.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

PenguinMan Report #3 - Slow and steady.
By:  Craig Storey   (2008/04/02)


I guess I'm a hypocrite. I'm deliquent on my Keski, oops, Gatineau Loppet 29km report and my Tour de Mont Valin report as well. Sometimes I get bogged down with other website work and don't get around to writing about my events. Maybe I'll get those together soon. I will need to do something when the snow disappears in May.

The revival of PenguinMan may have come out of my whining that there were no races left on the drive home from Mont Valin. Dev, Wayne and I batted around ideas for more events, and eventually Dev proposed a 100km ski. A few days later Gino Ainsley also mentioned the desire to do 100km. Hmm..there seems to be interest, so why not? I barely managed to ski the 50km at Mont Valin, so double sounded like a dumb idea for a guy with a sore back. But if I treated it like a training day, not a race it could be fun.

I've skied >100km/day maybe a dozen times and 100km in one shot about 3 times, so I knew the kind of fun that was in store. My plan, since I'm somewhat injured was to stay in a low zone 1 (heart rate and exercion level) and take it easy the whole way. At the first signs of pain I would call it a day.

What a great day for the event! Beautiful sunny and lots of people out in the park enjoying the skiing that weren't crazy enough to do 4 loops. More than a few people I chatted with along the way asked me if the park had groomed specifically for us - ha! Actually the grooming was almost World class - except for the snow machine that had ruined the entire Ridge road stretch and the unfinished parkway. What was interesting to watch was that those snow machine ruts did not get skied in, smoothed out or improve during the entire 6 hours period even with all the traffic out there. They've really got to fix that, they go to great efforts to groom and then ruin it minutes later to the frustration of all who ski. Writing them yet another letter ran through my mind a few times as I found my skis getting caught in the ruts.

Back to the event, I skied lap #1 with Dev and Sheila which was great. Back at P8 I needed to visit the outhouse. From then on I skied by myself enjoying the day. At 99.5km Martin Scrive, who I had passed on Penguin during the 4th lap, caught back up to me just before we descended Fortune. Martin and I skied the doldrums together and met Dev and Jo-Ann Holden at the finish.

In the end I did exactly what I set out to do, a nice easy 100km ski. I never struggled (ok, 4th time up Penguin wasn't fun in the slush) or raced, just slow and steady for 6:10 skiing time, 6:25 with the bathroom break. My hat off to all who completed the test, <6hrs and <9hrs alike, a 100km ski is a big feat, congrats.

Next year, we should have a 24 hour distance challenge like the Lappe 24hr Challenge. Trust me, it's a fun way to end the season. Checkout the 2008 results and records... 24hours solo, 408km by Werner Schwar! World record, 415.5km but that's set on a frozen lake all double pole and no climbing.

Interesting Reading. . .
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