Friday, October 8, 2004 - Coaching
Haywood National Ski Team Report: Excitement in the Air

- By: Eric DeNys

It is a cool, rainy Saturday afternoon and from where I sit it looks miserable outside. Today, I have a day off from my coaching duties but my thoughts are of my co-coaches and athletes out poling the pavement up Highwood Pass. Each kilometer getting stronger, snappier, faster and closer to the excitement that lies ahead. My palms start to sweat and my heart begins to race as I envision the adventures and success that lay ahead for the National Cross Country Ski Team.

Whether you are an athlete, a coach, a parent, an official or an avid enthusiast and supporter, it is an extremely exciting time to be involved in Canadian cross country skiing. The next eighteen months are going to be exhilarating. The Pre-Olympics World Cups in late January will unveil the 2006 Olympic courses and serve as a trial run for athletes and coaches. A few weeks later will be the much anticipated 2005 World Nordic Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany. Many of our National Ski Team athletes have already had the opportunity to experience Oberstdorf in its splendor and this summer’s training focus has been geared towards what the courses in Germany will offer. Following the World Championships, the remainder of the World Cup will be contested in Scandinavia.

Alas, not everyone can be at the World Championships or chase the World Cup and on February 27th, the Canadian National Championships will commence in Prince George, British Columbia. National Champions in various age groups will be crowned and for some of the countries best junior aged skiers there is even more at stake, like a trip to see how fast one is against the Worlds’ best. For the young at heart, the World Junior Championships in Rovaniemi, Finland in late March will be an exciting event. This years World Juniors will be contested on the Arctic Circle, an interesting location that most of us can probably say we have never been to. The World Junior Championships will bring the season to a close although there will still be many kilometers of skiing to be had in the higher reaches of the World. A summer of training will start once again. The odometer of training will be reset. 2005 will be different than recent years. 2005 will bring the highly anticipated and long overdue World Cup back to Canadian soil. Canada is going to be awesome. Canada has always been awesome, only a few have believed it. I have always believed it and that’s why I am in this business. In December 2005 there will be five World Cup races split between Sovereign Lake Nordic in Vernon, BC and the Canmore Nordic Centre. The World’s best Nordic athletes will be present and they will be wearing the Maple Leaf. Did I mention that the Germans, Norwegians, Italians, Swiss, French, Finns, Swedes, Czechs, Poles, Russians, Austrians, Japanese and a handful of other countries are going to contest the races? Like I said earlier, it’s going to be awesome! After all that racing, it will be eight short weeks until the 2006 Olympics.

When the Torino Olympics draw to a close, there will be an even bigger event on the horizon for Canadians, the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. This will be the big show. I look forward to all of these events with nervous anticipation. I start to feel giddy and my stomach tightens up. It reminds me of racing.

Finishing up this Haywood Report I peer out the window and notice the asphalt becoming dry and the kids back out on their bikes. The clouds have lifted and the sky is blue, but something is different. Closer inspection reveals the mountain tops have been dusted with white. The new snow will likely disappear by days end but I feel my keyboard getting sticky and the words don’t flow. I hammer on the back space button more than I would like. My heart is doing intervals and my stomach is on a trampoline. Math tells me there are 75 days until the first race of the season. It’s going to be awesome!

Pray for snow!

Haywood WC Report is powered by Haywood Securities Inc., proud sponsor of the Senior National Cross Country Ski Team

Source: Cross Country Canada

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