Vertical Champs started 5 pm on Friday from the base with an 800m elevation climb. There were a few new faces on the start line geared up with race equipment.
At the start, cruised into a good pace on the green run before it climbed steeply. Racers funnelled into single file. Could hear a racer coming from behind wondering if it was one of the gals. A guy from Speed Theory passed by as I attempted to match his pace. Once the climb steepened, I got by him.
|caught midstride loving the steeps, up! - photo Skintrack.com|
Up ahead I saw Steve Sellars who is a good target to gauge pace. I was surprised when Steve started slipping and resorted to herringbone. This forewarned me to have a plan when I reached that steep section.
|The guys duelling up the steep climb - photo Skintrack.com|
With the wrap-around straps on my nordic poles, I stabilized off a pole planted further behind and elongated my forward stride. I was able to power up the tough steep sections directly.
|Lizanne gaining on a strong climbing Michelle - photo Skintrack.com|
After a turn on a groomer, I could see Michelle behind gaining on newcomer Lizanne Busierres, former Olympic marathon runner (2:31 PR!). They were the same distance behind me that I was behind Steve.
Midway, the course stayed on a gentle groomer. Had to be conscious to keep the pace high like in a 10k running race to not get lulled into a comfortable pace. Steve easily gapped me on this section. I'm guessing my skins covered more ski than Steve's. So, it was a trade-off of stability on the steeps vs glide on the gentle climbs.
|Top of the Vertical Race in the Sunshine at 6 pm!|
Pascal Egli (Swiss), Katarina Kuba, Marg Fedyna, Peter Knight
Once around the last bend, the sunshine peaked out at this later evening race with the finish midway hill at 2065m by the Heaven's Door Yurt.
|Post-Vertical race, hanging in the Heavenly Door's Yurt - |
Jean Ann Berkenpas, Karen McKirdy, Jen Parsons, Monica Burley
Happy to be Vertical National Champ! Wonder how I would have faired if our top Canadian woman Melanie Bernier was not in Europe racing.
|Post Vertical Race, group ski to the base|
Elite race, next morning...
... boarded the gondola to the start of the Elite race at 2330m. Started with a Lemans run around the Eagle Eye Restaurant.
|Pre Lemans Start, top of Kicking Horse Resort - photo Skintrack.com|
With little hands, it is hard for me to hold both skis and poles, and run at the same time. I took a chance and put my skis on my pack. It was much easier to run and I kept close to the back of the lead group.
Ski came off, the one I had trouble with. Scrambled back up to get it. Took time to put it back on while at a steep powdery incline.
|Stano checking out one of the double black descents|
- photo Skintrack.com
Took another couple turns, and endo-ed with a few tumbles. Then stumbled again. Doh, could not get grounded. Next fall, I looked up at my ski stuck forward into the snow at the oddest angle with my boot still attached. My thought was… wow, what a contorted position… and weird it does not hurt! Had to pull my ski out in reverse else it was painful. Continued on cautiously.
Finally made it to transition safely! Next skin up was a long climb. Caught up to Jean Ann and Lizanne. Kylee was far in the distance. Passed a few rec racers. Made good time. Must say, I nailed each of the kick-turns focusing on stable steps. I did not fall back once!
Bootpacked by a cowbell ringing Martha Burley who is healing from ACL surgery. All went well the rest of the race. Lizanne kept pretty close in distance to me. Kylee was within eye's reach ahead.
|Yellow = boot pack up Terminator Ridge - photo Skintrack.com|
Enjoyed the bootpack up the ridge to Terminator descent. Course was superbly marked. Double black descents were great. Resort skiers were awesome to cheer and stop to watch. Thanks to two racers, Stano Faban and Eric Carter, for putting on a couple super races.
|Must be the power of the skinsuit!|
Canadian Champ Michelle Katchur Roberts,
Kylee Ohler, Katarina Kuba - photo Pascal Egli
Congrats to new Canadian champ Michelle Katchur Roberts who was getting stronger all season. Katarina Kuba, an amazing 19 year old athlete from Coquitlam in 2nd. Kylee Ohler, who took time off for family, has skimo in her blood and came in a solid 3rd. Lizanne, myself and Jean Ann were pretty close together. It was a great field of women.
|Everyone happy to be done!! |
Elite Women - Kylee Ohler, Marg Fedyna, Lizanne Bussieres,
Katarina Kuba, Michelle Katchur Roberts, Karen McKirdy
(missed getting Jean Ann Berkenpas in there)
Course did drag on due to my lack of fitness training the last month+. Descending is not 2nd nature and I definitely needed to be on the slopes in the interim. Had a few life excuses for not getting out.
I was happy to be on the final climb to the finish. All I could think about was getting back on the road bike!!
|Ski Resort signs!|