InterviewsNewsGeorge Grey And Devon Kershaw Look Forward To Next Season

FasterSkierAugust 31, 2005

Interview: George Grey And Devon Kershaw Are Definitely Getting Ready For The Olympics

Canadians George Grey and Devon Kershaw raced to a surprising sixth place, the best Canadian men’s relay performance ever, in the sprint relay at Worlds last season. We asked them about Worlds, their training, the upcoming Olympics and December World Cup races in Canada. They are definitely putting in the time and possibly getting ready for more surprises.

Background articles:
Sprint Relays Preview

Hetland And Hofstad Unstoppable In World Championship Sprint Relay

Canadian Men Shock the World Finishing Sixth at Nordic World Ski Championships

George you were skiing in the lead group for most of the relay at Worlds and ended up in sixth place only 20.8 seconds behind the winning team. What were you thinking when you were leading and the rest of the World’s best sprinters were chasing you?

George Grey: – When I took the lead in the race all that was running through my mind was that the worlds best skiers are skiing with us today and not the other way around. At one point I put a gap on Tobias Fredrickson and thought to myself…take that Toby.

Looking at that race and the other individual and relay sprint races you did last season, what is the difference between you and those that are skiing even faster? What are the key elements/ingredients in your training that will make up the difference?

George Grey: -The main difference between the best and our team in sprint relay races is confidence. In hindsight I probably went to the bank too early at the Worlds sprint relay. Next time I will have more confidence in my ability and hopefully save some juice for the finish. We will continue with similar training as last year with small adjustments. Time is all we need and we will be there!

What happened after Worlds, did you race as well as you did in the relay in any individual or relay World Cup races?

George Grey: – Apart from a near points experience in Lahti, I was disappointed in my post World Championship results. For the most part things just didn’t come together properly after we left Oberstdorf. I skied in the middle of the field and didn’t reach my expectations for the final World Cups. Perhaps I loosened my grip on the racing focus when we departed.

Is sprint racing the focus for both of you or are you looking to do well in other events as well?

George Grey: – I can say that for the both of us the sprint relay is a major focus for this coming year but it is not going to get any special attention in our training preparations. I do not consider myself a sprinter (yet) so I will also be looking forward to individual classic races and pursuit races. I just need to put a pursuit together with two solid half and not one or the other.

Devon Kershaw: – I have never focused on any “sprint specific” training during the training year, and continue not to have that as a priority this season, but it seems to be my best event on the World Cup. For this reason, I am looking to have solid performances in classic sprints and sprint relays, but I organize my training around bettering myself for the longer race. I am especially looking forward to the 15km classic event in Torino and the World Cup events in Canada.

Have you been able to train as you had planned this summer?

George Grey: I have had a solid summer’s training apart from a minor hamstring injury that took away some of my running hours. Physiotherapy has become a new workout in the day for most of the team members. We are using it as injury prevention and creating a healthy body that breaks down less and offers more in the training sessions.

Devon: – I have been able to train as planned during the spring/summer months thus far. It’s been a good year that way, staying healthy and injury free. As George stated, our team is adopting a physio regime that seems to be helping keep the injuries at bay. Also, massage, cold therapy (Damn, the Bow River’s cold!) are key for keeping my body limber and ready to rock.

How was the July on-snow camp in New Zealand?

Devon Kershaw: -The New Zealand on snow camp this past July was another hit. Our team decided to go one month earlier than last season, which turned out to be great! The snow was good, not as much as last season and it was melting at an alarming rate the last few days before we left due to some unseasonable warm weather, but it still offered many kilometres of perfectly groomed tracks. We didn’t run into as many storms this season either, so it was easier to get good hours in. During the camp we trained hard, putting in three weeks of long easy training with tough intensity thrown in twice a week, and we also did a little bit of strength for maintenance. Sadly we didn’t do any time trials or races, but we did do a few longer level three workouts (45min to 1hr) together which inevitably turned into race pace for the last part of the workout, thanks to George… It’s a great camp, definitely worth the travel and cash.

Are you using rollerski or running time-trials or treadmill 02 tests to monitor progress?

Devon Kershaw: – Our team uses a short rollerski test, a few track distances for running, and a plethora of lab testing to monitor our progress throughout the season. First off, the rollerski test we use is an approx. 4km uphill that starts in Canmore’s valley bottom and climbs until we run out of pavement. It’s a tough but short test that has been around forever. That has been going well for me as I have been able to beat my PB the last two times up (we’ve only done it twice this year) and on my last attempt I tied the record, which I share with Ebisawa Katsumitu of the Japanese team (time 10:45, see it’s short!). As far as running time trials go, we’ll do a few road races, but for the most part it’s all done on the track, 4000m and 1000m efforts, they are also going well as I showed improvements from my first set of tests to the second. Lastly, we do standard lab testing, VO2max etc… a few times a year. I’ve only done it once so far this season, and things look to be on track.

What is a typical training week for in the fall?

Devon Kershaw: – For myself a typical tough week of training would consist of 24hrs of training total, two level four intensity bouts, one rollerskiing, one ski striding (5X6min type stuff, 4min R as an example), easy hours predominately specific training (i.e. Rollerskiing), and two strength workouts in the gym. I’d say 75% of the hours would be specific work, the rest would be running/strength.

The World Cup is back in North America with a number of races in Canada in December. That looks like a great opportunity to tune up for the Olympics. What’s your “plan of attack” for these races and what would you consider exciting results for yourself?

Devon Kershaw: – It is super exciting that we are able to have World Cups come to Canada, and especially in Canmore! It is a great opportunity for us to race the best in the world early in the year. I think it’s especially important for those skiers who haven’t been able to race or even see the best in the world race, and just see how fast and efficient they are. I will be using the World Cups as great preparation (both physically and mentally) for the Olympic Games in February, which are my main focus. My plan of attack in to be in good shape, but not top end and really work on my weaknesses and work out the bugs before Torino. I am pumped for the pursuit, 30km classic, and classic sprint relay. Should be a blast, and a good test of where I am at that period of time in the season.

Is Canada on track to a best ever Olympic showing in Torino, 2006 and are you planning on racing until Vancouver 2010?

Devon Kershaw: – I’d say Canada is definitely on track for a best ever Olympic showing in Torino. Our entire team is motivated both by the Olympics and by the World Cups at home and seems to be making good gains throughout this year. We’re focused and excited to put forth the best we have to offer. As far as the future, I am definitely looking towards 2010 in Vancouver and beyond to 2014. I’m only 22 years old, and feel as though I have a lot to learn yet, but as Emerson once said, “what lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters when compared to what lies within us.” And I will keep racing as long as I have the desire to improve!

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