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Athlete Diary: Stories from the Newcomer
By:  Linnea Rudachyk   (2005/11/15)

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Snow has finally arrived in Ottawa and the race season is in sight. This is my third season of training in Ottawa, but my first year on XC Ottawa, already I am having a very positive experience. I am enjoying the opportunity to train with such accomplished athletes.

I started skiing in the small town of South River with my parents as my first coaches. My father could be seen with a little Linnea sleeping in a backpack strapped to his back as he skied. Both my parents joke about my first words being, ďSlow down Daddy, Slow down.Ē My dad seemed to always forget that he had a child on his back and would not slow down for the long steep down hills. The twists and turns in the hills would quickly remind him that the extra weight on his back made fast maneuvers a little difficult. It was not uncommon for me to go flying out of the backpack head first into a snow bank.

My parents, later with some friends, started a Jack Rabbit club in South River. As my sister, brother and I grew we had dreams of joining a junior racing team, this required my parents to drive about an hour north to North Bay where this was possible. When I was fourteen I started racing for the North Bay Nordic Junior Racing Team with coach Martin Nighbor. With his coaching I was able to get my first taste of the Canadian Championships, as a member of the Ontario Development Team. Well, the rest is really history! I fell in love with the sport and havenít turned back since.

Three years ago I moved to Ottawa and started school at Carleton University, studying Political Science and Human Rights. Along with being a varsity athlete I was also a member of the National Athlete Development Team. Skiing with the NADC gave me the opportunity to compete in larger more challenging competitions all over the country. I was introduced to Canada Cup races, World Trials and US Nationals. Last year, I was a member of the Carleton Varsity team. I missed having a club team outside of the University, so I decided to follow some Carleton Alumni and joined XC Ottawa. I am now racing for both XC Ottawa and Carleton University. That is my history in a nutshell and now I will talk about my hopes and aspirations for this race season.

I was fortunate this summer to work at Owl Rafting in the Ottawa Valley. I was able to get my long hours of summer training in so I entered the fall season feeling strong and ready to give it my all. I decreased my training hours this year and I am finding it much easier to recovery and balance school. I have opted out of the early season races this year. I feel like this was a good choice for me, in the past it has been a challenge to organize exam writing and racing. I look forward to racing shortly after Christmas when I am more relaxed and focused. Some of the larger races I am hoping to do well in this season are the U23 in Valcartier, the OUAís (My baby sister just started University at Lakehead, our rival team. It will be interesting to see what unfolds there! Carleton has an Eva and Linnea and now Lakehead has an Ava and Linnaea!! The Linn(a)eas and the (E)Avas will battle for the title!) Finally, I hope to do well at the Canadian Championships at the end of the season. I feel like these goals will be possible to obtain as I have a great team that is very supportive and inspiring and a coach that has a lot of knowledge and experience that has really made a difference thus far.

XC Ottawa just completed a training camp in Foret Montmorency. It was great to get some hours in on snow! Fingers crossed, the snow will stay in Ottawa and I wonít have to pull out my roller skis until next season!
 
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