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2014 Season in Review
By:  Ingrid Hagberg   (2014/05/04)

The 2014-15 training season may just be beginning, but first we'd like to take a look back at the 2013-14 year and all the excellent performances and success that it brought team XC Ottawa.

The season began in May, with the team bidding farewell to several members. Matthias, Lee, Logan, and Kyle. Our team was boosted with the addition of Steffan, Riel, Matt, Holly, and Mark. We quickly got training underway with our summer practices in Mooney's Bay and Gatineau Park.

Our first training camp of the year was a blast, where we again enjoyed the amazing atmosphere and training opportunities at OWL Rafting. The highlight of the camp was once again the incredibly fun journey down the rapids in sport yaks.

The team after the rafting trip down the river

The summer flew by in a haze of heat, humidity, and gorgeous weather. At the beginning of September we headed down to the Lake Placid Olympic Training Centre for another training camp. We took advantage of the great training facilities, doing some hikes in the adirondacks, and long rollerskis along quiet roads.

Heading out for a roller ski in Lake Placid.

We then returned to Ottawa for our fall training, which once again consisted of lots of intervals up Penguin! Rollerskiing was also more frequent as the race season got closer and closer.

In November we headed back to Montmorency for our first on-snow training camp. The facilities had a 2km loop with a mix of manmade and natural snow. It was once again a skiing hot spot, as several teams made the trek there from different places in Canada and the States.

Soon after, Sheila headed out west to Silver Star to compete in the first NorAm races of the season. Despite frigid temperatures that nearly cancelled the races, Sheila pulled through to impressive 17th and 18th finishes in Senior Women.

Meanwhile, Peter headed over to Italy with XC Ottawa alumni Lee and Matthias, to compete in the World University Games. Held in Val di Fiemme, the location of the 2013 World Championships, the competition was fierce. Peter and Lee posted a 55th and 58th finish in the sprint, an impressive result in a field that can only be bested by the World Cup.

Peter, Kendra (Carleton), Lee, Matthias, and Coach Toivo at WUG.

Craftsbury was the next stop on the road for most of the team. Held in Vermont, the TD Bank Eastern Cup attracts many of the fastest skiers in the US, and is know for its deep and talented field. Riel broke through to the quarterfinals in the sprints, where he finished 19th for the day.

In January the team reunited in Canmore for the Olympic Trials! Excitement was high, as the races would serve as the selection for the final spots on the Olympic Team. Notable results include Liza's 12th place in the sprint, Sheila's 15th in the 10km classic, and Steffan's 17th in the 30km duathlon (along with the fastest transition time of the day).

Katie flying the sprint.

Next up was Easterns, held at Nakkertok. Once again, the races were organized impeccably and it was a great weekend overall. Ingrid broke through to the semi-final, and then B final and finished 11th in the sprint. Sheila also had an impressive 8th place in the 10km skate, and Steffan was 16th in the 15km free.

Andre (bib 126), and XC Ottawa alumni Matthias (125) and Colin (106) racing in the quarterfinal.

This year, XC Ottawa team members stormed the Gatineau Loppet and finished 2nd (Steffan) and 5th (Karl) in the men's Canadian Long Distance Championships 50km skate event and 2nd (Sheila) and 4th (Ingrid) in the women's category.

Ingrid, burning back home down the parkway.

For the university skiers on the team, OUA championships were held in North Bay in late February. The format this year was a mini tour, with 3 races being held in three different venues! XC Ottawa was well represented, with Andre, Peter, and Steffan being OUA all stars.

Kyla racing in her Carleton gear.

Our last races for the year were Nationals, held in Corner Brook, in Newfoundland! Excitement levels were high once again and the volunteers at Blow Me Down pulled off an amazing event! Notable results include: Andre and Steffan placing 3rd in the CCUNC team sprint, Liza's 31st in the 10km free, Sheila's 14th 30km classic and Steffan's 20th in the 50km classic

Steffan and Andre on the podium!

Sheila racing her sprint qualifier.

The team would like to thank everyone who supported XC Ottawa throughout the year; we couldn't have done it without you! Thanks to the endless time and effort put in to the team by our wonderful coach, John Suuronen. In addition, our excellent sponsors have supplied us with great products and support and we couldn't get by without you! Thanks to Canadian Winter Sport Corp. for the amazing Vauhti waxes, Jessica Spring for our excellent suit designs, Eload and Emend for the sports drinks the ensures we're hydrated and ready for our longer distance races, Fresh Air Experience for their continued support, Infinity for their world-class poles, Rudy Project for their superb glasses, Lafleur de la Capitale for their enormous support, OWL Rafting and MKC for the generous use of their facilities, and XC Zone for their filming and photography.

We also owe many thanks to the people who offered up their time on weekends to help wax our skis for our races and give out feeds. Many thanks go out to John Suuronen, Justin Demers, Anna Geiger-Whitlock, Mike Vieira, Claude Marchand, Craig Storey, Kyle Power, Peter Lloyd, and anyone else I may have missed. The team could not survive without you!

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