Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ferreira Places 2nd in Quebec and Danny Heads up Owl's Head

This past weekend, Amber and I headed up to Quebec City to compete in the GV snowshoe race which was part of Quebec City's Carnaval. We would join J Massa and Kevin Tilton as the only Americans competing in the event. The race director, Francois, had invited Kevin and Amber up after their excellent performance at last year's World Championships and somehow J and I got in too.
Just like last year's world championships, Amber had to do a bike before the race. As the high for the day was 5 degrees, she wisely opted to do the ride on the trainer.

Amber's trainer set-up

The view from the hotel

After Amber had warmed herself up on the bike and gave a short interview to a local newspaper, we were ready to race. Kevin pointed out the athlete who had just beaten him at Worlds so he knew who to stick with. It would be an interesting race as it was a four lap course that traced around the perimeter of the Carnaval.
Despite being very cold, there was actually very little snow due to the rain that they had gotten earlier in the week. What snow they did have was hard packed or icy. Big divots where people had postholed did work to slow the pace down as did a fair amount of steep little kickers throughout the course.
The inside lap was for skaters while we started and inside just to the left.
The race took off a bit slower than I had predicted especially with the terrain and level of competition. I was surprised where I found myself especially considering how easy it felt.
That soon changed...
I tried to pick up the pace and felt a little homunculus start stabbing me with a knife in my lungs. The air was so cold that it literally was my limiting factor. Well, that and the five face plants I took during the second lap as I was still trying to get used to the Red Feather snowshoes Amber wanted me to try out for the race. The deep cleats felt like I trying to run on ice skates. I do think they will be good for some of my winter hikes though especially since I just destroyed my Atlas snowshoes.

After my fifth fall, I was fairly confident, I was feel a slap on my butt as Amber passed me but between the morning bike, her being sick and benevolent, she let me finish ahead of her. That's right: she was sick. She had spent the night awake hacking up a lung(I didn't see any little men with knives though) and still put together a good enough race for second place.  Both Kevin and J also had good races and once we all had taken loooong showers to regain feeling in our extremities we were ready to explore Carnaval.

Kevin Tilton-4th Place 43:26
Danny Ferreira-13th Place- 47:19
Jason Massa-19th Place: 50:01
Amber Ferreira: 27th Place(2nd Female): 51:37
The back side of the race course looking down on Old Quebec
Carnaval had a snow sculpting competition and as can be seen from the pictures, they were pretty darn good. It was really amazing to see the huge blocks of ice(bigger than most Boston apartments) become transformed into artwork.
I think it's supposed to be Hugh Hefner

Amber in the foreground, our hotel in the background(the high-rise)
We also did a walk through of the ice palace which this year was in tribute to Russia and was modeled after an area in St. Petersburg. The rest of the weekend was spent eating, exploring, and eating some more.

The ice palace

Amber looking for some Raspberries(if you don't get the joke look up where artificial raspberries are from-gross!)
Amber and I headed back to the states just in time to catch the Super Bowl on the radio. While it was fun to hear a relatively exciting second half, it wasn't the same as watching the commercials.

The unfortunate thing about the weekend was that I wasn't able to go for a hike so I am now a little behind for the 48 4,000 footers. I went out yesterday in hopes of getting Owl's Head.

Owl's Head is often described fairly negatively for its long length with paltry views. While it is true that the summit doesn't afford much in the ways of scenery, the hike in is pretty nice and is totally runnable so it makes for a shorter day than the eighteen miles would imply. The trouble comes with the brook crossing which at high water can be pretty treacherous. To remedy this, you can bushwhack from Black Pond or Franconia Falls Trail and link up with the trail beyond the crossings.

Franconia Brook-not quite frozen- In the background Mt Bond is poking its head through.
We went out Franconia Falls hugging the brook to our right and while we definitely didn't get lost, we did lose time(it took me 36 minutes for the first 3.3 miles and another 30+ minutes for the next 1.5). We came out the on trail and found some fresh footprints so followed them and soon came across two other hikers. After sticking with them for a little bit, we realized that we were going quite a bit faster and soon said goodbye. A short hike to the summit cairn(not nearly as steep as I thought it would be) and we were off. We bushwhacked down to the ravine and decided that instead of Franconia Falls we'd take the Black Pond bushwhack. Big mistake. It runs through a beaver pond(those darn beavers!) and with one missed turn I was nearly waist deep in mud which acted very similarly to quick sand. After struggling to get out, we trudged the rest of the way back to Lincoln woods and ran the rest of the way out.

All in all, about 16.5 miles in 4:48.

As of 2/6/2013: 19 peaks "bagged", 29 to go!

The long flat stretch in Lincoln Woods

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