On May 6, Sovereign Lake hosted a classic time trial with a twist.
Instead of using a standard interval start, each skier drew a number, did that many pushups, put their skis on, and started the 5-kilometre, one-lap course. When one skier hit the 5-metre line, the next skier stepped up to the pushup station.
Troy Hudson, general manager of the Sovereign Lake Nordic Club (SLNC), came up with the format the night before, so the special equipment was all improvised. The numbers 1 to 10 were written on plastic coffee spoons drawn from a coffee cup. The pushup station was a floor mat from the entrance of the day lodge. Start and finish times were taken from the interval start clock (the club has one, and it’s easier than keeping your phone from going to sleep at crucial moments).
At the start line, Hudson explained the rules, had Telemark’s Gareth Williams (named to the national U25 Team the night before) demonstrate, and then started Annika Richardson (of the national junior team, NTDC Thunder Bay and Hollyburn Ski Club) precisely at the 10 a.m. start time.
Attentive viewers will notice that Richardson (1) and her Hollyburn teammate Jenna Sim (5) did 10 pushups, while Telemark coach Adam Elliot (3) did one pushup. Evan Palmer-Charrette (9), of NTDC Thunder Bay, and Williams (11) both drew one pushup, which makes for a fast start sequence, which is even faster as there is no delay for missing bibs. The video ends suddenly when the videographer realizes that his own start (18) would go smoother with no phone, two gloves and some skis.
“It wasn’t a race, it was a blast!” Graham Nishikawa, a guide for Canada’s Para-Nordic Ski Team, said after.
Nishikawa and Palmer-Charrette both did two 5 k laps at a target heart rate to suit their training goals during a volume block. A Sovereign board member participated on skin skis borrowed from the rental pool as she was skating that day. One of the local masters worked on striding technique at 5 k race tempo instead of the 30 k race tempo used during the loppet season. Most entrants were in the middle of a volume block on snow and many had skied at least an hour before the start.
Williams and Richardson ‘won’ the event and got the glory: a seat in the winner’s chair:
“I wish I had slightly bigger baskets, then it would have been ideal!” Palmer-Charrette said of the on the course conditions, right before he realized a large part of his pole basket had broken off.
“It was my first time trial on skin skis, only because I forgot my other skis,” Nishikawa explained.
Will there be a second-annual SLNC pushups classic time trial? Absolutely. Unless Hudson thinks of something even more fun.
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