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  • Writer's picturerganderson915

City of Lakes Loppet - Highlights, Lowlights, Takeaway

Hi there, thanks for checking in.


I got some positive feedback on the Highlights, Lowlights, Takeaways format, so it’s back for this week’s recap.


On Sunday, I did my first official City of Lakes Loppet! I grew up doing the youth races and the skijor loppet (race with a dog pulling me) many years ago, but this was the first time I did the main event. The race was 31k this year and I raced the freestyle/skate technique. Maybe someday I will do the back-to-back classic and skate marathons but I’m not that cool yet.


Getting ready to head out, not my best look with no ski ties...


Highlights

  • After a week of sub-zero temps and wind, the sun miraculously came out and temps were in the mid 20s (F). It rained the day after, so we really lucked out on that weather window. How does a weather update sneak into every blog I write? Oh well.

  • There is something special about a giant mass-start race. My mind goes into race mode and I feel hyper focused, and it is exhilarating weaving through people and strategically drafting or passing. There is an added bonus in citizen races of never knowing if the person in front of you is going to fall :) I had a lot of fun in the chaos of this race.

  • I skied with my good pal Erin for a long time. I think it’s crazy that we can ski 31k mostly all out and still end up within 10 seconds of each other at the finish. This sport is a lot more fun with a friend like Erin by my side, and I feel lucky for that.

  • My parents were out cheering at many points on the course!

  • It was a treat to ski all the trails that feel like home to me. I love Eloise Butler and the Quaking Bog especially, and I’ve skied that snowmaking loop more than anyone really should. It was a fun celebration to ski them all in a race format.

  • Erin and I made it onto the podium! Woo


Slightly pained smiles after putting it all out there for 90 mins!


Lowlights

  • I skied over a ROCK under one of the tunnels and really did some damage to one of my best pairs of skis, sad. One valuable lesson I have learned in my professional ski racing career is that I should not ski on rocks.

  • Long races are crazy because it’s necessary to consume sugar during the race in order to avoid bonking, but my body starts rejecting it a little too. I felt kinda sick at one point in the middle and had to urge my stomach to ~keep it together~. At least I didn’t bonk! This wasn’t even close to the length of the Birkie, so I better start building my sugar tolerance …


Photos by Todd Anderson!


Takeaway: Getting out the door for a community event is always worth it

After college graduation, I have seen a lot more of the “serious” side of ski racing. There are times when the sport feels isolating, and times when I’ve seen the competition sap some of the joy and fun of it. The joy is never fully lost though, and days like the City of Lakes Loppet really bring back that necessary connection to where it all started for me and the reason that I ski. Nothing makes me happier than a crowded trailhead filled with people who are proud of their accomplishment, who are there to support others, or who worked hard to put on a great event to bring people together. I feel lucky and proud to be a part of that community.


Thanks for reading, happy Tuesday!


-Renae


Start line

Cedar Lake buzzing with people


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