Monday, January 02, 2012

PLPP 96-km Challenge - 2nd time

I managed to lure two more friends, Darryl Mekechuk and Marcus Boyle, to join me in the ski venture that was awesome last year.

The skiers gathering in the hut to prep seemed to have doubled since last year with the who's who in endurance events. It was awesome to see another woman, Maz Bate. Maz would ski half and trade off with her hubby Lonn the 2nd loop to look after the kids.
photo  Blaine Penny
The starting temperature at Pocaterra hut at 6:30 a.m. was -10C and on the warmer side. Last year it was -18C the whole time with nice solid fast tracks.

Headlamp start at 7 a.m. - photo Blaine Penny
A huge snowfall came a few days prior with only people-set tracks plowing through the snowy. The uneven striding slowly took its toll on me as well as dressing light for a harder ski. Each time we stopped to regroup, I cooled down before we went again. Gotta remember to layer up for these group skis.

climb up Whiskey Jack - photo Blaine Penny
The group mostly stuck together on the first Cookie course loop plus Blueberry Hill. The groomer had time to set new tracks on the latter half of the course which is mostly downhill from Elk Pass and included Blueberry. The descent on Blueberry was wickedly fast and welcome to have the fresh snow to shred the corners in.

Marcus taking in the Blueberry hill views
Making our way back to Pocaterra hut, Brendan's wife Bridget had a warm chili feast waiting for us. Applied more wax on my skis, put on dry clothes though was shivering for awhile trying to overcome all my earlier chills each time.

brilliant sunshine on loop 2 - photo Blaine Penny
My extra wax was not necessary as I hammered the climbs though had difficulty keeping up with the guys on the flats and descents. I was weary from pushing the extra effort. Marcus skied in with me the final stretch down Pocaterra. Darkness was just falling and the moon was so brilliantly bright that I could see shadows from the trees.

First loop took under 4 hours. 2nd loop just over 4 hours. Total 96 km.
Will look forward to next year's event!

Mark Toth created this trailer from the day's ski. Truly awesome!

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