The 50km classic mass start at nationals: It doesn’t get much harder than this… unless it’s a 50 km individual start race – which, unfortunately, most racers nowadays have never competed in, but that’s for another article.
The men started at 9.00, and the women (racing 30kms) at 9.30. The course and conditions promised to be difficult with lots of continuous climbing, and corn snow making the uphills even more difficult with the tracks prone to disintegrating . We rushed to adjust our kick wax minutes before the start . Here is what we used:
GRIP: Vauhti K-Base klister and K-line Gold Universal klister.
GLIDE: Vauhti HF blue topped with some HfC15 Vauhti powder.
You didn’t want to have your kick disappearing after a couple of laps, which was a realistic possibility with such abrasive snow and crazy downhills (think Dirks Dive, but less steep, but a couple of times each lap). There was going to be a lot of skidding on corners – a great way to lose all your wax. We prepared for that eventuality, as did most teams, by having some klister ready to go in the stadium if a skier wanted to add kick. Fortunately, none of us needed to as our skis were great - fast and grippy throughout. Not everyone had such good kick though. Raphael Couturier of the Pierre Harvey training centre, among others, was spotted re-waxing after 3 laps.
Aside from wax, one cannot survive a 50 km race without adequate hydration. This translates into each athlete taking a significant drink about every 10 minutes throughout the races. Accordingly, we spent the night before filling up the plastic bottles with our favourite combination of e load and zone caps (extra electrolytes to prevent cramping).
We owe a big thank you to our teammate Katie McMahon (who was unable to race because of illness), our wax techs (Mike Vieira and Justin Demers) and Phil Townsend (Sebastien Townsend’s father) for handing out all the bottles of e load and providing great encouragement throughout the race.
Overall, this might have been the most successful race of the week for the team as a whole. Our results are provided below.Unfortunately, Katie was sick and was unable to race. A shame, because it was one of the best days to be out on the Blow me Down trails. Liza started the race but was unable to finish thanks to a previously injured shoulder.
Since the guys and the girls both raced at the same time, we don’t have XC Ottawa specific pictures. But check out http://www.dlejadesigns.ca/skinationals14/men50kmassstart for official photos.
XC Ottawa Results:
Karl was Corner Brook for the Canada Winter Games in the 1990s. In this picture, he is leading Adam Kates, Brian McKeever and George Grey (I think)
The Banquet after the last race. Holly is excited. L to R: Karl, Holly, Ingrid, Justin Demers, Mike Vieira and Kyla.
Eload feeds ready the night before the race.