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Canada Winter Games Update #2 - Gavin Hamilton 2nd in 15km Mass Start Free!
By:  Team XCOttawa   (2007/03/08)

Gavin Hamilton

So far we have had three races; Classic Individual race monday, Sprint tuesday and the 15km race was today. For the first two you can check out zone4 for results, it was so long ago I can barely remember how they went... so I'll just concentrate on the 15km while it is fresh in my mind!

Today was the mass start skate race which I was really looking forward to as I am historically a better skater (vs. classic) and as the classic race went quite well I had a good feeling. We woke up to an overcast sky and -18 degree weather, but the forcast was calling for it to warm up. By the time the race started (11:30) it was -10 and the sun was starting to show. I was in 9th seed, so luckily got the last spot on the edge of the starting chevron. The race started with no problems for me, and I found myself in 3rd place after the first uphill behind Andrew Casey and Christian Ruel with my fellow ontario skiers close behind. John Rennie wasn't quite as lucky as he broke both poles in the first 100m! My plan was to try and ski relaxed and calm for the first three laps and if I was still with the leaders at that point, to push the pace on the fourth and final lap. Up to about 1km in my plan was going great, when an unlucky ski cross with Cam Egan (BC Team) spun me around and I found myself about 30 spots back and a face full of snow as we entered the narrow trails for the first loop! This made me work harder than I was hoping on the first lap to get back in contention. Luckily the first lap was quite easy with people jockying for position so I was able to catch up to the lead group without too much trouble just before the start of the second lap. Mark Doble (Ontario) and Curtis Merry (Team Alberta) lead most of the first couple of laps and Jesse Winter (Ontario) also did his fair share of leading (with myself as well once I caught up!). By the fourth lap, there were about 10 left in the lead group and I decided to take the lead and see if I could push the pace a bit. I was sucessful in this and by the last large climb, there were three of us left, with myself in second behind the NWT biathlete, Brendan Graham, followed closely by Curtis. We stayed in this order to the finishing stretch and I wasn't able to pull out enough energy to sprint pass Brendan on the uphill finishing stretch. As an aside- I definitely give the organisers props for this course design and all the time and money spent in the stadium, even though it is a killer trying to finish strong for the last 100m! The other ontario skiers skied strong races as well, Jesse in 9th, Mark in 12th, Len in 14th and John in 28th (with 2 new poles). In the girls race, Alana Thomas skied to a strong 3rd place finish with Mallory, Natasha and Alysia close behind in 6th, 10th and 21th respectively. It has been a long hard week but we are definitely looking forward to the relay tomorrow. Our team will be Mark starting and Len second in the classic legs, and then myself and Jesse bringing us home skating the last two legs. Our biggest competition will probably come from Team Alberta and Team BC but I'm confident that we will have a shot at the gold. The girls are planning on this as well!

Jesse Winter Comment:

Wow....thats quite the short novel you've got going here Gavin. I gotta say you sure earned your silver medal. It was really nice to see some ontario skiers on the podium. We're all really excited about the relay tomorrow....see if we can't take that top spot all for ourselves. This trip has been really interesting, as it is quite a departure from what i'm used to. Racing with NTDC, we get to do things pretty much how ever we want, but up here we don't have the same level of control over things like when we eat, train or attend Team Ontario events. It's been really fun, and a good learning experinece. I think its important to be able to rise to the occaison at any event, no matter what the circumstances are. Gavin and Alana showed that really well today. Good work you guys!

John Rennie Comments ...

Well I won't talk too much about my race today because, as Gavin mentioned above, I had a rough start and never really got back into the race. The sprints were a better day for me though, so I'll talk about them for a bit. The new sprint course here is really interesting, as we did two loops of an inward spiral. It had a decent climb that we did twice, as well as a solid downhill and some flats. Pretty much everything you need for a good sprint. It also made for good spectating and we were told that there were close to 500 spectators! I was satisfied with my time trial and excited for the heats becuase I knew I was feeling good. My quarter final was easier than most are, as my main competition, Andrew Casey, pulled off an impressive face plant 50 meters into the race, so I was able to cruise the rest of the way. My semi final, however, was more difficult, and I lost the lead group after getting a little tangled up early on. So it was off to the B final where I sat at the back of the pack until the last downhill, where I made my move to finish 3rd in the heat and 9th overall. I was aiming for a top 10 and happy when it came. We're all pretty pumped about Gavin's medal. It's a pretty solid chunk of silver!

Alana Thomas Comments:

Well i really am loving Whitehorse (particularly the pin trading) and have been feeling good racing, but really I would just like to let you know that don't ever believe anything Ed says.

Results: zone4.ca
Canada Winter Games Update #1 - Traveling
Gavin's Team Ontario Profile
Gavin's Selection to Team Ontario 2007
XC Skiing Pictures from Canada Winter Games
Daily Team Ontario Newsletter for March 9th.

Pictures of Gavin racing at CWG: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Interesting Reading. . .
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