Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Amber would be representing the USSSA Team
Because we found out late about the World snowshoe championships, Amber and I were unable to take off work to head up to Quebec early. Therefore we had to head up after work Friday night.

From the vague directions given to us by the proprietress of the place we were staying, I estimated we would arrive right around midnight. However, after a stop in Lincoln, home of Gordi's Steak and Fish, for dinner we were already running a little late when I came across 10 Est or 10 Ouest option on the highway in Canada. Looking back now I realize Est makes sense as east and ouest as west but at the time I thought est was west- they rhyme right? Suffice it to say we went the wrong way and didn't get to Quebec City until 1am. At this point Amber has been asleep for approximately 5:55 of the 6 hours we've been driving, but awakens just long enough to see the city lights then promptly falls back asleep. I, however, am wearily noticing our diminishing fuel and have started looking for a petrol(gas) station. We pass several closed stations after the gas light has already been on for over fifteen miles(24 km). Two things I noticed despite my near continuous anxious glances at the fuel gauge: 1) we are in the middle of nowhere, 2) the snow is getting deeper. A LOT deeper. There are places alongside the road that are over our car. Apparently Quebec did not get the memo that it was in the high 60s in New Hampshire this week.

We finally came across a station where we filled up at ~$5 per gallon and continue along our way. The directions to the place say, at the 103 kilometer mark our facility is on the right. What it doesn't say is that it's nearly two miles down this side road glazed with ice. We slowed creep along finally making it slightly after 2am to what appears to be a replica of the Mt Washington Observatory or some other subarctic station. Luckily we see in the parking lot NH and VT vanity license plates that clue us in Kevin Tilton and Tim "TiVo" Van Orten have already arrived.
Danny's feet and Amber's Snowshoes

A night watchman gives us keys to our room which turns out to be a dorm room. We were not partial though and soon were asleep. We awoke, or were awoken, to the sounds of foreign speaking people. I roll over in bed and mutter "freakin' French"( I later found out that they were, in fact, Italian). It seemed like they were standing directly outside our room and yelling. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I said there must be a common area nearby and it just seemed that they were outside our room. And yet, when I spied out a little while later, I found that they were immediately outside our door. Thank you.

We decided that we weren't going to be getting anymore sleep that morning so decided to venture around this facility and see if we could find any breakfast. Sure enough, we find the cafe as well as aR's Judson Cake and CMS's TiVo and KT all eating breakfast. Well aruably breakfast. While Kevin and Judson were partaking in the typical fare served at the cafe, Running Raw's TiVo was downing a shake. Kiwi,dates, something, something and kale. A lot of kale. I opted for the eggs and bacon. Although I do appreciate the theory behind the raw food diet, he and I discussed how all the other factors of eating(socialization,smell, connotation of a "filling meal" etc) makes going raw very challenging.

Amber had a three hour bike to do that morning so I decided to snowshoe the course with TiVo. Yes. Amber had a three hour bike the day before the snowshoe worlds. A pro's gotta do what a pro's gotta do.

After helping set Am up with a radio playing nothing but French tunes, TiVo and I set out for the snowshoe.

There was a cross country ski race going on that day so it took a while to find the snowshoe course but once we did it was quickly evident how fast this course was going to be. At least in regards to snow. The snow wasn't iced over but was firm enough to act more like trail than snow. The lighter the snowshoes the better for this race. Luckily Amber has a pair for Dion 121s which, in the US, is pretty much as light as you can get.

TiVo and I only ran the first 6k of the course of which 1K was nearly straight up with 2k or so of a steady descent losing the elevation gained. That left about 2 miles of rolling FAST terrain. aR's Judson Cake predicted that it would the race would start at sub-6 minute mile pace until the first climb and then people would start blowing up. That 1k up was a beast. It was pretty much as steep as many of the hikes that Amber and I do in the White Mountains, but she would be running up it with snowshoes on. Since TiVo was competing in the race the next day, we decided not to do the second loop but spoke with another racer who said that the climb was longer and steeper. Yikes! Looked like a good day for me to be a spectator.

