This past weekend Ollie, Chelsea, Tucker and I headed to NorAm races at Valcartier, a venue about 30 minutes north of Québec City. We were also lucky enough to be graced with the presence of chef/wax-tech/trail-side cheerer extraordinaire Anna. The races were chock-full of top Canadians; it seemed like everyone except those in Europe for the World Cups was there. Needless to say, the competition was tough. We were there for five days and three races: 15/30 km continuous pursuit, skate sprint, and 10/15 km classic. I was, predictably, in seventh heaven the whole time, catching up with my Québecois friends, speaking French, and walking around my old haunts.
There are many stories from our voyage but here are a few choice tid-bits:
– Ollie does the best impression of the Québecois way to say “oui.” Also, he has a never ending supply of Canadian jokes.
– Canadian National Team skier, Dasha Gaiazova, is crazy fast. She also peed right in the middle of the stadium on sprint day. I guess if you’re that fast, you can get away with that.
– Allez, allez! Hup hup hup! Let’s go!! The announcer was awesome though not at all neutral in his cheering.
– The skate sprint course was unbelievably short and fast. The top male qualifier skied the 1.2 km loop in 1:39!
– tricky classic waxing + no Pepa = stressed out CGRP skiers
– venue without an indoor space + heated wax trailer = really happy CGRP skiers
– Patty Ross (Middlebury assistant coach) cracked up one day because she overheard me chatting away in French interspersed with a “geezum!”
– The women had to do 4 x a 2.5 km loop for the classic race because they said the 5 km men’s loop had 60 m too much elevation gain for FIS standards. (I’m still wondering if they meant 60 feet, not meters) In either case, they made a point of sticking to the rules.
– In the classic race, my coach from last year told me on every lap “to use my legs.” It was like Pepa was there. (I really was trying to have good technique, I swear.)
– The French word for “pursuit” is “poursuite” – which is just kind of funny for some reason.