See if you can figure out this pictorial representation of skiing in the Arctic north that is Ottawa (we're really nowhere near the Arctic):
Technically the Loppet is in Gatineau but it's all part of the National Capital Region. I know that skiing is inherently a cold weather sport and that it is not much fun otherwise but there are different degrees of cold. For a start, and what better place to start, there is our friend Kelvin, way down there where there ain't no Kelvins: 0 degrees Kelvin (-273C). That's really cold. That's where there is no energy at all. Anything warmer than that and we have energy but if it's colder than we are, 37-ish degrees C (310K!) we're losing heat to our environment. So when on Sunday, day of the Loppet ski race it says that it will be -23C on the start line with a very brisk wind gusting 50kmh, we're losing a lot of heat. This can be mitigated by some well chosen items of clothing but the face gets little protection. Disconcertingly almost everyone I saw in the indoor are had some sort of tape covering their cheeks and nose. I suddenly felt not very well prepared. Oh well, we would get to the trees soon.
It was a good race. Well it wasn't really but I did enjoy myself. The snow was so slow, there was fresh loose snow on the climb up the back of Pink, I feel over trying to smile at a cameraman and the wind was at times really painful. But the sun shone, the course was shortened from 27 to 22.5k and I got the frostbite all-clear from the medic at the aid station. It took me 2 minutes longer than last year despite the shortening which is an reflection of (a) the conditions and (b) my having skied half as much as I had this time last year.
Photos have not been posted yet. Here are some bits of trivia: