This was my first time doing the Mont Ste Anne Loppet, a 42km classic race. The race was Saturday, and I figured it would be interesting for a few reasons:
- Tough hilly course (I assumed).
- I just raced the Keski on Sunday and bonked.
- I was really sick on Tuesday, and only skied 45 minutes this week.
Thursday night I glide waxed my skis, since I figured I would short on time. Speed graphite, speed green, gold fox. Friday drove to Quebec City, decided against skiing and for resting.
Saturday morning was warmer than expected, -7 when I arrived. So I had guessed right on the gilder, using gold fox instead of black fox. I did some grip wax testing, liked the tar better than the regular fluoro waxes. I also realized I wasn’t feeling too energetic. So I made sure I had lots of grip, and ended up using the 0 to -2 tar covered with the -1 to -6 tar.
I went to the start, and got a spot on the front row. I had no idea where the course went. For some reason I thought it was 2 laps, but according to Donald Farley, the eventual winner, it was 1 42km lap, and the first 10k were uphill. Based on the course and how I felt I decided just to ski my own race, and not bury myself trying to stay with the leaders.
The start was clean, the pace too fast, and by the end of the first km I was off the back of a pack of 10-15 skiers. However I was surprised to keep them in sight for quite a while. At about 8k I was actually feeling better, and picked up the pace a bit. I caught up to Pierre Harvey and we skied together to the top. At this point in the race I started catching back up to people. It was a strange race since I had no idea what was around the next corner. It was pretty well up and down the whole way. I slowly caught and passed people until I had moved up into 6th place. I had been doing most of the work catching people, and by around 38k there were 4 of us together and no one ahead in sight so I stopped leading to save something for the finish. Pierre Harvey took the lead for a couple of km, then Michel Labrie pushed hard for the finish and we dropped Pierre. When we hit 40k we got into the race trails that I know pretty well. We hit the top of the last downhill, and it looked like it would be a sprint to the finish. However Michel took a big crash, I was able to avoid him and avoid having to sprint.
Overall I was happy with my race. My skis were good, and I ended feeling better than I thought I would. If anyone is looking for a classic loppet on a challenging course, with nice scenery, this is the race for you.
Wayne leading the start beside Pierre Lavoie.
Wayne cruising to the finish.