Nelson's Julien Locke participating in the 10 km race at the Canada Winter Games.

Nelson's Julien Locke participating in the 10 km race at the Canada Winter Games.

BC Nordic team wins gold and bronze at Canada Winter Games

The BC Nordic team, including Nelson’s Julien Locke, is performing well at the Canada Winter Games in Prince George.

The BC Nordic team is performing well at the Canada Winter Games in Prince George as Colin Ferrie of Kimberley won the gold medal in the men’s 1.5 km classic sprint on Tuesday in a time of 3:29.57 and Nelson’s Julien Locke placed sixth. David Palmer won a bronze medal at Thursday’s 15 kilometre free while teammate Geoffrey Richards placed fourth.

Four of the five BC Nordic team members — Ferrie, Locke, Palmer and Richards [both of Rossland]— are from the Black Jack ski team which trains in Rossland.

Going into the sprint as the U23 NorAm sprint leader, Locke said he was confident he would be at the front of the race. Earlier in the sprint qualifiers, Locke and Ferrie placed sixth and seventh with the identical time of 3:39.00.

“I knew that despite the lack of preparation [due to a cold], I still had a good shot at the podium,” said Locke. “Both Colin and I qualified well in the morning, and skied strongly in the quarters and semis to make it into the A final.”

Colin Ferrie won the gold medal in the men’s Nordic sprint. Pam Wallis/2015 Canada Winter Games photo.

Locke described how Ferrie won the gold medal: “Colin went to the front right from the gun and skied a remarkable race, leading from line to line. The final was the fastest heat of the day by several seconds, and it was a tough pace to hang on to.”

Locke said he had a good race as well.

“I am satisfied with my execution, but I am far below my usual race shape right now and didn’t have the speed to stay with Colin’s pace. The result itself is a huge disappointment for me, but I am incredibly happy to have one of my best friends win instead. Colin and I have been racing together since we were eight and to have two boys from the Kootenays in the top six in the country is quite satisfying.”

On Monday Locke finished 22nd in the 10 km classic. His teammates fared better: Ferrie placed fifth with a time of 26:44.00, Geoffrey Richards placed sixth in 26:56.30, Palmer came seventh in 27:06.10, and Gareth Williams was 13th in 27:53.20.

Locke wrote to the Star that he raced the 10 km classic with the intention of preparing for the sprint but caught an unfortunately timed cold about 12 days ago, and ended up missing seven days of training leading up to the games.

“My shape slipped a bit and the 10 km was the first hard effort I had done in two weeks. Though I raced very poorly speed-wise, it was a good hard effort to sharpen the body for Tuesday.”

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Colin Ferrie during the 10 km classic. Bogetti-Smith photo.