As mentioned in the previous article, the trails were in immaculate shape heading into the Canadian Nationals at Lappe Nordic. It seems like trails are often great before major championship events and then, the night before the first race the “you know what” hits the fan. Fortunately, at least just this once, this did not happen and the weather remained very good for the relay events at the Canadian Nationals. The sunshine actually stuck around longer than it was supposed to and the trails remained in excellent condition.
The events happening today were Open men’s and women’s club relays, Challenge girls and boys (17 years old and younger) club relays, as well as the CCUNC (University) relays.
The relay format involves 3 person teams and short races of either 3.5 or 5kms. This has successfully kept the races relatively tight and exciting. The open relays featured several Olympic and National team athletes including Chris Jeffries and Sean Crooks among men, and Perianne Jones, Dasha Gaizova and Madeleine Williams among the women. Both races were very competitive and interesting to watch as positions switched back and forth constantly. In the women’s event the host club crowd was delighted with a victory for Lappe Nordic delivered via Rebecca Puiras, Brooke Latimer and Tasha Betcherman. This team grabbed the lead early with some great skiing from Puiras who has obviously returned to excellent form following some rough times with one of those annoying and mysterious chronic fatigue type conditions. Strong skiing from Latimer (who represented Canada at the 1995 World Championships) and Betcherman (2003 World Championships team I think) propelled Lappe to a hard-fought win over Edmonton Nordic and Foothills.
The men’s race saw the lead change several times between teams such as Foothills, Hardwood, Rocky Mountain Racers and Big Thunder. In the final leg Erik Carleton of Rocky Mountain racers overtook Chris Butler of Big Thunder for the win, with Hardwood taking third. The first and second legs for Rocky Mountain Racers were skied (strongly of course) by Luke McGurk and David Zylberberg.
The top three results of the Open, Challenge and CCUNC (University) relays are provided below. For full results go to www.zone4.ca.
Open Men: Rocky Mountain Racers, Big Thunder, Hardwood
Open Women: Lappe Nordic, Foothills Nordic, Edmonton Nordic
Challenge Boys: Banff Ski Runners, Lappe Nordic, Big Thunder
Challenge Boys: Foothills, Banff Ski Runners, Porcupine Ski Runners
CCUNC Men: Lakehead 1, Carleton, Lakehead 2
CCUNC Women: Lakehead 1, Lakehead 2, Laval
Racing continues on Tuesday with short distance, individual start classic races.