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Catching Up with the Boys from Canada Games
By:  Logan Potter   (2011/03/02)


XC Ottawa members Colin Abbott and Kyle Power recently returned from the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax. Colin competed on behalf of the Yukon while Kyle competed for Newfoundland. Each athlete competed in four different events starting with a 10km individual skate race.  I caught up with Colin and Kyle upon their return from Canada Games and asked them a couple questions.

Talking to Kyle Power:

How did your racing go at Canada Games, and which race did you feel the strongest in?

K.P.- The racing at CWG went pretty well overall. The course at Martock was a lot of fun, with so many twists and turns and short uphills. It was not the most challenging race trail but it certainly was deceivingly tough after racing the first race. The 10km skate was good, it felt weird out there racing but I was pretty happy with the end result. The sprint also went well and I managed to reach top 25 for those two races which was one of my main goals. My best day was skiing the classic 1st leg of the relay. Unsure of how a 5km race would feel, I started pretty strong. I managed to hold on pretty well and didn't lose to much time on the leaders. Our team goal was to reach 6th spot and so we did! It wasn't an easy task for us, so I am definitely proud of the boys putting out everything they had that day.

What was you favourite experience from the Games and what will you take home with you and remember from the games?

K.P.- It is hard to pin-point one favorite experience of the games. The whole week is a lot of fun and being at the Games in Halifax provided a lot of neat experiences. Other than the races, I mostly enjoyed taking in some nightly entertainment and spending time with my Newfoundland team who I have been away from for a while

You were the older, more experienced athlete on the Newfoundland team, did you feel going into this you had a bit of an obligation to be a role model for the younger athletes and pass down some advice coming from more experience at large ski racing events?

K.P.- Yes, I was the oldest on team, and they definitely made that well known! Apparently our team avg age was 16.5 years. That pretty young considering were racing a u23 cat. I tried my best to be a bit of "personal role model" per say. My roomies might think I was a little hard on them at 6am each morning pushing them to get ready. Especially our 14 year old relay anchor, Konrad, who would often fall asleep head first in his suitcase each morning.

But honestly, our team adapted well to the higher level competition and there were some great performances had by all the skiers on team. Team NL had no lack of class that's for sure.

Was it nice to get to know some of the young and up in coming Nordic ski athletes from Newfoundland?

K.P.- It was awesome to catch up with the entire NL team coaches and athletes. And It was a lot of fun hanging around with the younger athletes, I am not very old but yet still, it was refreshing in a very good way. They are a close group with a sweet team dynamic and I was glad I got to have some good laughs with them

How do you feel the games will help you prepare for the up coming National Championships?

K.P.- I think the CWG were good preparation for Nationals. I had some good races and felt I got stronger and more confident in my skiing as the week went on. If I continue to recover and rest well for Canmore, it should be a good week at the National Champs!


Talking to Colin Abbott:

-How did your racing go at Canada Games, and which race did you feel the strongest in?

C.A.: The first two races went well for me, which was a bit of a surprise. In the past few years I've found that in race series such as Canada Games I produce better results after I've completed a race or two. The 10km skate race felt the best for me, I finished 15th in a very tight race. Conditions were icy and fast which I felt suited me.

-What was you favourite experience from the Games and what will you take home with you and remember from the games?

C.A.: I'd have to say that just staying in Halifax and spending a lot of time with skiers across the country was what I'll remember most. In addition to seeing Great Big Sea and Theodore the Tugboat.

-The Yukon sent a very strong team but had lots of trouble will illness, how do you think this affected the team?

C.A.: It's always hard to perform at your best when you are sick, and if you race while sick you don't recover well at all for future races. On the men's side of the team all but one of our skiers was sick, and I don't think any one of us feels like we had ideal races towards the end of the week. The biggest disappointment that came from being sick was the relay. We were hoping to medal, and we know we have the potential to do so but with everyone feeling less than 100% it was a long shot. Coming 4th isn't where we wanted to be.

-You have been racing lots this year all over the place with lots of travelling, how did you feel throughout the games? and do you feel amount of racing you do this season had positive or negative effects on your racing at the games?

C.A.: I feel that the amount of racing I've done this season has been very positive. I've gained some international experience racing in Turkey and the states, and had lots of opportunities to push myself here in Canada. However, the racing I've been doing hasn't come without a cost. I've gotten sick twice in the past month due, in the most part, to traveling a lot and being exposed to a lot of viruses my body isn't used to fighting. Once I kick the cold that I'm fighting at the moment I feel like I'll be in better racing shape than ever.

- You had some strong races even while fighting through sickness, how hard mentally was this for you to get up and give it your all in the last couple days of racing?

C.A.: It was incredibly tough for me to keep pushing hard throughout the last two races. My body just didn't have it's usual recovery and snap. Not being able to ski with people around me and stay competitive with the guys I'm usually racing against was difficult for me mentally. I made some tactical mistakes (starting too fast) when I tried to ski both the relay and 15km classic like I was healthy. In both cases I blew up and struggled to get to the finish.

- How are you going to rest up and prepare for nationals in the next week here?

C.A.: In an ideal situation I'd sleep for as long as I wanted, ski for a short time every day to stay loose and do some sprints to stay sharp. However, I need to focus on kicking the cold I have before thinking about my skiing shape. Also, I have a large amount of school to catch up on after missing the majority of the last month. I'm jacking myself up mentally right now by watching Devon and Alex's win today in Oslo!

Kyle hammering out some nice skate technique.

Colin looking strong in the Yukon colours.

Colin looking relaxed coming around the corner.

Colin hammering for the finish second in the picture.

Kyle giving it is all as usual.

Thanks to the Canada Games site for the photos. Check out the rest of the photos here......


Also Congratulations to Devan Kershaw and Alex Harvey for killin it in the team sprint!

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