With the crack of the new year, comes the shock of some of the most important races of the year: Olympic, World Junior and Under 23 trials. On a brisk but spirited Wednesday, Julien Locke approached the start line of his sprint qualifier. Bursting from the start gate, he flew off into a tie for 14th position moving on to the cutthroat heats. In quarter-final action, he stealthily hid at the back of the pack, waiting ever so patiently. At the apex of the course, he spotted his chance to strike, metaphorically vaulting three racers including under 23 finesse Patrick Stewart-Jones to tuck behind leader Knute Johnsgaard. With skis only the legendary Dave Squared team could produce, he effortlessly out finished Knute and Graham Nishikawa earning a spot in the semis. Now scraping scales with mostly National team members, he played a similar strategy, despite the flesh-off-bones pace of Michael Sommpi, and once again pulled through into the final.
At the firing of the gun, Julien had his trademark quick start launching up the hill with a marginal lead with a near fictitious speed over Phil Widmer and Jess Cockney. They, along with Bob Thompson and Graham Nishikawa, were able to push Julien into 5th coming into the finish stretch. All of a sudden, Cockney and Widmer went for the same lane causing Widmer to fall allowing Thompson to cruise to victory with Julien less than a second back in 4th!
After the race, Julien had to say, “It was fun, I knew this course well and just played to my strengths.”
The following day, jovial Julien would rest, though not on his laurels, from competing opening the stables for his friends and compatriots, Colin and David. With a looming 15km, including four times up Beckie’s Hill, it was gruelling race causing bonks, lung explosions and the omni-dreaded breathing hard. David set out with his normal nonchalant pace giving him strength for his speedy finishing kick in the second half of the race. Colin, feeling a tad woozy prior to racing, went out rather quickly, though only to be caught by Seb Townsend, who proved to have a stellar race finishing 10th overall. Colin was able to crawl behind for a short period before getting dropped off. However, he mustard the last of his strength, relishing thoughts of the finish line so he did his best to ketchup some lost ground finishing in a respectable 22nd just 15 seconds behind David in 20th. David’s thoughts on the day, “I skied behind Alex Mahoney the whole time as he was skiing really strongly and I managed to come through with a good finish.”