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Final Race Report from Canmore: Classic Sprints
By:  Colin Abbott   (2009/01/11)


With only one race left in Canmore, XCOttawa lined up last Tuesday to give it their all in the final NorAm of the week, the classic sprints. The senior women raced first in the qualifier on a 1.2km course. In a competitive field, Alana, Sheila and Megan all moved onto the heats after finishing within three seconds of each other to capture 12th, 13th and 15th positions respectively. Adele Lay and Zoe Braul raced in the junior women shortly after. Zoe had a quick qualifier and managed to move on to the heats with a 12th place effort. Despite pushing hard, Adele wound up in 31st after the race, only 0.34 seconds out of qualifying for the heats. On the men's side, Colin Abbott skied into the junior heats after qualifying in 13th place. Karl Saidla finished in 25th place and also moved into the heats.

In an exciting round of heats in the afternoon, Zoe was knocked out in the Junior Women's quarterfinal after finishing 3rd. However, her fast qualifying time kept her in 13th position, only one spot back from where she qualified. The Junior Men's heats were run next. Amidst a flurry of skis, broken poles, body checks, crashes and general chaos on the race course, Colin made it through the quarterfinals. He would eventually finish the day in 9th position after placing 3rd in the B final.

The women had an excellent showing in the heats, with both Alana and Sheila working their way to the B final where they finished 10th and 12th respectively. Megan finished 17th after not moving past her quarterfinal. Karl had a good day of racing, though he was knocked out in the quarterfinal by a field that included 6 national team members, and numerous other skiers from training centers. In the end, Karl upped his qualifying position by 6 spots to finish 19th in the Men.

There were few surprises in the winners for the junior heats (Heidi Widmer and Julien Nury both powered to victory) and the open women (Perianne Jones took the title). However, the winner of the Open Men's sprint came as a surprise to some, as Lenny Valjas fended off an A final filled with National team members to win the last race of the day.

In all, it was a great week of racing in Canmore. Everyone had impressive results with nearly every individual posting a top ten finish at some point. While there were ups and downs, everyone pulled through and polished off the week in good form. That's all for now. We will keep you posted on upcoming races and race results as soon as we can.

Zoe in the quarter final heat.

Zoe in the mix on the last hill.

Colin charging up the wall.

Colin trying a move on the outside.

Aiden Lennie in his quarter final heat.

Patrick Stewart-Jones.

Karl at the start of his quarterfinal.

Karl in the quarter final.

Alana and Sheila in their semifinal heat.

Alana in the semi-final.

Kate Brennan pushing the pace in the semi-final.

Alana chasing hard.

Sheila leading Alana in the B Final.

Open Women's A-final, Perriann Jones leading.

Perrianne Jones making a move on Shayla and Dasha.

Men's A-final, the winner Len Valjas #312 tucked in the back.

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