Watching the timer count down from ten in the -19 degree weather, Cary Pomeroy raced off the start line Jan. 31 and skied to place 20th in the senior men’s cross country division, scoring himself the third spot on the Ontario university athletics (OUA) Carleton ski team.
Despite the hilly terrain and the pressure to make this year a new personal best, the Carleton student managed to improve his performance and will be headed to North Bay Feb. 13 – 15 to compete on an eight-person team in the OUA Championships.
Pomeroy began his cross-country ski career when he was 15 after he made the switch from downhill skiing.
“I downhill skied basically since I could walk,” said Pomeroy. “I really liked downhill competitive skiing, but it got really expensive.”
Since most of his friends were already cross country skiing, the switch was easy.
Pomeroy trains with Nakkertok, a local ski club four times a week, and with his school team twice a week. The team takes about 6 trips per season to compete across the country.
But the training doesn’t stop when the snow melts.
“A lot of the training for cross country skiing is stuff like running,” said Pomeroy. “In the summer I road bike and I run.”
Roller skiing is another way he trains when there’s no snow on the ground, but it’s a sport that limits you to the pavement instead of trekking through trails.
He has been training with his coach Kieran Jones since he was 17, and according to him Pomeroy has come a long way.
“This has been Cary’s best season of the five I have worked with him,” said Jones. “At 17, he didn’t have a lot of patience. He wanted results right away, and he was pretty into pushing himself hard a lot of the time.”
The hardest year for the pair was Jones’s third year coaching Pomeroy. It was one of the most ambitious, but as far as results went it was a disaster. Despite the 550 hours of training and massive amounts of personal investment, Pomeroy saw little to no personal improvement.
“At the end of the season, he stacked up his experience, and decided that he loved the sport for what it was,” said Jones. “Being fit, having a healthy life/school balance, having a great peer group – and that he was committing to another year of that, regardless of the results.”
And that commitment to the sport paid off. He’s now sponsored by companies like Madshus, and has integrated skiing into his whole life, and loves competing alongside so many friends on his school team.
“I’d like to stay at around the skill level I am now. It’s really gotten out of my reach to get any better,” said Pomeroy. “But it’s fun and I love racing. I love the competitive spirit.”