Steve's 2012 Canadian Ski Marathon Report
By: Steve Paradine (2012/02/14)
The Nakkertok Adventure Program had as it's big goal to participate in CSM 2012. Twenty-four Adventurers and parents stayed at the Papineauville dormitory, sleeping on mattresses in a classroom, with a few others staying in Montebello. Waxing for the CSM is a unique challenge, since due to the early start, it needs to be prepared the night before for both glide and grip. Glide wax wasn't difficult with the cold temperatures and I put on graphite, Vhauti Green, then LF4 on Thursday night. With the limited fresh snow and freeze-thaw cycles I put on an ironed on thin layer mixture of Vhauti super binder and blue klister. Crossing my fingers, I covered it with Vhauti Orange Flouro, covered by the new Vhauti K21.
Saturday morning arrived at 5:30am after a short sleep, with excited skiers taking some time to get to sleep. We arrived at the start near Gatineau 15 minutes before our 7:50 group start and kept warm around the heaters, fighting off the -16 weather while chatting with nervous anticipation. Then before we knew it, after a big cheer, the 46th CSM was started for the tourers. [Check out the story and pictures at the Ottawa Citizen - my son William is in the middle of the picture in yellow Nakkertok gear]
Right from the start we knew that we had nailed the wax, with great grip and glide. The snow conditions and grooming were spectacular with old sugary snow firmly packed, instead of the ice we had dreaded. One of the great things about the CSM, is that many of these trails are only available for this weekend to the marathon skiers, as the trail goes across many private properties. On the first day we skied through rugged forest, woodlots, rolling, farm fields and hilly terrain. The windy open sections required adding layers of clothing but frostbite wasn't a big concern. With the abrasive snow it was necessary to add a couple of layers of wax at the checkpoints, however the base held up well. Most of the Adventurers skied 2 or 3 sections, for a distance of 28km to 45km. Two of the group (including my son Patrick) ended up missing a turn on Section 8 (the third section) and skiing down a snowmobile trail for more than half an hour before being turned around by snowmobilers!
For the Sunday a number of intrepid Adventurers started off on the most difficult section of the CSM, Section 3, which starts with a 260m monster hill and continues after that with many more significant climbs. The view through this section was simply spectacular. Up at the top we got passed by the lead Coureur de Bois Gold skiers, including the legendary Pierre Harvey. After skiing for over 5 hours the first day, we could feel the lactate in the legs up, and down those hills and were mighty glad to reach the checkpoint where friendly volunteers provided us with delicious lemon-honey water, soup, gatorade, cookies, dried fruit and bagels.
It was about the same temperature on Sunday but it was harder on the wax with the big downhills and I found we all needed the Vhauti carrot to get good grip. After that hard section the last two were the reward, starting off with double-poling over rolling golf courses and then rocketing down downhills with piston leg action required on the bumps [including one at 52.7km/hr] and climbing short hills. On the last section into Lachute which drops 200m over 15km down many gentle downhills and a few bigger ones, my son Patrick [after 11 hours of skiing on the weekend and ~100km] turned to me with a big smile and said "Time to bomb it Dad"! I figure - that says it all :)
The CSM is very addictive for the trails, scenery, challenge, volunteers, fellow skiers - so don't miss out on creating memories in the 47th CSM in February 2013!