We've just returned from a successful racing expedition up in the wilds of northern Quebec this past weekend. Since all other racing in a 8 hour radius of Ottawa had been cancelled, this Quebec Cup in Foret Montmorency proved to be quite a large and competitive race with a record field of over 300 competitors!
Arriving Friday afternoon, we found the conditions to be surprisingly good given the warm temperatures, but there was rain in the air as we tested our skis and prepared ourselves for the classic individual start on Saturday.
Saturday morning the conditions were again fairly warm, hovering around zero degrees, and the tracks were glazed. This resulted in fairly quick conditions without too much trouble with the kick wax. John and Judy did a great job finding the best Vauhti klister combination for us! The men's 10km was won by Alex Harvey and the women's 7.5km race was won by Christine Bisson. Two members of XC Ottawa made it to the podium with bronze medals; the dynamic duo of Karl Saidla and Megan McTavish.
Sunday was the mass start skate race which proved to be very interesting. Since this Quebec Cup was the Quebec team's Canada Winter Games qualifying race, organizers chose to seed start all the eligible skiers (seniors and juniors) in the front rather than where they would be seeded based on points or Saturday's results. This meant Ontario skiers started no closer to the front than 3 rows back and the USA skiers at least 5 rows back. This caused a fair bit of congestion for the men on the narrow course, but luckily no XC Ottawa team members broke poles or skis and the XC Ottawa swept the senior category podium with Karl, Brian and Gavin but couldn't catch overall winner Alex Harvey. In the women's race Megan had a terrific day coming 2nd overall behind National Team member Britanny Webster.
The weekend was very successful and now we are all hoping for some snow here for the local Boxing Day Burnoff race on the 26th!
Thanks a lot to Sheila who found our fantastic condo throught Chalets Alpin in Stoneham - it was a perfect layout for our large group. Thanks also to Judy for the exceptional wax support.
Some quotes for the weekend:
- Ed: "Convection oven?... let me get my text book!"
- Brian: "The more salt the merrier. (referring to his excellent chili he made)"
- Gavin: "You beat me by 2 seconds? I'm going to multiply that by a negative number tomorrow."
- Tom: "Move to the middle of the trail."
- Andrew: "You've got to watch that starting gate."
Andrew Wynd won the prize for the biggest injury of the day after literally falling out of the start gate with a face plant. Ouch! To top it off he returned to his warm-ups to find his down jacket and shoes full of water. Way to get all of the bad luck out of your system on the first weekend of racing.
Brittany Webster and Megan McTavish at the finish of Sunday's race.