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10 and 5km freestyle race report- National championships 2013
By:  Matthias Purdon   (2013/04/22)


The individual start 5/10km skate event at national championships this year brought a few late season surprises and some excellent results for our team.

Surprise one was the weather. Even the most optimistic skiers will predict the worst when it comes to the conditions at the Whistler Olympic Park in the Callaghan valley. Many Canadian racers have experienced the rain, snow, sun cycle repeating every hour at the park, and those who had not yet had the pleasure of this experience had certainly heard about it before they arrived. Especially with the races so late in the season, on day two of racing everyone was surprised to find blue skies and a hard track the morning of the race. The early races (Open and Junior Men) were wicked fast (Brian McKeever won the 10km in a blistering 21min 18seconds; thatís an average speed of 28.2km/h!). And, as the women on our team can testify about their 5km, snow conditions got somewhat slower from there as the sun warmed up the course, and the racers.

Surprise two was the small time gaps separating the top two thirds of the field, which meant that a few seconds faster or slower could change your final position significantly. For instance, had I been able to shave nine seconds off of my time my result of would have moved up nine places into 30th place from 39th.

Luckily, with every second counting, we had excellent skis. Our wax team of Anna Geiger-Whitlock and Michael Abbott hit the wax right on.

Result highlights were as follows, and represent a maximum effort on a tough Olympic course. In Open Women Sheila Kealy led out our team coming in 36th place (17th Open), followed by Ingrid Hagberg in 48th (18th U23), Liza Rozina in 50th (19th U23), Kyla†Vanderzwet in 77th (23rd Open) and Katie McMahon in 84th (30th U23).

On the Menís side Matthias Purdon finished in 39th (22nd Open), followed by Peter Beisel in 77th (23rd U23), and Lee Hawkings in 89th (29th U23). Logan Potter sat out the race to continue his recovery from an unfortunate bout of pneumonia.

The 10km skate was one of my best performances of the year and probably the most fun Iíve had doing this particular race. The team had a great day, and enjoyed the almost unexpected beautiful weather. Enjoy the photos! (Thanks to Grant Abbott, who has photo credits for all of these, most of which are from the 30 and 50km freestyle event which was really warm).

Megan showing off her summer running outfit for the last race of the year.

Peter taking an awesome line coming into the stadium

Colin chasing me down... (an ultimately successful move from my perspective).†

Me and our awesome waxing crew of Anna and Mike feeling the relief after all the races...

Thanks for reading!

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