This year XC Ottawa was represented at the first Haywood/NorAm cup by myself and Matthias, competing with the Ontario team. XC Ottawa alumni Colin Abbott (Callaghan Valley Training Center) and Alana Thomas (Nakkertok) were also racing.
I love racing at Sovereign Lakes. Although these events typically rank among my poorest performances of the year (makes sense given the lack of time on snow, altitude, and a week of getting a lot of skiing in preceding the races) it's a great way to start the season. I’m convinced the block of focused time on snow and a break from work definitely helps my racing in January and February. Also, the race organizers at Sovereign put on a first class event with spectacular and scenic courses.
As usual, these races featured great competition, including a strong contingent of American teams, and athletes from the Canadian national team, provincial teams, and National training centers.
Saturday’s event was classic sprints on a challenging spectator-friendly course that included plenty of turns, climbs, and exciting loop over and under the stadium bridge to the finish. Although sprinting isn’t my forte, I think it’s great practice and fun to participate. I made it into the quarterfinal rounds, and finished 26th senior woman. Matthias had a strong qualifier, but not fast enough to make the top 30 in the competitive and deep men’s field. The woman’s race was won convincingly by the impressive Jessie Diggins (CXC), followed by Alysson Marshall (Alberta World cup Academy) and Andrea Dupont (Rocky Mountain Racers). The men’s event was close, but at the line is was Michael Sinnott in 1st (Sun Valley) followed by Brent McMurtry (National ski team), then Erik Bjornsen (APU).
Sunday’s event was a distance classic race on a hilly 5km loop – 10km for open women, and 15km for open men. My second lap was not pretty, but I managed a 23rd place among senior women. Matthias had a strong 15km and finished 37th senior man. The woman’s top 10 was dominated by Americans (top 6), led once again by Jessie Diggins, while the men’s event was won by Kevin Sandau.
Matthias looking calm before his race
Matthias lapping though the stadium
A special thanks to Nakkertok for the waxing support, and
congratulations to these local athletes for some impressive early season
results finishing in the top 10 of their categories: Alana Thomas, Emile &
Katherine Stewart Jones, Michelle Workrun Hill, Colin Foley and Ben Wilkinson-Zan (1st
in sprints and distance!). No longer local, but Patrick Stewart Jones (Nakkertok/Alberta World Cup Academy) had a great weekend - finishing 4th overall in the sprints (after qualifying 17th) and 15th in the distance event.
Also, a shout out to Colin who had a great weekend of racing (13th sprint, 20th distance), turning around his usual bad luck at these first races of the season!