Thu 29 Jan 2009 21:50 GMT
In relation to Guy's last post on the blog, I too had my cross country ski race debut the Sunday before (18th January). I did not document it on the blog as it's taken me this long to get over it! The event was the 'Foulee Blanche' (http://www.lafouleeblanche.com/), a pretty well established event in its' 31st year and attracting around 2,500 entrants on the Sunday, not to mention the events for schools and clubs that take place on the Thursday and Friday before.
I opted for the 20km version, the 42km being strictly for the big boys and pros (Agritubel [formerly AG2R] rider, Sylvain Calzati was there proving that this is the winter sport chosen by cyclists).
The 20km choice was the 'fun run' version - loads of people of all different ages and abilities taking part. The circuit was on the plateau of the 'Vercors' mountains and hence only had 100 metres of height gain so was really gentle. The route took skiers through fields, villages and along some roads where snow had been carted in to cover the tarmac for the day!
Once I got out of the starting area without bringing down the other 2,499 competitors like dominoes, my nervousness left me and I really started to enjoy the event. The atmosphere, great marshals and fantastic organisation bore more than a passing resemblance to many cyclosportive events that I have taken part in.
All in all it was a great day out. Even the 'also-rans' like me were made to feel like skiing stars surrounded by an Olympic standard start line and finishing straight, 'Ski Sunday' type bib numbers were issued (see photo top left - very proud!) and your name and time flashed up on a big screen as you crossed the line.
Glutton for punishment, Guy and I are off for more of the same this coming Sunday. We and a group of neighbours are heading to the 'Valguade Blanche', a 30km event in a valley (so hopefully quite flat!) that we have ridden before but never seen in the snow.
Ski Sunday here we come!