Saturday, February 14, 2009

Refreshed tracks
I opted to not take in the first day of the Gatineau Loppet (classic ski race day). I was a little put off by the organizers last minute decision to make the weekends races an all Parkway course rather than the excellent loop through the trails that they traditionally use. While I admit that we had some pretty warm, wet weather this past week and a hard, fast freeze following the rains, it seems to me that there was plenty of time to renovate the trails and get them in top shape for the race weekend…. But they opted against even trying. Seems the thought of a little hard work and perhaps some late nights was too off putting. I guess the organizers aren’t really keen to revive this once great event and are content to let it slowly reduce in size and stature to a little regional race rather than rebuild its reputation as the international event it once was…. Too bad. Instead I went up to Lac Phillippe and found…. Perfectly groomed tracks?!? If they can groom up the general trails to perfect condition in the back woods of the park, why can’t they get Ridge road and Burma prepared in time for the races…. Strange. I’ll go out tomorrow to watch the main event but with an “all Parkway” course it minimizes the number of points I can catch the racers so it won’t be the same. Still , it’s loppet weekend so I’ll take in what I can.

Feeling unhappy about the loppet I went for a ski around the Wakefield triangle. This is a great loop filled with all sorts of different terrain - steep climbs, old growth forests, farmer’s fields, lakes and streams. While I expected a hard fast trail – and this would normally make me lean towards skate skiing – I opted instead to classic ski. It’s not every weekend that you get professional waxing advice from ski techs who have spent days refining their advice. The recipe called for green glider which worked great…. but I won’t give the pros much credit for that. The icy transformed snow was fast and if I’d chosen to wax my skiis with peanut butter it probably would have given me good glide (and attracted many squirrels). The grip wax advice was more challenging however. Super binder klister heated in with a blue hard wax cover on top. I’ve never tried to put a hard wax over a klister but decided today was the day to try. The key is to apply the klister with a torch and then freeze the skis outside before applying the hard wax top coat and it proved to be straightforward. The combination proved a master stroke and was bullet proof. I skied for about 30k’s and don’t think I slipped once yet had perfect glide throughout the day. Any other hard wax combo I might have tried and I would have had to rewax time and time and time again on the trail so major props to the pros on their selection. Hope it worked out well for the racers. Post ski my mood had improved and I now have my camera bag ready for tomorrows races… off to catch what I can.

4 comments:

Craig said...

They just didn't bother to try to get the course ready for the loppet. It's sad that they could get Lac Phillippe all prepared but not the course everyone paid $100 to ski on for the day! Can't wait for you Sunday photos.

Kenmore said...

Indeed, that was my problem - there seemed to be no effort made. Just bail to the easier plan. Major props to the whole XCOttawa team though on their excellent showing. I'll post up my pictures tomorrow including a couple that Justin might prefer not to be reminded of.

Craig said...

Did you catch his early crash or his finish line crash?

Kenmore said...

Caught the early crash. I can't beat the racers back to the finish line so I rely on local media to catch any excitement at the line.