I know some time has passed but I meant to do a race report for the Keski so here it is. Unfortunately I forgot my camera so this one is text only. For those that don't know the event the current name is The Gatineau Loppett which consists of a weekend of classic and skate cross country ski races. I have been xc-skiing for 2 years and as usual decided to get in over my head. I convinced a buddy who is a decent skier that we should do the 29km classic event. Since I had never skied more than 10km this seemed reasonable to me.
At least we had enough snow for the keski this year.....
I skied as much as I could but never really put in anything over 16km though I did regularly tow my little munchkin in her chariot. When I was starting to look a little ragged she would chant "Go Daddy Go Daddy", if that doesn't put a hop in your step nothing will.
Done with training, on to the race. It was damn cold at start time, -22 C. At least it makes the kick waxing easy, green and lots of it. We stayed inside till just before the start and ended up at the very back of the pack of 311 skiers in our race. Good news is there would be plenty of opportunity to pass on the parkway. We went fairly conservatively and stopped for a couple of minutes at each check point. I was feeling pretty good until the 21km mark and really struggled for the next few kms, blowing one corner and flying into a 10 foot ditch that fortunately was filled with 8 feet of snow. I got my gumption back and hacked it out pretty decently for the last 5 km.
One memorable point was being passed by the leader of the 53 km race just as we passed the 5 km to go mark, yeah, he had skied 48 km in the same time it took us to go 24 km. Apparently the bar has been set fairly high.
We toughed it out and enjoyed the run down Pink Lake hill, into the finish and enjoyed lunch at the school. I finished 184 out of 311 which I was happy with having started at the very back.
The event is super organized and I really enjoyed the whole affair, though it is a bit expensive I can't believe the number of Ottawa skiers I have met who have never done this event. Get out and do it people! I will be back next year and have a goal of moving my average speed up by 10%.
A huge thanks goes out to my buddy Erik who could have dropped me at any time but skied with me the whole way, that made for a much more pleasant event for me.