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2011 CSM Report #5 - Break a Leg
By:  Dennis Kolba   (2011/02/21)

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I skied the CSM (in the Ottawa/Gatineau area) last weekend. It may be the coolest event there is for xc ski lovers. That "may be" just shows Iím open-minded: to me, it is the coolest event there is, Period. How many times do you get the chance to ski 167 km in a weekend? Across beautiful, rolling Laurentian Shield terrain.

As far as I know, I was the only Calgarian there, and Iím thinking how wonderful it would be to have several more next year. Maybe to train together, maybe to ski the event together.

I was back for my eighth CSM, after a ten-year break. It was a tough one for me this time; I felt low on energy much of the time. A nutrition issue, mainly, not taking on enough fuel for portions of the route. And I hadnít gotten a lot of skiing in this season.

If you want fun and socialization, there are about 2000 other skiers out there, doing what they love and enjoying the Canadian winter and the amazing support this event provides for two days, and you can ski as much or as little of the 160+ km route as you want. If you want that plus a mega-challenge, go for the full distance. Iíd heard from a couple of friends who had done Ironman and CSM that CSM was tougher. I was skeptical. But, having done Ironman Canada for the first time last summer, there was more than one point in the CSM last weekend when I was wholly in agreement. (The perspective of time makes a big difference: If the question had occurred to me at various points during Ironman, no doubt the response would have been an unrestrained "BullshĖ!" So donít be intimidated; itís doable, by all ages.)

Google "canadian ski marathon 2011" for lots of hits and information. I just checked two today, and they describe much of the experience well: http://www.xcottawa.ca/articles.php?id=2206 and http://www.xcottawa.ca/articles.php?id=2201.

Fresh air, snow, joy, exhaustion, exhilaration, zen. To paraphrase a locally very familiar phrase: The coolest outdoor event on Earth! If anyone wants to hear more about it, or thinks having a Calgary group out there next year would be fun, feel free to contact me: kolbads@shaw.ca.

OK, back to why I wasnít skiing yesterday: I sustained a little injury at the 157 km point in the CSM. I was coming quickly up on a slow skier on a downhill, called ďon your rightĒ and moved into the deep snow on the right to pass; he moved into the deep snow on the right, too, and stopped. Boom! much pain in ankle! To my surprise, after a couple minutes was able to stand up and put weight on both legs. Carefully skied the last 10 km to finish the event. I assumed it was just a sprain but eventually got X-rays and learned itís a broken fibula. (Fortunately, the other guy was perfectly alright.)

So, sitting here with my foot up in a cast, still as pumped as I am about the whole experience, think how special the CSM must be.

Iíll be relying on skihere.ca for vicarious ski enjoyment for a while! Keep the great posts coming. I hope Iíll see you on the trails before the end of the season.

Originally posted to http://skihere.ca/2011/02/20/canadian-ski-marathon/.


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