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Canmore Race Report: World Championships Trials 2007
By:  Megan McTavish   (2007/01/29)


This past weekend Sheila, Brian and I traveled to Canmore to compete in the distance weekend of the World Championships Trials. There, we joined Karl and John, who had been relaxing at the Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge for the week following the sprint trials the weekend before. Karl says they were really good at doing everything slowly and the time flew by. Sheila, Brian and I showed up late Thursday night. This was a bit of an experiment, as racing in Canmore is at 1500m elevation and there is also two hour time change to deal with. One theory suggests that showing immediately before the races is sometimes an effective strategy. Since we all had to work during the week, we decided to test the theory.

XCOttawa team racing in Canmore Alberta

Friday we spent skiing the course and testing skis. John did a lot of waxing, trying to find the fastest combination for our skate race on Saturday. Saturdayís race was an individual start 10km (3x3.3km) for the women and 15km (4x3.75km) for the men. These loops follow a fairly straightforward format of a long and sometimes steep climb followed by a very vast dowhnill bringing you back to start the loop again. Coupled with a bit less oxygen in the air than ther is in Ottawa made for a very tough race. We all survived but no one felt they had raced quite to their potential. We all took it as a good prep race and turned our focus to the next day, the pursuit. The jury was, and in fact still is, out on "the theory".

The pursuit race was equally tough in terms of terrain, but quite a bit longer; 15km for the women and 30km for the men. The course was very challenging and consisted of two different 3.75km loops. One for classic and one for skating. The first half of the race was on the classic loop and then we quickly switched skis and poles (pit stop) and finished the race skating. It was mass start. The women went out first and Sheila and I were feeling good in our warm up. However, going up the very first hill we came to realize that we didnít have enough grip. Given how tough the course was, this was a painful discovery! We stuggled and suffered and looked forward to the skating half, where things went better. We were both disappointed with their race overall, but felt pretty good in the skate portion and are looking forward to better luck at Easterns.

Karl and Brian got more grip put on their skis thanks to the sacrificial lambs (the girls!). They both started really well and skied straight up the track. Brian had some bad luck on the first lap and fell hard on his pole, jabbing it into his rib cage. He got up and tried to continue but was in quite a bit of pain so had to pack it in for the day.

Karl Saidla cross-country ski racing in Canmore Alberta

Karl had a great race keeping the lead pack in sight for most of the classic portion battling it out with people like Chris Butler, Chris Jeffries, Graham Nishikawa, Pate Neumann and Mike Argue. In the end, he finished in 11th position and was very satisfied. He had a big chearing section as it was also his 30th birthday. Lots of birthday boy comments were made and someone noted that he was the first finisher in the Masterís category!

Thatís all for nowÖ.we are all looking forward to the Eastern Canadian Championships in Gatineau Park next weekend!

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