On a cold day with numbing wind chills, Patrick Bellemare won the Boreal Loppet in Forestville, Quebec on Saturday, 26 February. With a time of 5:54:49, he beat runner-up Styve Gagnon by one second over a distance of 103 k. No women contested the 103 k distance.
For those who wanted to race less than 100 k, organizers offered shorter distances. Except for the 100 k, which was skate only, skiers could opt to race 54, 27 14, or 7 k in either skate or classic technique. The 100 was one long loop that actually measured 103 k. The 54 k event was two laps of a rolling 27 k loop. The seven- and fourteen k classes had their own loop.
205 skiers started in waves by distance and technique. At 8 AM, when the 100 k racers went off, the temperature was barely above the FIS legal limit, at -2 degrees Fahrenheit with wind chills of -22. The temperature reached a high in the single digits in the mid-afternoon, before cooling off as the sun went down and shadows fell over the finishing area. Surprisingly for the conditions, very few people abandoned the race. The course was generally hard packed and fast, although one section featured several icy patches.
The race uses some of the trails of the local Club de Ski de Fond before entering the ZEC Forestville, a 1300 square kilometer forest preserve.
Chicoutimi, Quebec’s Samuel Lalancette won the 54 k skate event in 3:08:35. Renee Lambert was the women’s winner, clocking in at 4:04. In the 54 k classic technique class, Francois Piuze was the men’s winner in 2:59:35; Catherine Hudon was the classic 54 k female winner in 04:28:33.
In the 27 k skate event, Marco Proulx and Mireille Giroux were the male and female winners. Renald Desharnais and Nancy Therrien won the 27 k classic.
Marie-Josee Paradis was the overall winner of the 14 k skate event, with Andre Tremblay the male winner. Thomas-Charles Beaulieu and Sandra Tremblay won the 14 k classic. In the 7 k skate, Mathieu St-Amand and Stephanie Tremblay won, with Jacques Beauchamp and Lynda Gilbert winning the 7 k classic.
Full results are here.