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

Whiteface Mountain Epic
By:  Anna Geiger-Whitlock   (2009/10/13)

Whiteface Mountain is the fifth highest peak in the Adirondack Mountains. It is accessible by road and this would normally annoy the hiker who works hard to get to the top while some sedentary person gets a sticker “This car climbed Whiteface”. This particular road has the redeeming feature of having an annual roller ski race to the top. The climb is five miles (8km). I had heard about this race before and had always wanted to do it. The problem was that the race was on Wednesday and I worked 7:15am to 7:15pm both Monday and Tuesday. The week before I ran into Aidan and Patrick from Nakkertok; they were both going and were very excited. As with most ski things, excitement is easily carried over, so I got excited about the race and decided to go.

 Tuesday night I was sure to have my work all done on time so at 7:15 pm I was headed out on the road to Lake Placid. With a bag of Twizzlers, an Ace of Base CD from Alana and some quicker roller skis from Sheila, I started the drive. Having only used two tanks of gasoline since moving to Ottawa four months ago, it took me about thirty minutes to get into my southern Ontario commuter persona. Once in Cornwall I had a slight miscalculation of direction but recovered quickly. The border guard had me explain what roller skiing was and why I was doing this but after I announced “I do this for pleasure” she let me on my way. After one more slight direction faux pas I arrived at Lake Placid at eleven pm and crashed in my hotel room.

 I woke up at 6:00 am and had a great pre-race breakfast. I arrived at the race site, picked up my bib and got ready to race. The race never gets any steeper than anything in Gatineau but the whole race is uphill with no rest. The race started and I was pleased to stick with the main pack of sixteen for about a mile and a half but then the constant pace that felt easy in the start became a bit too fast so I dropped off but kept fighting and pushing the whole race. The race had crazy mountain weather with sunny breaks, rain and a strong head wind around some of the corners. I didn’t realize how strong the head wind was until it was at my back for about 300 meters and I was able to two skate up the hill! At 4 miles to go a girl caught me and we went back and forth for the rest of the race. Unfortunately, she got me at the end. I was still really pumped with my race and seeing as offset is my weakest ski technique I thought fourteenth out of twenty-eight women was quite good. Nakkertok skiers Aidan Lennie came 12th and Patrick Stewart-Jones came 29th. The US national team was there so there was awesome competition. To see full results check out http://www.live-timing.com/race.php?r=13876&u=60

 After the race “The Canadian team” chilled in the Whiteface Castle. Then, to Subway for lunch and of course some US deals at GAP and on home. Hopefully next year we can have a larger group of Canadians out for this race.


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