This week marked the end of NDC Thunder Bay’s final training push before the race season. Last weekend we completed a 5 day training camp in Lutsen, MN where we embraced the warm weather and awesome rollerskiing paths. After a much needed rest day we took on Lappe Nordic’s most historic running time trial, the 22km “Lappe block” run. The route consists mostly of hilly gravel roads with only about 2km of pavement. Reijo Puiras (owner of Lappe and Olympian) has an open challenge where if you can beat his personal best time on the route he will give you free pancakes at the Lappe Nordic Ski Centre for the entire winter. His personal best, 1hour 20minutes, is no easy task to beat on this difficult route. Nevertheless we thought we’d have a crack at it.
12km into the race Chris Hamilton was leading, about 40 seconds ahead of Andy Shields and me who at this point were even with Reijo’s splits. 12km is the low point in the route. At this point the real climbing starts and after downing a power gel I picked up the pace a little. At 14.5km I was alone chasing Chris and 20 seconds up on Reijo’s splits. After a serious effort to reel Chris in, I stopped the clock at 1:19:01. Free pancakes! Props to Chris for holding me off and potentially breaking the record with a time of 1:18:43 (the record is currently being sought after and once I find out I will be sure to post it). Big ups to Andy as well for finishing only about a minute off the 1:20 benchmark. The furthest running race he’d done before this was 10km and he’s still a Junior! I have yet to see the ‘official’ results but the rest of the team had strong performances and really battled hard.
Our annual team fundraiser, Nordicfest, was held on Saturday. With 185 tickets sold the evening was a success with great Scandinavian food, plenty of silent and live auction items, and our team’s attempt at providing some entertainment for the audience. A BIG thanks to all the volunteers, our board of directors, the businesses who donated auction items, and the Thunder Bay ski community for being so supportive!
With more than a hint of irony Mother Nature blessed us with a dump of snow overnight and today we were classic skiing on the Lappe trails. The transition from warm fall weather to winter was literally an overnight occurrence. I could hardly comprehend what my eyes were seeing this morning. The past few years snow has been sparse in November here in Thunder Bay, but not this year! The forecast is looking cold for the next week so I’m crossing my fingers that this is it. No melting, just more snow.