Friday, July 29, 2016

Death March

It was easy to be excited about Leduc, Alberta, when there was nothing else to do.  Now that we had to leave Leduc to head to Grande Cache - and race 125km - there was a part of me that was finding it even easier to get excited about staying in Leduc! We enjoyed the substantial hot breakfast from the Days Inn and headed on the 4.5 hour trek to Grande Cache.

Gradually we left the urban world behind and began seeing mountains in the distance. At Hinton, the last major town (admittedly, "major" is a point of context here) we stopped at Canadian Tire to explore bear repellent. We found some friendly young guys working in the sports section and asked about bear spray. At $50 per bottle, it wasn't just the cost repelling me but also the size and weight of it. It would have to replace a water bottle in my pack.  Hmm.... "Do you have anything smaller?" A bear banger (makes the noise of a gun but is only the size of a large marker) was more what I was looking for, size-wise, but still seemed a little much. We asked them about the risk of bear encounters out on the trail; these guys were unfortunately not equipped for these kinds of questions, and offered helpful advice like "I think bears are more likely to come out around meal time." Do you mean human meal-times, or whenever they want to eat? Finally, Mindy and I each got a bear bell, a loud but light bell that is supposed to alert bears that you're coming, so they have time to move on. I wasn't sure how I would handle a bell ringing for 125km...

William Switzer Park gave us our first taste of wild Alberta. A short but steep hike up a trail from the luge training centre brought us to Athabasca Pass Lookout.

Beautiful, but if that hike is any indication of what I have to face tomorrow....Eek!

The approach to Grande Cache would have been stunning, if I weren't so preoccupied with the race. Mountains in every direction! After a long drive, yet all too soon, we had arrived at the Grande Cache arena; the Canadian Death Race expo where Mindy and I picked up our race kits.

I ventured to the start / finish line that would figure so prominently in my week-end plans.

...and looked again at the mountains of tomorrow.

At least the forecast is good for the morning. (Thunderstorms predicted for the afternoon. Yippee.)

By evening, Paul, Stella, and my parents met us at the house we rented for the week-end, and we went through logistics in detail for race day - where Mindy and I would need them and with what.

Tomorrow is race day.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE the photos of Athabasca Pass Outlook. Good luck in the race.