Cross country skiing race review by ambassadors Robbie & Natalie

Three years ago Profeet running ambassadors, Natalie White and Robbie Britton had never skied before. In Spring 2018 they were once again lining up for a classic cross country skiing race in the Jura Alps.

The Transjurassienne weekend has a range of classic and freestyle cross country skiing races on the rolling hills of the Jura, with Robbie tackling the 59km TransJu classic and Natalie going for the 25km version. Low snow levels led to a couple of diversions, making both races harder than in previous years.

Kitted out in Odlo windshield baselayers, it was still well below zero when Robbie got to the start.

“As per usual I was starting further back, surrounded by people twice my age, but also with twice the technical ability when it comes to cross country skiing. It was great to chat to a couple of really experienced cross country skiers, including a Canadian called Robert Palliser who was completing his 20th Worldloppet passport that day”.

Natalie had a later start but still went for several layers of windproof kit.

“We’ve both recently got new skis, with skins on the underside of the ski to avoid the difficulties of waxing. Mine are actually children’s skis as it’s done on height and weight and I could just about get away with it!”

The Atomic C9 skis that Robbie used are really training skis, but certainly were deemed a good choice by the more experienced skiers around in the difficult-to-judge conditions with fresh snow and temperatures around zero.

“It always seems to be snowing and zero degrees when I race, the hardest conditions for getting the skis right”.

The frantic starts of double poling and a very quick reduction in the room available for the skiers means a fast start is needed, something both Robbie and Nats are quite comfortable doing in trail races for sure.

“As the course went on it thinned out and little battles started with individuals around me.”

Robbie told us:

“The plan was to not let anyone pass in the race, given that a lack of 2016 results meant a start at the back. Only one chap did manage to overtake and stay ahead, but he was twice my size so I put that down to upper body strength.”

In the summer Team Profeet’s Pip Blackburn and Robbie did the TransJu trail relay and finished in first place, but the winter version was a little more difficult for our team.

“I was really chuffed to finish in 125th position. I had a time goal in mind but as the course was changed it turned out that was completely unachievable [it was quicker than the winner’s time!]. I’m just happy that I might get to start in the first pen next time.”

What about Natalie?

Well, it was hard. Really hard. As a new sport you have to focus the whole time on your technique and the body is still adapting to the stresses. I enjoyed it, but still want to get better.

Modest Natalie actually finished 3rd in her age category in the 25km race, top 20 overall.

So what’s next for the team members?

Lake Baikal in Siberia. With temperatures well below zero (currently -20C out on the lake) and a completely frozen surface, Robbie and Nats are recceing for the 2019 adventure. They are really grateful to have partnered with Odlo for the challenge and the year ahead.

“The base layers that Odlo make are second to none, it’s a relief to find a brand to work with that is of the quality required for such a dangerous trip. Robbie wants our parents to know we’ll be safe though, it’s only the first trip over to check out how it is to run, camp and survive on a frozen lake. We’ll do some big days, but we’ll also be just out enjoying somewhere beautiful and new.”

Natalie White


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