Back to XC Masters section Report by Warren Feakes
The Masters World Cup series was held at Lillehammer Norway between 29th February and 6th March 2004. Eleven Aussie masters skiers competed including regulars as well as some new blood. Participants were Camille Melvey, Warren and Debbie Feakes, Doris and John Trueman, Nick Almoukov, Zac Zaharias, Bob Hooten, Rohan Pitchford, Stan McDonald, and Bill Hamilton. Competitors were limited to three individual events and a 5 km relay leg for the competition. Individual distances vary from 10 to 45 km in both disciplines depending on age and gender. We had skiers in most classes from Camille in F02 (35 to 40 years) up to Bill in M09 (70 to 74 years). All races were mass start with FIS point handicap positions on the grid. Janette Hamilton was the ever diligent Team Captain/National Representative.
The tracks prepared at Lillehammer were certainly some of the best I have skied on and were immaculately prepared for each event. The weather was just perfect albeit a little chilly in the early mornings while the snow was just about the coldest I have encountered and one morning registered minus 24C on the Solda wax tech's thermometer. Nick "Siberia" Almoukov, having his first run at Masters, proved a boon in waxing advice for the cold abrasive conditions. With the exception of a 15 km "B" loop, the courses were pretty technical with some great 'Zoomers', and there was no room to relax or lose concentration. I did - story to come!!
My Class, M06 (55 to 59 years) presented the largest of the race fields. As an example, my 10 km freestyle race where I placed 36th (19% behind) had 59 starters. Of interest was that the best times for the distances were not always from the youngest age groups.
The detailed results will come out in XC News but the wrap is that Australia has never done as well at WMC. Camille Melvey's podium finishes in the 15 km and 30 km freestyle races and Doris Trueman's 4th in the 15 free and 8th in the 30 free were but some of the highlights and PB's. Despite a crook back, Nick also had some credible results in his very strong field.
We also managed an Aussie relay team with Nick, Rohan, Zac and Bob. I made up a four as lead freestyle skier for the British team as they were short and managed the fastest 5 km of my life.
All in, it was a great competition with well over 1000 competitors. It was a buzz skiing on tracks oozing with "essence of Bjorn" and "aftertaste of Alsgard". A more detailed article on the social side of the events will appear in next XC News.
Nick Almoukov on final turn in 45 km Classic
Camille Melvey after her 30km Freestyle podium finish
Nick and Rohan Pitchford "tank up" before the 45 km Classic
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