Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Eastern Champs to Latvia

Part 1: Ottawa

Eastern Canadian Championships were held at Nakkertok and were also a mini-tour format. This time we did a sprint, 10km skate and 15km classic pursuit. This weekend was critical as Emily Nishikawa and I were battling to win the NorAm spot and a start position for World Cup races in March. The best 8 NorAm races of the season were used for selection and our points were quite close. 

We flew to Montreal last Tuesday then drove to Ottawa. We hit Montreal during rush hour and a snowstorm so it took over 2 hrs just to get to the rental car place, sort out vehicles and return to the airport to pick up the rest of the team. The taxi ride to the rental place was very sketchy as our cabby weaved through the backed up traffic at times creating his own lane and getting lots of angry honks. It was 11 pm before we finally arrived at our hotel Ottawa.

The weekend started with the skate sprints. I felt strong all day and was able to win both the qualifier and the heats. Emily was 2nd and my roomy Andrea was 3rd.

Photo: Mike Cavaliere
Saturday was the 10km skate where I started 30sec behind Emily. I went hard from the start to try to make up a bit of time. I was 10 seconds up by the end of the first lap but unfortunately I slowly lost back those seconds plus a few more as I got tired and had to settle for 2nd, 8 seconds behind Emily.

The 15km classic was the final race of the weekend. I started with a 4 second lead on Emily and knew that I had to win the mini-tour and be faster on the time of the day to get the NorAm spot. Emily caught me within the first km and we skied together for the rest of the race, trading leads. I was in the lead on the last steep downhill and thought Emily was in my draft but when I looked behind me at the bottom of the hill she was nowhere to be seen! She had crashed on the hill so I skied to the finish for the overall mini-tour win and had the 2nd fastest time of the day, 0.4seconds behind Brittany. After adding up the points I ended up with a 20 point lead for the NorAm spot.

Fasterskier's Alex Matthews wrote a great article about the Academy at Easterns: http://fasterskier.com/2012/02/awca-men-work-together-women-sweep-top-4/

Despite the stress I still had fun in Ottawa. I watched the Winterlude fireworks, ate a Beavertail, went for dinner downtown and wandered around Parliament Hill.

Part 2: Latvia!

I was also selected for the OPA/B Tour trip and Poland World Cups after the Whistler NorAms. The trip left on Jan.29 but I remained in Canada to try to win the NorAm spot. After Sunday's race I quickly packed my bags and went to the airport to catch a 5:00 flight to Frankfurt. I then flew to Riga, Latvia where I met the rest of the team who flew in from Munich after racing in Campra, Switzerland on the weekend. We had dinner in Riga then drove 2 hrs to Madona. So far I have been impressed with Latvia! Granted, I had low expectations but Riga seemed like a fun city with interesting architecture and Christmas lights everywhere, our hotel in Madona is quite nice and the food is good. Alana, Zoe and I have the honeymoon suite complete with a 2-person jacuzzi tub and romantic curtains.

The coaches were not so lucky and ended up with a chair bed which Alana tested for them.

We skied this morning on the Madona trails which are quite nice. They have a beautiful new lodge with two large plasma TVs set to Eurosport and ample lounging space. 

Photo: Zoe Roy
In the afternoon we explored Madona, and amused ourselves by trying on some fur coats which are very popular among Latvians.

Photo: Helpful Latvian shop lady
There are races here tomorrow and Thursday but I will skip them to give myself a chance to recover from jetlag and from last weekend's races. We will drive to Albu, Estonia Thursday afternoon and I will do 2 races there to finish off the OPA Trip. After that I will meet up with the World Cup Team in Austria and travel with them to Poland for World Cups on the 18th and 19th. The plan is to stay with the World Cup Team for the World Cups in March and return to Canada just in time for Nationals! I am looking forward to getting some more World Cup starts!


1 comment:

  1. I was hoping to see some wider comments about the track :)