Monday, February 16, 2015

Ski #13: Loppet (including cold weather skiing infographic)

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:


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