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Athletes brave cold for Shuffle

Schieven, Ray each ski 77 kilometres in four hours to claim top spots


With temperatures hovering around minus14 Celsius and a stiff wind blowing across the lake, participants in the fourth annual Lost Lake Shuffle had a little extra incentive to keep moving on Saturday.

The cold kept the numbers down, according to organizers, but more than 50 skiers turned out to the race, making laps of a 3.5 kilometre course.

The big story was Pemberton’s Arlene Schieven, who kept pace with the top men to complete 22 laps of the course, a total of 77 kilometres, in the solo four-hour category. She smiled the whole way, while keeping a pace of more than 20 kilometres per hour.

"I felt good the whole way through," she said. "Last year there were more ups and downs for me, and it was more tiring. When I felt myself dropping off this year, for the last hour I started drinking Coke and that helped out a lot."

Schieven managed the same number of laps this year in heavier clothing as she did last year in considerably warmer and sometimes faster conditions.

"Last year I think I was trying to go too fast. This year I sat back a little and tried to go at a more consistent pace, and I made the same number of laps.

"I really only have one speed and I’m comfortable at that pace."

Schieven will likely do the Whistler Nordics loppet, and is also hoping to do a 50 kilometre skate marathon at the end of the month.

This year the top male solo skier in the four hour category was Whistler chiropractor Keith Ray, who has competed in the team and solo categories in the past. He completed 22 laps of the course, finishing his last lap ahead of the rest of the field.

Ray said he had no idea how many laps he completed or how close his competition was. "I just put my head down, and tried to stay warm," he said.

"It was cold out there today and that wind was ripping across the lake. Every time I thought I had warmed up I’d come through the start line again and that wind, and I’d just freeze all over again. I think I had an inch of ice standing up on my head by the end."

Ray said he intended to go slow and steady, but with freshly tuned skis and a few weeks of good training behind him he got off to a strong start. Once he found himself in the lead about halfway through the first lap, he started to compete.

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