Qualified for World Championships! Full sprint and distance race report.

So as promised a full race report from the weekend here in Canmore is on the way! It’s been quite the roller coaster ride these last few days.

Saturday dawned very cold  (-11 degrees C) but clear. It was expected to snow later that day and this change in temperature was going to mess with the wax a lot so we were hoping it would hold off.

We had our usual pre-breakfast run and then headed up to the tracks for the warm-up and the Sprint. The races this weekend were the opening NorAm’s or North American Championships. So with some of the best up and coming Canadians and the Swiss World Cup sprinting team, there was an extremely high level of athletes.

The Warm-up went and all too soon I was in the starting pen and getting ready to race. However I may of stripped to my race suit too early because I found my legs got quite cold and by the time I was in the hands of the starter they were feeling fairly chilled!

Canmore’s sprint course is fairly simple. It consists of two hills with just a few corners and a long home stretch back into the stadium (1.3km total). The plan was to crank the first hill 100% then after a short rest ease into the second climb and then over the top drop the hammer all the way home.

So the countdown came and I was off, I was feeling fairly strong and really tried to hammer the first section. Around the top of the first hill the adrenaline of the start left me a little and I realized my legs were feeling very cold and heavy. Into the second hill I tried to relax before building into a charge. Yep it didn’t happen. As I tried to hammer down I just had nothing in my legs, they just felt like lead. Basically I limped across the line very frustrated with the result. I was really hoping to put in a good sprint but it didn’t happen. Both Callum and Phillip shredded the course to produce PB’s in sprinting! Make sure you head across to their blogs and check out how they felt (links in the sidebar).

The next day dawned and was the 15km Classic. The course they use is the exact same one from the Calgary Winter Olympics, so needless to say it’s brutal, and really suits light guys that can climb really well! The course was four laps of a 3.75 km loop that has four solid climbs in it each lap. The downhills are super fast and quite gnarly so there wasn’t much rest out on the course.

As you can guess I was really keen to make up for yesterday’s poor result so the aim was to go out hard and just keep it up without blowing up. I was ranked terribly as the 28th starter (slowest first) and with 80+ men in the race I was keen to go out and make sure I didn’t get caught. On the second lap I got my first time split and it was surprisingly good.  August: “PK from last lap you’re equal first”. Well there’s nothing like a good split to get you firing! As I came through for my third lap and second split, August again shouted “PK you’re in second place from last lap”! At this stage I was roughly 8 km into the race and although I was feeling good I was also starting to tire. I’m not a great technical skier, so as I got more and more tired all attempts of technique and style went out the window and I was left to just muscle the course. The last lap came and as I passed August it was just “hammer down PK, last lap!”

Coming into the finish of the 15km race.
Coming into the finish of the 15km race. Not the sexiest photo but all I had.

Over all it was a really decent race. For sure my last two laps cost me a lot and I really slipped back in the placings. On the up side it was a PB for me in distance and it was good enough to qualify me for World Championships in Italy and also qualify me for a provisional start at World Cup!

My skis for the whole race were great, its always nice to hop from your warm up skis to your race skis and think “WO, these feel fast!” so a big thanks to Finn and August for the waxing and support out on the course.

For the team, this weekend has been extremely positive and exciting. All three of the men who have raced here in Canmore have either scored a PB in either sprint or distance!

Team dinner with a victory beer each for the three PBs
Team dinner with a victory beer each for the three PBs from the weekend of racing.

Next weekend the team heads to Quebec City for two World Cup sprints but I’ll instead head to more distance races and go to Silverstar.

Lastly a massive thank you to everyone that has sent me emails and messages and also a huge thank you to my sponsors in supporting me and helping me achieve these goals!

Train hard. Rest easy. Live for the moment.


6 thoughts on “Qualified for World Championships! Full sprint and distance race report.

  1. Congratulations, Paul. Well done. How many FIS points did you score?
    We love reading your blog.
    Best wishes
    Helen & Paul

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