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2003 National Championship Wrap-up from Duntroon
By:  Laura Clements   (2003/03/25)


Well, for some us the journey to Duntroon was a journey that brought back childhood memories. Duntroon is one of those trail systems that seem, to people who have been racing for a few years, like a home away from home. Many of us could remember as far back as our first moments on skis at Duntroon, while others could recollect some of their earliest ski races held at Duntroon.

The Nationals adventure brought us to the finest racing trails in Southern Ontario. Larry's trails, groomed to perfection as always, new and expanded chalet, mind blowing hospitality tent and outstanding volunteer network hosted a great National Championships that won't soon be forgotten.

The members of XC Ottawa fought a valiant battle throughout the week. With many of our team members flagged by sickness, it was a battle of mind over matter. We started off to a bit of a rocky start but as the week got rolling into full swing, more and more racers were spotting the backs of our bright blue suits!

On the first day of action, Karl Saidla and his other half Megan Mctavish brought in XC Ottawa's top results, with a 17th and 16th placing respectively in their categories in the 15km and 10km skate race. In the senior men's action, Tom McCarthy and David Zylberburg trailed close behind Karl.

As the week progressed and the sprints drew closer, the adrenalin of XC Ottawa athletes started to rise! With warmer more tolerable temperatures, the sprints were a day of action nobody wanted to miss!

Megan was our sole member to walk beyond the qualification round. Megan, who we thought would never make it down the extreme downhill section of the course during the warm up. She fell five times in a row, and had to change her race tights because her butt was wet. She proved us all wrong in the races. Other members that were ever so close to skiing in the red carpet rounds were Laura Clements, Tom McCarthy and Craig Storey. Megan fought a fearless battle to advance her way to the semi finals. In a tight battle against Shayla Swanson, Chandra Crawford and Rebecca Laakso, Megan was just knocked out of advancing to the final round.

The week ended off with the most grueling race of all, a 50km Classic race for the men and a 30km race for the women. A day of racing that would amount to more physical activity that an average Canadian would even come close to doing in a year!

On men's side of the action, XC Ottawa's Karl Saidla led the clan in 10th place. Lee Churchill followed close behind with a great race, finishing 13th. David Zylberberg and Tom McCarthy followed with strong 16th and 22nd positions respectively.

The woman's side was flagged with sickness and Meggy McTavish was our woman's team star once again! Megan finished in a strong 18th position.

Duntroon was the home of many memories and friendships revisited from across the country. See you all next year for another great week of racing!

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