He trained hard over the summer and, in late November, even went to Labrador City to take advantage of the earlier snowfall by training and competing in a race there. In January, he raced in Corner Brook, then participated in the North American Cup/Eastern Canadian championships in Quebec.
Unhappy with his results in Quebec, he decided to put his nose to the grindstone even more, taking part in races in both Clarenville and Stephenville.
After nearly a year of this hectic pace, his goal finally arrived on the week of March 18-25 in Canmore, Alta. — the North American Cup/Canadian championships.
No matter how much training Warkentin did, he couldn’t prepare himself for the biggest obstacle — the altitude. Canmore is in the Rocky Mountains, about 1,500 metres above sea level, a noticeable difference from Corner Brook and most other places he had trained.
“The air was very thin, so it was tough for me to breathe for most of the first week there,” Warkentin said.
His plight was obvious in his first race, at a 7.5-kilometre distance in which he said he was having trouble breathing. He still managed a 20th place finish in his age group, however.
The second race, though, Warkentin said he was “completely out of it,” feeling dizzy and unable to move his legs fast enough en route to a disappointing 89th place performance.
Up next was a sprint, in which the top 30 finishers would advance to the semifinals, before groups of six would then face off with an appearance in the finals on the line. Warkentin said he felt he had a good race, but fell 14 seconds short of 30th place.
He saved the best for last in the mass start race featuring all 96 races in his category. He managed to work his way up from a bad starting position to finish 12th overall in his age group.
Obviously on a high from his final performance, the Blow Me Down Trails member said he’s already looking forward to more races next year.