As you may have heard, ski de fond Québec is holding a series of three roller ski races this year. The first one was this past weekend and XCOttawa.ca was well represented.
Friday night, Tom, my girlfriend Gabrielle and I, drove up to Québec city with the objctive of racing the 10km roller ski race the next morning at the Laval University campus. From the start the driving conditions didn’t look good. The rain was pouring and the wind blowing very hard. With all the traffic and weather chaos we arrived at our destination at 23:10. After a few introductions with the people that kindly offered us a place to sleep for the night, and a couple wheel changes on our skis we were ready to go to sleep by midnight dreaming of dry pavement for the next morning.
What we woke up to, was a whole different story. The ground was wet and the weather fairly cold. After a short breakfast we drove to the race site. We registered and warmed up doing one of the 2.5km loops we would have to go around 4 times during the race.
Then cam the start. Everyone had 20:07 in their head. You see, 20:07 is the course record. Breaking that time would surely bring you fame and fortune... Well maybe not, but you’d get $100 and the absolute respect of the other racers.
In the first few meters, I realized that the record was not to be broken on this day. The pavement was too slippery and the winds too strong. I thought I’d give it my best anyways and started as fast as I could. A small pack formed quickly including Vincent Ruel, Stéphane Barette, a roller blader and myself. We skied together for a little while, but then Stéphane decided to accelerate a bit. At that point, I was barely hanging on to Vince , who looked at ease following Stéphane. I didn’t slow down and tried to limit the damages. After a little while, Stéphane got away and I closed in on Vince. I skied with him for a moment and then aimed for Stéphane. I was slowly catching up to him, but he still managed to hold a decent gap. Then at the start of the fourth lap, I was skiing with my head down and took a wrong turn and he got away. I retraced my steps and got back on the course, but the gap that this error cost me, was too big to overcome.
I ended up finishing second, almost a minute off first… Tom finished a strong fourth place winning a sprint against Benjamin Hébert, a very strong junior from skiélite.
I am very satisfied with my race. The effort was there, and I haven’t felt that bad during a race in a while. The fact that I felt that way is great for me, I really raced to my limits and that’s what every racer is looking for. All, and all, I had a great weekend and a great race. Now that I got a taste for racing, I can’t wait to do the next race in the series - The Keski Climb, Sept. 24th. It’s going to be 20km long and mostly uphill, and most importantly, on my own turf.
See you there,