The E.N.D. (ELoad and Nationals: going the Distance)
By: Team XC Ottawa (2010/03/24)
The day dawned like any other in the Yukon. It was dark. Cold. Snowy. What separated this dawn from every other dawn in Whitehorse were the 400 skiers lining up to race just as the sunlight began oozing over the hills. Just the tops of trees were touched with pale light as the gun went off to start the fastest men in Canada on their way towards a finish line 50km away.
The scene leading up to the start was an odd one for the National Championships in my experience. People were warming up with down jackets on. Buffs were out in full force. Generators ground away, trying to heat the frozen hands of tireless wax techs. Klister was put away. The tracks could have had chain gangs of pissed off prisoners clawing away at them for hours with pickaxes and come out of the ordeal fully skiable. For anyone that has raced a classic race at the National Championships in the past 6 years, you will know just how rare the conditions were in Whitehorse last Sunday.
Despite the amazing conditions, waxing was not all that easy. Many prominent clubs and teams were out of the race from the start after botching the kick. With the course containing many long, gradual climbs having no kick meant dropping out or suffering for hours were your only two options. XC Ottawa managed to nail the wax and it showed in the results. BIG thanks to John Suuronen, John Langstone and Vauhti on that front!
In the Junior Men’s race, XCOttawa capped off a stellar week of racing with their 20k distance (which, by all counts, should still be a 30k). The field is deep and competitive, with almost 70 competitors. Colin had a spectacular race, staying in contact with the lead throughout, finishing 3rd and just missing out on 2nd place by a toe. This was an amazing way to cap off his last season as a Junior. Congratulations Colin! Lee picked up the pace throughout the race, working his way through the field after a tough start to finish 23rd. Kyle was feeling a little rough around the edges after some great racing earlier in the week, but still finished in a respectable 32nd.
Karl had a spectacular race in the men’s 50k and finished 9th, ahead of Olympians, National champions and other notables. Matthias had a tough day for his first 50k ever, but he fought through it like a man and received the glory of finishing that was denied to so many that day.
Open Women kicking the day off
In the Women’s 30k, Megan finished 12th, Alana 14th, Sheila 15th and Anna finished 26th. Overall, this was a very solid day for the women's team and everyone was pleased with their results.
The distances and the course demanded everything you had to give. There is no doubt that the E Load and Fly that we drank helped to ensure success by providing steady energy and electrolytes throughout.
Megan on the big climb out of the stadium
Alana leading a crew of talented skiers.
Anna pushing hard
Junior Men's start. All the usual suspects at the front.
No explanation needed.
Lee on the hunt, looking to pick off the dead and dying by the dozen
Thanks to Justin Demers, Diana Thomas and Linnea Rudachyk for waking up early, standing around in the cold, and feeding us E Load and Fly throughout the race.
Photo credit to Peter Lloyd and Sam Reimer