Sunday, February 21, 2010

Gatineau Loppet: 16 km classic

Today I took part in the 32nd edition of the Gatineau Loppet in the Gatineau Park. My pre-race prep was a bit of a disaster as I seem to have suffered an episode of amnesia. Well, not really, but I managed to somehow forget to put on my timing transponder along with my heartrate watch. The heartrate watch I could easily do without, but the transponder anklet was the only way to get an official time for the race. But I forgot it and remembered about it with only 5 minutes left before the start. My dad wasn't able to bring it for me in time, though he ran as fast as he could. I did the race without it and I'm not on the results list, but I had a great race in my own humble opinion. My guide, Robert, thought that my diagonal stride was very good, but my double-poling was not as strong. I agree with him: there is definitely work to be done on my upper-body strength in order to improve my double-poling. I think that I can do the technique, I just lack the strength to make it work well for me. Here's a picture of me double-poling with only a kilometre or so left to go.

In other respects, despite pretty poor snow conditions on the trails (the Parkway portion was great), I thought the race went very well. We paced ourselves through the whole thing, I went strong up all the hills, and we were able to communicate the whole time, thanks to Jamie's leaving his club's radios for us to practise with after Germany.

We also ran into a little glitch with the radios this morning. Alexei must have had the same amnesia bug as I, as he forgot to bring us the pouches for the radios that go around your waist. But thanks to someone's brilliant idea and Chris from Fresh Air being the awesome helpful guy that he is, we were able to borrow a waterbottle holder from Fresh Air Experience for the race. It doubled just fine as a radio holder. Thanks Chris and Fresh Air!

It would have been nice to have an official time, but I'm not too upset about this. As Harris said when we ran into him after he had finished his 49 km loppet (great job, Harris!), thank God this happened here and not at the Paralympics. After all, this was just a training race, and one to help us get all the kinks out. And now I will always remember to put my transponder anklet on as soon as I get it, even before the bib number!

Tomorrow is the 10 km free, and I am certain things will go better for us. Cliff gets to do his first ski race tomorrow too, so that'll be exciting for him and everyone else. Go Cliff! Alright, it's bed time for us now. Good night!

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