canada general snow

Loppet crewing

For once it wasn’t me racing, but Alex. The event was the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet, a cross-country ski race which is usually 70km long, and travels the entire distance from Lake Louise to Banff, but this year was shortened to 50km due to flood damage, finishing 20km before Banff.

Alex skied the entire thing solo, while we noble crew cheered him on at the start, then at the exchange points at the end of each of the four legs. It’s a very small-scale event, due to the limitations placed by Parks Canada. There were around 110 people on the course at any time, with a mix of solo skiers and teams.

But first, after waving off the hordes at the start, we spent some time enjoying the Ice Magic Festival at Lake Louise. The Moosling was quite taken by the ice castle, and kept wanting to go back there. He even taste tested it: “Mmmm, tasty ice Mama!”

A few friends from work were doing the race as a team, I caught them finishing up the first leg before Alex skied in.

The weather was wonderful – the middle of January could really bring any kind of weather, so blue skies and temperatures between -10oC and 2oC were pretty much perfect.

Just to make things more difficult, I set an excitable toddler onto Alex just as he was crossing the finish line, narrowly avoiding making him crash.

bikes canada general

24 Hours of Adrenalin 2013 – Team Work Hard, Ride Harder

First lap, the onslaught of bikes that follows the Le Mans start

60% of team Work Hard, Ride Harder, lazing around and waiting for our fearless leader to arrive back with a smoking fast first lap time

My first lap, pushing up through the meadow

There was at least one little black bear roaming around the course, I never saw him though

Second lap, around 8pm – late enough to carry lights, not late enough to need them

Finishing up my third lap at 3am – managed to snatch a few minutes of sleep between then and 6am, when I was up again

Early morning in the tent – all three teams feeling a little zombified

Wipe out!

Fast Fish pulling off a sub-one-hour lap, second last lap of the day


canada general trail running

The not-Powderface 42

A long long time ago, Alex and I thought it might be fun to sign up for a 42km trail race together, the Powderface42 in K-Country. The flood had other ideas though, and the race ended up being relocated to the Canmore Nordic Centre. Less effort to get to, but not very exciting when we’d been looking forward to running new trails. After some indecisiveness we decided we may as well run it anyway.

The course involved two laps that reached all the way out to the end of the Nordic Centre and back, with a particularly cruel section of five kilometres or so of running back and forth above the stadium – being so close to home, but not quite yet there. The first few kilometres basically plunged straight into single track, so there was a lot of very slow shuffle shuffle through the trees, before we finally reached the boring double track and could actually pick up some speed.

There was a photo of Alex on his own, but he looked a little like a serial killer, so we’ll go with this one instead, where he’s peering out from behind a friendly looking stranger.

After running in a huge pack for most of the first seven kilometres, things thinned out more and more, until I was largely running alone for the second half of the race. The weather was good, our feet got wet in that one boggy section, the aid stations had tasty offerings, and the plunge into the Rundle Forebay afterwards was perfect.

(I was 5th female, in 4:40:00 – Alex finished in 5:02:06. We didn’t run together after the first few kilometres, but communicated for a lot of the race by sending messages while taking a break and walking up hills. Don’t message and run single track kids, you’ll sprain your ankle.)

bikes canada general

The weekend of the Kootenay Krusher

The Kootenay Krusher is a bike race I’d vaguely considered riding, but decided I didn’t really want to spend the money on. It’s held at Nipika, near Invermere, BC (I’d never been there before, but had heard a lot about the summer and winter trails). Rather luckily, I ended up winning a free entry. And even more helpfully, the weather for the Organgrinder race (that was held the weekend before) was terrible, so I didn’t feel like I’d chosen the wrong race to ride. I had the Rundle’s Revenge coming up the weekend after, so I didn’t want to push too hard, but it seemed like the course didn’t have a lot of climbing, and I chose to do the 50km, and just ride at a comfortable pace and enjoy the scenery.

So we all headed down to Invermere, and on Sunday morning crawled out of the sofa bed (they don’t fit three very well when one is a wiggly toddler) and headed to the race. The Moosling was pretty keen to line up with me at the starting line, but sadly I just rode off on him when the horn blew.

True to what I’d heard, the course was a little rough in spots… but also smooth in spots… rocky in spots… along precipitous drops in spots… loose in spots… newly cut in spots… it’s a 25km lap, you get a little bit of everything. There was even a hike-a-bike over a bridge. It was even flatter than I was expecting though, and after the first 10km I only saw 3 or 4 people for every 10km of riding, so it was a pretty lonely course out there, and a little hard to stay motivated for racing. Particularly with the wonderful views available along some sections.

While I was out, the Moosling entered his own first bike race. Apparently he didn’t go too well – he quite happily lined up with all the other strider bikes, but when the horn blew he dropped his bike and ran to Papa for a hug. Eventually he rode some of the course at least, and scored a prize of sorts.

All-in-all, a nice relaxing kind of race, and a really fun place to hang out. I think I’ll be back to ride and ski the trails, but maybe not to do this race again.

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing around Invermere, first at the Lussiere Hot Springs, and then with a short wander up Mount Swansea. There was a rocket (rocket-shaped tower) on top of Swansea that the Moosling was very impressed with, and quite keen to try and open the door so he could go to space, the Moon, or Mars – he wasn’t fussy.

Oh, and the end result from the Kootenay Krusher? I came second in my age group (just 4 minutes behind first!), and third overall woman.