Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Don't Get Lost Snowshoe Raid 2014

This year's "Snowshoe Raid" marks the 3rd consecutive year that I have done the event, and I really don't want to ever miss this fabulous event. It won the "Get Out There" award for best snowshoe race, and I couldn't agree more. This is how the whole event shaped up.
The event is billed as a "Snowshoe Orienteering" race. What a cool concept! (pun intended). The day starts with picking up your map, and planning your route. This goes on for about 1.5 hours, but after I've signed-in, and said hello to everyone I know, it seems like there isn't much time left to plan the route. Decisions are made as to which CPs (Check Points) seem the most worthwhile, and which ones are better left off the menu for the day. The last two years, me and my team mate "Cleared" the course. This means we got all the CPs in the allotted time frame of 3 hours. This is dependent on running speed, orienteering ability, and route selection.

The race had a little twist to it this year, being that we were given our first map before the event and told that we can pick up the second map after 1.5 hours had elapsed. Also, we started at the bottom of Blue Mountain, instead of the top. I love climbing, so this just got me even more fired up.

All the competitors walked to the start, and then the gun went off. It was a mad dash across the field, and then up the hill. I settled into a good rhythm, and was able to run nearly the whole hill. we made it to the top in 10 minutes, with about 250m already under our belts.
After hitting the first few CPs, we settled into the routine of hitting a CP, checking our bearing, and running to the next. A rather funny thing happened about 55 minutes into the race, when I fell into a well. It was completely covered in snow and it just looked like flat ground. I dropped down, and was in the water up to my waist. Overall, I dropped about 8 feet. I managed to catch myself, and took about 5 seconds to process what had happened. As my partner tried to pull me out, I was more concerned with not dropping my gummy-bear snacks that were in the hand. I managed to get out, I ate the gummies, and we kept going. I'm really glad it was me that fell in, because I didn't get hurt. Oh well!
Our strategy wasn't the best, since we tried to clear the entire first map before picking up the second. The snow was a little slow, and our speed was suffering. We didn't get our second map until after 2 hours had elapsed. This left us with lots of CPs to look for, and little time. We ran our hardest, but were only able to pick off about 8 of the closest CPs, before we had to return, to meet the 3 hour time limit. We came in with 1.5 minutes to spare!
After the race, we got bused back to the start, and changed into some dry clothes. We got to talk about the event a whole bunch, and even won some cool prizes! (Orange camel-back bag). Eric and I managed to sneak by with a win, by a margin of only 10 points. WOW, that was close. We ran about 19.5 km, in the 3 hours, and cleared approximately 900m of ascent. Mostly off-trail, through snow. What a day.

After the event, I went Telemark skiing at Blue Mountain, which was fun, but doesn't event compare to how awesome the Snowshoe Raid was. I can't believe people pay nearly as much to ski, as the registration for this event. Mark your calendars, and make sure its not an event that you miss next year!

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