Yesterday we chatted with Sterling Hart, 2014 and 2016 champion of the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Canadian Championships as he shared his thoughts about this weekend’s big event.
For those of you that still don’t know, the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS SERIES is a multi-discipline competition consisting of six disciplines, where the athletes have to prove their competitive ability with an axe and the saw. Strength, endurance and the perfect handling of the technical equipment decide on victory or defeat.
Event: 2017 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Canadian Championship
Date: Sunday, Aug. 6
City: London, ON
So what are the actual disciplines?
Yesterday we told you all about; Standing Block Chop, STIHL Stock Saw, Underhand Chop, but there are also 3 other disciplines in this monumental event;
The competitor makes one cut through 19 inches of white pine using a single man cross-cut saw. The competitor may have a helper wedge his cut into the log to prevent the saw teeth from sticking. Time ends when the block is clearly severed. The primary challenges of this event are technique, brute strength and stamina.
In this discipline, two springboards are slotted one below the other into a vertical tree trunk. The aim is to cut through a block of wood on top of the trunk (diameter 27 cm) at a height of about 2.80 m above the ground. Springboard is also described as the “supreme discipline” because as well as precise technique and strength, it also requires balance and skill from the athlete.
This discipline uses specially tuned, extremely powerful chainsaws. The aim is to cut three cookies of a specified thickness from a horizontally positioned trunk (diameter 46 cm) as quickly as possible. The particular appeal of this discipline is controlling the concentrated power of the chainsaw (up to 62 hp). With a chain speed of 240 km/h and a weight of approx. 27 kg, these machines demand maximum performance from the athletes.
So who is going to give Sterling Hart the biggest run for his money? That would be the 2015 Champion, Marcel Dupuis. So we sat down with Marcel to ask him exactly what we asked Stirling to see what he’s saying about the competition and his odds.
Here’s what he said:
How did you get involved in the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Canadian Championships?
Growing up in the Maritimes, I was always around friends who competed in Loggersports. I competed for a long time in firefighting challenges and even competed in world championships, but the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS bug bit me and I have been addicted ever since!
What goes into the training for STIHL TIMBERSPORTS? What does a day of training look like?
STIHL TIMBERSPORTS requires a combination of power, strength, endurance, and precision. The only way to win in the sport is to have tremendous dedication and perseverance, not only with your training, but also with your body and mind. There are days that you feel you are unbeatable, and other days where you get beat up pretty bad.
But regardless of how bad it goes, you just pick yourself back up and keep swinging that axe, because one thing I know in this sport is that dedication really pays off. A training day for me is usually in my backyard at home where I have a training area, so I can train for all disciplines. I can start with a chopping discipline and chop a few blocks, and then move on to single buck or hot saw.
Stock saw is also a very important event to practice, because though people think it is the easiest event, it is also very easy to get a disqualification and this could ruin the possibility of a title. Finally, a good gym routine is crucial to make sure your body is ready to handle the stress of competition.
What do you think you have over the competition?
I am a strong competitor and I have the experience of being on the big stage. I won the 2015 Canadian Championship and I am a two-time world championship silver medalist with Team Canada and a bronze medalist in the Champions Trophy Individual World Series. The man who makes the least mistakes is going to win and I am hoping that is going to be me.
Do you find the rivalry brings out the best in you when it comes to sport?
We are all very good friends in the tour and we get along really well, but when it’s competition time, we are very protective of our personal competition secrets. For example, Stirling Hart took the title away from my hands in 2016 and he is a great competitor and fellow athlete. If I want to be Canadian Champion again, I need to be ready to beat him when he is having the best year of his life, so yes, this brings out the best in me. We are rivals, but off the stage, we are all good friends.
What advice would you give someone wanting to get involved?
This sport is dangerous, but it is a lot of fun. Equipment may be expensive, but a well-maintained axe will last you a lifetime. Once you start chopping for the first time, you just want to do it over and over again. It is very important to always keep safety in mind, because a lot can go wrong in a matter of seconds, but if you are wearing proper protection, you should be ok. Also, some of the guys in the tour have time to help you start chopping, so if you know someone in the sport, let him know, chances are he or she will be glad to help you start out – this is how I started!
What are the odds of you winning (this is strictly your opinion)?
Let’s see, I am going to do my very best, but there is a lot of talent this year and competition just keeps getting stronger, so let’s hope that my training this year is enough to get that title back from Stirling ☺
If you had a hashtag to describe your timbersports MO, what would it be? example: #CanadianBeast
How badly do you want to win?
It would be great to capture a second title. I remember the excitement I felt in Niagara Falls 2015 when I found out I won, because the race for first place was tight until the very last event. I put in a great cut with my hot saw and this gave me the title. I think about that moment often and I hope I get to experience it one more time this year!
There you have it, both men have laid down the gauntlet and this weekend they will pick up their awe and saw and battle it out.
For full details and more info on STIHL TIMBERSPORTS and how you can get involved visit their website today.