Thursday, March 29, 2012
There's no Canada like French Canada!
After a short two week break from racing we were back on a plane headed to our next stop for the season; Quebec City. La Belle Provence, and more specifically Mt. St. Anne, played host to our 2012 Canadian National Cross Country Ski Championships and considering the seriously summer-like weather they did an amazing job holding all the races on schedule and with relatively great conditions. I was really excited to start the championships with the Team Sprint, an event I skipped last year for the first time in eight years of travelling to and racing Nationals. I regret not racing last year quite a bit. This year I was teaming up with Brent Mcmurtry on Foothills 1. Brent won this event last year with my teammate Kevin Sandau so I was really looking forward to defending the title for Foothills. The race was held on the Plains of Abraham under hot sunny conditions of around 10C! The race played out well for Brent and I and we were able to ski away from the field with the Whitehorse team of David Greer and Graham Nishikawa. Brent skied the first leg and I was in charge of the anchor leg against Nish. Nish skied a really strong last lap and was positioned ahead of me in the final stretch before taking a small stumble that I avoided. His misstep was enough to open the door for me and I was able to close the win for Brent and I. I was really happy to win this team event but unfortunately it was the high water mark for the week as I struggled in the individual distance races under the hot 21C weather and sloppy conditions. The 10km Classic went ok, a slow start and strong finish on the two 5km laps made for a 10th place finish in some pretty tricky waxing conditions. As for the 15km Skate, that one sucked! I skied such a strong start and felt good with just over 5km to go. A few major bonks later I crossed the line in 20th and well off any type of goal I had going into the day. From here we had a rest day and a chance to prepare for the upcoming Skate Sprint. I was able to ski my best qualifier ever, however I was unable to move past the semi's and had to settle for 12th on a day that I was really excited about. After all that we still had the 50km Classic on the horizon. I am amazed the organizing committee was able to hold this race and I really need to give them lots of credit for that as the conditions were deteriorating quickly and I was definitely betting against the race being run. In the end they held it and we raced it. Alex Harvey and Devon Kershaw, fresh off their amazing season and World Cup finals in SWE, skied away from the field after their butt-face antics at the start of the race. Those guys are fast and it's good to see the level of speed we need to be competitive internationally. I finished the race strongly and crossed the line 7th tying my only other result in a 50km (Whitehorse,2010). From there we packed our skis, cleaned our barn house, and jetted off to the world's longest banquet in Quebec City. Now I'm back at home finishing up the last week of training before the real end to the season on Saturday; Mt. Shark! Shark has been the site of some real pain train races for me and I'm expecting more of the same for the 12.5km Skate. Thanks for following the season so far, the end is near!