On Sunday the XCOttawa team members not in Canmore (Brian, Craig, Gavin, Megan, Sheila and Wayne) raced at the Nakkertok Invitational. Ed was also in attendance but due to illness opted not to race, however he did provide us with some quality photos. The men completed 3 laps of the 5km course for 15km and the women 2 laps for 10km. Some good grooming, hard shoveling and stick cutting on Saturday by Dirk van Wijk as well as many other Nakkertok volunteers, including XCOttawa team members Craig Storey and Gavin Hamilton, paid off and the course was in decent condition with only the odd rock or stick poking through by the time 200 skiers had gone over it several times each. The snow was well packed but the cold conditions made for slow skis and a long race. Not to mention the big hills!
The mass start menís race was self seeded and started without anyone resorting to fisticuffs for a better seeding. Gavin Hamilton and Brian Suke moved to an early lead on the first lap and opened up a small gap over the rest of the field. They traded the lead back and forth throughout the race but Gavin eventually triumphed in a sprint to the finish. This was sweet revenge for Gavin who was beaten to the line by Brian in a similar sprint in Montmorency earlier this year. Craig Storey had a solid race but succumbed to the relentless pacing of Wayne Dustin who powered to a 3rd place overall finish (and 1st master man).
The womenís race was a hard fought battle between Megan and Sheila who both quickly opened up a large lead over the rest of the field. Sheila won the day by a 30s margin with a very gutsy performance.
XCOttawa would like to thank Nakkertok for holding a very professional and fun race at their Nakkertok South trails. We would also like to send special kudos to Gavin Hamilton who guided a blind skier in the para-nordic category at the beginning of the day. The team is looking forward to racing in Canmore at the World Championship trials and beyond that to the Eastern Canadian Championships (held at Skinouk) and the heart of the nordic racing season.
Brian watching the action as Gavin takes his turn at the front.† Photo: Brad Jones.