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Eload/Emend Marathon Race Report #2 - Gatineau Loppet 51 km Skate (affectionately known as the GLOPPET)
By:  Megan McTavish   (2012/02/21)

Another Gloppet has come and gone.  I think I have done this race at least ten times now and it is still interesting, hard and exciting.  This year, I came into the race with a good feeling as I was coming off two good race weekends at the Eastern Canadianís and at the Mount Orford NorAm last weekend.  I felt pretty confident that I could ski with the top women for at least most of the race and if things went well, to the finish.  

Unfortunately, that didnít happen. I ended up having a bad start which included a fall, and I never saw Amanda or Andrea the whole race. On the bright side, I did still have fun, worked hard, and enjoyed challenges and competitions with many other skiers throughout the race.  One good thing about the Gloppet is that no matter where you are, or how fast you are going, there are little mini-races going on.  For some people it is keeping up to a friend, for others its beating their brother, and for a very few it is winning the whole thing.  This year that honour went to Adam Swank for the men and Amanda Ammar for the women.  

From what I understand, the menís race had dwindled to a group of 5 somewhere around 15km in and that group included two of our ownÖ.Karl Saidla and Matthias Purdon.  After some super hard climbing, including Penguin and part of Burma, Karl dropped off a bit and ended up skiing a long 20km all alone trying to hold on to 5th place, which he did.  Matthias stuck it out with Lars Flora (former US ski team member), Adam Swank (also from the US) and Pate Neumann (Alberta World Cup Acedemy).  He was in very good company up there! That group of 4 skied together all the way to the end and as they rounded the final corner, each skier gunning for that top position, three of them went down in a crash.  Adam was the only one left standing and he took advantage of that to take the win.  Lars Flora ended up 2nd, Pate 3rd and Matthias 4th. Despite a frustrating finish, Matthias raced a superb race and we would like to congratulate him on it!  Great work Matthias!!

As for the women, things play out a bit differently since there are men in the mix.  As I mentioned above, Amanda and Andrea slipped away at the start and skied their own race with a hard fought battle for 1st and 2nd.  In the end, there was another slip up near the finish and Amanda came out on top.  This was another great race for Amanda after numerous medals on the NorAm circuit this season.  Andrea Dupont, more known for her sprinting, skied a great first 50km race and finished 2nd.  The battle for 3rd was between our own Sheila Kealey, a Gloppet master, and US skier Robyn Anderson.  It came down to a sprint finish as well and Robyn made it to the line just before Sheila, finishing 3rd.  I donít know how many times Sheila has done this race but Iím pretty sure she has been in the top 4 more than anyone else ever has been!  I ended up in a race for 5th (after getting dropped by Sheila and Robyn going up Penguin) with last yearís winner Kamila Borutova.  It was a struggle to the line for sure because I put a gap on her about 5km before the finish and she was very gradually reeling me back in.  Luckily I held onto it until the line and finished 5th.  XCOttawa Alumni Eva Szabo was 8th and Vesta Mather finished 10th in her first 50km race.  She also had her share of drama with a couple of tumbles and some severe foot cramping after crossing the finish line. Thatís what racing is all about though!

I have to say, my highlight of the day was when I got a high-five handshake from the Estonian Prime Minister after he asked how my race went!  He did the 51km classic race on Saturday and seems to be a really great guy.  

A big THANKS to John for another superb Vauhti wax job, to our feed team (especially Andrew Stewart-Jones, Holly Jones and Nic Clifford who helped without being asked!) who gave us encouragement, smiles and of course Eload, Fly and Eload Gels to keep us fueled and hydrated for the whole race!

All for nowÖhere are some pictures taken by Peter Loyd:


Karl leading the pack of 5

Pate leading the pack of 4


Amanda at Champlain lookout


Sheila following Robyn


Me following Kamila

And a few more taken by Michel Dallaire:

Matthias leading the whole group near the start

Vesta near the start

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