Grinding Up Mt. Hamel


This is Canada:
  • Really good people reside here. Jaime said it best, "Canadians aren't faking, they really ARE that nice"
  • Overuse of the term eh!
  • An obsession with hockey, curling and Tim Horton's.  Tim Horton's website sadly informs me that I am 253.5 miles from the nearest Tim Horton's (Whitehorse, Yukon Territory)
  • Creation of some rather cruel races
  • Home to the Canadian Death Race

    My feet on Canadian soil, I was headed off to one of my more unique adventures.  The Canadian Death Race is set on a stunningly beautiful course.  The wilderness of Canada, the lofty mountains, glassy blue lakes and a thick blanket of forest just screams, Adventure!  The race is 125 kilometers and touches the sky while summiting three peaks.  Using the conversion factor, a kilometer equals: extremely hilly, muddy and pain to follow.  Using the complex conversion factor indicates that rain is a must.  Eh!!!

I Challenge Diabetes - Team Shot

The route from the start line to our sleeping bags back at Tent City would scramble our two teams of 5 and two solo runners over hill and dale.  Hill would be the insufficient, lacking term, that really means mountains,  lofty peaks that this race makes no effort to avoid.  The 3 summits tagged in the death race equate to over 17,000 feet of elevation gain


Dale (Tuck) would be the race founder and C.E.O. of Canadian Institute of Extreme Racing.  With a title like that, and the creation of an event known as the Death Race, need I say more?



Starting the trek up Mt. Hamel

I was racing on the "I Challenge Diabetes" team.  This is an organization created by Chris Jarvis (a Canadian Olympic Rower with Type 1 diabetes)  for people with Type 1 diabetes.  We had 2 relay teams of 5 and 2 solo racers.  A truly amazing group of people.  Inspiration has a home.  We were here to inspire others with diabetes and to continue living the adventure that defines who we were.   We had cool race shirts and we had diabetes and we were soon to become death racers.... 

 I was on the 4th leg of the race and had much of the day to rivet into race mode.  I went over my vital, required gear list, my recommended gear list, and my necessary diabetes items. Prepared for most everything except a Moose attack, I was off to the transition zone.

A team that planks together....Igor!

Late afternoon, the first drops fell from the heavens.  Within a few minutes, Marco completed leg 3 with a hand off of the official timing chip and race coin.  That coin would be payment for Anne's shuttle across the Hell's Gate Canyon, at the confluence of the Smokey and Sulphur Rivers.  I am guessing that the ferryman is not in a very pleasant mode if you arrive without the required coin.
Game time and off I rambled. To work for a magical view means that you climb like hell.  I would have about 5,000 feet of gain within 6 miles, before I reached  the top of Mt. Hamel.  It was quite the grind but  well worth it.  There were even nice Canadians running, hiking and crawling along the route.  Suffering, but still nice.
One of my favorite quotes from the race came from Heather when she shared to the team one of our experiences.....that you all got to experience a real "Albertan summer" (rain, sun, wind, cold, sort of warm all within the same hour).  I lived the Albertan summer experience only to find that the experience would evolve into 5+ more hours of rain


                                                       Grand Cache from Mt. Hamel

I was running well as I headed down Hamel.  A heinous climb meant that there had better be a long, long downhill.  Unbelieveable sights as we wove our way down the rugged terrain.  Hamel Loop conquered, I zagged past the aid station and loaded up on H20 and began the last 6 miles to the end of this leg.  Inventory time:  H20 - check, food - check, working headlight - ok, not really, so I pulled out headlight #2 - check, trekking poles ------------------------trekking poles - uncheck.  Yea dude, the expensive trekking poles you borrowed.  Back up the hill to the aid station for poles and evidently to make up some wild dream that I needed more mileage on top of about 23 already. 

For lack of a way to verbalize that sound that a insulin pump makes when it is not happy and there are issues, beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep, beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep, you get the idea.  I had a dead pump and deader than dead continous glucose monitor system.  Error message on the pump informed me that it was now retired and  the latest victim of the 'death' race.  Thank goodness that I was within about 1 hour of finishing and that I was spending my weekend with a bunch of people with type 1 diabetes, and extra pumps. 

Time chip and race coin handed off to Anne, rain crashing down, mud pits beginning to swallow runners whole.  It was near midnight, I was cold, soggy wet, blood sugar was creeping upward  and I knew that this was one of the greatest experiences of my life. 
 




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