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Keski Report #2 - A Year of Firsts.
By:  Randy Storey   (2007/02/20)

Skiing in Sudbury, near the SuperStack

This was a year of firsts. The first warm Keski I have been to, the first time that I have skied the 53km, and the first time I have played golf in Sudbury in January, about 1 month before the Keski. All of these contributed to one of the most memorable skis of my life.

As many of you know Sudbury has been suffering a snow drought this winter. I jokingly refer to it as The Super Stack Effect, as both the Soo and North Bay have received large dumps of snow while we have received nothing (13 cm on the ground). The Super Stack must deflect the air currents.

This has made it difficult to get enough skiing time in this winter to be prepared for the Keski. But not to be stopped, we persisted and arrived with our skis waxed as per instructions from XC Ottawa (the wax worked great throughout the loppet).

I refrain from using the word race to describe the event as my goal was simply to finish the distance which I had never attempted before. (I was the last of our group of 3 to attempt it, so I was toqueless). Everything seemed to going well in the first 10 km, and according to my plans which were to feed at all stations and to conserve my strength so I would be able to finish. During the next 43 km my respect and admiration for those who can race for 53km grew in leaps and bounds. For about 30km my focus was reduced to about 5m in front of my ski tips, especially up the hills, where I was forced to just shuffle along. I think I was reduced to this by Black Lake Hill. Does it ever stop? I knew if I got to Champlain and the turn around that I could make it back, because from there it is all downhill... right.

I seemed to get my second wind at the turn around and was glad to see those distance markers increasingly getting closer to the magic 53km. Turning off the Parkway and into the bush and heading for the finish I knew that I still had enough in me to do it IF I could get up Mont Bleu. Here I was reduced to watching my ski tips, so I didn't have to see how long this climb was. Going down the other side provided me with enough time to recover and come into the finish line with a one-kick double pole, but not too many of them.

Skiing the 53km Keski course had taken me just about the same amount of time to complete as the drive from Sudbury to Ottawa takes on a good day, ~6hours. It will be something I will never forget because now I have the toque. I am really glad it was mild this year.

Read Randy's report from last year: My 3rd (and fastest) 25km Classic Keskinada.

Read Other 2007 Keskinada Reports..

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