Summertime!

Hello!

 

This is going to be the last post of the year! I am very sorry I wasn’t able to make it in for more classroom visits this year but I really loved reading your comments, and I hope you liked following along!

 

I hope you all have excellent summers with lots of fun in the sun! I just found out last week that I am going to the Olympics this summer! It was  a lot of hard work to qualify but I am really proud of myself for sticking with my goals and this summer my dreams are coming true! I also had lots of help from my parents, family, coaches and teammates and I owe them a big thank you!

 

Do any of you have a summer goal? Maybe it’s learning a new basketball move or making a painting or singing a new song? I hope so!

 

I heard that you have to switch schools next year! Sometimes it’s scary to change schools but it’s a great opportunity to meet new friends and teachers! I hope you like it!

Here are a couple photos from the racing this year! :)

A time trial race

 

A keirin race

Palm Springs!

A couple of weekends ago I had the opportunity to go on a mini vacation to Palm Springs. It was about a 2 hour drive East from where I live in Los Angeles County to get there.

 

It was very hot, 37 degrees Celsius, but the locals were saying it was a cool day! They get days where the temperature goes as high as 45 degrees Celsius!

 

Gondola to Chino Canyon

On our drive there, we got to see a very cool windmill farm. It generates enough power for the entire city of Palm Springs. Originally windmills were used only for milling grain and for food production but now windmills are used for generating electricity. It is special because it is a renewable source of energy, but it takes up a lot of space, and they can only be used where there is lots of wind!

Windmills in North Palm Springs

 

We got to visit Chino Canyon which had a big Gondola into the mountains. At the top they had really cool trees called Jeffrey trees and the bark smelled like caramel!

 

The trees smell like caramel!

The next day we visited Andreas Canyon and it was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. There was a huge desert and then a tiny patch of green about a kilometer long with palm trees and a spring.  We walked around a little bit and saw snakes and lizards! The snakes we saw were called kingsnakes and they weren’t poisonous, but they prey on rattlesnakes! The lizards were pretty small, but the moved very fast!

 

The oasis in the desert

Kingsnake

Kingsnake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Granite spiny lizard

There were hummingbirds too!

Hummingbirds

 

Right now I am busy training most of time! Has the weather been good in Calgary? Are you able to get outside lots to play? What are your plans for the summer?

 

I will find out on June 16th if I’ve qualified for the Olympics!

 

AUSTRALIA!!

I heard you all had a big production recently, how did it go?

I was recently in Australia and it was a great trip! This was my second trip to Australia. The flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne was 16 hours! So you have to bring lots of stuff to do on the plane. I mostly watched movies and slept. When we arrived it was early in the morning so we had to stay awake all day before we could get some rest in a proper bed. But we all slept well that night!!

Australia is the sixth largest country in the world.

Australians have a large aboriginal population, just like Canada. A Dutchman discovered it in the 17th century. (When was Canada discovered?) Shortly afterwards the Eastern half was claimed by Great Britain and was used as a penal colony for many years. (This means that prisoners were sent to Australia.) In 1901, it declared itself as an independent nation.

Australia is very similar to Canada in many ways, they have a Prime Minister, and are part of the Commonwealth. (Do you know what the Commonwealth is?)

Because Australia is isolated, they try to make most of their goods in Australia. This is risky though, because if plants get contaminated the whole crop can die so the customs is very strict. They even checked to see if my bike tires were dirty!

Banana crops are very susceptible to disease

The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef, lies a short distance off the north-east coast and extends for over 2,000 kilometres!!

Australia’s size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with subtropical rain forests in the north-east, mountain ranges in the south-east, south-west and east areas, and a dry desert in its centre.

Australia is home to many dangerous animals including some of the most venomous snakes in the world! What other animals can you think of that come from Australia?

Snakes!!

My favourite part of our trip was one day when we went for a road ride and the bike path went through a beautiful farm right in the middle of the city. There are lots of trees everywhere, and good bike paths to get around on! I look forward to going back one day. What city do you want to visit most?

A farm in the middle of the city!

Thanks for reading!!

Monique

Argentina!

Hello!!!

A couple of weeks ago I was in Argentina. Argentina is at the very tip of South America and is very far away! It is the 8th largest country in the World!  One side of Argentina is bordered by the Andes Mountains, but the interior country is flat, fertile grassland called Pampas. The other side is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean! (What provinces in Canada border the Atlantic Ocean?)

Argentina is very rich in animal species, in the North there are Cougars, Jaguars, flamingos and crocodiles.

In the waters there are sharks, orcas and dolphins. There are also penguins, elephant seals and pumas!!!

 

The favourite sport of most Argentinians is Soccer.

 

When I was in Argentina I had a very important race. To qualify for the Olympics there are 12 races that everyone competes in to collect points. This race was the 2nd last one and it was very important to collect as many points as possible!

I was really nervous. I was worried that I wouldn’t do very well and might not collect enough points.

So we focused on all of the little things that help me get better, like eating good foods (some of my favourites are pineapple and avocado) getting lots of sleep, reading, and staying focused at training.

When race day came, I knew we had done everything we could to prepare and that I just had to do what we do in practice. Even though I was nervous, when I got to the start line I stayed focused and I ended up doing really well! I won two races, the match sprints and the keirin and became Pan Am Champion!

 I had lots of help from my coaches and teammates. Here are two of the staff who helped me in Argentina! I couldn’t do it without their help!

Now we have one more race in Melbourne, Australia until the Olympic qualification is over. Thank you for the comments on the last post!

