Lawn bowling adrenaline junkie

30 August 2010 07:03

By Michael Mastarciyan

Erik Guay gets his motor running racing cars.

Ted Ligety gets his kicks driving old jalopies off big jumps.

Mike Janyk loves the thrill of skydiving.

Retired World Cup star Marco Buechel has been addicted to base jumping off cliffs for years.

And Robbie Dixon gets his adrenaline rush - lawn bowling!

"I read Janyk's quote calling me an ‘adrenaline junkie' the other day. That's just blatant, unfair labeling, why you gotta label me Mike, why? ," Dixon says with a huge laugh.

"Yes, I know I like to partake in extreme sports and other pursuits that involve high speeds - like my day job - but to pigeonhole me as speed freak is unfair. How many adrenaline junkies do you know who go lawn bowling? Not many I bet."

Janyk's assessment of his team mate's thrill seeking disposition and love of high speed is correct to some degree. A cursory glance at the vehicles parked in Dixon's garage at his Calgary home give the viewer some valuable insight into what turns his crank - the vintage Porsche, motorcycles and a monster truck - all testament to his love of things that go fast or go hard.

But on the other hand, Dixon, probably the best racer on the World Cup tour not to have a podium under his belt yet, does - at least sometimes - live life in the slow lane.

"Fast is great, but sometimes you've got to slow down a bit to enjoy life. My girlfriend and I were invited to her friend's birthday party at a Calgary lawn bowling club the other day and it was pretty sweet. I went shopping for a bunch of white clothes to look the part, because that's half the battle! The way I was dressed, you would have thought I had been playing the game for years," Dixon says.

"I really enjoyed playing and I was pretty good at it. One of the old-timers even tried to recruit me for a team and said I had potential for competitive lawn bowling. He said he thought I could be an athlete! I was really polite about it and didn't tell him about being a World Cup skier because I didn't want to offend him ‘cause he was really serious when he was complementing me."

Fast or slow, Dixon, a natural athlete, is usually very good at whatever he tries his hand at.

Extreme comfort at high speeds and a fearless attitude earned the North Vancouver native a spot on the Canadian Alpine Ski Team's Olympic roster last February. And even without a World cup victory or podium to his credit, Dixon was considered a legitimate medal favourite in the downhill and super-G by many.

"I was pretty upset with my performance at the Olympics, and it was a pretty emotional time for me I won't lie to you," Dixon says in reference to his downhill/super-G DNFs and a 24th in the Giant Slalom.
"But in the end it was a great learning experience and I think I've come out of it smarter and stronger."

Smarter and stronger indeed.

Dixon has spent most of his summer in the gym.

"I've been spending most of my time close to home in Calgary this summer working out. I went to Maui for two weeks in the spring but since then my plan has been to get in the best shape possible for the new season. I've gone dirt biking with Kucera a bunch but mostly I've been hanging out at the gym in Calgary."

So far Dixon's plan seems to be working.

A GS victory at a FIS race in New Zealand in early August- albeit against a narrow World Cup field comprised mainly of Canadians - was, according Dixon - fulfilling.

"It wasn't a big race but still it was a great feeling to win. I know I'm on back on the right track and I know it's in me to win a World Cup race. Overall it's been a great summer, a GS victory and the knowledge that I can have a fallback career lawn bowling if I need it - hey man that's a rush!"