Speed blogging, here we go...
The Beast Adventure Race in Washington State 06 was the first race that Todd and I ever did together...this was our one year anniversary...of course Todd forgot and didn't even get me a stinking card!!
We managed to link up with some local racers who lived just minutes from the starting area. Colin and Connie, of 'Colinoba' fame (a birthday adventure race that involves a pub crawl...how awesome is that!), were gracious enough to host us in their incredible home. The lights were on, the tree was up, and it made me miss Christmas at home with the fam! We also met Reed and Andrea who were up from Portland for the event. Together three of the four (Connie was too sick to race) also did the race and put in a solid performance. With PQ 04 experience they are talented and experienced racers who like to have a lot of fun. Check out this link for what looks like an incredible mountain bike event in Oregon next summer. Appears to be the perfect excuse for a road trip (note the FREE beer gardens), and I'll be looking to organize a crew to head down there for this next summer...ahh, I miss summer...
Leaving Squamish with a mountain bike on my roof, in the biggest snow storm of the season, garnered me those 'special looks' from people, like they were saying,
"Ahhh, that's cute, he's an idiot!!"
Picking up Todd at the Tsawassen (don't care if that's spelled right or not) ferry and adding a second bike to my roof only increased out profile while driving on the highway.
"Look honey, those Canadians are funny, they have bikes on their car!!"
"Dumb ass Canadians!"
"Hi, we're not stupid, we really are going to ride these things...umm, actually, come to think of it we are kinda dense aren't we..."
The drive down was truly scary at times. Not because the roads were that bad, although it was dumping pretty good in places, but more so because the other drivers out there had a very noticeable lack of winter driving experience. I just tried to keep my distance from most other vehicles as Todd and I counted six cars in the ditch and three that seemed to have just pulled over and quit...
"Honey, rent a truck and come get me, NOW!!"
We weren't even sure if the event would go ahead and were actually amazed at how many people turned up on the day, with an even 100 people at the starting line! Personally if I had the option I truly would have stayed in bed!
The race course was covered in about 3-4 inches fresh snow (for the third straight year), and it was starting to rain on top of that...perfect conditions to freeze yer ass off!
The Beast is different from a MOMAR in that the majority of the participants are new comers and out to experience adventure racing for the first time. DART-Nuun do a very cool thing each year where they volunteer to pair up with newbies and help them get through their first race. It was great to see Ryan, Aaron and Glenn (hope I didn't miss anyone. Matt Hart was also out volleying on the day and has a short video on his blog) sharing their hard earned expertise with some brand new adventure racers...welcome to the sport, you might as well apply for an additional credit card asap!
Having not done much in the last two months, well, I did a lot of drinking, some ski touring, some floor hockey, some dodge ball, basically anything but a.r. disciplines were on the menu...where was I...this was/is our wake up call that race season is again, just around the corner. I do a 50k ultra every New Year's Day, so it's time to get back on the feet again. The Beast is our kick in the ass to get some focus back into the training sched.
I can't do short blog postings can I...I'm not even at the start yet...
Run to our bikes, then two bike loops back to the start finish and a running loop back again. I believe distances were about 40k of biking and 15k of running?
My biggest weakness is cold weather. I did a full year in the Northern B.C. oil and gas industry as a Pipe Fitter's Assistant. This involved working outside for at least 12hr a day, seven days a week, through the dead of winter. At one point I went into a back country 'camp' for three weeks and the WARMEST it got in those twenty one days was -27 degrees Celsius, with the mercury dipping to -47 one day...there are no days off. I remember getting out of camp and wondering when I would get the feeling back in my toes, the answer was fifteen days and they've never been the same since. My fingers are similar and it doesn't take much for me to loose sensation in my extremities these days...at least most of them!
Within ten minutes we had about an inch of slush covering our feet on the bike. It was a slushy, slippery mess and I knew that I would struggle through it. Had I been wearing my biking booties and ski gloves I would have been better off, but I simply did not anticipate these racing conditions.
Before the first bike loop was complete I had literally lost all sensation from my kneecaps down. I had two stumps below my quads that weren't quite sure if they were pedaling in the right direction or not. With all that crap sticking to my derailleur I had lost all but one gear on my bike, thankfully the easiest one. I was only able to shift between the mid and big ring on the front. As we hit flat sections of the race Todd would effortlessly pull away from me,
"TODD!!!! WAIT UP, I CAN'T GO ANY FASTER!!"
My fingers also went completely numb and to actually shift gears I would have to reach under my bars and pull down on the shifter as I simply could not push my fingers enough to shift normally. To downshift I had to punch the shifter with my hand cause my thumb wouldn't move. Todd did not comment until after the race that I seemed to be taking forever to punch the checkpoints on our passport...that was because I couldn't flex my hand at all! I had to line up the punch over the right number and then slam both hands together to get it to go...I was not really enjoying myself, but kept telling myself that this was great training in case we ever get into these conditions in an actual expedition.
After both bike loops we attempted running out of the transition area, but we struggled to get our feet to respond to the terrain. After a few CP's we stopped to check on them because it felt like our socks had bunched up into a huge ball under our arches. It turned out that it was just painful sensation of our feet trying to resuscitate themselves!
After 4h10m Todd and I crossed the finish line...and continued running to my car for a change of clothes! As mentioned, this race is about fun and not a super competitive event. We loved it, there is such a great crowd of people in the Pacific North West and it's awesome getting to know more of them at each event we can participate in.
Our amazing host Colin (and Connie of course) had teamed up with Reed and Andrea to come in second across the line, but looking at the results I guess they missed a CP which dropped them down to fourth. They didn't care, they had huge smiles on their faces as they finished, and I believe the Santa hats were back on within seconds.
Thanks so much to Roger, Yumay, Eric and Aaron for hosting such a great event, and especially the volleys who were the only people that may have had it worse than us on the day!
It was cool to see another Canadian team down there as well. Team Suburban Rush, consisting of Magnus Byne, Christopher Lister, Sarah Goring and Lannie Theielen finished a solid 11th and I'm sure they would echo my sentiments...it was f$%king freezing but well worth the drive!
I'm not even joking when I say this, it's Tuesday night, and I still do not have full sensation back in my feet...if this lasts more than fifteen days I guess I'll head to the Dr. again!
Full Results Here