Eastern Championships MiniTour – Nakkertok Nordic
Almost two weeks have expired since racing in Europe and I’ve just returned home from Ottawa after racing three consecutive days at the Eastern Championships at Nakkertok Nordic, in the Gatineau area. The event was hosted by SkiNouk and began on Friday with a 3km skate prologue followed by a 1.5km skate sprint and finished with a 15km classic pursuit start.
Staying in downtown Ottawa, only one block from the Rideau Canal, was an awesome patriotic experience. I have such pride in being Canadian and representing Canada overseas. Without fail, wherever I sport the Canadian jacket or race suit in the world, there are always spontaneous words of encouragement and positive remarks in reaction to the maple leaf. However, being in my nations capital, skating on the Rideau Canal and snacking on Beaver Tails was a completely new way of experiencing Canada. This week also marks the one-year anniversary of the Vancouver Olympics and the memories revisited in the newspapers and on television definitely brought the Olympic feeling back to life and the pride of hosting the world in Canada. Go Canada. Big ups.
Marlis? I dunno what she's doing but she was trying out the speed skate/ski boot combo.
Parliament at night
MK pushing Jess
Bobby and Janelle, ice dance
Huddling before the challenge
Coach Cavaliere's challenge to Brittany: I bet I can beat you in a 100m sprint giving you a 15 second start. He now owes Webster a steak and beer.
Mmmm Beaver Tails
Racing. Right. The Academy did get lots of that done on our quick 5-day escape to the East. The course for the 3km prologue at the Nakkertok venue was a perfect fit. Super steep climbs? Check. Fast descents? Check. Great conditions? Check. This race is over before you know it but leaves the lungs burning big time. My most recent race before starting the prologue was the 3.3km at World Junior Championships, so I figured I had the pacing. Balls to the wall, I felt I put it all on the course and came up as the 1st Junior and the 2nd Senior Woman, behind teammate Emily Nishikawa and narrowly ahead of teammate Alysson Marshall. The Academy Women sweep the podium!
Hi Emily. Nakkertok stadium.
Hi Steve! Parliament buildings from our hotel room
There was a big winter festival on, lots of cool ice sculptures!
Embracing our dorkiness
My lungs avoided any major damage and I suited up the next day for the 1.5km skate sprint. The conditions were much different than the previous morning, with plenty of soft snow to swim through on the climbs. Starting as bib 1, I was super excited to set the pace. The legs felt like junk in the qualifier, but that’s what the heats are for, right? Andrea Dupont of Rocky Mountain Racers won the qualifier followed by Alysson Marshall (AWCA), Emily Nishikawa (AWCA), myself and Sarah Daitch (RMR) to round out the top 5. Typically, if I don’t feel good in the qualifier, it’s an uphill battle to make something happen in the heats. So I was pumped to discover that my legs felt better and better as I progressed through the rounds and into the final. I put the hammer down in the final stretch of the A-final as I tried to reel in Emily Nishikawa, but narrowly missed the gold. Winning the battle for the bronze medal was Erin Tribe (NDC Tbay) ahead of Sarah Daitch (RMR) and followed by Andrea Dupont (RMR) and Alysson Marshall (AWCA). I was happy to go home with the silver today, but knew that there was plenty of work cut out for me tomorrow.
Sprint Podium - Erin Tribe, EmNish and myself
I brought my skates along this trip, went for a sunset skate.
As far as I made it, kilometer 6
In the 15km classic pursuit start, the start list is calculated based on your prologue time, qualifying time and sprint bonus seconds which are awarded based on where you finished overall on sprint day. Technical mumbo jumbo aside, I started 17 seconds behind EmNish and 17 seconds ahead of Alysson and Sarah. The fresh snow it the track made for a lonesome ski, so when Alysson and Sarah worked together to catch me after 5km, I made sure I stuck with them to help the km’s pass faster. After 13km of racing, Alysson and Sarah attacked on this brutes m’gutes of a climb and I couldn’t hang on. Finishing just ahead of another chase pack of four put me in 4th position overall for the weekend, 1st Junior and 2nd U23. I can walk away with some notes for improvement, but overall, I’m really happy with my performance and being able to travel with the Academy again.
The famous Nish's getting interviewed. A sibling victory weekend!
Men's Overall podium
Women's overall podium
It’s back to Canmore for 4 days and then off to Canada Winter Games in Halifax.
Thanks for checking in!