June 16, 2011 (Canmore, AB) – The team laced up their running shoes this past Sunday for the Bowness Centennial Road Race in Calgary, celebrating their 100 year mark in the community. Sunny weather made for a great day to run the 10km course, mapped throughout historic Bowness.
Devon Kershaw joined the team in the run, helping sweep the mens podium. Kershaw posted the days fastest time of 32:45, after surging away at the 2km mark from second place finisher Kevin Sandau, crossing the line at 34:00. Graeme Killick rounded out the top 3 after out sprinting teammate Drew Goldsack by a second.
Heidi Widmer, now competing as a first year under-23, finished third in a time of 43:22. Annika Hicks finished just 13 seconds behind her, taking the 4th place spot.
As a bonus to the top 3 finishers, Mayor Naheed Nenshi presented the awards to the recipients.
May 03, 2011 (Canmore, AB) – Cross Country Canada has released its 2011/2012 season National Team and coaching staff roster on the heels of a record-breaking 2010/2011 campaign, which saw Canadian skiers achieve World Cup and World Championship medals. Look for the following list of racers to be making history on the snow next season and for years to come.
Senior World Cup Team Head Coach: Justin Wadsworth Coaches: Eric de Nys, Louis Bouchard
- Ivan Babikov – Foothills Nordic Ski Club, AB
- Chandra Crawford – Canmore Nordic Ski Club, AB
- Dasha Gaiazova – Rocky Mountain Racers, QC
- Alex Harvey – Club Nordique Mont Ste. Anne, QC
- Perianne Jones – Nakkertok Ski Club, ON
- Devon Kershaw – Ona Wa Su, ON
- Len Valjas – Team Hardwood, ON
Senior Development Team Coaches: Louis Bouchard (CNEPH), Mike Cavaliere (AWCA), Eric Bailey (NDC-TB)
- Jess Cockney – Foothills Nordic/AWCA, AB
- Drew Goldsack – Rocky Mountain Racers/AWCA, AB
- Graeme Killick – Banff Ski Runners/AWCA, AB
- Alysson Marshall – Larch Hills/AWCA, BC
- Brent McMurtry – Foothills Nordic/CNEPH, AB
- Emily Nishikawa – Whitehorse/AWCA, YK
- Graham Nishikawa – Whitehorse/AWCA, YK
- Kevin Sandau – Foothills Nordic/AWCA, AB
- Michael Somppi – Lappe/Thunder Bay NDC, ON
- Frédéric Touchette – Club Nordique Mont Ste. Anne, QC
- Dahria Beatty – Whitehorse, YT
- Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt – Club de ski de fond Fondeurs-Laurentides/CVTC, QC
- Raphael Couturier – Commission de ski Nordique Skibec/CNEPH, QC
- Janelle Greer – Whitehorse/AWCA, YT
- Zach Holland – Banff Ski Runners/AWCA, AB
- Knute Johnsgaard – Whitehorse/CNEPH, YT
- Maya Macissac-Jones – Rocky Mountain Racers, AB
- Alex Mahoney – Rocky Mountain Ski Racers, AB
- Camille Pepin – Club Nordique M.S.A., QC
- Rebecca Reid – Black Jack Nordic/AWCA, BC
- Geoffrey Richards – Black Jack Nordic/CVTC, BC
- Martin Schrama – Banff Ski Runners/CVTC, AB
- Sébastien Townsend – Club Nakkertok Nordique, QC
- Alexis Turgeon – Club de ski de fond Skinouk, QC
- Michelle Workun-Hill – Club Nakkertok Nordique, QC
Para-Nordic World Cup Team Head Coach: Robin McKeever
- Mark Arendz – Foothills Nordic, AB
- Jody Barber – Bulkley Valley Ski Club, BC
- Colette Bourgonje – Snobuddy Ski Club, SK
- Chris Klebl – Lifesport, AB
- Brian McKeever – Foothills Nordic Ski Club, AB
- Robin McKeever (guide) – Foothills Nordic Ski Club, AB
- Erik Carleton (guide) – Rocky Mountain Racers, AB
Para-Nordic Development Team Coaches: Pierre Pomerleau, Robin McKeever
- Sébastien Fortier, Skibec/Hus-ski, QC
** National Development Centre teams will be announced when all information is available**
March 25, 2011 (Canmore, AB) – Nationals week has now come to an end in Canmore and what a great week of ski racing it was! Although my personal racing was a disaster, it was great to be a part of such an outstanding event.
