Everybody knows that Neal Kindree is fast on a bike, but it turns out he's just fast. At the Sigge's P'ayakentsut on Saturday the Squamish mountain bike athlete turned a few heads with a second place finish in the men's 50km race — Kindree's first ever cross-country race in only his second season on skinny skis.
Nobody was too surprised to see Colin Abbott cross the finish line first. Abbott, who skis with the Callaghan Valley Training Centre, is a national development team level athlete who regularly finished top 15 at the NorAm Cup level.
He completed two laps of the 25km course at Whistler Olympic Park in 2:30:47, and was actually faster the second time around. He averaged 19.8km/h from start to finish.
Kindree, who was first in the 25 to 29 group, was just 25 seconds back of Abbott after the first lap, and finished in 2:32:01. Phil Veilleneuve, a Team Salomon athlete who said he hasn't spent much time on skis lately, placed third in 2:33:26.
For Kindree — who was wearing shorts and using some borrowed equipment — the race had a lot of similarities to mountain biking.
"With all the snow last night the course was pretty soft, and it was pretty bumpy out there. You had to plan every stride and look ahead so you wouldn't get your ski caught up in the crud. It was really intense like that, so it was actually quite a lot like technical mountain biking," he said.
Kindree said he went out from the start a little heavy with food and liquid, and as a result was well behind the leaders after the first climb. He kept eating and drinking through the race, however, and he said that probably helped to keep his energy up while attacking on the second lap.
While he planned to be back on his bike the next day, Kindree said he could see himself doing more cross-country racing in the future.
"I really like it, it's so nice up here and it's great training on days where there's not a lot of good biking to be had. It's good to mix things up. I really just like racing, no matter what it is. I like to compete."
Brian May of Larch Hills Nordics — the winner of the first P'akak in 2011 — was fourth in 2:35:49, and posted the fastest second lap of any of the racers. Max Saenger of the Callaghan Winter Sports Club was fifth in 2:39:14.
The fastest member of the Whistler Nordics was Robbie Metza, 17th overall and third in the 50 to 54 age group in 3:14:02. Matteo Abel was 20th overall and third in the 40 to 44 group in 3:16:05 and William Geddes was 23rd and fifth in the 50 to 54 group in 3:19:31.
A total of 48 skiers were at the start line for the men's 50km race.
In the women's 50km it was Kelly Geisheimer of the Black Jack Ski Club who placed first with a time of 3:06:21. Andrea Bundon was second in 3:09:45 and Maria Hawkins third in 3:11:15.
The fastest local in the group was Cathy Zeglinski, who placed sixth overall and second in the women's 45 to 49 age category in 3:25:17. Rua Read of the Callaghan Winter Sports Club was 11th overall and first in the women's 40 to 44 race in 3:40:18. Anne Parent was 12th overall and second in that age category in 3:40:59. Karen Ogilvie was 16th overall and second in 35 to 39 in 4:21:26. Michelle Crowe was 18th overall and first in the 55 to 59 category in 4:37:18.
There was a much larger field in the 30km category.
In the men's race, it was a battle between members of the Callaghan Valley Training Centre. Colin Ferrie was first 1:33:26, one second ahead of Jeff Kerkovius. Martin Schrama was third in 1:39:44.
Racing for the Whistler Nordics, Camille Cheskey was fourth overall in 1:39:53. All of the top four racers were in the 24 and under category. Vesa Suomalainen of the Whistler Nordics was fifth overall and first in the 45 to 49 group in 1:40:39.
Other local finishers include Thomsen D'Hont — sixth overall and fifth in 24 and under in 1:40:52, Stefan Sander-Green in eighth overall and sixth in the 24 and under group, Chris Bishop in ninth overall and first in the 40 to 44 race, Brent Murdoch in 21st overall and fourth in the 45 to 49 race, Birken Metza in 28th overall and 10th in the 24 and under group (as well as one of the youngest competitors), Sean Anderson 32nd overall and seventh in 45 to 49, Antoine Arcand 37th and third in 30 to 34, Paul Beswetherick 39th and sixth in 50 to 54, Adrian Zissos 47th overall and 10th 50 to 54 and Crosland Doak 48th overall and 11th in 50 to 54.
There were 99 racers in the category but for space we could only include skiers in the top 50. Complete results are online at www.zone4.ca.
In the women's 30km race, Carolyn Daubeny of Mt. Bachelor was first in 1:55:39, followed by the Whistler Nordics' Sylvie Allen in 1:57:37. Regan Kohlhardt was third in 1:59:00.
Other local racers in the mix include Maureen Harriman, ninth overall and second in 45 to 49; Carolyn Rodger in 10th overall and first in 50 to 54; Vicki Haberl in 20th overall and third in 50 to 54; Charlotte Macnaughton 21st overall and sixth in 40 to 44; Johanna Gunn in 26th overall and seventh in 40 to 44; Irene Wood in 29th and fifth in 50 to 54; Ann Myette-Spence in 30th overall and sixth in 50 to 54; and Suki Cheyne in 34th and seventh in 35 to 39. There were 48 racers in the category.
In the men's 15km race, Grant Wilburn was fastest in 1:00:05, followed by Steven Kariya in 1:00:13 and Mikhail Fain in 1:00:55. Craig Mackenzie led the Whistler Nordics in 18th in 1:10:27.
Other locals in the top 30 include Stephane Perron in 22nd and second in 45 to 49 and Mick Peatfield in 26th and fourth in 45 to 49.
Adrienne Underhill of the Callaghan Valley Training Centre was first overall out of all the 15km racers, male and female, in 57:08. Melanie Levesque was second in 1:00:21 and Lisa Broughan third in 1:06:40.
Sara Hamilton of the Callaghan Winter Sports Club was ninth overall and second in 40 to 44 in 1:10:18; Dawn Hunter from the Spud Valley Nordics was 12th overall and second in 35 to 39 in 1:12:00; Helle Willburn was 24th overall and first in 60 to 64 in 1:21:31; Marie-France Dubois was 25th overall and 10th in 45 to 49 in 1:22:09; Cheeying Ho was 29th and 12th in 45 to 49 in 1:22:01; and Lynn Ayers was 30th overall and fifth in 40 to 44 in 1:25:18, to round out the top 30.
In the Youth 15km race, the Hollyburn men dominated with Kalum Utley first in 54:14 and Quinn Wildi second in 55:30. Hollyburn also accounted for spots four through 14.
In the women's youth race, Nicki Murdoch of the Whistler Nordics was first overall in 1:00:03, followed by Jennifer Wildi of Hollyburn in 1:01:17. Lauren Doak of Whistler was third overall and first in the 13 to 15 group in 1:03:33.
Jenya Nordic and Paige Quinn of Whistler were fourth and ninth respectively.
Complete results are online at www.zone4.ca.