The week leading up to this years Snowshoe Raid I was medium worried about the lack of snow and I figured that if there was no snow that we would probably just be racing with trail runners. I arrived in Collingwood Friday night and was all set for the 3ish hours of fun that was going to be had the next morning. There was roughly about 10cm of snow and with that it would not be wise to use snowshoes and a better choice to use my Salomon Snow Cross winter kicks with small grippy spikes in the bottom. They would in the end be a great choice for the conditions that day.
The morning started off as usual... Sort of. I was at the sign in point where we pick up our maps for 830am and started to plot my course. I was without my racing partner Ryan Atkins as he had ended up putting his car in a ditch 20min outside of Collingwood. Thankfully he and his passenger were left unscathed and after a hour of digging with the snowshoes they had in the car being used a shovels they finally emerged from the snow drifted in ditch. Ryan arrived at the sign in 10 min before we were to depart for the bus to head to the start of the event. With some last minute cramming and course plotting we caught a ride with Kelsey to the start of the race.
The race started just after 11am and over 100 teams set out on a course to find as many checkpoints as possible all within a 3hr time limit. Each checkpoint is worth a varying degree of points and for every minute that you go over the 3hr time limit you are deducted 10 points per minute. Our goal was to hit all the checkpoints and hopefully clear the course within the 3hr limit. Ryan and I were lucky to have Kelsey run along with us for the first 90min of the race as he was going to take some candid photos of us racing! We were set a quick pace from the gun and we both felt really good and were stoked to be out running through the forest on a uber fun course.
We were pushing hard and towards the end of the race heading into the matrix we could start to feel the punishment from checkpoint 160 which was placed as a out and back, except that the checkpoint was at the bottom of the escarpment. It was almost a 200m descent to punch the card and then to turn around and go straight back up the escarpment. It was a great leg and lung buster! We hit the matrix with 20min to tag all 5 of the points, punch out of the matrix at the top of the hill and then descend down to the finish. We knew time was going to be tight and that we we would probably miss the time cut by less then a minute...
We barrelled down the hill at full speed, finding the odd spot of snow that we could slide down. We punched our time card only 56sec over the time limit. We were greeted by a cheering crowd and treated to some great treats! After a cool down walk we headed back to the chalet were we would indulge with a burger and fries!
We managed to pull off the big win this year, finding all of the checkpoints and only penalized 10 points for arriving less then a minute over the limit!
It was a fantastic course and always exciting to see tons of people out enjoying the outdoors running through the forest!