Thursday, February 23, 2006
40 Skaters Online
Canada— Ottawa, ON
Sunday, May 11, 2003
Empire Speed Team Victorious in Ottawa
- Brett Whitman and Helen Havam win Top Spots on the Podium for the Second Time in One Weekend
After a Great day of racing in New York City at the Empire race series stage 2 a team of eight skaters packed up and headed north on an eight hour car ride to Canada for the Ottawa 42k. Making the trip were Eddie Wilcox, Chris creveling, Remy Chait, Jeff Krug, Bret Whitman for the Empire Pro men; Bibiana Calle and Helen Havam for the pro ladies; and Bobby Piedra for the master men.
The Mens' Pack
On race day it was a cold 45 degrees and windy. As the gun went off Empire went to the front to try and control the race but in no time at all the breakaways started with the maple mogema team sending off their best men to try and get away... Eddy Matzger was countering every break! This seemed to be the pattern for the first of two loops.
The second loop was a little more intense with Bret Whitman breaking away... making the rest of the field chase as the empire team took control in the front after the chase group caught Bret Whitman... Chris Crevling and jeff krug went out for a try but that was soon to be caught by Eddie Matzger. Remy Chait also went out for a try but the Canadians were in tow and soon he was caught by the pack with about 4 miles to go empire had the guys form to the front of the pack with Jeff and Chris leading almost 2 miles each for a lead out. Eddie wilcox came to the front with about 1500 m out from the finish and lead out Bret Whitman for the win..it was a real good race and our Canadian friends thanked us for coming to skate with them..canada is a very beautiful country and we are all looking forward to going back for some up coming races.
The Womens Race- by Helen Havam
We arrived at the hotel at around 11:00PM the night before the marathon. We were exhausted from the long drive, but happy to finally be there.
The weather was cold and clear the morning of the race. The sun was out, but it was not until later that it started warming up. There were 200 and some skaters on the line. Both men's and women's fields were well represented. Our women's field included Beth Clarke (2002 Canadian World Team member and last year's 3rd place) hoping to continue the success from the night before in the Nordion 10K and go for the win again, Stacey Eldridge, Carla Raetsen, Tatia Wallace and many others.
Getting ready for the start, Bibiana and I were talking about the race and what would be the best strategy. I learned from the previous year that the most important thing is to get a good start and find a right position in the lead pack while it was still together, so that when the breaks start we wouldn't get caught in the back and loose the leaders. The start of the race is an uphill followed by downhill and if you not in the right place once you start the downhill you will be chasing the leaders and wearing yourself out on the first half of the race and will not have anything left for the second half. Bibiana and I both got a good start and by the time we were done with the downhill, we were among the first lead pack.
The lead guys controlling the pace and going on easy breaks to testing each others legs and letting the rest of the pack chase them down, dropping a skater a two each time each time doing this. As a woman, I had to skate it smart and just be at the right place at the right time, and not get stuck behind the skaters dropping off. For the first 2 to 3 K into the race the lead pack was still quit big and there were 4 to 5 women including the 2 of us still holding on to the pack. Then things got faster.
The guys up front picked up the pace a bit and kept it steady for some time, that narrowed the size of the pack down quite a bit and now I was the only woman left, my legs were burning but I was going to hold. Finally, half way into the first lap, I had to let the leaders go, but luckily I got picked up by a teammate Rob Tysen and another skater and the three of worked together taking pulls and soon a second lead pack was born from skater dropping back from the first pack and being picked up by us. Finishing the first laps we had a pack of 10 skaters and everybody with one goal to keep the pace going and battle it out at the end. It helped to know that the leaders were not so far ahead. There were times while we could actually see them, and once we even attempted to try to close the gap. With 5K to the finish line, I dropped to the back of the pack as the guys started settling for the positions for the final sprint. I crossed the finish line alone, hoping to see my teammate Bibiana coming in second and she did.
We all had a really good time. It is a fun event and very well organized.
We would like to say a special THANK YOU for all the race organizers, specially the ones who help us with our race registrations.
Overall 42K results: http://www.sportstats.ca/res2003/marams.htm
Overall 10K results: http://www.sportstats.ca/res2003/nord10s.htm
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