We finished with a run around the lake which was super flat but gorgeous. Actually the whole course and area was amazing. If next year ends up being such a dud in regard to snow as this year was, I would consider taking a vacation up here because they certainly had the snow and the scenery. I finished up checked in on Amber and grabbed a snack at the cafe. After Amber finished the 3 hours, she and I went for a quick 20 minute run before heading down to Quebec City to meet her parents and explore a city I've heard compared to European cities.

The Governor's Walk
It did not disappoint. I particularly liked the Governor's Walk overlooking the river and the city. Walls surrounding cities has such an appeal to me: loved it in Portugal, Germany AND Quebec. Also amazing was that they had a skater cross course set up throughout the city. For those who haven't seen this you need to check it out here. After marveling over the crazy people that thought skating down an ice course was a good idea(the irony is not lost on the couple that competes in Ironman and ultra-marathons), we ended up in a Starbucks to warm up and started talking about the upcoming triathlon season. When talking about Amber's cousin who may be joining us for some triathlons this season, Amber's mother said :"She's at least 5'6", but no shorter than 5'5"." And this that one sentence the mood was set for the rest of the weekend. Lots of laughter and fun times ensued.

Amber and I headed back to the race course/dorm(which we found out WAS a dorm for forestry students), went to a race meeting. At the meeting it was discussed that there were snowshoes spotted that were not legal in US competitions. This was brought up to the race director who stated that as long as they were not modified they would be ruled legal. This was a game changer as it was(supposedly) a substantial advantage to those using them(which Amber was not). Either way, after a little complaining(entirely by me) we headed to bed to get a good night sleep. A good night is relative for those with children or from Italy as was evident from the wailing and laughter that kept me(luckily Amber can sleep through anything) up almost the whole night.
The next morning we awoke, warmed up with Kevin and TiVo and everyone got prepared for the race.
Amber before the race

Amber race to race favorite and eventual winner, Maria, from Italy
Amber's father, Greg, and I had devised a plan to see Amber at the maximum amount of times so there were plenty of places to cheer Amber on. She had an amazing race and it was fun to see her power up the climbs and sprint down the descents. She put up a good fight but a stronger racer from Italy, prevailed. Either way it was a very fun race to have watched.

Danny interviewing the Silver Medalist, Amber Ferreira

Amber at the Awards Ceremony
Summary: Amber comes in second in the world of snowshoeing to an Italian woman wearing snowshoes that are illegal in the US but aren't anywhere else. Therefore not illegal in the Worlds. Some people had made a fuss about this but Amber had a fun time and still got the Silver Medal(or in this case snowshoe).  Amber's take on that is that she would have lost to her either way.  Some may say that Amber was the legimate snowshoer winner and the other woman was just the fastest runner on snow. I, on the other hand, would say that Amber should have been at least first but no less than second.

 Up Next:  This coming weekend I will be making my race directing debut at the Winter Wild Championships at Bretton Woods, which you can register for here. Briefly, it is a race at a ski area where you race up and down the mountain in whatever mode you prefer(no not snowmobiles): skis, snowshoes, sneakers, cross country skis and have to get down the same way. It is a really fun challenge for everyone. A bonus: in addition to overall winners for each category(telemark, open(running, snowshoeing etc), track and heavy metal(skis snowboard etc) , and an award for the first to the summit overall, there is also an extensive raffle which will include SONY walkman MP3 player, 2 sets of snowshoes, free Brooks sneakers, and many more fun prizes. If you have nothing else to do on St. Patrick's Day, there probably isn't a better way to start the day.
The next day: New Bedford Half Marathon; Two weeks later: California 70.3 for Amber!

1 comment:

  1. Whatta girl! Congratulations Amber! Just think what would have been if those "freakin' French" didn't disturb your sleep and you had a pair of illegal shoes... You got the gold in my book.