A few updates now that its winter.
US Speedskating has been back in action with the season well under way. Illinois skaters have continued to perform well at the national and international levels, with numerous gold medal finishes at World Cup stops for Shani Davis in long track, while on the short track, Katherine Reutter has managed numerous gold medal finishes as well. But since this website is more about long-distance ice skating, a special mention of Jonathan Kuck of Champaign, IL, for his continued success at the international level with a second place finish in the 5000 meter event at the meet in Berlin, a third at 5000 meters in Heerenveen, and a top-ten finish at 10,000 meters in Hamar. Results are available at the US Speedskating website or the International Skating Union's pages on Speed Skating or Short Track. It’s too bad that Universal Sports hasn’t had the television coverage of speed skating as they had in the past few years, but some of the meets have been webcast and perhaps a search might yield webcasts of foreign broadcasts.
Interesting to see the Friends of the Hennepin Canal launching the Renaissance Project, which would restore several of the locks to working order, with the goal of having approximately 50 miles (80.5 km) of waterway available for recreational cruising. The canal is fragile given its age, and has ongoing maintenance needs in the face of erosion, damage from weather and the elements, and continued siltation and the occasional natural debris (trees, etc.) falling into the canal. Learn more about the project on the link above. Or better yet, get involved or make a donation. Maybe someday there will be as much enthusiasm for the Hennepin Canal as there is for the canals of the Elfstedentocht route in the Netherlands, where the Dutch government "...is spending the equivalent of $650 million to dredge the canals...to assure they are an even five to six feet in depth. That is because the canals are increasingly used for other events patterned after the 11-Cities Tour, even when there is no ice, [such as] rolling-skating races, and bicycle races, rowing races, and even, last summer, a race of solar-driven boats.” [NY Times: At Dutch National Pastime's Top Event, Mother Nature Wields the Starting Gun, Feb 26, 2007] This blog wrote about the rowing marathon in a post last June, complete with links to a few videos.
Editor - Jim
This blog weighs in on topics such as long-distance skating, the Illinois canals, cycling, and a variety of related (and occasionally not-so-related) topics. I'd like to correspond with others interested in skating the Hennepin and I&M canals.