The Ontario Winter Games continue this weekend and two members of the North Bay Nordic junior cross-country skiing racing team will be there.
Grayson Franks and Harrison Rees both qualified for games earlier this season and will be competing at the Renfrew event.
The club says both athletes are looking forward to the overall experience of competing at the provincial level.
“I love the strategy of racing, always trying to figure out when to attack, when to grab a quick recovery moment, and when to push through,” says Franks, who is 14 years old.
His mom, Kristin says the pandemic helped Grayson look to cross-country skiing.
“He was an avid downhill skier and unfortunately when the pandemic forced the closure of a number of ski hills in Ontario he decided to try cross-country skiing and found a true love for it,” she says.
Kristin also says her son is a competitive cyclist in the spring and summer and loved the idea of a high-endurance activity in the off-season that can build on his cycling.
“He’s the kind of kid that likes to challenge himself. He likes to push himself to the limit and see how fast he can go working at his max in an uphill effort,” Franks says. “I think he just loves being in nature and being surrounded by the beautiful trails at Nordic and other areas in the province.”
The club says Harrison Rees has been cross-country skiing since about the time he could walk, with his father, Andrew, and grandfather, former Olympian Dave Rees, having long been involved in the sport.
The 13-year-old has been a member of the racing team for the past five years.
He is looking forward to the atmosphere of the Ontario Winter Games and continuing to build race experience.
On top of a day of training, there are skate skiing sprint qualifying and team relay events along with a longer distance classic ski race.
The Ontario Winter Games, the largest multi-sport event in the province, have been held every two years since 1970.