Hannah Mehain of Vernon works her way to gold in the five-kilometre Classic race at the National Nordic Trials races in Mont Sainte Anne, Que. She earned a spot on the Canadian World Junior Team. (Mario Walker Photo)

Hannah Mehain of Vernon works her way to gold in the five-kilometre Classic race at the National Nordic Trials races in Mont Sainte Anne, Que. She earned a spot on the Canadian World Junior Team. (Mario Walker Photo)

Mehain poles to gold

Vernon cross-country skier Hannah Mehain is Switzerland-bound after striking gold today in Quebec

Vernon cross-country skier Hannah Mehain is Switzerland-bound.

Mehain struck gold today in the five-kilometre Classic race at the Canadian Nordic Trials in Mont Sainte Anne, Que., earning her a spot on the Canadian World Junior Team which leaves Sunday from Montreal for the world championships in Geneva.

The junior team, which will be joined by the national U23 squad, will train and acclimatize in Praz de Lys, France from Jan. 15-24. They will compete in one or two races in a French Cup, Jan. 20-21, in Grand Naves before driving to Goms, Switzerland for the worlds three days later.

“I had an excellent race today,” said Mehain, who turns 20 on May 31. “I knew there were three major climbs so I planned to pace the first two climbs and progress through the last climb. I worked the flats and pushed over the top of each climb. What really did it for me in this race was the last double-pole section about one km before the finish. I double-poled as hard and as fast as I could. It was such a tight race. I finished only two seconds ahead of the next skier.

“At the beginning of the weekend we had extreme cold in Quebec so the races were delayed and the order of the races were reversed. I was nervous going into my first race of the weekend because it was not the race that I expected. My first two races were not quite what I was hoping for but I was still satisfied with them. Today, I was able to relax and focus on what I needed to do in order to race my best.”

Mehain’s coach Adam Elliot and BC Team coach Chris Manhard were at the Trials races and were on course today and both encouraged Hannah during the race.

Mehain carries sponsorship from Fischer, Swix, Julbo, Stussi Sports, Nordic Grinds.