Tony Fiala, a volunteer coach with the Caledonia Nordic, wasn’t about to be denied in 2015. After skiing 30 km and coming second by one tenth (.1) of a second to David Zurevinski (Nechako Nordics) in 2013, and third by six and four tenths (6.4) of a second to Andrew Casey in 2014, you knew Fiala was hungry for a win.
A record number of participants (since being rejuvenated in 2008) skied in this year’s edition of the Spirit of the Rivers Loppet with many families participating in a variety of distances. This year’s trails were fast again and times were typically 1-2% faster than in 2014.
Under overcast skies, with the sun poking through from time to time, Fiala skied neck and neck with Alexander Nemethy from the Nechako Nordics (Vanderhoof) for 1 hour 21 minutes, 51.2 seconds, edging him out by one half (.5) a second at the finish—the third year in a row that the Spirit of the Rivers Loppet winner was decided in a photo finish. At the half way point (15 km) Fiala, an Olympic Biathlete (1992 and ‘98), was only one tenth of a second ahead of Nemethy.
The fastest woman in the 30 km event was Nikki Kassel who was back racing for the first time after a two year break. Nikki’s time of 1:25:34.2 placed her in fifth overall position behind 3rd place finisher Mike Smith and 4th place finisher Kris Yip. Shar Balogh placed second in the woman’s 30 km race for the third consecutive year.
In the 30 km Classic Technique portion of the race, Will Andal placed first in a time of 1:45:31.6, more than 15 minutes ahead of second place finisher Chris Wagner. The woman’s 15 km Classic winner was Terra Young finishing a mere 12 seconds ahead of Lanita Horning in a time of 1:15:55.2.
Twelve year old Liam Connon improved his time in the 30 km distance, almost breaking 2 hours when he clocked in at 2:01:32.4. Connon’s time was approximately 5% faster than his last year’s time over the same course. Connon skied the last 15 km with a broken strap on one of his ski poles. A complete listing of results can be seen here.
The Caledonia Nordic Ski Club, a not-for-profit organization, has evolved over many years, to become a full service Nordic ski club and one of the largest of its kind in Canada. The club has had a membership in excess of 1800 in both 2013 and 2014. CNSC is run by a volunteer board of directors who meet regularly once a month. Each is dedicated to skier development and the promotion of the sport of cross country skiing for fun, fitness, recreation and health. \
For more information regarding the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club please visit: www.caledonianordic.com.