Nationals day 5

I continue my coverage of Nationals with the second individual race of the week, the skate medium-distance.

Upon checking out the course profiles before arriving in Newfoundland, it was the image of today’s race course that really stuck with me–probably because of the simplicity of it. It went up. It went down. With the exception of a short flat section around the stadium and a quick up-and-down loop at the end, the course was pretty much one big uphill followed by its descent back to the stadium. Men raced 4×3.75km and women 3×3.3, going not quite as high on the hill as the men.
With regards to conditions, the one thing that’s been constant this week with weather is the ridiculously strong winds and today was no exception to this trend. Blowing snow wreathed the racers in white and challenged them with some solid headwinds at points on the course. But even with the headwinds it was a quick race. With World Cup veteran Ivan Babikov leading the charge, the winning time in senior men clocked in at just over 35min, typical of the top times you would see on a tough World Cup 15k course.
When the snow cleared (more of a figure of speech: it’s still blowing snow outside), here’s who stood with Ivan at the top of the podium.

Heidi, followed by teammate Dahria, on the final climb. Thanks to Emilie for the awesome pics from the day’s race!
Heidi Widmer –Senior Women
In the training season Heidi battled some issues with injury following a rollerski crash. She stayed focused through the set-backs though and managed to put down some pretty solid results right through the ski season. This year, in her final year as a U23, she represented Canada at both the World U23 Championships and her first Olympic Games. Here’s how she answered my three post-race questions:
Zeke: Did you have a particular focus going into today’s event?
Heidi: “To be present in the moment. Just like Pooh Bear in the Tao of Pooh. Great read.”
Z: Before you knew your result were you happy with today’s race?
H: “I had a great time, had good skis and pushed my limits. So, I would be happy with my efforts either way. It is even better when that aligns with a win!”
Z: Imagine that it is your birthday and you get to choose whatever meal you want. What’s the main-course and what’s for dessert?
H: “It depends where I’m celebrating–whatever the locals are doing and what is in season! Hopefully it’s Mexican style. For dessert, chocolate cake with chocolate mousse and strawberry filling. Vanilla ice cream on the side.”


Ivan on his way to victory in the 15k
Ivan Babikov –Senior Men
A long-time skier of the World Cup circuit, Ivan is fresh off the World Cup finals in Falun Sweden. A consistent performer at international races, Ivan really adds to the level of competition here in Newfoundland.
Z: Did you have a particular focus going into today’s event?
Ivan: “Tried to stay awake today, with the jet-lag from my return from Europe. I worked to keep the speed up through the four laps. I hadn’t skied the course beforehand so I just focused on checking things out the first lap and then pacing based on that.”
Z: Before you knew your result were you happy with today’s race?
I: “A win is a win, and racing back in Canada is always fun. It’d be nice to have some more World Cups over here.”
Z: Imagine that it is your birthday and you get to choose whatever meal you want. What’s the main-course and what’s for dessert?
I: “My wife makes really good Russian fried potatoes–kinda like french fries but healthy–and fried chicken. Something chocolaty for desert, like chocolate cake.”


Anne Marie, of the Pierre-Harvey Training Centre
Anne-Marie Comeau –Junior Women
Anne-Marie is among the strong contingent of junior women from Quebec who are making a mark on the Canadian ski scene. She has European racing experience already under her belt and two years left as a junior, after this season, in her skiing career. Watch for her next year at the Junior World Championships.
Z: Did you have a particular focus going into today’s event?
Anne-Marie: “Going into the race I was just thinking about going as hard as I could.”
2)Before you knew your result were you happy with today’s race?
“Yes! I felt good during the race and had fun.”
3)Imagine that it is your birthday and you get to choose whatever meal you want. What’s the main-course and what’s for dessert?
“Chicken shish kabobs for dinner and maple syrup pudding for dessert.”

Scott makes it two for two at Nationals
Scott Hill –Junior Men
Scott Hill has started a winning streak this week, making it two for two in the first couple races. In an effort to showcase some of the other top skiers in the junior men’s category I interviewed the second place skier, Evan Palmer Charrette on his race today.
Check out the article from Sunday for Scott Hill’s interview.


Evan skis through the stadium on route to 2nd place

Evan Palmer-Charrette –2nd place Junior Men
Hailing from Thunder Bay, in Northern Ontario, Evan trains with the National Development Centre in his hometown. A well known junior skier on the NORAM circuit, he works towards his goal of making the World Cup team and racing internationally.
Z: Did you have a particular focus going into today’s event?
Evan: “Big focus today was pacing and really getting long glides–especially on the uphills in the offset [technique].”
Z: Before you knew your result were you happy with today’s race?
E: “Absolutely. Pacing was great and the body came together today. I’ve been having some trouble with compartment syndrome in my shins, and with illness last week; these didn’t effect me today.”
Z: Imagine that it is your birthday and you get to choose whatever meal you want. What’s the main-course and what’s for dessert?
E: “Pad-thai for the main course and a chocolate milkshake for desert.”

Thanks so much to Heidi, Ivan, Anne-Marie and Evan for taking the time to chat today. 

For full results check Zone4

Check back later for coverage of the next race, Thursday’s skate sprint.

Dream Big!
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