NZ Winter Games Race Day 1

The 2011 New Zealand Winter Games cross country events commenced today at the Snow Farm. Australian Team members Callum Watson and Phillip Bellingham raced the 15km Classic mass start up against a strong field of USA and Canadian athletes. Results from the Winter Games can be seen on the FIS site. Read below for some of the race details  from Callum Watson’s Blog:

Today’s race was the 15km mass start. There is an extremely competitive field here this year with World Cup Teams from Canada (including Oslo World Champs Alex Harvey and Devon Kershaw), USA, Russia (including 2 Olympic Medallists), Korea, and Japan. As a result, the FIS point penalty was minimum at 15 allowing for some good points to be up for grabs. I had the best Mass start race of my career and this was helped largely due to perfect skis. I don’t mean to pump up my own tyres by any means, however we managed to nail both the grip and glide which is a very rewarding feeling when you have waxed your own skis and almost everyone else has wax technicians. I held onto the lead pack for the first 12km, at which point they upped the paced dramatically leaving me in huge amounts of pain simply trying to lose as little time as possible. At the finish I was 1min 28s (~3.8% and 68FIS Pts) off the winner (Kris Freeman USA) in 12th overall and 1st Australian/New Zealander. Phil had a good race finishing 20th overall (4th AUS/NZ) also with good glide, but a bit light on with the grip. It was such a good feeling for me to be able to keep with these guys who are literally some of the best in the world right now and I am excited to see what results I can produce in the next two races. Tomorrow we have the freestyle sprint, then a rest day on Monday, followed by the 10km freestyle on Tuesday.

Thanks for reading and will update you on our progress over the next couple of days.

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