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XCOttawa Out West: P-O's Wrap-up
By:  Pierre-Olivier Derego   (2005/12/09)


When I was asked to write something about our trip out west, I didnít really feel like doing it. As some of you might know, Iím kind of a sloth when comes time to doing such things. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt like I had to share my experiences because this was just too good a tripÖ

So everything started in beautiful Silver Star B.C.. It was my second time there, but Silver Star is definitely one of thoses places that no matter how many times you visit, itís always magnificent. The giant trees, the incredible amounts of snow, the trails, the villageÖ all things that make for every skier's paradise. Despite the amazing amounts of snow, for the most part the skies were clear blue with few clouds. We stayed at a ďrusticĒ cabin called the Stellar J. Nice little cozy place. Karl has already reported on XC Ottawa's first NorAm performances (see Silver Star Wrap-Up).

For myself, the Silver Star races didnít go that well, but I sure learned a lot, and put in some good skiing. The other thing I couldn't ignore is that Sara Renner beat me by .1 second in the sprint qualification. Now lets move on to Canmore Alberta.

Canmore is another nice place for skiing, but it usually isnít as blessed by the snow gods as Silver Star. Last weekend wasnít an exception to this rule. There was very little snow (almost none), but I have to say kudos to the Canmore Nordic Center to have managed to put in some good trails for the races.

The weather was cold, and the artificial snow very abrasive at first. After a few runs of the track setting machine, the conditions got faster and faster. The temperature was staying cold though. In the morning temperatures would go as low as -30C. . . brrrrrrrrrutal.

Saturday was the sprints, and a very cold day to be racing (apparently it "warmed" up to -20C, the legal limit, by start time). Again it didnít go too well for me, and Sara Renner beat me by again the slimmest of margins, 0.1 second. These two sprint races were very hard on my egoÖ but I realize I wasn't racing at my best and look forward to better performances (and beating Sara) in the New Year.

Temperatures warmed up for Sunday's classic race, a 15k mass start on one of the hardest courses Iíve ever seen or raced on. I really think all races should be on that kind of course. For some reason, I was seeded at the back, in the second last rowÖ not an ideal position in a Mass Start with almost 100 racers. The inevitable happened, a crash in front of meÖ I was stuck behind, and lost quite a bit of time and a couple more positions. But after that it was all smooth sailing up the numerous hills, with Johnís perfect wax job. I ended up having a pretty good race, and so did most of my teammates.

The conclusion to the whole trip is a very positive one. Karl had a great race and qualified for the Canadian World Cup races. Megan also raced strong and achieved the selection race qualification criteria, but unfortunately didn't meet the FIS World Cup standard to race. Just these two results are enough to satisfy any club. As for me, I had a great trip, and now that school is finally over, I canít wait to race again after putting in some solid training hours.


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