan 17-18 in Nagano and Jan 24-25 in Harbin.

That's it for now.

Take care,

James Monson