This past weekend was the first NCD points race of the 2010 season. The Coupe Skinouk was held at Relais Plein Air and was a mix of the “old” and the “new”.
Saturday was the “old”, a dual start classic race. This means that two people start at a time, 30 seconds apart. I hadn’t done this type of race in ages and it brought back fond memories of OFSAA high school ski races. It was a beautiful day and there were lots of people out enjoying the racing and/or watching the races.
Karl raced in the Senior Men’s category and finished first. He mentioned afterwards that although the course wasn’t very hilly, it certainly was hard!
Sheila and I were the only two women registered in the Senior category (although there were plenty in Masters, U23 and Junior), so we started together. It was a battle from start to finish and neither one of us could put any significant gap on the other. In the end we finished 3.5 seconds apart, both satisfied with our efforts. The rest of the team was resting up after their racing last weekend and only registered for Sunday’s race.
After a restful evening, we showed up again on Sunday for the “new”, a continuous pursuit. This format starts with a mass start classic and half way through, the racers stop in their “box” and switch their skis and poles to finish the race off skating. This race format isn’t actually that new, but seems to be pretty rare in local races (I think there have only ever been three held in Ottawa – the XC Ottawa duathlons in 2007-2009). It is a lot of fun to race, and is also exciting to watch. The competition was a lot stiffer for this race, with lots of people choosing to only race one event over the weekend.
In the Open Men’s race it was XC Ottawa and Nakkertok out front. Karl, Colin, Andrew Stewart-Jones and Aidan Lennie battled it out for 15km but nobody could get away. In the end, there was a sprint to the finish and Andrew took the top spot. Karl was second, Colin third and Aidan fourth. Matthias finished 6th, Lee 7th, Kyle 10th and Justin 12th. XC Ottawa alumni Wayne Dustin was lucky 13th.
The Open Women’s race was half the distance of the Men’s (7.5km), which meant that it was fast right from the start. Everyone went up Mont Bleu as hard as they could, in an attempt to break the field up a bit, and coming into the exchange Michelle Workun-Hill and I had managed a bit of a gap. I had a quick exchange (Michelle didn’t…a good reason to have this type of race at the local level! Practice makes perfect) and ended up leading the whole skate leg, but just barely. I could feel the next group breathing down my neck the entire way. I ended up 11 seconds ahead of Noemi Berube who finished 2nd with Michelle and Sheila just behind her in 3rd and 4th. Adele Lay was a close 5th. Anna Geiger-Whitlock had a good race and battled with Brittany Pearson and Jessica Metuzals for the whole race and finished in 8th.
All in all, it was a great weekend of racing and a perfect warm up for Eastern’s at Nakkertok next week.
Check out the pictures and full results which were posted here!