Category Archives: Race Reports

I Must be Mad!

Okay, I suppose everyone knew that I was crazy, but in this case I’m talking about the Mad Trapper snowshoe racing series! Yup, I finally participated in my first official winter racing-type event. It’s part of my ongoing commitment to staying in racing form for more months of the year, and part of my long journey to New Zealand for the Southern Traverse in November of 2007. I was holding off in hopes of having a picture of this event that was held last Saturday, but I haven’t come across any, so instead, you get to see the logo. But I digress. A couple of years ago, Jody and I both got nice snowshoes courtesy of a nice Christmas bonus that Jody got from her work. Since then, I’ve gone out a few times on them, but nothing serious. Well, a friend of mine, Mike Caldwell, who happens to run adventure racing training clinics (at Synergy Adventure Training), also hosts a winter snowshoe racing series consisting of 3 races at his property in the Gatineau region. This year, I decided to give it a shot. I also convinced Kev and Jim Doucette to also join me (although for this race Kev had to bail due to prior plans).

The day came, and I was ready to rock. I had asked Jim to pick me up around 8-8:15am, since the race started at 10am, and we needed an hour to get there, and time to sign waivers, etc. Well, 8am comes, no Jim. No big deal, I’ll read and wait. Well I wait. And wait. And wait. I try calling a few times, with no success. Finally, at about quarter to 9 Jim calls. He says “sorry, my ringer was off. Looks like I’ll be about 10 minutes late.”. 10 minutes? I casually mention we’re already an hour late, much to his surprise! He thought we’d said 9-9:15. Oh well no biggie.

The bigger issue was that it had been pouring RAIN since about 3am! Not ideal snowshoe race conditions. However, we decide to head out anyway, and at least hang out and see what gives. I had called Mike, and he said it looked like he might partially postpone the race. ie. he’d host a race for who actually showed up, and hold a make-up race on the 28th. Fair enough. Jim and I high-tail it out to Mike’s place, and lo and behold, by the time we get to Wakefield, the rain changes to SNOW! Huzzah! Now I call Mike back to see where he’s at. It was about 10am then, and we were 15 minutes out. Mike tells us he’ll hold the start-time till we arrive… even though there are almost 40 people waiting at the start! Jim couldn’t believe I talked him into waiting. What can I say, I’m a persuasive guy.

Once we arrive, we gear up just in time for the parting words and advice (which I missed most of), and the start gun. This was the so-called ‘flat’ course, which was anything but. Can’t wait to see the ‘hilly’ course in February!! Jim and I made fairly good time, and felt good about out race. I finished off in 13th place at 1h 32min, and Jim finished in 17th at 1h 37mins. Snowshoeing is apparently much tougher than straight running. In the marathon, my heart rate is generally around 164 the whole way, well, in this race, I was hovering in the 172 range, with plenty of spikes to 184! Crazy. Could’ve been the hills too though. Great fun followed by some good eats. I also managed to score a sweet prize. A free entry to a Salomon Adventure Challenge Race! Worth around $130! Funny thing is no one picked it out before me, even though I was one of the last to pick a prize. I guess most of these folks were tri-athletes and not AR types. Lucky me!

How did I win, you might ask? Well, while out on the course there was a guy handing out 4 prize winning pieces of paper. I won prize paper 4. As I was running down into a ravine, he yelled out “I’ll give you a prize if you do a face-plant!”. Of course, that’s right up my alley, and I launch myself full force off the trail into the snow, belly-flop style, and lay there for a few seconds. The guy is whoopin it up and says “awesome!”, and hands me the prize paper. Now the funny part is that during the race briefing (the part I missed), Mike had said to watch out for all the covered up rocks, roots and stumps that are all over the place, so apparently I was lucky I didn’t impale myself! But hey, no guts, no glory, no prizes! All in all, a great time, and we’re looking forward to the next one. If you’d like to read more from the race director, he also made a post on the Mad Trapper race site. It’s located right under the results.

