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Keski Report #3
By:  Zoe Panchen   (2007/02/21)


Well this has to be THE warmest year I have done the Keski and one of the rare times when we’ve done the full 53km! Past years have been so cold that the start has been delayed and/or the course shortened/altered to minimize risk of frostbite! What a pleasant change to be skiing in relatively balmy temperatures! It was a beautiful day too, I took a moment to appreciate the great view from Champlain Lookout on Saturday.

However the race wasn't without it's changes. This year the lack of snow resulted in the route being restricted to parkways only. I missed not going along trails 5,15 & 1 as they are more interesting, more technically challenging and hence more fun I remember friends of mine doing the Keski many years ago saying it used to go across Meech Lake & up trail 12 or 13, now that would have been fun and way more challenging but certainly wouldn't have been possible this year!

The snow conditions were great, well good snow for going up hills but slow for the downhills. It was frustrating to be poling on the gentler downhills. I was down in a full tuck down Blacks & Pinks & felt like a snail and this is from some-one who has usually stood as tall as she can to maximize wind resistance on these hills as they are usually so icy & fast on Keski weekend to be too scary for her to tuck! I worked hard & passed lots of people on up hills only to be passed by many of them on the down hills, kinda frustrating I thought the course being on easier terrain would be faster but I had my slowest time ever! Yet position wise it was one of my better placings so I guess conditions were slow for everyone - everyone was commenting about the downhills being slow.

The demographics for the classic were interesting, many more Europeans than for the skate ski races and more of the older crowd too – is classic skiing a dying sport in North America?! With all the Swedish & Norwegian supporters out with their flags and the colourfully attired European racers it added a great international flavour to the race.

I was surprised how few women there were this year, only 51 compared to 274 men but the 53km skate on Sunday was no more evenly ratioed - 42 women to 318 men! Looking back over the years the ratio seems to be about the same. Even in Ironman races 1/2 of the field is women so what's with this?!

I think all the triathletes doing the 53km classic all bumped in to each other before the start, there were not many of us! Seems like more triathletes do the skate races. Can’t understand why, as classic is so much easier!! I was thinking for those that have done the Rudy Award before, a new challenge could be to do the Keski classic if you did the Keski skate or visa versa...........anyone up for the challenge?

Now I can put away the classic skis and start to learn how to skate ski! Sure seems like you have to work harder on the uphills skate skiing, but I'm psyched to get proficient after my furthest ever skate ski on Sunday!

Congrats to all the first timers Keski finishers including Dick Gunstone, Kawal, Natalie Roussy & Ann Chapman, a tough year to do your 1st Keski with so little time to train.

Read Other 2007 Keskinada Reports..

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