30. Year of the rooster (Redemption)

by Danièle Grenier –

My name is Danièle Grenier. I love skiing since my childhood in Quebec with my father. And since then I have never stopped for almost seventy years. I started Worldloppet trips very late in 2008 with the Vasaloppet and, year after year, I repeat the trip to Europe to join a friend of mine, a Montrealer who now lives in Saint-Basile-le Grand with a Chinese name spelled WONG. Each year, after three weeks of travel and skiing, it is time to go home and see if the jungle has not taken over in my house while  “Chinaman” continues its Worldloppet odyssey.

But, in 2015 on my return, my life took a break. The “Crab” came to inhabit my body. The chemo treatments in the hospital weakened me and I did not think during the summer what will be winter 2016 as well as the preparation to train during the summer. At that time, I didn’t know if I could repeat my long cross-country skiing trips.

After 6 months of recovering, the WL 2016 season started with the incredible 44 km classic style Birkie Tour in Wisconsin.

 I knew at that time, 2016 will show me an unusual adversity. Indeed, in France with a cancellation- rain, Tartu lack-snow. Despite this, I end to Lahti with 50CT and 20FT.  Disappointment and discouragement on my return. Few weeks later in April, without knowing what the WL 2017 season will be, my friend offers to take part in his special project, called “WONG’s races” according to the Worldloppet 2017 calendar.

What do you mean, I asked, with a dubious face?

“Woman Only No Gentleman”.

The answer made me smile. Not just any smile, but the one I don’t really know what it is. I had goosebumps.

Explanation. The “WONG’s races” project is to participate in all women’s races and to have Scandinavian long-distance races which pose a big challenge. One can imagine that the country that has a women’s race has for a different reason, a different philosophy, to invite you to the starting line so that you would have a look that you cannot predict on yourself.

These are races only for women:

Tjejvasan Sweden, Frauenlauf Switzerland, Ingalåmi Norway

First of all, I got rid of the “crab” that had settled in my body in 2015.

The 2017 season: Wisconsin on January 15 a fast “Birkie Tour. Ski the 28 km in classic style, alone and enjoy the “American Birkie” atmosphere at the refueling stops.

Later in February to Sweden, joining “Chinaman” at the airport. Tjejvasan, at first glance, seems to me to have the same impression as Vasaloppet that with more than six thousand skiers at the same start on several waves. It was my first Tjejvasan and my third appearance on the 90K Vasaloppet since 2008. Each time I run Vasa, I swear it will be the last time. Took a second place at Tjejvasan, get first place for Öppet Spår. “Frauenlauf”  was a fairly easy profile race. But it’s still a 17 km race for which I am seriously preparing.

Under a very sunny sky and very fast skis, I was very energetic. Switzerland smiles at me.

Finishing second, Frauenlauf  is a great meeting. With nearly 1,200 skiers, the small town of Samedan sees parades of such pretty women every year, ready to give their best during this big party. From start to finish with the festivities at S-Chanf. I will keep a lasting memory of it.

“Ingalåmi”, Inga de Varteig, the mother of Prince Haakon IV,  took its first pushes at ​​Lillehammer. II signed up for the classic 15 km to enjoy giving the maximum speed to this event.

As for the Halvbirken, on Thursday and the Birken on Saturday, these races gave me different moods, concerning the starting point. In order Lillehammer, Susjoen and Rena.

This three-week experience, with all these Scandinavian races, feminine and of very high reputation, made me see another facet of the Worldloppet atmospheres. It is that there is a lot of pleasure in feeling and that these memories will follow me hoping to return, because they are unique.

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