Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday Cliver

After an amazing week of yoga, massages, swims in Deep Cove and family evenings, Chaim and I entered a single day tournament called a Cliver which runs in conjunction with the Kits Beach Volleyball Association.

My mother and sister were traveling in France so my father ventured over solo to watch us battle in a long day of beach volley. 35 teams showerd for the Saturday marathon and by 9 we were organized into pools and we had our path to the finals laid out. To warm up, Chaim was asked to pepper with a visiting Slovakian who played a little ball back in the day. She proved to be an effective warm up tool, however, I was concerned for Chaim's focus after such an emotional and physical session! He prevailed and we went about our business as usual.

The level of beach volleyball in Vancouver has increased substantially so the competition was steep making our day look challenging. Seven games later and after an excellent final vs Jonny Wiskar and Matt Lebourdais, we came out victorious and a few hundred dollars richer for a day at the office! Here is a photo of my cousin in law Bethany and I after the win. She was two months away from pushing out a baby boy but she still managed to come down and cheer us on!

As per usual we went to the Sunset Grill for beers with the boys and then I watched the amazing show of fireworks by the name of “Symphony of fire”. My cousin Jordan’s friend lives right on the water at Kits so we went to the roof of his building to watch. It was an amazing view over the bay but unfortunately the massive maple trees blocked the fireworks which were going off on English Bay.

With such an amazing show right in front of us I couldn’t let a few trees block me from enjoying its entirety. I rolled down to the waterfront and planned to meet Kristian who is a solid friend from UBC. We managed to located each other in all the madness and we found a spot right on the water with nobody in front of us. For 20 minutes we contemplated life and shared crazy stories as Kristian is one of the more adventurous and open people I have ever met!

Good times for sure, now off to the island to gather my things and prepare for the next month of road tripping. Next stop, the Centre of Gravity Games in Kelowna, B.C.

Yoga phase

After a fairly long weekend at Kits playing in the Vancouver Open, I was beat and my shoulders were pretty punched. Chaim scheduled to stay in Vancouver and I wasn’t sure what I was the best route to recovery considering we had a tournament lined up this upcoming Saturday.

Lucky for me, my amazing Auntie Juliana is my fave massage therapist EVER and I was already crashing at her place. Danny (her husband) and Julie convinced me to stick around for an extra day for a massage and maybe try a little yoga. It was a perfect fit because I wanted to give my body a chance to recuperate, however, removing myself from activity mid season wasn’t an option. Yoga was a perfect fit so I sourced out a studio on the North Shore and dove right in!

Y Yoga happened to be just down the road from my aunt’s house and their 2 week unlimited pass for $30 made more sense than dropping in for $20. With this logic in mind I committed to staying in Vancouver for the full week to become a yogi. I did 2 yoga classes a day, supplementing classic 90 minute Bikram with power and flow. I swam in Deep Cove after each class and nourished my body with giant sandwiches and plenty of Bolthouse Farms smoothies!

For 4 days I stuck to this regime and my body’s muscles, tendons and fascia magically lengthened and strengthened to the point where I was able to get into and hold advanced poses by the fourth day! My lower back, pelvis and hips extended their range and my shoulder overcame the demands of each class and healed itself before our Saturday tournament that weekend.

I have always been interested in Yoga but for whatever reason I haven’t made it a priority in my life. After committing to just 8 classes in 4 days, I am convinced it will be a crucial element to my athletic progression and will also be a therapeutic compliment to my lifestyle, mentality and life long quest for health and success.

To all of you who haven’t tried it, do yourself a favor and try out hot yoga. If you happen to play beach then it is one of the few ways (mostly in winter) to train your body in extreme temperatures and humidity levels. It has all kinds of added benefits to body function and I can guarantee the litres of water you sweat out will certainly flush and cleanse your body leaving you lightheaded, tingly and euphoric.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Vancouver Open

With a little break and my family reunion on the Island, I felt emotionally and physically prepared to step into the Vancouver Open and capture my third title on my favourite Canadian beach.

I had organized with two different video crews to document our voyage through the competition and the weather promised to be fantastic for the weekend! All components were in place for our first domestic event of the season.

After a wonderful players meeting at the Granville Island Brewery, Chaim and I found out our draw and looked forward to defend our second seed until the semis.

We went through the first few matches in full control, beating a set of Russian Vancouverites who played well, then we took Ray Sewel and Sam Schacter and met a team from the USA in the pre quarters. We wound up playing poorly and lost in an unfortunate 3 setter which wasn't our intention at all!!!

Forced to play an early match the next day in the losers bracket we fought hard against Jared Krause and Ryan Ghandi and then matched up against classic rivals Matt Zbyszewski and Josh Binstock. It was a packed house on Kits beach, the sun was out in full force and there was considerable anticipation for this match up because it was scheduled to be the finals.

We started off FIRING in the first set and served Josh hard. We made great plays, sided out nearly perfectly and put heavy pressure on them. We took the set 21-12 in what was a nearly perfect set on our end.

We then went down in the second set and could never recover. They hit us hard early and we couldn’t find a way to make points like we did in the first set. Josh had made some adjustments and we couldn’t figure out how to rearrange our defense on the fly to counter. They served well and forced us to set off the net and that put us in trouble. They countered our amazing first set with an amazing set of their own. 

We had played these gentlemen twice already this year but both times had been overseas during FIVB competitions. We had drawn them randomly twice in a row in the first round and we came out victorious both times in three set matches. This was the third time we had played them and the third time we had gone to three!!

I honestly can't remember much about the third set but I never remember being in control. Their serving continued to force our passing and setting off the net and they made points early to get a solid lead and keep it. We lost in what I recall being 15-11 but it might have been worse than that. 

A good game on their end and hats off to them for changing positions (when we played them overseas Josh was a left side) and we just didn't handle their new look. 

Disappointed we weren't in the finals, we had a little time to turn that around into a winning attitude for the bronze medal game. With pride on the line we played a solid match against a team from the USA. We had the upper hand the whole time and we played like losing wasn't an option.

With loads of family and friends there I wanted to end on a high and give them something to cheer about. We took the game in two sets and our defence really made the difference here as we turned a lot of points and won crucial long rallies to keep the momentum of this hot and humid final. 

A disappointing run because we felt we deserved to be in the final after beating the silver medalists early on in the tournament. Regardless it was a solid lesson for us that we have to adapt mid game and change our strategy as our opponents assess our plan of attack and counter it. 

Here is a video a friend of mine made which highlights a lot of the Vancouver Open over an interview we did while I was preparing for it.