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Gloppet 2009 - My Best 50k skate....so far.
By:  Megan McTavish   (2009/02/23)

I have to admit, I usually dread the 50km skate. For me, my only real experience with this particular discipline has been at the Keskinada/Gatineau Loppet (Gloppet) about five times and at the Transjurasienne World Loppet in France once.

My memories of these races are filled with bonks and long solo journies home on the parkway, followed by a crawl up the final Mont Bleu hill. For interest, I decided to do a quick search on my history of the 50km skate. The results I came up with were not very impressive to say the least! I was, in general, 10-30 minutes behind the winner of the womenís event and usually about 10-15 minutes behind Sheila (who was usually coming 2nd, 3rd or 4th - see her report). At the Transjurasienne, I remember struggling along with another, much older (50-54 age category), french women while being constantly passed by the 72km menís packs.

Keskinada 2003

Meanwhile, Karl has always loved this discipline. While I was finishing 15 minutes out of the lead, Karl was winning (2002) the event. Needless to say, he always gets pretty excited for the race, while I generally feel impending doom.

Luckily, this seems to be turning around for me! Last year, I was less than 10 minutes behind the leader and just over a minute behind Sheila. I still had a pretty long "death" as I was constantly being passed starting up at Champlain lookout, all the way to the end. However, I was much happier with the outcome. This year, I was hoping for something better, but was trying not to put any pressure on myself, given my track record.

When we heard about the course change, I was pretty upset. I know that my strength is the smaller more rolling and twisty trails rather than the parkway, so the thought of an all parkway race didnít sound very good to me. However, the fast snow did sound appealing.

You can read about the details of the race by reading Sheilaís article...because this time, I managed to ski with her for 51km! It was the first 50km skate race that I skied with one group the whole way and didnít get dropped with 20km left to go!

Sheila got away from me on Mont. Bleu hill. She surged and my body said no and turned to spaghetti! I think I still went up that hill faster than any other time after 51km of skating though so I was not too upset about that. I was very happy with a "close second" and also glad that Sheila won after so many great 50kms in previous years.

Now that I have had a 50km go well for the full distance, I might actually look forward to it next year:) See you then!

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