.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

Strong showing at the 2002 National Long-Distance Championships
By:  Tom McCarthy   (2002/03/23)

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XCOttawa.ca showed up very strongly this past weekend at the National Long-Distance Championships, on both the mens and womens sides. The team placed two men in the top 10 and six in the top 15, while we had a 7th and 13th place showing from the women.

The National L-D championships were contested on Saturday March 23 at Mont Ste Anne, just east of Quebec city. The women had a 30k ski in front of them, while the men faced a ski somewhere over 50k (nobody is quite sure how long it was.) It involved two 22k loops and one loop of indeterminate and disputed length, somewhere between 6 and 8 k.

Upon arrival at Mont Ste Anne, advance scouts Karl, Megan and Dave reported vast quantities of snow and very soft conditions for the warmup day on Friday. Saturday dawned bright, sunny, windy and pretty cold. A quick warm-up loop revealed that the grooming had not done nearly enough to harden the trails, which were very soft and fluffy.

The men's race started at 10:00. The wind contributed to a relatively slow early pace, as no one wanted to take the lead and blow up early. Some skiers paid for choosing the wrong ski type and got dropped early. Since no-one had skiied the entire loop of 22k prior to the race, we were all unprepared for the vast amount of climbing we faced. The soft conditions and long strenuous uphill portions were too much for some, and many people dropped out. XCOttawa.ca, however, persevered- not one XCOttawa.ca member dropped out! On a day when nearly half the field (18 of 44) didn't finish, that has to be one of the team's biggest accomplishments.

XCOttawa.ca's top finisher was Karl Saidla, winner of the Keskinada earlier in the winter in very similar conditions. He was 7th. Only two spots behind him was first-year senior David Zylberberg, who had an amazing race in adverse conditions. Arno Turk, in his strongest showing of the year, placed 11th, and was followed in by three more XCOttawa.ca skiers; Lee Churchill, Tom McCarthy and Ian Murray.

On the women's side, Megan Mctavish equalled her best-ever National Championship finish with a seventh place showing (sixth Canadian.) Anna-Spring Doerfler was a very strong 13th.

XCOttawa.ca is now looking forward to finishing the season in style with two upcoming race weekends in Vermont.

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