Monique

United Kingdom

I spent two weeks in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is a unique country made up of four different nations, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. The first week I was in Wales and the second week I was in England!

The UK is covered in high ground, knife edged mountain ridges separated by deep valleys. This terrain was shaped in the last Ice Age, when thick glaciers covered the land. In the south of England, the countryside is mostly rolling hills.

About 5000 years ago, the center of the UK was covered with thick forests. Thousands of years ago, these woodlands were cleared by ancient farmers, and today only about 10 percent of the land is forest.

Wales is a very beautiful place, there are lots of green rolling hills speckled with lots of sheep. It is one of the wettest countries in Europe.

Wales has its own language and it sounds very funny. All the letters are the same as English, they’ve just scrambled them up! Here are a few examples:

bore da: good morning

dydd da: good day

prynhawn da: good afternoon

noswaith dda: good evening

nos da: good night

sut mae?: how are you?

hwyl: cheers

diolch: thanks

Can you think of an author from England?

There is something special happening in England this summer. Do you know what it is? What city is it in?

China! (Click on the photos to see them bigger)

Colombia photo album

Astana, Kazakhstan

Last week I was in Astana, Kazakhstan! The Canadian team was there to race in the first World Cup of the year. There were people from all over the world competing against each other for points to qualify for the Olympics.

Kazakhstan is on the other side of the world, even farther than China! It is a transcontinental country, meaning that it is part of Europe and Asia. It is the 9th largest country in the world, and the largest landlocked country.

It is a 12 hour time change from Calgary. It took 24 hours of travel to get there and we were very jet lagged! When we were awake our bodies wanted to sleep and when we tried to sleep our bodies wanted to be awake!

A lot of things were very different from Calgary, they served fish with breakfast and they spoke Russian and Kazak, very few people spoke English. The weather however felt very similar to Calgary, the air was dry and cold.

Here are a few photos from the trip!

Here is the inside of the velodrome where we raced:

The city of Astana became the capital of Kazakhstan in 1998 and began huge changes. The new buildings are beautiful and the architecture is very creative, but there is still a lot of poverty in the city. In this photo you can see the brand new velodrome in the background and the old buildings in the front. It was -11 degrees outside and yet they were still hanging clothes out to dry outside.

 

This house is made from mud and straw bricks.

The velodrome building looks like an aero helment. The biggest velodrome I have ever been to.

The volcano shaped building is a shopping mall with a beach inside! Complete with water, palm trees, and very warm temperatures. The building glows blue at night.

The Bayterek is a common symbol for the city of Astana.

I am back in North America now and getting ready for our next trip to Cali, Colombia in South America!

Los Angeles vs. Canadian cities

I am living in Los Angeles, California, home to Disneyland and the Hollywood sign. Los Angeles is very big and vast and there are so many different things here, that I thought it might be fun to compare it to some Canadian cities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Los Angeles is on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. What cities in Canada are on the Pacific Coast? (What is the name of the Ocean on the other side of Canada?)

The population of Metropolitan LA is 13 million! What city in Canada has the largest population? What is the population of Canada?

Los Angeles gets about 10,000 earthquakes every year! (Most of them are very small, you don’t even notice them.) Are there any cities in Canada that get earthquakes?

LA hosted the 1982 and 1932 Olympics. What Canadian cities have hosted an Olympics?

Los Angeles has a Mediterranean Climate. This means that it has warm and dry summers and mild to cool, wet winters. What is the climate in Calgary?

Los Angeles has Disneyland!! (I really wanted to go when I was your age but never got to.) Is there anything like that in Canada? (I can think of something in Toronto.)

That’s all for today, please send me any comments or questions!

Monique

Guest Interview: Tara Whitten

Today we have our first guest interview with Tara Whitten. I have known her since she started cycling six years ago and she is not only my teammate but one of my closest friends. Tara was a cross country skier for many years and loves skiing and being in the outdoors. She was on the National Ski Team but never achieved the goals she wanted to. When she tried cycling everything felt new and different but she fell in love with cycling too. She decided to change sports and has now been WORLD CHAMPION three times in cycling! She is a really good example for following your dreams and never giving up.

Tara Whitten and I

Welcome Tara!

Name: Tara Whitten
Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta
Sport: Track Cycling
Best Result: 1st place, Track World Championships (Omnium), 2010 and 2011

How did you get into your sport? I was competing in another sport at the time (cross country skiing), and a friend suggested I try track cycling. At first I just tried it as cross-training for skiing, but eventually I decided to commit to it full time.

What do you love about your sport? There are so many components to track cycling: speed, power, endurance, tactics. I love combining all of those things!

What is a challenge you have overcome in your sport? I had to overcome the fear of the unknown. I started the sport quite late, so I really didn’t know what I was doing and it was scary! But it was also exciting to learn something new.

What do you love to do other than your sport? I love learning new things, I love reading, and I love spending time outside.

What Region is your hometown in? My hometown is in the prairies of Alberta, on the banks of the North Saskatchewan river.

What is your favourite part about your hometown/ what makes it unique to other parts of Canada? I really like the river valley in Edmonton. It is a great place for being active: walking, running, cycling, or just enjoying the outdoors.

What is your favourite place in Canada and why? My favourite place in Canada is the Canadian shield. When I was growing up my family would do long canoe trips on the lakes in Northern Saskatchewan and Ontario, and I find the rocky shorelines really beautiful.

What do you eat for Breakfast? Oatmeal, cranberries, almonds, yogurt, cottage cheese and a banana.

What is one of your favourite quotes? Steve Prefontaine: “A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts.”

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