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Posts Tagged ‘random bald man’

Pancakes and Hills – Must Be Lappe

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

In my other life as a cross country ski coach, I recently had the opportunity to head to Thunder Bay, Ontario, for the trials for everything. Seriously, just take a look at the race notice.

After hopping on a plane with a few of my favorite athletes in Ottawa, we cruised through Toronto, met a bald man who you may or may not know, and then disembarked into the cold air and disorganization that comes with having a team of 39 athletes who have arrived on multiple days at different times.

Do you know this man? First person to name him, and why he's ridiculous gets a burnt bagel courtesy of Charcoal.

After some quick shuttling, organization, and a broken rental van, we ponied up, and headed out to the race site, Lappe Nordic.

I have been to Lappe often, and in my mind, skiing at Lappe in Thunder Bay means two things – large difficult hills, and pancakes. This may be an indication of my skiing career, but that’s not really important.

As an athlete, the hills sucked, and the pancakes made Lappe the best stop on the Ontario Cup circuit by a landslide. As a coach, the hills suck even more, I just now get to avoid them, and the pancakes are exactly the same, I just get to eat more.

If you’re busy wondering why a ski race is known for pancakes, let me explain. Thunder Bay has a pretty prominent Finnish community, and that community, other than being really into cross country skiing and plugging a lot of time and effort into the ski infrastructure at Lappe, like pancakes.

As a result, the little kitchen at Lappe churns out hundreds of pancakes each time the Ontario Cup, or other larger events come to town.

Almost more like crepes, these thin pancakes technically come with two options – without sauce, and with strawberry sauce. Now, far be it from me to tell you what to do, but if you get pancakes at Lappe without spending the extra 50c on sauce, you are not only a cheap bastard, but you are missing out on half of the pancake experience.

It’s pretty awesome to come in from skiing/waxing/running around/yelling/throwing your friends in snowbanks and be able to hit a pile of warm pancakes covered in tasty strawberries.

Man I love breakfast!

As for the hills, they are about as difficult as the pancakes are awesome. On the 15 k loop, the last 1 k features as far as I can determine something like 900 m of climbing. And that’s only a slight exaggeration. They even come with sweet names – Klukie Line, Pilon’s, The Grunt – you just know that when people start naming hills (Morderbacken, Alpe Cermis, anyone?) it’s NOT because they’re so easy and fun. Luckily my position as coach means I get to audit hills from the comfort of my NEOS, rather than the up-close and personal version – although just before you think I’m really lazy, I did ski every hill on that course during the weekend – I know exactly what it’s like.

Favourite Workout of the Week: Two hour classic ski around the rolling terrain at Nakkertok, a trail system that has struggled with snow coverage so far this year. However, Ottawa has finally received enough, and two hours of classic skiing on an awesome sunny afternoon, on narrow trails with lots of cool terrain turned in the best ski of the year in Ottawa for me, despite being pasted by a friend in the one intensity set we did.

What I’m Watching These Days: The NFL Playoffs. I watch very little football during the year, but once things get down to the nitty-gritty, I start to pay attention. Last weekend was sweet, because Green Bay and the Bears both managed wins, and now face off for a trip to the Superbowl. My roomate likes the Bears, I’m pulling for the Pack. Should be a good weekend.

Is YouTube Really Worth My Time?: If you don’t get excited about cross country skiing after watching this video, you don’t have a pulse.