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Race Report: Ontario Cup #4, Gatineau Park - XC Ottawa Continues in Fine Form
By:  Arno Turk   (2003/01/12)

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Ontario Cup race #4, Gatineau Park, Ottawa
Hosted by Nakkertok Ski Club
Sunday January 12th - 10km Skate

Nakkertok Ski Club hosted a record-setting weekend in Gatineau Park this past weekend. In spite of the bitter-cold temperatures, it was likely one of the best attended Ontario Cup races ever. XC Ottawa athletes continued the record setting by posting impressive results. Even better was the job performed by the race organizers. Despite conditions at their intended site, timing difficulties, the cold weather, and the huge number of racers, this was an event that surely got some skiers hooked on racing.

Saturday's classic races started later than anticipated to avoid the cold temperature. Double starts, unheard-of in recent years, provided yet another fresh change in the racing atmosphere. Karl Saidla continued in his winning way by launching his way to the top of the podium, beating out teammate Lee Churchill by a slim 4 seconds (over 15km!). The course used the extra long, shallow climbs of the Gatineau Parkway. This proved to be more difficult to race on than initially intended by most of the racers. XC Ottawa's Tom McCarthy completed the podium sweep for the team by taking 3rd place, 18 seconds behind Lee Churchill. The rest of the team followed up solidly: David Zyberberg 4th, Chad Yurich 7th, Stephen Bursey 8th, Arno Turk 10th, Craig Storey 16th, and Glen McIntyre 22nd.

In the Senior Women's category, Megan McTavish (XC Ottawa) completed her preparation for the World University Games, with a strong second place finish to Emily Hayman in the 10km classic race. Carley Kenwell, a junior from Kanata Racers turned heads with her 3rd place finish. XC Ottawa's Alicia Berthiaume chased down the junior's strong showing, but came up 8 seconds short in 5th place.

Sunday's Skating races included the same excitement of the double start format with slightly warmer temperatures, but with a light wind present. The Men's race was marked by tight times between all competitors, except for the victor, National Team 2006 member Chris Jeffries whose home club is Nakkertok. His time of 23:56 was 1:21 ahead of Timo Puiras of Lappe Nordic. Chris hopes to qualify for the upcoming World Championships in Val di Femme and race in Europe with the National Ski Team. Lee Churchill of XC Ottawa one-skated his way to a 3rd place, 1:39 behind on the winner. David Zylberberg pursued the leaders in 4th, Stephen Bursey 5th, Craig Storey 9th, Tom McCarthy 10th, Arno Turk 11th, and Chad Yurich 15th. Karl Saidla opted to ski conservatively, in order to rest for this weekend's qualifying races in Mont Ste-Anne Quebec. He did however need to participate to remain eligible for the OUA Championships.

Alicia Berthiaume's aggressive skating technique pushed her up one place in the women's 5km event. Andrea Nighbor took the win with a time of 30:52. Emily Hayman beat Alicia out of 2nd place by a mere 11 seconds. Megan McTavish did not race in order to rest for her journey to Italy on Monday for the World University Games.

On the whole, XC Ottawa's preparation seems well on schedule for this season.

 
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