The 10k Skate:
In a word: Ouch. The day started off well; perfect weather, perfect snow, perfect conditions for a ski race! After flying through 7km with the lead, followed closely by George, I felt like I had paced myself perfectly to contend for the win. At points early in the race I felt as though I was skiing too easy but could tell I was skiing well as I had managed to get within a few seconds of my 30-second man (Graeme Killick). Little was I aware though that the wheels were about to come off in a big way!
Perhaps my pace was too high for the grueling course, or maybe my lack of quality training over the past month started to show… whatever it was, my body checked out early. Feeling like someone had thrown out the anchor at full throttle I began to die a quick and unexpected death. There was little I could do but dig deep and try to minimize the damage. Despite redlining most of the last 2.5km I watch in dismay as Killick skied away from me and my split times steadily got worse.
I suffered to the line for 4th place, losing 30 seconds to Grey and Gkill (Killick) who skied an incredible final lap. There’s nothing worse than blowing up in a race, especially when you have the energy to keep pushing, but the body just won’t go. It’s like being chased in a dream, no matter how fast you try to run, it seems like you just can’t go as fast as you need to!
This is most certainly the most I have made myself hurt all year. Lying on the ground at the finish, feeling like my head was about to explode, all I could do was hope such a hard effort would stimulate the body to perform better for the rest of the week.
The 15km Classic:
If the 10k was rough, this race was nothing short of a train wreck. Warm temps, icy tracks and new snow made for a waxing nightmare. With cool mornings and rapidly warming temperatures, the few cms of fresh snow in the early morning was icing on the cake of suffering. As the Alberta World Cup Academy wax team scrambled to anticipate the rapidly changing snow conditions and make the all important klister or hardwax decision, I began warming up for the type of classic conditions I always dread. Faced with having to make a last second guess on what the weather was going to do and which skis were going to be the best- I chose wrong. I was banking on the sun continuing to shine and temperatures rapidly rising, so went with a heavily klistered pair of skis. The weather wouldn’t cooperate though and I ended up with a painfully slow, icing, draggy mess. After losing 12 seconds to the leaders in the first 1.5km (most of which was downhill) I knew I was in for a hard day at the office. Most of the field struggled with the wax but it was apparent that the top 3 (all waxing together) had nailed it, gapping the rest of the field by a whopping 1minute and 40 seconds!
The Classic Sprint:
I would have paid good money for the usual hard and fast ‘Canmore Snow Conditions’ this week however the Classic sprint day brought more of the same difficult conditions. More fresh snow overnight and rapidly warming temps once again left me scrambling to find a ski/wax combo that was working well. After having adequate skis in the morning qualifier but a disappointing result, I returned in the early afternoon to much different conditions. Warm sun and some lingering fresh snow had made for a glazy hard to kick track. I tried a few different options and settled on what I thought was going to be my Ace in the hole… Hairies Skis. With a relatively easy course and not being able to kick my hard wax skis, I figured hairies would be the ticket… I was wrong again. Kicking poorly and not gliding as well as others, I struggled through the rounds on hairies and ultimately went down in a crash on one of the two hairpin corners to end my day. In the words of Forrest Gump: ‘That’s all I have to say about that.’
I do have to give a shout out to AWCA teammates Jess Cockney and Joey Burton who put on a gun show out there, double poling their final rounds finishing 4th and 10th respectively. Also a shout-out to Lennardis Valjas, freshly back from Europe, who was strong all day winning the qualifier and going on to take a commanding win in the final.
The Mass Start 50km Skate:
Finally!! Hard fast conditions had at long last shown up for a race in Canmore! The 50km is by no means one of my strengths but being as it was the last event of the National Champs and even more importantly the last time I’d line up at the start with long-time teammate George Grey, it was a race I wasn’t going to miss. And what a race it was! Fast conditions made for 25min 10km laps and a winning time of just over two hours! I was finally able to find a great pair of skis and would say that I probably had the best skis in the field. Even the fastest skis in the world wouldn’t help me though as my legs started to give out on me at around 40k. Brutal cramping (as is a normal occurrence for my sprinter legs in long races) caused me to lose contact with the lead group of 12 who had been skiing together since the 15k mark. I hobbled to the line for 11th place, pretty happy with my result in a race that is often complete hell for me!
