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005 Keski Climb: Quebec Elpex Rollerski Cup #2
By:  Pierre-Olivier Dorego   (2005/09/25)


This past weekend was the second race in the Coupe Elpex: La Montee de la Keski / The Keski Climb. The race was held right here in our beautiful Gatineau park and as the name implies it was put on by the organizers of the Keskinada Loppet. A big delegation of XCOttawa.ca racers lined the start line: Tom, Craig, Sheila, Ed, Linnea, Eva and myself. In total, there were over 30 skiers entered in the 20km race.

The race course started on Citée des jeunes road, right in front of the Relais Plein Air, folloew the road until it turned into the Asticou center. The course looped around behind the Asticou centre, then took the bike path up the hill to come out on the parkway. From there it went up, and up and up.. Up Pink Lake hill, up Black Lake hill and all the way up to the Champlain lookout.

As for my race, it went fairly well. Rémi Doiron showed that he’ll be a serious contender for the World Junior team this winter by delivering an impressive effort. Right from the start he made me suffer and took the lead. At Asticou, Rémi, Stéphane and I, already had a good lead on the pack. Then Stéphane went on to solidify the gap by dragging us from Asticou until Pink Lake hill. At Pink, Rémi took the lead all the way up the top of Black, at that point he had built up a 10 to 15 seconds gap on me and a 7 seconds gap on Stéphane.

But then came a bit of confusion as to were he was supposed to go and he crashed. I wish I had a picture to show his face after the crash, it wasn't pretty - scratched and bruised. But of course it's not Rémi's style to quit a race, so he continued after the crash. When he fell, Stéphane and I passed him not really knowing what had happened. We continued the race because there was still over 5km left. Stéphane with his strength on the flats got a good gap that we would never be able to make up. I put in a good effort but decided to wait for Rémi to catch up, then attack Stéphane. What a bad move!!! He went right by me, passing me like an adrenaline-fueled rocket... I did what I could to catch him but it was in vain. I ended finishing up third, 3 seconds back from Rémi and 23 seconds off Stéphane. Craig finished 4th, Tom 5th and ED 10th.

In the women’s race, Sheila easily took the win, by 6 minutes, getting closer and closer to the shape that will enable her to maybe participate in her first World Cup! The two other women from our team, Linnea and Eva, finished a strong, 5th and 6th repetitively having opted to use their regular speed training skis.

In the end I’m pretty happy with my effort, though maybe, I could have made some better moves strategically during the race. In the overall series standing I'm in second place and Tom is third. The final is going to be a crazy race, a 1.6km mass start with an 11% incline average! It's October 30th in Montreal.

Keep up the training,


Photo Credits: Ski de fond Quebec.

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