After the long-distance pursuit race on Thursday, the team was greeted with a training day in Thunder Bay in preparation for the Classic Sprint event on Saturday. The team took advantage of the legendary Hoito restaurant before checking out the race course on Friday morning.
On race day, the classic tracks were hard and fast when the women started qualifying. Sheila Kealey led the charge, qualifying in 23rd position followed closely by Megan McTavish in 24th position, and Ingrid Hagberg in 28th.
Narrowly missing the cut-off were Kyla Vanderzwet in 31st position, Katie McMahon in 36th, and Liza Rozina in 39th.
Shortly afterwards, the men started qualifying on the 1.4km course that started with some rolling hills, but very quickly descended a fast and curvy downhill to a hairpin corner. Then a series of climbs brought the racers back into the stadium for a final double-pole finish.
Leading the team was Lee Hawkings in 20th position, and Peter Beisel close behind in 26th. Just one second back was seasoned sprinter Andre Marchand in 33rd, followed by Matthias Purdon (35th), Karl Saidla (40th), Logan Potter (43rd), and Aaron Barter (44th).
In the afternoon, after some downtime with E-Mend, XC Ottawa was well represented in some very competitive quarterfinals, with Megan, Sheila, and Ingrid racing their way to the finish against some of Canada's fastest skiers. On the men's side, Peter and Lee were both lined up against some serious competition and did very well, in fact Lee placed 3rd in his heat for an overall Top-15 result in Senior Men! (Photo: Courtesy of Team Ontario http://flic.kr/p/dJy3ig)
Overall, there were some very fine performances by XC Ottawa athletes and it was an exciting experience for everybody.
A big thank-you goes out to Coach John "Vauhti-speed" Suuronen and wax tech Anna Geiger-Whitlock along with our ski tester Craig Storey who proved once again, that nobody has faster skis than the XC Ottawa crew!
Also, a special shout-out goes to XC Ottawa alumnus and Yukon Elite Squad athlete Colin Abbott who earned the opportunity to represent Canada at the Under-23 World Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic Jan. 20-27!
Interesting Reading. . .