After a string of days of near perfect weather conditions, things took a turn to the tricky side today at Lappe Nordic. It didn’t rain or snow significantly, but the temperature warmed up enough to make the tracks somewhat soft and sugary. That being said, the course held up very well considering how many skiers used it.
The open men skied two times a 5km loop that was both challenging and enjoyable to ski. The crux of the course was the combination of two medium length and medium steepness climbs (Pilon’s and The Grunt) which started just after km 4. Skiers that managed to ski these quickly while not overdoing it were able to maintain fast speeds over rolling sections that followed and did very well. Easier said than done of course.
In what was a bit of a surprise, the open men’s race saw the name Harvey at the top of the results page for the first time since the late 1980’s when Pierre Harvey was at the height of his powers. This time it was his son Alex, at only 17 years old, showing the older skiers how it’s done finishing first in 29:21. Also skiing surprisingly well was Stephen Hart who took second place, only 1.5 seconds back. Hart was followed by National Team member Graham Nishikawa only 4 seconds off the pace. The top 12 positions were separated by less than a minute, with the top 30 positions being separated by roughly two minutes.
Daria Gaiazova dominated the open women’s 5k, winning fairly convincingly in a time of 15:41. She was followed by Olympic team member Milaine Theriault in 16:19 and hometown favourite Tasha Betcherman in 16:24.
Tomorrow’s races promise to be exciting if nothing else. The open men will race a mass start 15km skate. With about 90 skiers in the men’s race and 62 in the women’s the going promises to be hectic and tight for at least a few kms!
For full results including junior and juvenile categories please check www.zone4.ca