.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

Racing in the US of A
By:  Katie McMahon   (2012/01/06)


With the big races of this season soon approaching, members of XCOttawa have been trying to bank as much competition time as possible. Time trials are fantastic, but there is nothing that can prepare a skier for the events of the season quite like putting on an actual race bib. So, with a week before XCOttawa will head to the West Coast to compete at the World Junior/U23 trials in Callaghan Valley, BC, members Katie and Andre headed down to the US of A to compete at their nationals.


           Welcome to Rumford!

 For the second year in a row, US nationals were hosted in Rumford, Maine, about 7hrs away from Ottawa. Much to the confusion of our seasonal clocks, we arrived on New Year’s Day to +5°C temperatures and well; no snow. The actual race sight was at the Black Mountain ski hill, where both the downhill and cross-country venues had been working extremely hard to produce and maintain what little snow they had. The sprint course for the first race was certainly challenging but also had a really sweet flow to it and incorporated everything from offset to free skate. Anticipation to hit that start line grew but unfortunately so did the temperatures...


           Andre skiing up the final climb of the course in spring-like weather.

 The next morning, at 6:30am the call to postpone all races for a day because of overnight rain and spring-like temperatures was cause for frustration and anxiety for the Ottawa area racers who had only planned to attend two races. Consequently, we put on our running shoes and tried to release some of those pre-race jitters.


         Hot? Need a refreshing dip halfway through your sprint race? At +10 in the sun, I'm suprised there weren't people swimming in this pool!

   The next morning, temperatures were down to a more appropriate -10°C and the skate sprint races were on. One of the cool things about racing in the United States is that instead of racing in a category of around 40 people, you start with almost 200 people! The competition is so fierce and numerous that the winners really can’t be announced until the last starter crosses that finish line.

            In conclusion, while the delayed racing caused too much angst for one XCOttawa racer, the other had a superstar performance. Andre finished 32nd open man, 0.2 seconds from qualifying for the heats, 8seconds from first place and most importantly first Canadian. All results can be found at http://www.uscrosscountryskichampionships2012.org/results.html.


           The stadium area on the first training day.

 Wanting to get back to real snow and real winter in Ottawa/Gatineau, we hopped back in the car after the sprint races and hit the winding roads of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Quebec and Ontario to come home. In the next week the entire XCOttawa crew will hop on various planes around the country on our way to Whistler for what will be an exciting adventure!

Interesting Reading. . .
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