Silver and bronze for Team Alberta in cross-country skiing

Race at River Bend delayed for three hours because of the cold

Team Alberta cross-country skiers picked up two medals in cold-delayed Canada Winter Games races at River Bend Recreation Area on Monday afternoon.

Reed Godfrey, from Canmore, won silver in the men’s 10-km race and Issy Hendry, also from Canmore, won bronze in the women’s 7.5-km race.

Racing was to start at 10 a.m. but organizers decided to postpone the events for three hours because of the morning frigid conditions.

Godfrey was upbeat following the race.

“It was a really nice day out. The sun was shining. The track was really nice.

“My body was feeling pretty and I had OK race tactics and it just turned out to be a really good day, for sure.”

The cold was something to endure.

“It’s definitely harder to race in the cold for your lungs,” he said. “I was hurting pretty hard after the race.

“So, it’s definitely more of a challenge. But that’s when the real competitors show up.”

Men’s winner Rémi Drolet, of Rossland, B.C., said the good preparation he did before the games right up to the pre-race warmup and breakfast all came together.

“I think the key today was go as hard as you possibly could at a pace that you could maintain for the whole race.

“The trails weren’t super fast so it was really important to go super hard on the uphills because that’s where your skis would stop sliding if you didn’t push very hard.”

Bronze medallist for the men was Graham Ritchie, of Parry Sound, Ont.

Rhys James, from Canmore, was a little disappointed in his 24th-place finish after doing well at a recent event.

“I skied a lot slower than I did then. Hopefully, it will just be the one day and I can pick it up for three races to come.”

The course on Monday was challenging because there are three tough hills but not much downhill to recuperate.

“You’re in the pain zone for quite a bit of the way.”

Hendry said she took a break before the Games to rest and it paid off.

“So I felt really rested coming into the Games. I felt really strong the whole time.

“It was a good day for sure. I felt really good in my race,” she said.

Hendry took the chilly conditions in stride.

“I’ve had a lot of races in the cold all season long so I’m used to it,” she said. “It didn’t feel too cold at all for me racing today.”

Women’s gold medallist, Laura Leclair, of Gatineau, Que., said everything went well on race day.

“I wanted to start fast and that’s what I did and I was just passing girl after girl,” she said. “That’s what my strategy was.”

Silver medallist for the women was Benita Peiffer, of Whistler, B.C.

Other Alberta finishers: Men’s race — Logan Lumby, 15th; and Luke Fricker, 21st. Women’s race — Maya Fish, 13th; Anna Parent, 15th; and Althea Brolsma.

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