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2009 XC Ottawa Season Summary
By:  Team XC Ottawa   (2009/04/22)


XC Ottawa has capped off yet another great season! After a fun summer and fall of great training we began the season in Silverstar, British Columbia in November and just kept going until the National Championships held in March at Highlands Nordic, Ontario. This season stood out to us as a group not only because of all our personal best achievements but because we were able to represent ourselves as a powerhouse team at nearly every level and discipline of ski event offered this year! From local community events, to University races, Ontario Cups, Canada Cups, the Gatineau Loppet, National Championships and the World University Games, XC Ottawa was there!

Summer and Fall

Skiers are built in the summer, and we got Back at it (team training that is) in early May. Karl detailed the early season activities. Mid-summer saw another excellent training camp at OWL (photos), while others hung out on the Haig or did a few summer races. Late summer saw the arrival of the new recruits, eager to train and settle into life in Ottawa and school.� Yes, summer was memorable and left us snarling in September before switching over to Fall training mode. There were many Fall training adventures, culminating in our @Home training camp and the Ste-Cecile-de-Masham rollerski championships.� Finally as Winter drew near the training intensity peaked and some grew to dread another week of Penguins: the workout of death. Luckily snow arrived just in time, and before we knew it the ski season was upon us!

Early Season Adventures

In November a small but strong XC Ottawa contingent headed out to Silverstar for the classic early season training camp and races in the beautiful British Columbia mountains. Although the snow was thinner than some years, Silverstar did not disappoint and neither did the team as they competed in the first Canada Cup races of the year. As there was not enough snow in Whistler for the second stop on the Canada Cup circuit the team got to stay an extra week in the charming Silverstar village prepping themselves for another weekend of racing. Rookie Adele Lay lead the way with a silver medal in the Junior Women�s 10km Classic night race, Karl Saidla finished an incredible 12th in the men�s 20km skate and Megan had a strong classic sprint to finish 15th in the competitive Senior Women�s field. It was a memorable trip, as Adele details:

Adele on the race in Silverstar: "After overcoming obstacles such as no snow in Whistler, then too cold in Silverstar, and no coach to wax our skis, it was a miracle this race actually happened. And I'm so glad it did! There's nothing like hurdling down sketchy unknown downhills in the pitch black to make a race a little more thrilling. A silver medal made the evening even better."

Silverstar Reports: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

A few weeks later, back home in Ontario, another XC Ottawa contingent headed to Highlands Nordic for the next stop on the Canada Cup circuit. This proved to be a great opportunity to pre-race the courses that would be used at National Championships in March. The weekend was highlighted by Alana Thomas� 5th place finish in the Senior Women�s skate sprint, her first ever race as a Sr Woman!

2009 Begins

After a short break from racing for Christmas, XC Ottawa ventured out to Canmore, Alberta for another week of skiing and racing. This was the third stop on the Canada Cup circuit and as the races were all selection races for World Junior and Under 23 Championships, World Senior Championships and the World Cups to be held later in January in Whistler, all of Canada�s best were out and in top form. XC Ottawa had a very strong week of racing beginning with Alana finishing 5th in another skate sprint. Next up were the individual start skate races where Megan McTavish, Alana and Sheila Kealey were 7th, 9th and 12th in open women while Karl Saidla was 21st in open men. The third race in the week was the mass-start pursuit, an event that always brings much nervous excitement as there are twice as many variables as in a regular race due to racers switching skis halfway through the race. Adele and Zoe showed their strength finishing 13th and 15th in Junior Women and on the senior side Karl and Megan finished the day with a stunning pair of 10th place finishes! The final event in Canmore was the classic sprint where Colin Abbot finished an amazing 9th in junior men while Alana and Sheila made it through to an exciting B-final to finish the week with 10th and 12th place finishes, not bad for two women who claimed not to be great classic sprinters! Canmore Reports: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Ontario Cup and OUA Racing

Canada Cup racing is but one part of the exciting lineup of races XC Ottawa made appearances at this season. North Bay Nordic hosted the season opening Ontario University Races and the second installment of the Ontario Cup Series and XC Ottawa came home with more than just a few medals! Zoe, Adele, Alana, and Colin all came home with OUA Medals and Ontario Cup medals with Colin, Adele and Alana each getting some gold ones! OUA Reports: 1, 2, 3

Eastern Canadian Championships

Next on the schedule and a welcome break from travel was Easterns, hosted right here in our very own Gatineau Park by Club Skinouk. The team had yet another great weekend with Megan and Adele each being crowned Eastern Canadian champion in the individual start 10km skate events while Matthias Purdon led the men with a 7th place finish in Junior in the 15km. The classic day was also a huge success with Alana, Megan and Sheila finishing 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the Open women�s 15km, while Zoe and Colin took the bronze medals in the junior categories, Justin Demers also had a strong race to cross the line as 8th senior man. Special mention and thanks needs to go to Skinouk for hosting this event and handing out prizes ordered from our Klister Licker shop, it was very generous of them to support our team and hand out such fun prizes!

Divide and Conquer!

After Easterns the team went in a few different directions to race: Karl, Megan and Sheila ventured down to Stowe, Vermont to do some American Supertour races, Adele, Zoe, Brittany, Colin and Matthias headed to Haliburton to compete for Carleton in the OUA championships and Alana Jetted to Harbin, China to race for Canada in the World University Games along with XC Ottawa Alumni Ed McCarthy and Gavin Hamilton.

