A week and a half ago XCOTTAWA had a succesful outing at the GP des Couleurs Mountain Running Race in Mt. Tremblant. This Saturday (October 2) comes the other major mountain running race in the region; the Fall Rhapsody at Camp Fortune. This year it also serves as the Eastern Canadian Championships. This course differs from the Tremblant one in that it starts and finishes in the same point, giving downhills to balance the uphill. It is run on technical singletrack with a very long climb (from base of Skyline to top of mountain in forest) and some technical descents. The climbs are steeper than previous years with a short face of rock at a 75 degree angle and will require both walking and pulling on trees in order to complete. The downhills also have some steep sections with a few 1 metre drops on the course. In true Dave McMahon style the downhills are twisty, technical, covered in routes and full of sharp corners. It is a difficult course that should test the physical ability and technical skills of all competitors. XCOTTAWA is fielding the same team of Karl Saidla, Ed McCarthy and Arno Turk with the addition of David Zylberberg. Saidla is in good form following his win in Tremblant, while McCarthy was a close second and is looking to improve. Turk is always a strong runner and came third in this event a year ago. Zylberberg is the defending champion at this event and should be a strong addition to XCOTTAWA's lineup.
No runner has ever won both the Tremblant and Fortune races with two runners coming close. 2 years ago, Ed McCarthy won in Tremblant and was outsprinted at Fortune by Tom McCarthy. Last year, Saidla won at Tremblant and lost by 5 seconds at Fortune. Will Karl Saidla become the first runner to complete the double?
It will be interesting to see whether the addition of downhills affects the race between McCarthy and Saidla. Was Zylberberg avoiding Tremblant in order to hide his form and surprise everyone this weekend? Will Carleton University's Gavin Hamilton fulfill the promise he has shown with a 4th place in Fortune and 3rd at Tremblant? All of these questions should lead to an interesting race. Stay tuned for a full report early next week or challenge us in this great event on Saturday.