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Coupe Elpex #3 - Defi du Mont-Royale Hill Climb
By:  Team XCOttawa.ca   (2005/10/31)


The COUPE ELPEX final featured a 1.5km classic hill climb up Camelien Houde. The closure of a major road and scenic route in downtown Montreal, over 50 competitors, and sunny blue skies created a great race atmosphere. Skiers were shuttled down the mountain to the start area where there were two separate starts for the men and women, 5 minutes apart. The short race meant the skiers didn't have much of a chance to spread out and resulted in some exciting finishes. The top men reached the summit in just under 6 minutes, and top women about 8.5 minutes. XC Ottawa was well represented on the podium with Eva Szabo edging out teammate Sheila Kealey for close second and third place finishes behind Maryse L'Heureux, well Pierre Olivier Dorego continued to dominate the roller ski circuit with a close third place finish behind Nicolas Poirier and Michael Mayer. The organizers did a tremendous job coordinating this event.

The COUPE ELPEX final results were tabulated after this final event, and XC Ottawa's Pierre Olivier and Sheila both placed second overall for this first-time roller ski series. Trois-Rivieres' Remi Dorion won the men's division, while Maryse l'Heureux, also of Trois-Rivieres, won the women's division. Based on skier and organizer enthusiam, roller skiers can likely look forward to a similar racing circuit next year.

Sheila' Report

A separate women's start was a last minute decision on the part of the organizers, and a good one! It's always great to be able to see all your competition, and with over 20 women competing it was an exciting race. The start was fast, and after 2 minutes, I was surprised that there was still a sizable pack of about 10 skiers, with Maryse l'Heureux leading the charge. After about 4 minutes Eva looked smooth and strong and moved into second place, and I followed. Camelien Houde has some steep pitches, and some false flats. I realized that I was gaining more time on the uphill sections, and losing time of the false flats, where some of the women could double pole. Coming up the last steep pitch I passed Eva and was quickly closing the gap on first place Maryse, and was right behind her getting ready to pass with 200m to go. Then the terrain leveled off and she took off like a bullet double poling! I tried to double pole but couldn't move fast enough so kept on striding furiously toward the line. Eva caught me right on the line, for a well deserved second place. I knew she'd do well and am surprised I was so close to her! My classic roller skiing still has a long was to go, but considering I had a hard time simply standing on classic roller skis last season I'm pretty happy about this race.

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