This year the University of Laval ski team hosted an early season race (Nov. 27-28) they called the “USCAN CUP”. The race was held at Foret Montmorency which is an extension of the Laval University specializing in Forestry, but more importantly a place well known for having lots of early snow!
Since our team was already planning on heading up there to get some early ski mileage into the legs, we figured it was a good idea to participate in the event. It would serve as a good tool for sharpening our game before the big NORAM races coming up soon. We opted to race the Classic race on the Saturday which was a sprint race.
Personally, I am a big fan of sprint races because they are a full blast, head on race between you and your competitors! They are also very spectator friendly and exciting to watch. The organization of this sprint was one qualifier lap, 1st wave top 2 moves on, 2nd wave winner moves on, Final wave… go for the win! The qualifier is done solo like a time trial and if you finished in the top 32 you would get to move onto the waves.
There was plenty of competition since many US teams came out for the race. Ingrid and I raced in the University category while Colin, Karl, Megan and Katie raced in the open men’s and women’s divisions respectively.
Katie and I had arrived late the night before so my warm up was my first time on skis this year!!! The lack of on snow training before this race didn’t bother me too much since I had confidence in all the summer/fall training that I have done. This confidence mixed with the excitement of finally getting on snow made for a solid qualifying round for myself and the rest of the team!
After the qualifier we sat in the following places in our respective categories:
André - 11th. Ingrid - 25th. Karl – 2nd. Colin – 4th. Megan – 6th. Katie - 16th.
Ingrid unfortunately got a very tough wave and couldn’t secure a top 2 in the first wave to move on. She was still happy with the effort and affirmed that she was definitely not a classic sprinter. The rest of us apparently were as we hammered our way through to the semi-final wave.
We now had to finish 1st if we wanted to be in the final wave made up of the 4 semi-final winners. With valiant efforts from all only Colin managed to secure his spot in the final. Karl, Megan and I each finished 2nd in our semi-finals, all were exciting finishes but just couldn’t cut it. Katie finished 4th in her semi-final but wasn’t far from the winner who went on to win the day.
Colin went on to finish 2nd in the final bringing home the first XC Ottawa medal of the 2010/2011 season. Karl and Megan each medalled in the senior category, 2nd and 3rd respectively.
In the final standing I finished 6th in the University category. I had managed to move up 5 positions in the waves, a successful day of racing! Everything seems to be falling in place for the upcoming season and the USCAN CUP was great for getting any race anxiety out of the way. The team and I are all looking forward to attacking those upcoming NORAM races!
Thanks for reading :)
*** sorry for the lack of visuals, photos will follow soon, promise ***