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CEC 2014 Wrap-Up
By:  Holly Jones   (2014/02/25)

One of the busiest weekends of the season for XC Ottawa and for Canadian cross country racers in general is "Easterns". The 2014 Canadian Eastern Championships (CEC) mark about the mid-point in the racing season, and XC Ottawa had a great showing against some of the best skiers in Canada.

Katie climbing the powdery uphill in the 15k distance classic. What a champ!
[Photo: Ian Austen]

Friday of CECs was the Buff-Sprint event, which consisted of a 1.4km hill-laden loop for the ladies. The XC Ottawa women were well represented, with a special guest appearance from alumnus Anna Geiger-Whitlock! Ingrid skied into 12th in the qualifier, with Sheila right behind in 13th, Holly in 15th, Liza in 17th, Katie in 23rd and Anna in 24th. Despite some fierce performances in the quarterfinals, only Ingrid was able to push forward into the competitive B Final, where she finished up in 11th overall. The XC Ottawa men were out in full force on the 1.5km sprint loop. Matt faced some tough competition and skied into 36th, a mere 0.7 seconds off 30th position. Peter qualified an awesome 10th in Open Men, while Andre and Steffan qualified 26th and 28th, respectively. All three boys battled hard in quarterfinals, finishing up in 21st, 27th and 28th, and putting an end to a great first day of Easterns racing.

XC Ottawa's Andre (bib 126) and alumni Matthias Purdon (bib 125) and Colin Abbot (bib 106) powering up the long hill in the 1.5k sprint! [Photo: Barb Hesk]

Sheila powering out of the start gates in the sprint qualifier! [Photo: Dianne Galus]

Saturday featured the Cyclery Mid-Distance race for the weekend, a 10k free for women and a 15k free for men. Sheila wowed us with an 8th place finish, while Ingrid nabbed 15th!  Liza, Holly and Kyla coming in close behind in 19th, 20th and 21st, respectively, and Katie rounded out the group in 54th. Steffan was the top XC Ottawa finisher for the men -- 16th in an incredibly competitive field of 130 skiers. Less than a minute after Steffan was Pete in 26th, and Karl and Andre in 31st and 34th. Riel and Matt were close behind as well, in 45th and 63rd, showing just how tight each of the finishes were.  XC Ottawa’s training partner Mark Rajack, racing for Trinidad & Tobago, had an awesome race, coming in 119th.

Holly starting out on the 10k course in snowy, cold conditions. Typical Nakkertok scene in the background. [Photo: Barb Hesk]

Sunday’s Fresh Air Long Distance classic race was pretty tough, with both snow conditions and competition proving a challenge. Lots of powdery snow was gumming up corners such as Dirk’s Dive, and it’s estimated that 50% of racers fell at some point (this number is based purely on observation and may not have statistical significance…but it makes for an epic story), with a notable number of DNFs in both races. XC Ottawa’s men fought hard during the 30km mass start and Steffan was again the top finisher for the team in 8th! Karl skied into an awesome 19th position, and alumnus Matthias Purdon was right behind in 21st. Pete, Riel and Matt all had excellent results in 27th, 49th and 67th, respectively. Mark, brand new to classic technique, impressively stuck it out for 112th. On the women’s side, Sheila had another awesome race (12th) despite a fall and having to battle for tracks with Junior Boys who had gone out just after Open Women. Ingrid was 16th, Liza, who also took a spill on Dirk’s, came in 23rd, Kyla was close behind in 27th, and Katie pushed hard into 49th. Unfortunately both Holly and Andre were caught up in the aforementioned DNFs, finishing their days early after falls and a tough go.  

Sheila (middle) on the infamous Dirk's Dive corner, holding her own with the junior boys on the sketchy downhill! Way to work! [Photo: Bernard Pigeon]

Overall the weekend was a great success, with some excellent results from XC Ottawa and a well-run event. Some teammates also spent a few hours over the course of the weekend volunteering with organization, so a big thank you to everyone who helped out. As always, our skis were excellent, with John and alumni Kyle Power and Anna G-W putting everything they had (in the Vauhti wax box) into some wonderful waxing. Thanks again to the team, the organizers, our sponsors and to Nakkertok for a great weekend of racing!

Just to give you an idea of the cornering conditions, this girl basically sunk into a few feet of powder during the fall. Tough, but I think we all learned something! [Photo: Bernard Pigeon]
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