Sunday, February 21, 2010

Gatineau Loppet: 10 km free

Today's race went really great. I posted a time of 36:24, which is definitely a personal best, and this time I'm on the results list, which can be found here. I made sure to not forget a single thing today, including first and foremost my transponder as well as my heartrate watch and sunglasses. Our radios only worked one way for some reason, but thankfully I could hear Robert and he couln't hear me, not the other way around. We also got a little boxed in at the beginning of the race and had to pass people really aggressively to get out of there. This all happened on Pink's Lake hill, incidentally the biggest hill in the race, so we really had to push it up that hill to free ourselves from the crowd. Thanks to Robert's superb passing techniques and great guiding, we finally got out of there and could race our own race at our own pace. We worked on pushing over the tops of the hills instead of just cruising over and losing all our speed. It's really hard to do, but it's a necessary component of a good race. My pushing-over still needs work, but it's getting better. We also worked on a consistently fast pace, as it was an easy course and 10 km is not such a long distance that you can really pace yourself too much. We went down Pink's Lake hill in the tracks because they were faster than the middle of the trail, but I still get scared of the speed I pick up in the tracks and tend to slow myself down. That still needs work as well.

After the race was done, a few people came to talk to me and wish me good luck at the Paralympics. I thought that was really nice, and I really appreciate everyone's support. Robin McKeever was in town for the Gatineau Loppet: he won the 49 km loppet both days. He also came over to say hi and to congratulate me on my progress in the World Cups. That was awesome as well. I also got to meet a little girl, the daughter of a teacher from Robert's school. She was very impressed once her dad told her that I was the girl from the Cheerios box that was going to the Paralympics. She said "I thought you were much older, like 40 or something!" I thought that was pretty funny.

My fiancĂ©, Cliff, completed his first ever ski race today. He was not sure about it, thinking that he was not a good enough skier, but he said that the race was surprisingly easy and that he really enjoyed it. His time was just over 50 minutes for a 10 km, which is a great time for a first race! He says he might do a few more races next season. 

So it was a very successful weekend overall. Everyone had a good time and we had great races. I was first in my age category both days (I looked at the results to see where I would fit in for the first day), and in the top 10 for women overall. That's great for a blind skier racing in an able-bodied race, even if it is a more recreational type of race. And on this happy note, I bid you good night from Ottawa.

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