Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Monday, 20 February 2012

Sunday 19 February 2012 – The Gatineau Loppet Freestyle Event - 51km

Santa on Penguin Hill - 19/2/12

Yesterday, the Classic Loppet, today the ‘Freestyle’ Loppet.  This involves the use of skate skies, and is a very energetic activity.

Luckily I don’t have any skate skies!

On the other hand, Santa (above) appears to have acquired some; maybe they were a Christmas present?

I went up trail 30 from Kingsmere (P7) on a lovely sunny morning and shouted encouragement to the skiers from a corner near the top of Penguin Hill, by Wattsford Lookout, which enjoys views over Ottawa.

Santa was only just behind this group of fairly elite skiers, who had taken just over an hour to reach this 20km point along the 51km course, which was the same course as for yesterday’s ‘Classique’ race.

Elite Skate-skiers climb Penguin Hill - 19/2/12

At this point very few skiers stopped for a rest at the corner.  They powered on up the final steep ascent prior to the excellent trail to their next support point at Keogan.

On the final ascent of Penguin Hill, above Wattsford Lookout

A Brit who was also in yesterday’s race, Steve Hesketh, went past in a big bunch of speedy racers.  So far as I can see, there were just four Brits amongst the 416 who completed today’s race, and Steve was by far the quickest of them.  (As yesterday, when he was an hour ahead of me and three hours ahead of the other two Brits.)

Half an hour after Santa, with the field thinning, and even a lad from Leeds, Gordon O’Neill, going past, Ken powered his way up Penguin Hill for a chat at the corner.  By this time I was chatting to many of the skiers who were finding the hill a little much to complete without a rest, and Ken also felt he had to stop and say hello!

Ken McNair on Penguin Hill - 19/2/12

It was a lovely day.  I pottered back down to P7, relishing the nicely groomed surface and the emptiness of trail 30.  Then a short drive to P9 at Dunlop saw me donning my old skis for the last time for this trip and heading up Fortune Parkway to the support point at Huron. 

It didn’t take long for my target to arrive, and again Ken was happy to stop for a chat…..

The Loppet support point at Huron

…and a posed shot with his mouth full of a mixture of Gatorade and chocolate covered peanuts…

Ken enjoys a munch and a drink at Huron, only 16km to go!

“I’ve got to go now” he announced “that lad from Leeds is just ahead of me and I don’t want to be beaten by someone who has no access to any proper training facility.” (Freestyle skiing doesn’t have a large following in Leeds, so far as I’m aware!)*

So off he went, and so did I, enjoying my final descent down Fortune Parkway.  It was a lovely day, and the trail was quick, so the 20mph descent of the final long hill was a satisfactorily exhilarating conclusion to this year’s ‘adventures on planks’.

Here’s a parting shot of the Parkway, by Fortune Lake, yesterday afternoon, before the final descent to P9 car park.

Fortune Parkway on a sunny Sunday afternoon - 19/2/12

That’s it from Canada for this year.  I’m shortly off to catch a plane.  Hope you enjoyed these postings.  It’s back to ‘plodding’ this week.

I will be putting up some pictures on Picasa, in particular of the images I took yesterday at Wattsford Lookout whilst waiting for Ken.  I’ll place a link here.  If you are a skier who appears in any of those images, and you would like a full size copy, let me know through the ‘Contact us’ button on, and I’ll send it to you.  It’ll be my pleasure.

* BTW, Ken came in 365th out of the 416 finishers, in just under four hours, nearly a minute ahead of Gordon from Leeds, who came a very commendable 366th – the second Brit on the day.  And for Ken that completes Parham Momtahan’s ‘Triple Challenge’, comprising the 160km Canadian Ski Marathon, and this weekend’s two 51km Loppet races.  Only a handful of people (less than 20) have completed this daunting challenge.  Well done Ken!


Alan R said...

It’s been a good series of posts Martin. I have enjoyed Canada.
I hope that you are getting everyone waterproof Santa Outfits for the Hartington Mud dash in December.

afootinthehills said...

Like Alan R, I've enjoyed Canada too Martin.

Phreerunner said...

Thanks Alan, Gibson, your comments have been appreciated. It's nice to have an appreciative audience, however small!
Alan - they probably won't let us in for lunch if we turn up in muddied Santa outfits, but I will be donning one for the 5km Parkrun in Wythenshawe on 22 December - that'll be a very jolly occasion, followed by mince pies etc.

summitboy said...

It's embarrassing being bested by someone skiing in Santa suit. Maybe I should wear one next year...