Saturday, 12 January 2013

Racing NorAMs in Thunder Bay

Welcome to 2013! After an amazingly fun and relaxing holiday break with my family near Hardwood it was back to "work" on the ski trails of Lappe Nordic in Thunder Bay. There were 3 races: a 15km skiathlon (half classic then a transition to skate, without a break), a classic sprint and a 10km individual start skate. These races were exciting for the usual reason, being races, but were also exciting because they were some of the selection races for World Junior and Under 23 Championships and World Championships.

The 15k skiathlon was my best race of the season so far by a longshot. It was one of those incredible days where skiing almost feels effortless and you don't realize how hard you were pushing until you cross the finish line and try to catch your breath. These are the kind of days athletes dream about while training all year and especially satisfying after what a terrible performance in the 15k world cup in Canmore last month. I finished second behind national team skier Emily Nishikawa and my good friend Zoe Roy rounded out the podium in third.

Above: charging up the "grunt" with Zoe and Emily. It was a chilly day at -15 so we were well bundled up!

The classic sprint day was next and the most exciting part was definitely the epic crash Kara Jaspers and I had in our quarter final heat. There was a sharp left hand corner at the bottom on the big downhill on course and I charged it over-confidently, bailed and then had Kara sail over me as I started to get up. The frame by frame is below. I did manage to get up quickly and make up enough time in the heat to finish second and move through to the semi finals, phew. The 10k skate also went well and I finished 6th, only about 20 seconds off the podium!

I feel great after getting some solid racing in and I'm confident that my form is back where it needs to be to continue the season. The next NorAm is at Highland's Nordic, near Collingwood, Ontario in 2 weeks. Rather than fly all the way back to Canmore for less than 2 weeks I've opted to train back in  Ottawa. The ski conditions are awesome here and it feels so good to be back!

Thanks for reading!

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