A huge congratulations goes out to neighbor, teammate and friend, George Grey, he finished off a brilliant career with a big win in the 50k-his final race. That win was on top of two National titles won earlier in the week, an incredible final week of racing for George and I couldn’t be happier to see him go out on such a high note!
It was with a heavy heart that I watched George make his final trip to the top of the podium, we have had so many great times together over the years I’m sad to see him leave the racing scene. The race trails just won’t be the same without him. I know that many great things lay ahead for George and wish him all the best in his future endeavors!
“Mmmkayyyy” -George Grey
In the Tape Deck:
Artist: Robortom, Track Paganini Rocks (Feat. Au Revoir Simone)
Artist: Cold War Kids, Track: Hang Me Up To Dry
January 27, 2011 (Otepaa, Estonia) – Canadian National Team skier Kevin Sandau wanted to be in the top 10 in today’s men’s 15km Free Race at the U-23 World Championships in Otepaa, Estonia, and when the race was over he had turned in a stellar performance finishing 5th with a time of 36:04.8. Mission Accomplished!
”My goal today was a top 10, so I’m ecstatic about the result,” Sandau told SkiTrax post-race. “I started out the race conservatively so I could really push the final lap and finish strong.”
The USA’s Noah Hoffman also skied well today making the top ten finishing in ninth. The Aspen, CO native turned in a time of 36:42.4.
It was a Russian podium sweep as Evgeniy Belov took top honours as expected in today’s race, claiming the victory in 35:26.3, a comfortable 16.1 seconds ahead of his teammate Pavel Vikulin. Completing the hat trick for Russians today was Raul Shakirzianov placing third at 23.4 seconds behind Belov.
For Belov this marked the best day of his career so far after he was second last year in the interval start event at the FIS Junior Worlds. Reflecting on his win he told the FIS Press Service, ”My classical technique is better than my free, so I was prepared for a tough fight today. I had to speed up at the finish. All four laps were good for me. I want to win more medals here in Otepaa.
“I am familiar with this track because we have had training camps here,” he added. “And I also competed here last week at the World Cup.”
Another wonderful story played out with the skiing of the UK’s Andrew Musgrave. The hard-working athlete who has been training in Norway had the fastest time in the first lap but then lost some time to the Russians. At day’s end Musgrave had turned in an admirable performance finishing sixth one spot behind Sandau.
Demonstrating both smart and savvy skiing Calgary’s Sandau was very impressive. The skier-based out of Canmore-who grew up on the trails in Kananaskis Country told SkiTrax described his race.
“My first splits were top six, and by the half way point I was skiing around third. I still felt pretty fresh, so I was able to maintain and push myself further. I caught teammate Michael Somppi on my final 3.75km lap and he stuck with me until the finish, so he really pushed me till the end.”
Reflecting on an exciting, motivating day Sandau added, ”Before coming here I had my sights set on a strong pursuit race, so I’m really hoping for a podium spot on Monday.” The way he’s skiing that could well become a reality.
“The race today was hard. The course was technical and demanding,” the Hoff related to SkiTrax by email. “You had to constantly be working. I didn’t feel great, and I had a tough second lap.
“Then the German Andreas Katz caught me, and I was able to hang on him for the rest of the race. We caught Tad [Elliott] and the three of us skied together. It was really helpful to be able to follow Katz. I’m looking forward to watching some sprint races over the next couple of days. I think there is potential for some great results. Then the pursuit on Monday should be fun as well.”
Other North American finishers included Michael Somppi (CAN) 14th in 37:03.7, Tad Elliott (USA) in 19th with a time of 37:18.3, Jesse Cockney (CAN) in 27th stopping the clock at 37:36.2; in 32nd place was Graeme Killick (CAN) in 37:48.6, the USA’s Alex Treinen placed 35th in 38:04.9, and David Norris (CAN) in 39:03.0 was 46th.
“Awesome day for Sandau,” said an elated Eric de Nys, Canadian coach, “He skied consistent and strong. Michael Somppi and Emily Nishikawa also had very strong races which was great to see. Overall, today was a fabulous day and we know we have our strongest races still to come so we’re looking to build on these results.”