The good news is that Ken returned home last night with a gold bar, having completed the 160 km Canadian Ski Marathon. Sadly, Michael just failed to make it to the final checkpoint before the cut-off time, so he ‘only’ did 147 km. Very impressive, nonetheless. When Sue and I have tried this event we have felt chuffed to manage much more than 100 km over the course of the weekend, and that’s without carrying packs.
Conditions were tough. There are many tales to be told. But not here, for the time being.
We enjoyed dinner at ‘The Pub’ in Chelsea with Susan and Roy last night, but today was Sue’s appointed rendezvous with United/Continental Airlines for the purpose of returning to Timperley to win some of the bread that’ll be needed to support our travel plans for the year ahead. She managed to ski nearly 150 km during her stay, though, which isn’t bad for a ‘Beach Holiday’.
So having dropped Sue at the airport I got a late start for a 23 km ski from P2, covering the eastern section of the Gatineau Loppet route. It was fairly warm at just minus 2C, but the tracks were icy and my blue wax soon dissipated, leaving me with a rather slithery experience along tracks like trail 15 in the late afternoon, pictured above on the way to Pink Lake. Which is white at this time of year.
En route to the undulations of trail 15’s twisty course, the trail passes under a series of huge pylons. Not even Gatineau Park is protected from such monstrosities.
Later, the low sun lit the trail beautifully. I was passed by these two ladies on a short incline. I wasn’t the only one finding the ice a little slithery – normally we’d all be scooting quickly up this short hill with our skis in the prepared trail, but today even a small rise proved hard work.
After wiping out at an innocuous junction (my first proper ‘crash’ of the trip) I found my way back to P2, via trails 26/29/27. On Saturday and Sunday mornings this coming weekend, several hundred athletic skiers will be racing down the track pictured below, just yards from the start of the Classic and Freestyle (skate skis) Loppets – 51 km races around some of the Park’s excellent trails. There will be much competition for the leading positions, whilst at the other end of the field people will be straining every muscle to avoid being ‘timed out’ at the cut off points around the course.