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Thea's race report
By:  Justin Demers   (2010/03/08)

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This Sunday March 7th was the 15th annual Theaís race, in honour of Thea Holloway, a founding member of Nakkertok. As usual, it was contested at Nakkertok North and is the only race to take place there every year. For those of you who donít know about Nakkertok North, itís the bushiest most authentic ski trails the region seems to have. There are the occasional good backcountry trails in Gatineau Park or at Nakkertok South but up here thatís all there is. You really get the impression that this is a little local ski center where skiing isnít all that popular. The trails are narrow, they can get steep, they are windy and because this race is held in March, usually itís a klister race. 

Speaking of klister, I had a layer of Vauhti fluor purple covered with a generous amount of Vauhti fluor silver plus, and my skis kicked at least as well as anyone elseís without dragging. Incidentally, I happily found out that I now own a pair of skis that are pretty good with klister. Iíve had my share of bad luck picking and buying classic skis in the past but my new pair of Salomons will get the warm weather starts from now on.

The Open Men's race really started before the gun went off. A few minutes to start a few of us decided that the weather was appropriate for a traditional spring bib race.  It consists in racing without a race top, just the bib. Needless to say it was nice and warm. I completed the race suit with a nice pair of gold tights to blind my adversaries. It worked for those behind me who had to keep a significant gap in order to see properly otherwise it simply attracted a lot of attention. I was happy with my classic race as the technique held up and I raced the whole way which has been hard to do for me in classic. I didnít really have a choice as I had an outfit to live up to. Patrick Stewart-Jones won the race, followed by Steffan Lloyd in second. Matthias was third, I was sixth and Kyle was ninth and no, that wasnít planned.

The womenís race started while we were finishing up so I donít have many details. Nonetheless, I applaud the performances of my teammates who completed a podium sweep starting with Megan followed by Sheila and completed by Alana.

As every year though, this race isnít really about the results. Itís a return to the roots of XC skiing. There are tight trails with a single track that often disappears, scary downhills that we often have never seen, a low key stadium, great handmade prizes and best of all the feeling that you are conquering a challenging course. Although those F1 tracks that are common at the Olympics and World Cups have a purpose, these this is where skiing began and it feels good to race on what men raced on back in the day.

Many thanks to all the Nakkertok volunteers who make this race happen year after year.

Iíd like to conclude with a little idea. What if we made the Theaís race day a race weekend where one day would prohibit the use of equipment any more recent than 1990 and the other be just like this Sunday. The Saturday could feature a wood, pine tar and leather category whose participants would carry the highest recognition of ruggedness. Just an idea...

Here are some photos, taken by Roger Ramonat.



 
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