This past weekend was spent in the small hamlet of La Patrie, Quebec, Canada. Just north of the New Hampshire and Maine borders is, quite literally, another world. It always surprises me how markedly different certain aspects of life are in the province of Quebec. When I think of Canada I generally think of my Canadian friends whose only differences are their affinity for calling hats 'tuques' and ending every sentence with 'eh.' Visiting Quebec, however, is a reminder that Canada is as diverse in its peoples and cultures as is the US. French is the language to know and although many people speak English fluently, there are just as many who speak little or no English. That really lent itself to a feeling of being much further away from home than the few short kilometers that actually separated us from the border.
We raced in the hills just outside of La Patrie at a venue that used a farming tractor as a groomer. Despite the odd choice of grooming equipment, the groomers know what they are doing and the trails were great. The weather couldn't have been better - sunny and around 20 degrees - so we had a perfect weekend for racing. The race organizers made sure to utilize every bit of uphill they could find so the courses were some of toughest I've seen all season. While my skiing was solid for both the sprint and pursuit races, I had a rough weekend on the range. I finished a disappointing 5th in both the sprint and pursuit races. I've been a little tired for the past week so I'm taking advantage of a light training week to rest and get geared up for the coming weekend of racing in Val Cartier, Quebec, a town just west of Quebec City.