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Athlete Diary: Racing is Starting.
By:  Sheila Kealey   (2007/11/27)


Racing is starting . . . and it’s not a gentle introduction to competition, but begins full force with eight races over three consecutive weeks of Canada Cups in (1) Silvertar/Sovereign Lakes, BC, (2) Canmore AB, and (3) Valcartier, Quebec. Now is a time when I’m especially appreciative of the specific dryland training I’ve done, since it makes the transition to snow that much easier. On snow sessions in Montmorency and last week in the Gatineau park should also make this early season racing a better experience.

Racing form is always a big question mark with these early season races. As Karl eloquently outlined (http://www.xcottawa.ca/articles.php?id=873), cross-country skiers don’t have a good objective measure of their on-snow skiing fitness. While a stopwatch and measured distance boldly tells swimmers and runners how they’re doing and allows them to adjust their training accordingly, cross-country skiers need to be in tune with more subtle signs of ski fitness (and have a lot of confidence in their training programs!). This uncertainty is not a bad thing, and can help foster an optimistic attitude throughout cold and rainy dryland training sessions.

I’ve had two great distance races in Silverstar and one poor one – I’m hoping this year’s event tips the odds in favor of good early season racing.

Silverstar week in November is becoming a sort of family tradition. We never planned it like this, but after coming for the first time 4 years ago, it’s been hard to resist the draw of such a great cross-country skiing destination. One of my favorite parts walking out the door and putting our skis on, rather than driving to the trails – this works especially well with kids . . . I feel really lucky to be able to mix family holidays with a few races!

We arrived yesterday afternoon. Our drive up the mountain was typical: the airport in Kelowna was green, we drove through Vernon - which was snowless, gloomy, and cloudy, but broke through the clouds to bright sunshine and snow once we reached Silverstar. Other XC Ottawa team racing here are Andrew, Karl, Justin, Megan, and Alana, plus our Vancouver contingent Ed and Tom who arrive later in the week. Here’s the racing schedule for the next three weeks.

Dec 1 – Sovereign Lakes, BC: individual start skate (women 10k; men 15k)

Dec 2 – Sovereign Lakes, BC: classic Sprint

Dec 6 – Canmore, AB: pursuit (women 10k; men 15k)

Dec 8 – Canmore, AB: sprint skate

Dec 9 – Canmore, AB: individual start classic (women 5k; men 15k)

Dec 13 – Valcartier, QC: Sprint

Dec 15 – Valcartier, QC: Pursuit (10k women; 20k men)

Dec 16 – Valcartier, QC: Mass start classic (5k women; 10k men)

Sheila Kealey skiing at Silver Star
Sheila in front of her temporary Silver Star home.
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