During this past winter season, Agassiz’s own Laurens van Vliet participated in four B.C. cross-country ski races, with podium finishes for all four.
Van Vliet’s success comes in no small part due to his rigorous fitness regimen.
“I started training for the 2019/2020 cross-country ski season in late September with long bike rides at least once a week for conditioning, strength training on the Green Grind and core strength and stability, balance and interval training indoors,” Van Vliet said. “When there was enough snow in early December, I switched to cross-country ski training in Manning Park, two days per week.”
Van Vliet said his main focus for the season was preparing himself for the Masters World Cup 2020 in the Aosta Valley of the Italian Alps. This would have marked his fifth Masters World Cup competition. However, his international plans were cut short.
“Less than a week before we departed for Italy in early March, the event was cancelled because of the outbreak of COVID-19 in Italy, which was very disappointing, but understandable,” Van Vliet said.
Nevertheless, his training paid off competing in B.C. His first race in January was a 30-kilometre relay event, where he did a 15-kilometre classic ski race, tacked his skiing buddy in the stadium who proceeded to do a 15-kilometre skate ski race. They fished in second place.
The second race in January was at Larch Hills in Salmon Arm. Van Vliet placed first with a convincing lead of more than 10 minutes over second place. Then in early February came the Cascade Cup in Manning Park, where he placed second under very adverse conditions. His last B.C. race was the Blackwall Bash in Manning Park, which is a hill-climb event, going 575 metres vertical over an 8-kilometre distance; another first place finish.
“I am sure that my success this season may have something to do with this being my first time competing in the 70+ age group!” Van Vliet said.
Being a member of the Manning Park Nordic ski club, Van Vliet is grateful to Manning Park Nordic Centre, who provided for complimentary trail passes for his training. He enjoyed the more than 40 kilometres of track-set trails for his trainingand all the support and kindness by the Nordic Centre staff.