Racing team updates

Georgian Nordic racing team report January 15, 2015

Back to school after the holidays, right? That did not happen. 2 snow days at home and the team was off to participate in the second of four Ontario cup in the series. This one was a much anticipated one, due to its duration and variety of racing. One classic interval start, followed by a classic sprint. Then a rest day followed by an interval start skate race on a homologated trail.

 

Peter, Malcolm, Noah, Graham, Emily, Shaylynn, Katja. in front Liam and NickPeter, Malcolm, Noah, Graham, Emily, Shaylynn, Katja. in front Liam and Nick

The team after. Left to right back: Coach Peter, Malcolm Thompson, Noah Thompson, Graham Ritchie, Emily Beirnes, Shaylynn Loewen, and coach Katja Mathys. Front: Midgets Liam and Nick. Absent Matjaz and Tomaz Cigler.

Day 1. January 7, 2015 Get there and preski. Travel to Duntroon, get used to where the team wax bench is, where to pick up bibs, and where athletes' facilities are. Course maps are discussed, and all skiers go out and pre ski their courses for race day. The skiers focus on how they want to ski  certain sections of the trail during the race.
 
Day 2 Classic interval start distance race. 5k for the girls, 7.5 for the boys. Cold new snow, great conditions for a race. -15 lightly snowing. Great for classic.
 

Shaylynn had not raced yet this season, she followed a good pre ski and race preparation routine. It made her race on Thursday. She placed 7th out of 27 skiers from all over province, an impressive result.
Graham only had the Yuletide blast in him so far, a skate race. Up to there, he had never done a classic race at this level. So he comes in 10th out of 30 in this very competitive field of skiers. Both Shaylynn and Graham  raced on skis they had never even skied on, talk about adapting to varied conditions. Skiers learn to deal with this quickly. Shaylynn decided to ski on the team racing skis about 10 minutes before the race. Why? I think she wanted to know what all the fuss is about. Good call!
Matjaz came in 23 out of 32, Emily 11 out of 13, Noah 6th out of 30, and Malcolm decides to win this one and does. 

GrahamGraham  ShaylynnShaylynn

Graham and Shaylynn on team racing skis for the first time

Day 2. Classic sprints  800m and 1100 mOur skiers prepare for this starting about mid July at the Salt Docks. No, not skiing on the salt, although that did cross my mind. No.
Roller skiing sprint starts across the parking lot, yes. Body position, sharp pole tips, pole angle and how quickly the body gets up to speed are all critical elements in getting a good position in a race that may be on soft snow or hard track, you never know what you have to adapt to.

EmilyEmily  TomazTomaz

Emily and Tomaz racing in blizzard conditions


 
So by now we should be able to handle sprints. It was snowing, then the wind came up, then it started to squall. Our prep tent blew over, much to the amusement of our neighboring teams near the start line. North Bay's fancy new tent with sidewalls and heater collapsed. Ski testing at its best in a squall, what kicks well, what doesn't. Our skiers make it work, whatever we come up with.
 Morning qualifier results: Graham  14/29, Noah 7th, Shaylynn 11/27, Emily 13/14, Matjaz 19/31, Malcolm 2, Tomaz 4/11. The idea now is to ski fast with a strategy to get  into the A-Final or the B-Final. All heats were timed and if you come in 3rd or 4th, you have a chance to advance as lucky loser if you have the fastest time at this ranking.
Shaylynn won her B-Final, that put her in 7th overall. So did Noah. Emily and Mat end up in 13th and 18th respectively. Graham advanced into the B-final as a lucky loser and finishes 12th overall. Tomaz, our only Midget skier on the racing team, almost gets on the podium, he makes it into the final guys twice the size, ends up in 4th regardless. Malcolm leads every heat into the final, in which again he fights for the lead after 50m, takes it and holds it. A great strategy on a foot of loose snow. He ends up winning the juvenile classic sprint.  Folks, picture this. Sprinting in a blizzard, no firm base, no track to ski in, .. to race in. Amazing. Fun to watch.

Malcolm 62Malcolm 62 

Malcolm leading the entire heat.

Day 3 Rest day. No racing for us today,  but a chance to put in an easy recovery ski and plan for tomorrow. Pre skiing was not possible as the course for the next day was occupied. Watching the elite skiers trying to qualify for World Juniors. 2 Ontario skiers training in Thunder Bay make it to Almaty, Kazakhstan. Julian Smith (GB Nordic) and Scott Hill (Hardwood).
 
Day 4 January 11, 2015 - Interval skate distance. 5k, 10k, 15k
Georgian gets 4 skiers in the top 10 today.
 
EmilyEmily  NoahNoah
Emily and Noah flying on skate skis
 
 
Graham figured today was his day, skating he knows, finishing 9 out of 29 skiers. Konrad races in the open men category with national level competition to skate the 15k into 47/64. Tomaz faces stiff competition and a hilly course but comes in 6/23 nonetheless. Emily skies into a respectable 16/22, Malcolm remains on the podium with a 3rd place. This was Noah's day, he ends up less than a minute behind the leader finishing second place. Shaylynn wipes on a big hill, but comes back to "bring it" into 15 out of 32. Matjaz sat this one out, a precaution as there were strong indications he was getting sick. We do not race sick. Not an easy decision to make and not a popular one.
 
 
Thanks go to Ron Beirnes for the constantly filled thermos of coffee, tech fuel.

Dave Thompson endless hours in the wax room, taking ridiculous orders from you know who.

Dave RitchieDave Ritchie

Dave Ritchie learning the ropes in waxing.

Katja Mathys sitting in on meetings and holding our team meetings, testing kick and glide, but also nurturing the athletes through a difficult event like this. Joe Cigler being the excellent skier he is for his skills in testing and narrowing down the list of waxes to be applied. Shaylynn, Sandra your baking is second to none. Kristine deserves a special mention. She was the team cook who makes it all worthwhile. Its such a bonus not having to go out after a long day and eat quality healthy nutritious food in great company.
We relax and eat well, ski well and have a lot of laughs.

115 Photos on flickr

 

Next up is the Team Sprint event in Huntsville this weekend. Followed by the Muskoka Loppet. Then another major event, the Canadian Eastern Championships in Gatineau, Quebec at the end of the month. Wish us good luck and good snow.