U-23 Trials/Westerns

Here we go! It’s been a long time since our last post so before you start reading go grab yourself a cup of tea, a blanket, and get comfortable, because this will be a long read.

Picking up where we left off, brings us to the sprint day at trials. After a breakfast of champions we walked over to the Highlands Nordic Centre where the wind and snow hadn’t let up. Lots of faces looked gloomy and unimpressed in the Chalet due to the weather situation, but we weren’t concerned. Under the harsh weather conditions all 4 of the Blackjack boys qualified into the heats. FYI this was the second time Colin has had the fastest qualifier for Blackjack this season.

Dave planned that Colin and David would sit out of the heats to help with their distance chances for the next day, meanwhile Julien and myself (Scott) were playing our cards as sprinters. Although I was 4th in my quarter final and unable to grab a lucky looser spot, Julien destroyed his Quarter and Semi final in Blackjack fashion. In the A final Julien unfortunately crashed and was unable to ski back into the heat. On a better note he still finished 6th overall, and 3rd U-23.

The next day was a 15km Skate individual start. Dave told us to leave everything we had out there, and we did. David came through and fell to his knees at the finish and Colin came into the finishing straight holding off Graeme Killick who started 30sec behind him. Colin finished 7th, 10sec back was David in 8th, Scott was 35th, and Julien was 40th.

After that race Colin was selected to the U-23 World Champs team to represent Canada in Kazakhstan! Way to go Colin!

We stayed one more day in Duntroon and went for a relaxing recovery ski in the new snow at the Highland Nordic trails. A special thanks goes to all the volunteers and organizers for putting on a great weekend of racing under brutal conditions.

After a mishap in the airport with someone’s tickets… We all got back to Calgary and quickly headed to Canmore to meet the rest of the club for the Westerns Canadian Championships.

Thursday was a race at Lake Louise for the Open Men category. To me this race felt like something different. First of all it was at Lake Louise, one of the most gorgeous places on earth, and second it was one loop of a 10km course. Just like the old days! Lots of guys chose to double pole this course including Julien, but at the end of the day grip wax took the win! And a great day for Blackjack with all 4 of us in the top 13! Colin finished 8th, David and Scott were 1sec apart in 11th and 12th, and 6 seconds back from them was double poling Julien in 13th! This is Scott’s best ever result in a Nor-Am.

Now it’s time for the Junior Blackjack racers! The Friday was a classic mid-distance for them in Canmore. They showed a lot of excitement the night before, and thankfully all of them channeled that excitement to focus, and were ready to race by breakfast. Daniel went out first placing 15th Junior boy in a tough field. Sage also raced well in Junior girls placing 22nd, followed by Chiaki in 38th. Remi went out with a painful pace that nobody could match, and won the Juvenile boys race by 14.2sec! Michaela is starting to show her form with a stellar 4th place in Juvenile girls with Bronwyn in 40th. Sophie finished 17th in the midget girls as well.

Saturday was a sprint day in Canmore. Colin did not partake under Dave’s recommendation, but the rest of us qualified into the heats and gave it our best shot. Julien’s best shot landed him a second place overall in Open men and top U-23. Julien’s best result of the year! Daniel finished 2nd in his B-Final which landed him an 8th overall in Junior boys. Remi had a crash in his quarterfinal that knocked him out of the heats early. On a side note, Al Fisher drove up from Rossland to watch us race! I speak for all of us when I say that it was great to have his support on the course. Thanks Al.

One last race to end this post was a distance skate race. 20km Skate Mass start went out first for open men. After a few kilometers of easy skiing, David and Colin had enough and started to push the pace for a few laps. Once the group started getting torn apart from the pace, David and Colin held on to the leaders as best they could on the last lap. At the finish David took 4th overall with his best result of the year! Followed by Colin in 5thjust a few seconds back. Julien and myself (Scott) battled each other a few minutes behind the front of the race, but due to my pole shattering with 2km left in the race, we will never know how it could have finished! Julien was 21st and Scott was 25th.

Daniel was 16th in his 10km race, Sage and Chiaki jumped up positions finishing 14th and 20th in their 10km. Remi had a close finish ending up 3rd just 11sec back in his 6.6km race.

I hope your cup of tea was as relaxing as my trip back to Rossland was. With all the parents that attended giving rides to all their kids, I had the whole back of the van to sleep in. That’s what I call premium recovery. Since we’ve been traveling for over two weeks now a little home time will be good for everyone to regroup, bleach our drink-belts, and get some laundry done.

Thanks a lot to Dave Wood for all the hard work he put in over the last few weeks.

Next post will be about Easterns in a couple weeks. Good luck at Worlds Colin!



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