Date Skied: 19 February

Gatineau Loppet Training Update:  Game Day!  Wow the Loppet snuck up on me quickly! I didn’t do nearly as much training as I had wished to, but you know what, between the Loppet and the Ski Challenge, I met my goals of loosing those pregnancy pounds, balancing mommahood with trying to stay  get in shape, and getting out on those beautiful winter days to enjoy amazing Gatineau Park. It felt strange to be “ski racing” after so many years – and it was just phenomenal to think that it had been 10 years since I last skied the Loppet when I was on the  Biathlon Team at Royal Military College.  This year’s loppet  served a strange purpose of putting this last decade into perspective…and made me feel a little old 🙂 10 years ago, skiing well seemed to be the most important thing in my life. It seemed to matter way too much who I beat and who beat me.   Life revolved around sport and academics and generally surviving the shennanigans of military college.   Its been a pretty darn good 10 years!

So how did it go….Well –  I’d say great! Firstly, I finished, which for anyone who has ever skied 51km, that is entirely a feat in itself which I am proud of. I forgot how annoying it gets to start out in what feels like an elephant stampede with people tripping over poles and skis. The first few kms were definitely interesting before everyone got spread out…The hill up to Pink Lake where we were at a complete standstill, but I secretly enjoyed the forced rest, knowing I’d need anything I could save for later.  By the time we were looping around Western, I was almost on my own and completely enjoying the beautiful day. Its so gorgeous up there that it almost feels like its a reward for tackling the hills to get to this part of the park.   The organizers managed to throw  a few hills in the race that  I didn’t even know existed – or had just thought optimistically that the black-diamond trails would not be part of the Loppet…they fooled me 🙂  Around km 35 when we were passing the beautiful lookouts of Champlain and Etienne Brule, I was very glad to know that most of the climbing was over and enjoyed the remaining ski into the finish line…which as you will see by the photo taken by my friend Erik Couture below, I was very happy to be almost finished.    Conditions aside, I was 10 minutes faster than I was 10 years ago…I wonder if this means I’ll be 20 minutes faster when I’m 40? I could only hope so.

Thanks to Erik Couture for the photo!!

Overview: Other than for the Loppet I’ve never skied out of P2.  If I want to ski somewhere close to the city, I tend to head to Asticou (P1) or P3 Gamelin.  With lots of parking, and washrooms, P2 is a just fine place to ski from.  As you start out from a bit of a field, its one of the few places in the park where you can enjoy a little flat skiing!

For those who like: Wide trails, tackling the entire park, skiing from the City

Don’t Ski here if: If you want the trails all to yourself.

Directions:   Relais Plein Air is just a little further north than P1 Asticou:

The Trails: You don’t have to head out for a 51km escapade from P2.  There are some nice “green”options. Trail 27, the main option heading out from P2 will meet up with trails 29, 5 and 26.  These are some really nice trails with rolling hills and in a pretty forested area. A nice ski would be to take trail 27 to trail 29. If you are classic skiing, take the 15 up to Pink Lake, and if you are skate skiing, I would recommend heading to the Gatineau Parkway, heading up to Pink Lake, and then heading back down.
My Route:  Flat – climb – climb – climb – climb – up and down – up and down -up and down – down – down – down….., I’ll let my Garmin route fill in the details:

Garmin Connect – Gatineau Loppet

Elevation and other Details: This is another what goes up must go down route….lets just say I was very very happy when the climbing was over….

Gatineau Loppet by nicolelunstead at Garmin Connect – Details

Bringing Baby: This is a great place to head out from with the little one.  The trails start out flat, and then you can head onto the parkway.