Snowshoe Orienteering race 3:07:07 14.36 km (13:02 / km) +529m11:00 / km slept:6.25 shoes: Salomon XR Crossmax CS pink/gr
Dontgetlost Snowshoe Raid
Blue Mountain / Loree Forest
Dee texted me first thing to let me know that she wasn't feeling well and hadn't been able to eat or drink in 24 hours. She was willing to try the race but if it got bad, she might have to hike home. I warned Bob that we might do something funky and I'd text him if we did.
Then she proceeded to kick my butt for the first 45 minutes of the race! We started with the big climb up Mountain Springs; we were the first Masters women up the hill to #40 and won a prize for that. Then it flattened out as we ran toward the Matrix. Well, actually it was a run/walk since the snow was so soft and my heart was still pounding from the climb. Dee was strong.
Bob had recommended snowshoes after putting the controls out. 'Bent and I had driven up to Loree Forest the previous afternoon, and I agreed that snowshoes would be best for me. Not because the snow was deep in many places but because it was uneven and unpredictable with some ice patches, and snowshoes would work in all conditions we would face.
I think the best footwear for this year's race was whatever winter footwear with traction a particular racer was most comfortable with in 15-20 cm of heavy snow. Many of us were in the snowshoe camp. Many others, including Dee, preferred shoes with spikes or traction devices. I carried a large pack so I could remove my snowshoes and carry them.
We entered the Matrix on the east side of Loree and picked up 31 together. Then I went for 34 while Dee went for 35. We lost each other for 3-4 minutes around our meet-up point before climbing together to 33, then making our way over some hills to 56 before ascending a big spur to the Bruce Trail. As we neared the top, it was 90 minutes into the race and it had been very physical so far. With no fuel in her system, Dee felt light-headed and was unsure about continuing. We agreed to stick together closely and see how it went.
What we *should* have done was pick up 55 nearby and turn back. My bad. Instead we continued north as planned to get 54. Then we *really* should have turned around but the siren call of 53 (150 points!) and our original plan were too hard to resist. Unfortunately, I started looking on the wrong spur and wasted 4 minutes that we didn't have. We arrived there with Sudden and Isak Fransson with 58 minutes left on the clock. That wasn't going to be enough and Dee was still feeling off.
We ran the trail past 52 (but no time to get it) to limit bushwhacking and elevation loss - not sure it was worth the extra 300 m of distance. We ran the blue Bruce Side Trail to the white main trail, then got to the Aid Station where I put my snowshoes in my pack and switched to Kahtoola Microspikes for the final run, which was soft but not deep. Maybe this 90 second switch wasn't worth it - not sure it made me that much faster. However, we needed to stop for some of that time anyway for Dee to show our Matrix control map punches to the volunteers and then punch SI controls with our card.
We left with 16 minutes on the clock and 3 km to go. It had taken us 36 minutes to get there at the start of the race. It would take less time because we would descend the escarpment on the way back but a lot of it was flat snow running. We picked up 36 and 37 along the trail, then descended the icy Mountain Springs escarpment trail quickly but in control. We started our descent just as the 3-hour time limit ran out; it took us 7:07 to get to the finish. We weren't too proud of that but some experienced teams took longer than we did. Unfortunately, with a 30 points/ minute penalty (which I totally support), more than a third of our points were wiped out. We finished 2nd in the Female Masters category to some longtime Snowshoe Raiders who ran quickly and had a great plan. Well deserved - good on them!
This is always a super fun event. Big thanks to Bob and Hermes, who did a ton of work beforehand, and to the race day volunteers including FB and Greg D. It was great to see so many friends out with big smiles after playing in the woods. Special congrats to Timato and Nosnhoj on the win and to Gally/STORM on 2nd. Wow!
Phew! It's Jan. 19 and I finally received a 2-page handwritten holiday letter from our 92-year-old friend Joy in Victoria. She was in our group when we paddled the Nahanni River back when she was merely 70. Whenever her annual letter is delayed, I start googling obits and hoping not to find anything. Her family doesn't know us so we wouldn't hear anything otherwise.
For her 92nd birthday, she went on an 8-day group mountain hiking vacation to Manning and Cathedral Provincial Parks in B.C. She was able to do most of the daily 4-hr hikes. These are typical vacations for her; she stays very active.
My favourite part of her letter: "We endured a horrific hail storm on the ridge above the lodge at Cathedral. The Camp Warden was sent up to find us. He passed me coming down on the trail and stopped to talk to a group further uphill behind me. He said he'd been sent out to find a 92-year-old woman and a man with a limp. He was told 'You already saw the 92-year-old and we have the man.'"
I want to be like Joy if I'm lucky enough to be 92 some day.
Hamilton peeps or peeps within a short drive of Hamilton: Anyone feeling spontaneous? Interested in a little mountain adventure?
At the Dontgetlost Icebreaker, I won two tickets to the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour in Hamilton Thursday, Jan. 19 - which is tomorrow as I write this but will soon be TONIGHT. Etoile and I were planning to attend but she is getting sick so I now have one ticket available. If it's like most towns, I expect it's sold out so I could scalp this ticket for big bucks - YUUGE bucks. But I'd rather give it to a friend.
It starts at 7 p.m. at Sir John A MacDonald H.S. 130 York Blvd, Hamilton. I'm aiming to get there at 6:30 to get seats. Or seat. :( I'll update this entry if the ticket is claimed. UPDATE: Ticket is claimed.
Running (Treadmill) 30:00  5.83 km (5:09 / km) slept:5.0
Just For Laughs podcast. When I discovered I could connect an iPad to my treadmill speakers for movies, I also realized that a small adapter would allow me to connect my phone. With all the ice and 0C all day, I *could* have run in the forest but I didn't feel like I was missing much.
I spent half the day in court waiting to testify as a witness but the case was postponed for a few weeks.
Strength & Mobility55:00 
Injury prevention class with Dr. Hrkal. He amped it up tonight with two circuits of 19 stations. It's a good collection of exercises, many of which I've done before but some are new.