Saturday, April 20, 2002 - Latest News
NTDC T-Bay Finnish Tour Report

By: Jonne Kahkonen

"You think you know...but you have no idea. This is our diary."

On April the 7th we raced the Finnish Nationals, 50k classic mass-start, 120 people in the race. Conditions were extremely wet; temp. +5, snow mixed man-made and shovelled snow with a lot of dirt; trails marked - with snow. Will (Fitzgerald) placed 67th and Timo (Puiras) 77th and an indicator of how tough it actually was was the amount of athletes to drop out: 40.

April 13-14th: Arctic Winter Games, Rovaniemi
Rovaniemi is the home of Santa, only about 5k from the arctic circle. This time of the year most of the top skiers move up north to keep skiing. On Sat 13th we had a 10k individual skate race, unfortunately I only had Will "the Stallion" racing while Timo was lying in bed sick. Will raced a better race than a week ago, finishing 19th, 2.52 behind the winner Teemu Kattilakoski of the Finnish National Team. The field was pretty tough; including the second place finisher Hannu "Pirjo's brother" Manninen and ski-orienteering World Champion Matti Keskinarkaus. Kattilakoski just crushed the others, winning by 30 seconds over Manninen.

On Sun 14th we had skate sprints (1.1km). The field was even tougher; among others Hannu Manninen (Finnish Champion), Keijo Kurttila (podium results on the World Cup sprints) and of course the Stallion. Will raced the best sprints ever finishing 14th in the qualifying and after a close battle in the quarterfinals he had to step aside this time. But there'll be next time...

Now we're training at the Rovaniemi Sports Centre, preparing for the races next weekend. On Sat 20th we're going to do a national race in Posio, 15k skate and on Sun 21st we're going to Kuusamo for the last part of the Finnish Nationals racing the 30k individual skate race.

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