This weekend saw all XCOttawa racers compete in the Eastern Canadian Championships held at Skinouk in the Gatineau Park. Roughly 600 racers had registered for this event in categories from mini-midget through masters.
Races began on Saturday with the Open Men category, which included Junior, Senior, University and some Masters skiers. A very flat course required good double poling strength and some serious focus to maintain a consistent effort over the relatively dull terrain. The starting area remained dirty due to Ottawa’s continuing dry winter but in the higher elevations and more sheltered areas of the course conditions were excellent.
The men’s field was won by Chris Butler after a dominant performance placing him a full minute over the next finisher. After that the field was very competitive with many places determined by fractions of a second. Gavin Hamilton achieved the top XCOttawa finish of the day in 6th place,1:19 back of the lead, followed closely by Brian Suke in 8th, 1:27 behind the leader. Tom McCarthy edged Karl Saidla by a 0.2 seconds to claim 15th and 16th places respectively. Wayne Dustin put in a strong performance choosing to use skate poles on the flat course, powering to a 19th place finish 1:55 off the leader. Andrew Wynd, Ed McCarthy and Craig Storey rounded out the XCOttawa men with 26th, 29th and 32nd place finishes in a total men’s field of 105 skiers.
The women’s field was once again won by the 19 year old phenom Brittany Webster who completed the 7.5km course in 23:31.1 to win by 38 seconds over Christine Bisson. Sheila Kealey had a very impressive race finishing in 5th position, good enough for a cash prize. Megan McTavish skied into a very close 8th place finish.
The XCOttawa men and women received excellent waxing advice and support from coach John Surronen. The wax of the day consisting of Vauhti Speed Graphite and Spektra Green covered with Black Fox glide waxes and Vauhti Teho covered with the ever reliable Vauhti Carrot grip.
After the first day of racing XCOttawa was generally very pleased with the results and looked forward to a good nights rest for the longer distance mass start skate races on Sunday.
The races began under colder conditions on Sunday with the Women’s race starting 20min ahead of the open men. The 15 km course headed from Gamelin onto the parkway up Pink lake hill before turning around at the Champlain turnoff and heading back to the 7.5km course of the previous day. (See detailed maps)
Brittany Webster started out to an early lead, but coming back down Pink Lake was hotly pursued by Sheila Kealey alone in second. Ultimately the train of skiers pursuing Sheila caught her after the long dowhhill. She skied with the pack until the final uphill on trail 5, when her pole was stepped on and came off and she had to go downhill to get it and lost the pack, but managed to ski to a very respectable 7th place finish. Megan McTavish finished in 12th position, close behind the Saturday’s top University skier Rena Bode.
The men’s race saw Karl Saidla looking for redemption for the previous days performance. Karl quickly jumped into second position, behind leader Chris Butler, followed by Gavin Hamilton and a large train of top male skiers. Karl skied in a strong position, continually near the front of the pack, pushing the pace and maintaining a strategically strong placing. A bad fall on one of the Gatineaus long downhills knocked Gavin Hamilton out of the chasing train. A similar fate befell Brian Suke when his ski became stuck in the snow spinning him down at 13km in. A sprint to get back on the rear of the chase pack exhausted Suke and he skied the rest of the alone in 10th position. Karl maintained his leading position and attempted a break on the second climb up Pink Lake only to be chased down by Northern Training and Development Center (NTDC) skiers. Karl finished in an exciting sprint finish and 5th position only 15 seconds off winner Chris Butler. XCOttawa skiers Andrew Wynd and Tom McCarthy skied a tight race together placing 16th and 17th respectively. For full results visit www.zone4.ca.
The Eastern Canadian Championships held some good results for XCOttawa. We are looking forward to races in Mount Orford over the coming weekend and possibly the final Ontario Cup race held in Duntroon on March 3rd and 4th. Beyond that the season will reach its climax with the Canadian Championship races in Mount St. Anne from March 19-25th. XCOttawa will continue to train in Ottawa and the Gatineau park in preparation for these races and future seasons.
- Club and Provincial Aggregate Points
- 2007 Eastern Canadian Championship Photos #1 by Arno Turk
- Jo-Ann Holden's Archive of Eastern's Pictures