I Must be Mad!

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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.

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