The sun shone high overhead but the temperature dipped low all around on this second day of the Gatineau Loppet. Still, everyone was in a great mood, and the participants, which included elite as well as recreational skiers, were eager to get into today’s freestyle races.
51 and 27 km freestyle
The 51 and 27 km races were delayed 30 minutes because at 8 this morning the mercury had plunged to -28 with the wind chill. But even that could not deter the 1000 participants gathered at the start line at 9:30 a.m. sharp. The first to cross the finish line was Ian Murray (Canmore, CAN), with a time of 2 hours, 30 minutes and 11 seconds. He was followed by Jonathan Tremblay (Chicoutimi, CAN), who finished one second ahead of Ryan Atkins (Oshawa, CAN). On the women´s side, Robyn Anderson (Stowe, USA) crossed the finish line 9 minutes ahead of her closest rival, Martina Stursova (CZE), who was back on the podium for the second day in a row. Lea Davison (Jericho, USA) rounded out the women´s top three in the 51 km freestyle.
The men´s 27 km freestyle was won by Peter Novak (CZE), followed by Cameron Raynor (Huntsville, CAN) and Benjamin Osorio (Orillia, CAN), who had finished the 20 km classic in third place the previous day. Among the women, it was a local, Véronique Fortin (Gatineau, CAN), who made it to the top rung of the podium. She was followed by the first member of the Legend´s Path, Sheila Kealey, who had finished second in the previous day´s 55 km classic. Annie Chenard (Montréal, CAN) took third place.
10 km BFL Canada
Finally, the 10 km BFL Canada women´s freestyle went to none other than the event´s Honorary President, Tara Whitten, who had finished in fourth place in Saturday´s 55 km classic style. Next on the podium were Laura Leclair (Chelsea, CAN) in second place, and Alyssa Stowe (Almonte, CAN) in third. Among the men, Benjamin Wilkinson-Zan (Ottawa, CAN), Nicholas Pigeon (Gatineau, CAN) and Aaron Fahey (Chelsea, CAN) finished first, second and third, respectively.
And last but not least were the hundreds of children accompanied by their parents who took part in the 2 km Mini Sport Échange Outaouais. This untimed race is part of the Carnaval Soleil Polaire, a huge neighbourhood celebration initiated by the municipal Councillor for the L’Orée-du-Parc district, Mireille Apollon. Entertainment for the kids, music, inflatable structures and dishes from around the world all helped to warm up the families and skiers at the site.
For additional information, consult the Gatineau Loppet Web site at www.gatineauloppet.com.