2011 Sunshine 5000

“C’MON LET ME SEE YOUR SUFFER FACE, THAT’S NOT A SUFFER FACE!!!!” 

Screamed a spectator on the sidelines as the lead pack quietly shuffled by, gasping for air and not wanting to waste too much energy I quickly glanced over my shoulder to see a motherly type with cowbell in hand doling out the not-so-motherly encouragement.

Suffer we did though, this years Sunshine 5000 was the tightest Canadian race I’ve been in and everyone who made it on the podium paid dearly in Glycogen and Lactic Acid.

With fresh snow and Delirium Dive closed race organisers chose to modify the last half of the course.  The first half was still the classic rolling low angle groomers that reward those with slippery skins and good technique.  Then after a few short descents with lots of skating, racers were led to a single skintrack up Lookout pk which forced road racing style tactics.  As the athletes dropped low below the Dive we then followed meadows and cat-tracks before starting the skintrack up to Goats Eye and our final descent.

Reiner clinched his number one spot off of the start and the rest of us meer mortals sat in and battled for silver and bronze.  Andrew Mcnab showed fine form by breaking away on the first climb and keeping just enough of a gap that James, Alex, Stano or myself couldn’t run him down.  Number three spot was constantly changing between James, Al and I, the most dramatic moment being when Al, in the lead to the Divide, missed the turn and stayed on the cat-track off of Standish instead of dropping along the ski hill boundary losing about a minute.  Other notables were the attack 200 meters below Lookout Pk where Alex and I dropped the hammer and got a small gap to the transition. Also impressive was Stano “the Slovak Tractor” quietly inching into the peloton from behind on the last climb and pushing the pace further into the redline.  The battle for third was won by James “the Sniper” Minifie who put his tree-trunk legs to work, slaying the final descent with Alex and  I hot on his heels.   In the end the Bronze was down to less than 50 seconds.

On the womens side it was the usual suspects of Bernier, Matteau, Velisek and Burley respectively showing they’re in fine form for Worlds in Italy in the coming weeks.

Worth mentioning is the emergence of a strong Junior presence, with both male and female racers in their teens coming out to race the 5000.  It’s exciting to see these junoir racers on the path to potentially becoming the next Skimo stars in years to come.

For prettier pictures check out Alex’s report http://skitheory.blogspot.com/2011/02/sunshine-5000-ski-mountaineering-race.html

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4 Responses

  1. Best quote from a race ever!

  2. Nice race report Gale!!

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