Day 3 at Canadian Nationals

March 16th, the day of the first individual event at National Canadian Ski Championships 2014. This is an event that I’ve been training for since last May, and looking forward to since the end of Nationals 2013, last season in Whistler BC. As I write this I’m sitting in the lodge at the Nordic Ski Center in Corner Brook–but I’m not racing today.
Two weeks ago I started to feel pain in my right leg. After a week and a half of physio it was determined that I have nerve issues in my back that, if I’m not careful, could develop into a serious enough problem to require surgery.
With this in mind, I find myself in need of something to fill my time in Newfoundland.

There’s not usually any real information thrown out there about Canadian skiers, not on the World Cup Team, who are training year-round to take national titles come Winter.
With time on my hands and races to watch I’ve made it my goal to write up something short about the top skiers in some of the races this week.

Today’s race was a short-distance classic interval start. Talking to the skiers afterwards, the big thing that defined this day of competition was adversity, particularly evident in the snow conditions. The race was really hard to wax for–with some skiers opting for klister, some hardwax and others going with zeros. But even with this much variation in what people were going with for grip it seems that nobody really found the perfect set up. Pretty quickly the tracks got ruined by herring-bone and it turned into a competition of who could double poll the most.
With steep hills, sketchy weather and limited grip, this was one of those races where the winner is the one who stays positive and adapts to the conditions rather than fighting them.

Here are today’s champions:

Jess Cockney
For those in tune with the North American skiing world, Jess Cockney, winner of today’s senior men’s race, doesn’t really need an introduction. For those living under a rock (or a lot of snow), he trains out of Canmore with the Alberta World Cup Academy and just returned from his first Olympic experience at the games in Sochi.
1)Something about Jess that doesn’t have to do with skiing: “I run a fantasy football league through the NFL season. 2012 League Champion!
2)Was there anything in particular training-wise that you did this past summer that really contributed to your performance today? I double poled most of today’s race so all the strength work and long double pole sessions really helped with today.
3)Was there any aspect, positive, negative or otherwise, that stood out about today’s race? I had a ton of fun yesterday and today and had great feelings in the races so I’ll just try to keep the fun going for the rest of the week!
Jess: double polling his way to victory

Emily Nishikawa
Like Jess, Emily is one athlete who doesn’t really need an introduction. She too trains with the Alberta World Cup Academy and is just back from representing the red maple leaf at the Winter Olympic Games.
1)Something about Emily that doesn’t have to do with skiing: “I used to be a competitive gymnast. My best result was winning the Jurassic classic when I was 11!”
2)Was there anything in particular training-wise that you did this past summer that really contributed to your performance today? “I’ve been working really hard all year, and other than one cold I’ve been healthy all year. I think that contributed to today’s performance.”
3)Was there any aspect, positive, negative or otherwise, that stood out about today’s race? “Today’s race was really fun, with tricky conditions. I was happy to make the skis work as best I could. This is my first time in Newfoundland and I am so excited to be here!”

Emily: on top of the podium
Scott Hill
Scott, the Ontario native and member of NDC Thunder Bay took home the gold in the Junior Men’s category. I met up with him in the lodge after the race to ask him my questions:
1)Something about Scott that doesn’t really have to do with skiing: “My younger self’s goal was to play in the NBA–and be a part time ski-racer.”
2)Was there anything in particular training-wise that you did this past summer that really contributed to your performance today? “I became an overall-better runner this year completing many running workouts.”
3)Was there any aspect, positive, negative or otherwise, that stood out about today’s race? “Going into the race I was prepared to not have the best wax. I knew that wax was going to be an issue for everyone and that I could still do well as long as I didn’t let the conditions get to me.”
Scott: on top of the podium
Dahria Beatty
Dahria, Alberta World Cup Academy and Junior National Team member, took top spot on the podium in the Junior Women’s race today. Originally from the Yukon she spends her off-season in Canmore training with the Academy. This year she’s seen some solid results in the European race scene–both at World Juniors and on the Scandinavian Cup (B-Tour).
1)Something about Dahria that doesn’t have to do with skiing: “I have a tendency to impulse buy plaid shirts.”
2)Was there anything in particular training-wise that you did this past summer that really contributed to your performance today? Well to be honest I really think it was all the time I spent walking Loki, the Davies’ family dog, (with whom I live). It really adds up and my competitors just can’t match it.
3)Was there any aspect, positive, negative or otherwise, that stood out about today’s race? “The conditions today were pretty interesting and very similar to the ones  I had in Europe racing at World Juniors and the B tour. This made it very advantageous to me, using what I learned over there I knew what was necessary in order to have the race I wanted. It was also super cool to be so close to World Cup skiers and it is very motivating for the future.”
Dahria: charging to victory

Thanks so much to Dahria, Scott, Emily and Jess for taking the time to chat with me about their races.

For full results from the races go here: Zone4


Check back here on Tuesday for all sorts of fun info from the medium distance skate race.
Dream Big.
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