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Keski Report #8 - There are a lot of hills in the Gats!
By:  Isabelle Saint-Laurent   (2007/02/23)


Sunday was my first attempt at the Keskinada, and rather than taking a reasonable progressive approach I jumped right into the deep end with the 53km skate ski event – darn those Rudy Award requirements!

Because of the snow's late arrival this year, I felt I hadn’t trained as much as I needed to, particularly given how truly intimidated I was by the Keski. To add to that I got a bad cold two weeks ago (missing 4 days of work and a full week of training) and was limited to a 20k “long” ski the previous weekend – not to mention the fact that the cold has yet to leave my lungs. All this may explain why I was disappointed with my time, but I guess for a first Keski I shouldn't complain, at least I got ‘er done!

I learned some lessons that will help me with next year's Keski, and some that will help me with my upcoming events - mainly about fueling. I had a substantial breakfast that morning but counted on it to keep me going for too long. I was a bit worried about making the cut-offs and didn’t want to take too much time to eat. Though I made a point of having two glasses of fluid at each station, I didn’t eat enough and what I did eat, I ate too late. The result: I was bonking at the right hand turn onto the Gatineau Parkway – hardly 20K in. To be honest, I had failed to formulate a fueling plan for the day, and as we all know, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Better internalize that lesson before July…

Another lesson I learned: after close to 50km of skiing, I shouldn't try to one-skate anymore. About 100 feet from the final turnoff onto the 5 I did a beautiful pole plant right between my skis, followed by a beautiful face plant into the snow. On a perfectly flat section of trail, with no one within 20 feet of me. Can you say embarrassing? :o)

All in all, it was a tough day. I had never done the loop clockwise – what an intro to all that uphill from P6 to Champlain Lookout, with a relentless wind to boot. But I was happy with the fact that, outside of the feeding stations and a few of the steeper downhills, I never stopped moving (always either polling or skating, if not both) - which may account for the complete body exhaustion I felt at the finish.

It was also a beautiful day (much warmer than in years past I’m told) and a great event. I was amazed at the volunteers who stayed so long on the course to support us (thank you!). And Scott, my trusted wax tech, did a beautiful job on my skis (merci, chéri!)

Now I can’t make up my mind about next year: I totally agree with Zoe who suggests we should alternate between skate and classic, but now that I have a baseline I’d like to do the skate again next year to try and improve on my time. Or maybe do the 28K classic on Saturday and the 53K skate on Sunday... ?

Read Other 2007 Keskinada Reports..

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