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2008 Gatineau Loppet Reports - Downtown skier's review.
By:  Steve Paradine   (2008/02/16)


       Here is the race review for the downtown skier's 2008 53km classic race.  Saturday morning the weather was cold but the sun was shining brightly and there was no wind.  I started in the A-wave in the third row and got off to a good start keeping close to the leader's across the field.  I was passed by a fair number up the gradual uphill on the Parkway thinking that my skis were dragging a bit, but primarily I sure can't double pole like I used to.  I settled into skiing by myself back to start with a diagonal stride I was very happy with and lungs nearly bursting.  I held my position along trail #15 still skiing by myself still skiing the uphills well and breathing hard.

Going up Penguin I was caught and passed by 2 skiers and then caught by a third skier.  Along Ridge I stayed with that female skier where we recaught and passed the other two skiers.  We skied together all the way up Burma side by side.  It was nice for a change to be skiing with someone rather than by myself.  Listening to the slap-slap of her skis and my nice quiet skis I was very glad to have put in the time doing legs only skiing this winter.  However, I was started to run into some trouble as I was losing my balance a bit and even did a pole between my legs and face plant.  The problem was running out of energy.  I had been drinking at the stops and carrying my own feed however the pace was a little beyond my means.

Heading out around the loop from Huron I fell back but was not passed.  Heading up the uphills along the parkway first one calf, then a quad , then a hamstring or sometimes a few of them would start to seize up on the uphills but fortunately the top came before they cramped completely.  However my stomach muscles did cramp up double poling for a few minutes!

So, to answer last year's question: Was it a good race?  I have to answer an unequivocal yes.

1) I left everything on the course with my muscles and energy completely shot at then end.

2) My legs only training to improve my diagonal stride worked amazingly and that was the strongest part of my race.

3) I improved my %speed off the top 3 skiers and if you exclude the ridiculously fast Russian I improved 2.5%

4) I finished 44th this year up from 71st last year.

This year's question is what was limiting me from going faster?

1) Double-pole: I was getting whipped double-poling.  Something to work on for next year.  Running to work all winter gets my legs in good shape but not my core.

2) Intervals: To reduce the amount of time it takes to recover from the uphills (2 minutes is toooo long).

3) New skis:  My skis are quite a few years old are getting beaten up and have lost some of their camber.


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