Sunday, February 21, 2010

Loppet time again

A beautiful warm, snowy day to go check out the racing action. Once again the course was changed up – this year justifiably owing to the small amount of snow we’ve had this season. Fortunately this year’s edition included some trail skiing on Ridge road, trail 24 and 1B as well as the parkways. Unfortunately the new route was laid out such that I couldn’t watch the start annnd drive/ski up into the park to catch some of the racing action on the trails. To be fair I’ve been sick all week coughing and hacking away so I don’t have much of a skiing sprint in me these days and the timings were just too short for me to work it. I was feeling a bit better than I have the last few days though so I decided to make the early drive straight up to P10 (forgoing the start line) and then ski in to catch the race at a few spots along the course. First saw the leaders pass by me at the top of the hill before Keogan and the race was already mostly decided at that point. Three skiers were completely off the front and working well together. Interesting (surprising?) to see Robin McKeever in this lead pack. To the best of my knowledge he has another big 50k race next Sunday which is… ummm, kind of a big deal. I would have thought he would be… you know prepping /resting up for that one. I’m sure the Monday paper will have an explanation as to why he chose this to be his “taper - training race” but still a lot of flying the week before his key race of the season. {edit}Scratch that! As Craig wisely pointed out I mistook Robin for his brother Brian... and Brian is safely in the final stages of race prep in BC before next Sunday's race... my mistake...

The leaders approaching Keogan
Karl Saidla leading Robin McKeever with Chris Butler tucked in third

From there I gamely thought I could sprint up the parkway to Huron cabin while the leaders did a longer route out and back on the Fortune parkway…but my lungs told me otherwise. I only had 2 or 3 km to ski to their 6 but as I climbed the parkway to Huron my throat and lungs – beat up from coughing for a week – told me I wasn’t gonna be speedy today. By no means was it “Petra Majdic painful” but no one was offering me a bronze medal for my trouble so I slowed the pace and rolled into Huron with the second pack of skiers arriving. Got a few shots of skiers tearing through the water station (no time for toasted sandwiches for these guys).

Wayne Dustin
A quick drink at Huron

Finally I made the short hop over to the Brule lookout. From the lookout I hoped to use the Ottawa Valley as a backdrop for some nice race photos but the grey skies and – who woulda thunk it – snowfall (yeahhh!) precluded the magic shot. Still I grabbed a few pics as the trains rolled past me before finally heading off on my own for a (slow) ski. Rolled down Burma and Western on my way back to the car. Both were in decent shape although I think I spotted a couple of rocks hiding under a light cover of fresh snow. A whole lot more snow is in the forecast for this week (fingers crossed). My wide boards have been mocking me in the front hall for most of the season… maybe their turn is finally about to present itself.

A long train rolling
The trains keep rolling


Craig said...

Great photos Ken. Robin isn't the McKeever racing at the Olympics, his little brother Brian is. Robin will guide Brian at the Paralympics in 2 weeks, so he needs some training.

Kenmore said...
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Kenmore said...

Man, did I get that wrong... Indeed Craig you are correct. I knew there had to be an explanation. I'll say that the sideburns threw me... I didn't realize they both have them now ;-)