2015 Australian Rollerski Championship – April 11

The 2015 Australian Rollerski Championship will take place at the Stromlo Forest Park in Canberra on Saturday April 11. The morning will feature two events; a Freestyle Sprint and a Freestyle Criterium. Click on the link below for the event flier in PDF format. The event is supported by Snow Trek & Travel (formerly Snowgum Wodonga) – Australia’s #1 stop for rollerski equipment.

Entries will be taken from 9:00am on the day out at the Criterium Circuit at Stromlo Forest Park, with the first event set to start at 10:00am. Rollerskiers and Skikers of all abilities are welcome, from beginners through to National Team athletes. To assist with organisation, if you are planning to enter please email to finn.marsland@gmail.com. Some participants may also be interested in the SSA XC Media & Communications Workshop, on the following day April 12 at the Australian Institute of Sport. Continue reading

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XC Media & Communications Skills Workshop

AUSXC Media & Communications Skills Workshop – Canberra – Sunday April 12

Female cross country ski athletes, coaches, officials, administrators & supporting mums…We need your help to ‘talk up’ XC skiing…raise our media profile and get more people & sponsors on skinny skis!

Come along to The Media & Communications Skills Workshop, organised by the Ski & Snowboard Australia Cross Country Committee and funded by the Australian Sports Commission’s Women Leaders in Sport Program.

Sports Media Communications specialist Alice Wheeler is the guest speaker and other presenters include James Bennett (ABC Reporter) & Michelle Armstrong (Communications Consultant).  Specifically tailored to meet the needs of the XC Ski community, this dynamic and interactive Workshop will give participants the skills and confidence to maximise media opportunities, deliver media interviews and help build the XC skiing brand as a ‘healthy sport for life with multiple pathways for athletes, coaches, officials and recreational skiers’. Continue reading

Falun 2015 – 30km & 50km Mass Starts

Falun 2015 Race Reports # 8 and #9 – Women 30km and Men 50km Mass Start Classic

Originally three Australians were entered for the 30km Classic but only Casey Wright made it to the start line. Jessica Yeaton decided to opt to rest for the upcoming World Cups in Lahti, then just when it seemed the gastro days were over Aimee Watson became the latest athlete to succumb. Casey made an incredible effort to finish her first 30km in tough conditions in 47th place out of 49 starters. The unstoppable winner Therese Johaug from Norway skied away from the front of the pack after just 7km, winning in the end by 52 seconds after leading at one point by 1:15.

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The final day of competition in Falun and Callum Watson was the sole Australian starter in the 50km Classic after Paul Kovacs also had some stomach problems. Unfortunately Callum’s incredible story back from a punctured lung last August didn’t finish with a fairy tale ending. After struggling with stomach cramps in the first lap he withdrew early in the second lap. This was the end of Callum’s racing season now and he’ll return to Australia in the coming week. It was very tough 50km in soft and slow conditions, won in the end by Petter Northug from Norway with an amazing final 500m (even worth looking back for the 500m before that).

That’s it now for the post-Falun wrap-up. Apologies again for the delay – packing up, travel and sleep got in the way. Many of the athletes from Falun are now already back in Australia, but three remain in Europe. Phillip Bellingham and Jessica Yeaton arrived in Finland last night for the Lahti World Cup this weekend, while Esther Bottomley is set to race the Vasaloppet on Sunday.

Falun 2015 – Women 4 by 5km Relay

Falun 2015 Race Report # 7 – Women’s Relay

The Women’s Relay in Falun was held on Thursday February 26. Fielding a women’s relay team was one of the major goals for Australia at this championship. With 2.5km laps it was calculated that our athletes needed to lose less than two minutes per leg to avoid overlapping, which required a step up to a higher level from their previous performances in Falun. Unfortunately after Jessica Yeaton lost 3 minutes to the leaders on the first leg and Aimee Watson just over 3 minutes on the second leg it was not to be. A rocketing fast skate leg (just over 10 minutes for the leading teams) meant that neither Esther Bottomley nor Casey Wright were able to start. While it was a disappointing end result for all the athletes, it was an incredible achievement for Australia to have a record six female athletes qualified to the team. The gold medal went to Norway by nearly 30 seconds, with Sweden sprinting home for silver ahead of Finland.

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Xanthea Dewez (reserve), Aimee Watson (2nd leg), Jessica Yeaton (1st leg), Casey Wright (4th leg), Esther Bottomley (3rd leg).

 

 

Falun 10km & 15km Reports

(Apologies for the delayed posting of race reports from the second week in Falun)

Falun 2015 Race Reports # 5 & 6 – 10/15km Freestyle

The 10km and 15km Freestyle events were held on Tuesday and Wednesday February 24 and 25. The 10km Freestyle saw a tough day for waxing with many teams struggling to have fast gliding skis as snow began dumping in the middle of the race. Norway with a number of medal favourites didn’t manage to get a competitor within the top 20. Aimee Watson was the highest placed Australian in 54th place, 4:19 (17.1%) behind the winner. Jessica Yeaton started fast, 52nd at 1.5km but then faded to 60th place at the finish. Xanthea Dewez finished strongly in 61st place, Esther Bottomley in her first race back after the gastro showed some promise early on but lost considerable time on her second lap to end up 65th. Sweden and the USA were two teams that managed to get it right; Charlotte Kalla won by 41 seconds and Jessica Diggins and Caitlin Gregg created history for the USA with two women on the podium. Kalla apparently had two pairs of skis waxed for different conditions in the start pen and chose the race pair at the last minute.

There was less new snow for the 15km Freestyle but again a number of teams (including Australia) had problems with fast skis for the full distance. Callum Watson skied solidly in his return after gastro, finishing 72nd, 5:38 (16.1%) behind the winner. Phillip Bellingham showed early potential, 65th at 1.5km and 71st after 5km then finished strongly after a mid-race slump to hold onto 75th place. PK started at the back of the field when the snow was already deep on all the hills and struggled to find a real race spark, finishing 85th. More details can be read in Callum’s and PK’s blogs. The race was won convincingly by Johan Olsson from Sweden, 18 seconds ahead of Maurice Manificat from France and Anders Gloersen from Norway.

World Champs Part 2

Paul Kovacs. Elite Cross-Country Skier

I have some time now to sit down and reflect on the past 5 weeks of the Swedish trip. I’m back in Alaska for a few weeks before flying down for one final set of races and the end of my season.

Since my last blog I had two more races to go. Both I had high hopes for and originally had been focussing on these two as my main events. The 15km Skate and the 50km Classic. After the team sprint I was on a high for a few days, I felt awesome and I was loving life. It was great to have some spark back and I was feeling really confident going into the 15km. The race was two laps of 7.5 and the plan from the start was to build into the race and hammer home not just go out guns blazing like I normally do. I…

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Östersund and Falun 2015

Callum Watson

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It was almost exactly 6months to the day that I was released from hospital after the ridiculous ski accident that resulted in a pneumothroax. At that particular point, I was still considering whether I should continue in the sport, let alone even try and build back up for that coming European Season. I had made some amazing gains training with Dala Sports Academy, and the improvements were all measurable and very noticeable. The 12 unbearably uncomfortable days restricted to lying on my back in the hospital bed showed their negative effects in an overwhelmingly harsh way. I went from being the strongest, fittest and skiing technically better than ever before to not being able to walk for 1.5km without needing a sit-break. In the gym things were even worse, I went from 71.5kg to just below 66kg and this was certainly noticeable! I think I was probably stronger as a…

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