Stowe, Vermont brought a weekend of crazy weather and challenging conditions and given that Karl, Sheila and Megan were there without our trusty wax guru, John it was all the more interesting. With mere minutes before the start of the classic race it was zero, snow/raining and windy and the trio still hadn�t decided on a wax� a last minute job and a warm up run to the start line and Megan still finished 7th, pretty impressive and definitely a good learning experience!

The OUA Championships (Ontario University Association) are races that XC Ottawa�s Carleton contingent excitedly awaits each season. The weekend-long event is always packed with great racing and fun times with the Carleton team. This year was no different and Zoe, Adele and Colin all have medals to show for it! Adele captured the gold medal in the 5km skate and Zoe Braul the Bronze, while in the men�s race Colin earned himself the silver and Matthias finished a strong 6th. Later that afternoon Zoe and Adele were joined by Carleton�s Sarah Mamen while Colin and Matthias were joined by Carleton�s Chris Mamen to compete in the team relays. Both teams earned shiny silver medals in hard fought battles against tough Lakehead teams. The second day of OUA Championship races brought the challenge of mass start classic races and XC Ottawa-Carleton students rose to the occasion. Colin stomped the men�s field to take the gold medal in the 15km and Zoe Braul finished an excitingly close second in the women�s 10km to win the silver. The weekend was capped off with Carleton head coach John Langstone being named OUA Coach of the Year, go Carleton!

The 2009 World University Games, held in Harbin, China, were a great opportunity for Alana and XC Ottawa Alumni Ed and Gavin to experience a new level of racing and some Chinese culture. Ed did a great job of detailing some of the more interesting non-ski specific aspects of the trip so check out his articles for more on that! As for the racing, the three competed in 5 races. Gavin lead the way by starting the week with an amazing 19th place finish in the men�s 10km skate and Alana followed that with a 30th place in the skate sprint. The pursuit brought an exciting day of racing as any mass start tends to and Gavin threw down another top 30 result finishing 25th while Alana led the Canadian women with a 34th place finish. All three XC Ottawa skiers represented Canada in the team relays against teams from Russia, China, Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Japan, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Poland, Estonia, Switzerland and Korea. The final race of the week was the long distance mass-start classic where Ed led the Canadian men with a fantastic 35th place result in the 30km. WUG Reports: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

An Exciting Day at the Gatineau Loppet!

The Gatineau Loppet (formerly the Keskinada) is an event that XC Ottawa veterans look forward to as an ultimate at-home challenge. As much as Coach John tries to tells us to just �train through the Keski� we can�t help but try to bring our A-game. This year was extra special in that it was the first time Sheila has captured the big win! She and Megan worked as a great team to ski most of the 53km together before Sheila showed her long distance skate prowess to ski away from Megan in the final kilometers and take the title, Megan finished close behind in 2nd place. 1-2 in a 53km skate, awesome! Meanwhile the men battled through their own 53km epic with Karl finishing an amazing 2nd place!

And Finally, the National Championships

After much success throughout the season XC Ottawa headed to Duntroon, Ontario to compete in the Canadian National Championships, the season finale. The team finished off the season with a great week of racing highlighted by many top 10 finishes in pretty well every different weather condition you can imagine.

On the Women�s side Megan led the way by taking 7th place overall in the senior Women�s class. On the men�s side it was Colin who led the way with a 10th place aggregate finish in Junior men. Everyone on the team had at least one personally great race including Adele�s 6th place in the Junior women�s 5k skate, Zoe�s third place sprint qualifier, Matthias�s battle to finish 12th in the classic sprint, Colin�s 7th in the 30km skate, Alana�s 8th place Canadian in the senior 5km skate, Sheila�s 13th place in the 30km skate, Justin�s 35th in the 10km skate and Karl�s 13th place Canadian finish in the epic 50km skate.

This was a great way to end our season close to home, and has left us wanting more for next year! Ski Nationals Reports: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Ski Community

Our commitment to the ski community continued by helping with Gatineau parkway closures, regular reports of ski conditions, promoting local ski events, writing articles with helpful training and waxing tips for skiers, and hosting our very own NCD points race, the annual XC Ottawa Invitational Duathlon! (Results and Photos: 1, 2, 3 )

(Bernard Pigeon).

We also helped with the Mooney's Bay Ski for Kids Day. (Photos: 1, 2)

(Jo-Ann Holden)

The Website

www.xcottawa.ca traffic grew beyond our wildest expectations, and we were regularly attracting >1,200 visitors a day with peaks >2,000 visitors on popular days in February. We hope we are inspiring a lot of people to get out and ski!� Here's a brief summary of the statistics:

Articles posted: >240
Ski Trail Condition reports: 120
Links to other articles: >1100

Thanks to our readers, and a big thank you shout out to all our wonderful sponsors and friends who helped make this season such a great success! Thanks!

We have many people to thank

First and foremost, coach John Surronen, for his dedication, excellent coaching, waxing expertise, and getting up at crazy hours race mornings to ensure that we all had fast skis.

This year he had excellent wax help from Francois Demers, Brian Suke and Craig Storey. We also got race support from Nic Clifford, Kristian Medri, Kyle Power, Brian Suke, Dianne Thurber, Randy Storey and Sam Demarchi.

We also want to recognize our sponsors support, which was essential for us.

Many thanks to:

Lafleur de La Capitale
Podiumwear by Borah
Vauhti Waxes and Canadian Wintersports Inc.
Infinity Ski Poles
Derek Van Dusen barrister and solicitor
Fresh Air Experience
Owl Rafting/Madawaska Kanu Centre
asparaging design/Jessica Spring illustration
Clif Bar
Rudy Project
Harry Nowell Photography
Nakkertok ski club

Interesting Reading. . .
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