Windswept Running Trails…

Brrr. Okay, so Kev, Dave and I got out this past weekend for a nice long run. How long? Well, let’s call it 20k. Technically, it was 19.2k, but I tacked on warm-up and cool down sections too, so we were definitely out there for 20k. What’s the prognosis, you might ask? It’s frickin’ cold to be running outside, and will only get colder I suspect (based on my many years living in Canada!). In the lovely picture you see with this post, we are smiling. The same can not be said for the entire duration of the run! I picked an out and back route, which can be seen on my wayfaring map, which took us along the Ottawa river. My logic here was that the wind from the river would have blown off the majority of the snow from the dump we had the day before. Sound logic, but what my feeble mind didn’t grasp was that the same wind would also be blowing on our faces the entire way back! Oh well, that’s life I gues. All in all, we had a good run, and I’m pleased to say I clinched the gold medal. Ha ha. Really, I just wanted to get to the warmth of the house. For Dave, it was his longest run to date, and he did great. Unfortunately, he won’t be joining Kev and I for the monumental 1/2 marathon distance we’re doing this week, but I trust he’ll keep up the training. It’s what Yoda would have wanted 😉

The entire run took use a shade over 2 hours to complete. Now, this obviously isn’t the ideal time, but given the weather challenges, there’s no reason to be disappointed with it. Kev even got to try out his yak trax for the run. I was lucky enough to receive my own pair as an early Christmas present, but I didn’t use them. I probably will this week.

Winter Biking is Cold..

Ahh, Canadian winter. Is there anything better?! Yes, anywhere else, as far as training goes. I’ve decided to get off my duff and start being more disciplined about training again, and unfortunately, that means making the best of what can be bad situations. Case in point, it’s cold, but I want to bike. Now, I can bike in my basement, on a traininer, which I regularly do, but that get’s boring, right? So to mix it up a bit, I decided to bike to Dave’s for today’s training run with he and Kevin. Seemed like a great idea. Rather than talk about the run, you can check their blog, I’m sure they’ll write about it! The sun was shining, and it was ONLY -8C when I left. Yeah, except for that damn little thing called WIND. Geez Louis, can’t we turn that stuff off? Anyway, it was a relatively short 11km bike to Daves, followed by a reasonable 12.5km run, capped by the return 11km bike. Well, by the time I returned home, I was nearly dead! I think I may not have eaten enough. It’s all part of my winter training for Adventure racing. I’m trying to get a feel for what works, and what doesn’t, as well as how much food I need for colder racing. I’m also hoping to do some winter AR races this year, so I had to test my gear. Anyway, it was an okay training day, and I had a blast running with the boys. If it wasn’t for them motivating me to run, it would be awfully easy to just veg at home on the cold weekends! Thanks Boyz.

New Bike!

A few weeks ago I finally broke down and bought a full-suspension mountain bike, to help me hopefully improve my adventure racing. I ended up getting a 2005 Specialized Epic Comp Disc, which is pretty much the ultimate machine for adventure racing. No, it’s not the bike pictured here, this one is a shot of a genuine swiss-army issue bike taken in 2003 in Chur, Switzerland. Mine is prettier :-).
Anyway, this bad boy has air shocks front and back, as well as top-end hydraulic brakes. It also features Specialized ‘brain’ shock in the back. Essentially, the bike performs like a hard-tail on any smooth surface, but still reacts to bumps in the road. Fantastic for comfort and efficiency on all-day trail riding. Oh yeah, and I love the color too! Now normally, a bike like this goes for $3400 +taxes, but I picked this bad boy up for a steal at Tommy and Lefebvre. $2000+tax. It was being cleared out, and was a store demo. The beauty is that one guy had it all summer, and barely touched it. I did more damage in one 3-hour ride than he did all summer! She’s now dented, scratched, and has a ripped seat. Looks like a real bike now.

Why did I go so extravagant you might ask? Well, basically, I’ve been on the same Kona Cinder Cone for about 6 years now, and really needed to upgrade. The opportunity presented itself, so I took it. If I had waited till next year to buy a bike, I would’ve been stuck buying brand new, and couldn’t have bought such a nice one. So, long story short, now I’m all set to tackle bigger races, like my dream, the Southern Traverse in New Zealand.

This appears to be my second post on stuff I bought. Maybe I’ll make a couple more entries.. next up… my little red boat (kayak)!