After the disappointing cancellation of two major early-season competitions, XCOttawa.ca skiers finally kicked off our first racing season at the Ontario Cups #1 and #2 hosted by Laurentian Nordic.
On par with the meager snow conditions at previously planned event sites, the Laurentian University (Sudbury, Ont.) racing trails were not fit to race on. However, owing to the determined efforts of race coordinators along with helpful volunteers, a 2.25km loop of snowy trail on the golf course was nicely set up for the ski competition. Special thanks to race organizer Mary Waddel, chief of course Bob Hanson for all his shovelling to prepare the course and Kerry Abols for organizing the sprints.
Day 1 brought outstanding results for the XCOttawa.ca team. The bitter coldness of the morning was no match for us winter athletes. On the men's side, four of the top 5 positions in the Sr. men's 10km skate race were held by XCOttawa.ca skiers. Craig Storey was the man of the hour pulling off a speedy time of 22:34 over 10k for the win. Teammates Arno Turk, David Zylberberg and Glen McIntyre followed closely behind in 3rd , 4th and 5th place respectively. Craig and Arno furthered their medal haul in the afternoon sprint event, racking up a silver medal for Craig and another bronze for Arno. The strength of the white and blue team was impressively apparent.
Day 1 also saw strength on the women's side. A stellar top 5 performance by Laura Clements in the very competitive Jr. women category was topped off with a bronze medal for her in the sprint event that afternoon. Two more third place results were posted by me (Alicia Berthiaume): one in the morning Sr. women time trial race as well as one on a lucky break in the afternoon sprint.
The longer distance races (15km for Sr. Men and 10km for Sr./Jr. Women) were held on day 2 of the race weekend. Aside from feeling dizzy after 6 laps of the course, the men's team had much to feel proud of, with Dave Zylberberg taking top spot on the podium and Arno right next to him in second place (the two separated by a mere four seconds). Dave's strategies of not competing in the Saturday sprint and compromising some grip to have fast skis in the classic race paid off nicely for him on day 2.Craig and Glen again showed their early season fitness by posting 5th and 6th place times, respectively.
The XCOttawa.ca women's team was solely represented by the brave Laura Clements who put out a solid effort in the 10k classic race, gaining her a tenth place finish in the 4 lap race.
All in all the season opener for XCOttawa.ca's first year together proved to be quite successful and sets a pleasantly confident tone for the group as we head off to Charlo, New Brunswick for the Eastern Canadian champs. See you there!
Complete Ontario Cup results from Cross Country Ontario (www.xco.org):