This weekend, Ed and I had the pleasure of racing at the ‘first sanctioned nordic ski event at the Callaghan Valley’ – and we have the pins to show for it!! This was our first chance to check out the Olympic courses for 2010 and to see this brand-new, world-class facility less than 2 hours from our doorstep!! A separate article on the facility is also posted.
The BC Cups are perhaps a little less competitive than the Ontario Cups. There were less than 20 senior men in both days of racing. The first day was a classic sprint. The second was a 10k skate mass start.
Ed and I got there a little bit late for the sprint, and raced the qualifier without knowing the course – which was confusing, because they used a bunch of sprint courses and had distance markers to tell where to go. The sprint course went up a big hill – one steep section and then striding – and then wound back down two corners into the stadium, and one last corner for the final sprint. It was 1200m, and is apparently the women’s Olympic sprint course.
I qualified second, but WAY behind the first qualifier, Cam Egan, and only 6/10ths ahead of Jesse Heckrodt. Ed qualified in 7th. There was a LONG wait until the heats, which didn’t get going, after a delay, until after 3:30. I didn’t really eat right, didn’t bring enough food, and felt tired for the duration of the heats. Ed and I were in the same quarterfinal, and I tried to be conservative, doing enough to qualify. Ed finished second in the heat. I was tired in the semi, and again was able to do enough to slide into second to grab a spot in the final. I put a new layer of grip on for the final, but I didn’t have any jump in my arms or legs, and lost a lot of time to Cam at the start, and to Jesse over the course of the race. I finished 3rd, but without very good sensations. Anyway, the medal is the prettiest medal I’ve ever seen, so I was pumped for the third-place result.
Ed was the big story, winning the B final by stomping everybody on the big climb and holding it together for the way in. He took 5th – which was his best ever sprint result, and his first time getting past the quarterfinals.
McCarthy Cup update: 2-1 for Tom.
Skate Mass Start 10k
Sunday was a bright, sunny, gorgeous day, with amazing views of the new facility and the valley it sits in. I tried to focus on the race, but it was tough. They started the junior men with the seniors, which added a bit more competitiveness – maybe 35 or 40 guys overall. The race started very well for me – got in a great start in the mass start, and up the first hill was sitting comfortably in 2nd behind Jesse Heckrodt. He was alternating the pace to try and burn people off, and I was able to stay with him for a while. He lost me about 3k in though, and I started a very slow burn. A bunch of people passed me through the next 5k, including Ed.
Ed put about a 20 second gap on me, but I caught up to a couple of junior men and skied with them. I got a second wind, and pulled back up to within striking distance of Ed, with about 2k left. Then I did what I could, but it wasn’t enough. He beat me by around 8 seconds. Ed was 6th and I was 7th. It wasn’t a great racing day – the skis were good, on Speed Blue as the top layer, but I was tired. I also had a weird sensation at the finish line – my heart started going fast and I couldn’t control my breathing, but only for about 20 second, then it was fine again.
Anyway, I have discovered that racing without a good fitness base is very difficult. When I got tired, it was just a drop in all energy levels, and I knew I was crawling up the hills. It didn’t hurt any more, but the juice simply wasn’t there to keep it going. So I just went slower – there was no choice, it was kind of weird. Perhaps that’s something I will have to get used to!
McCarthy Cup update: 2-2 Tie.
The trail goes up right from the start.
The only participants in the McCarthy Cup - Tom (left) and Ed (right).
Tom taking in the views.