The OUA championships are the grand finale of the season for university racing, and the relay is often the most highly contested and intense race of the weekend. This year was no exception, and Carleton had high expectations going into the relay after being bested by Lakehead last year.
The relay consists of 3 legs of 5km for the men and 3 legs of 2.5km for the women. The men raced first with Matthias leading out for the first Carleton team. After stringing out the pack a bit on the first lap, the pace slowed and coming to the exchange it was Laurentian a ski length ahead of Carleton with Waterloo and Guelph close behind. Andre Marchand was the second skier for Carleton and went out strong after being tagged by Matthias. Going into the first corner, Andre tried to pass the Laurentian skier, got tangled and went down. While still in the lead for the first lap, the fall cost him and by the end of the second lap we were 20 seconds down on Guelph and 5 seconds down on Laurentian.
Matthias, charging on the first lap.
When I started I knew I would have to put in a hard effort just to close the gap, let alone take the lead. With Henry Reich of Waterloo just in front of me, I was content to have him pull me up to the Guelph team. After the first lap we were close to closing the gap, and by the second climb on the last lap there was a pack of three of us. Going into the last climb, I made a move and passed both of them to take the lead. On the downhill coming into the stadium Henry passed me and I tried to catch his draft and rest, but my skis were too slow to stay with him. I wound up using all my energy just trying to keep the gap constant. By the finish, the 5 seconds he made up on me on the downhill were too much to re-gain. We finished a hard-fought and slightly disappointing second, but at least we beat Lakehead this year!
Colin, Matti and Henry exhausted at the finish
The Carleton women's relay team put in an amazing race with XCOttawa alumni Zoe Braul and Adele Lay skiing the first two legs for Carleton and Alana Thomas anchoring the team. After being only a few seconds off the lead for the first two legs, Alana stormed home to victory, gapping both Lakehead and Laurentian by a decent margin to seal the win.
Zoe Braul, getting Carleton off to a good start.
Both second teams for Carleton also did well, with the men's second team finishing in 5th (Michael Abbott, Logan Potter and Kent Mamen) and the women's second team finishing in 8th (Ingrid Hagberg, Liza Rozina and Monika Stoeger).
Michael Abbott (red Carleton Suit), in the mix of things off the start. Note the good forward lean.
Interesting Reading. . .