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Mar. 20, 2007
Nipped, but not bitten
Photo credit: Luis Moreira (<a href= " hspace="5" src="/uploads/blog/Luis_Moreira.jpg" width="150" align="left" vspace="5"/>Adam Chase just sent in this report from the Rock & Ice Ultra in Yellowknife, NW Territories. It’s a good read—sounds like something 007 might try in one of his movie gigs. Sorta makes the bike race I did on Saturday seem like child’s play.

The warm thought of sitting at home in Boulder, watching the newest Bond film, "Casino Royale" on DVD stirs up the expression "shaken, not stirred." A look at my face in the mirror this afternoon, after yesterday's Rock & Ice Ultra here in Yellowknife, NW Territories, conjured the subject header for this correspondence. Here's a quick down and dirty...or cold and windy, as the case may be:

We started yesterday at 9am in -34C, which was somewhere close to -55F with the wind-chill. It was, at least, sunny so with plenty of layers (Craft underwear, a Montbell fiber-fill puffy and Montbell Gore-Tex jacket) excuse the brand references, but this is a great way to thank deserving sponsors and appease my fellow gear geeks who are receiving this e-mail and the exertion of running on powdery snow on the frozen lake on which the race started, I was soon sweating. 

The race course was mostly flat, switching between lakes and short "portages" through the woods. I ran with the race leaders for much of the day, the XC skiers having pulled away soon after the start, and we made our way through the first two checkpoints to about 25k. 

The slog to CP 3 was particularly greuling and my hands got too cold to throw on my Atlas Race snowshoes when the lake's surface became too powdery and soft for my Teva Shields to gain solid traction. I finally made it to CP 3, at 40k, after almost seven hours, and when I checked in the race officials told me, "you aren't going anywhere until you stop shivering." I drank some hot drink and ate a couple more Nectar bars (which hold their softness in sub-zero temps) and they let me head off the 17k to the finish, at about 56k.  

When I finished, I was DONE. After ten hours of shuffling in those temps, I had some frostbite on my face—both cheeks are splotched with dark marks and my nose is a little worse—but it was the almost complete depletion that worried me most. I had intended on continuing on for two more days, but the projected colder temps and a small dose of sanity after a full-night's sleep in the heated tent that was set up for us racers was enough to erase that notion. The Yellowknifer locals' looks of concern and the fact that my sister, Tamara, calls me "2%" for my lack of body fat, all hit home, and I decided that a second-place finish for the day was just fine because I'm really not made for this type of arctic racing.

To strengthen that decision, I just got a progress report on day two's progress. My friend Dave Mackey, who is currently well ahead in the six-day race, is expected to take 11 hours to complete today's stage. That would probably have put me finishing at close to midnight...or on a medivac with severe hypothermia. It wouldn't have been pretty.

I will look into getting home a day earlier... Mr. Bond's movie beckons. 



(photo credit: Luis Moreira)

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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