Travis Pete and Hamish Woods closed out an excellent season at the 2015 Haywood Ski Nationals in Thunder Bay, Ontario last weekend.
During his first appearance at nationals, Pete competed in the 1.3-kilometre sprint, as well as the 7.5-km classic and 5-km free where he finished in the top 15 in his age category in both races.
On Saturday, Pete also competed in the 10-km free where he finished 14th of 75 racers, one of the best results he had all weekend.
“My performance was really good,” said the 16-year-old, adding that he was able to keep a steady pace throughout most of the race.
According to Alex Woods, head coach of the senior boys’ team with the Bulkley Valley Nordics, the final race was by far the most challenging.
“It was a really challenging race and there were broken skis and broken poles and Travis made it through all of that,” said Woods, noting that on the first lap of the race there were three broken skis and four broken poles.
By the end, Pete said the long distance was the most difficult.
“The ending was really challenging, by the end my legs were screaming,” he said.
“I knew it was my last race. There was a person ahead of me, and he came up behind me and I stuck with him until the end.”
Hamish Woods, 16, made his second appearance at nationals after competing in Whistler two years ago.
He raced in the 7.5-km where he finished seventh in his age category.
“I was really happy with it, I think I did pretty well.
“I had really good coaching this year, my skis were well prepared and just having support from the club to get us over here was a big help,” said Woods.
The team had a couple of bake sales to help fundraise for their trip.
On the third day of competition, Hamish said he was able to remain calm under the pressure of racing.
“Just sticking to your race plan and not going off and following all the other crazy people who go in way faster than you,” he said.
Woods said both Hamish and Travis excelled during long-distance races and it showed in the results.
“Both of them benefit from distance, they’re strong endurance athletes, the longer the race the better,” he said.
The boys have worked hard this season to get the chance to compete at nationals.
“They train over 400 hours in the year and these guys have worked very hard and they’ve done very well. I’m very proud of both of them,” said Alex.
Though the season is up, both racers said they’re looking forward to next winter and will continue to work on strengthening in the off-season.
“I had a lot of fun. I had some good races and I really enjoyed skiing with the group,” said Hamish.
“I’m going to spend a lot of time this summer working on strength and doing long runs.”