Small crowd of 10 riders to start including a few relay teams. On the start line, we were told to ride past Nickelplate where "Mike" would be standing with an orange flag to turn around.
The ride was mostly uphill starting from Apex village base.
I chose my cross bike with a studded tire on front and a Conti Top Contact winter tire on rear. The 29-er mtnbikes got ahead on the snowy village start. I was just back of around 5 riders. Rear tire sketched out a little on the graded snow-ice-dirt roads though was ok.
|photo Hoodoo Adventure Facebook|
Too late as I was flying down the descent. A car flashing lights was ahead. He was one of the organizers and was angry that "Mike" was not at the turn-around. I was told to grab onto the car and towed back up the snowy hill climb (a little scary with handlebars swerving into the car a few times).
At the apparent snow-covered cattle guard turn-around point, I rode back toward Nickelplate. At this time, the rest of the riders back of me were caught in time to not make the same mistake.
I fumbled with putting on gear for the skate-ski leg, then off on snowy tracks. I knew the course description though was frazzled on which direction to start my ski. The course had been changed at the last minute. Thanks to Dave who said "go out Nickleplate race loop"!
Fast though not speedy snow. I caught up to one guy and kept just ahead until the end of the two 5-km loops.
Transition to borrowed snowshoes (thanks to organizers), I snow-shoe raced my first time ever. Awkward! The shoes felt like a hindrance and weighted me down. I was going 10 min per km pace!
First 2.5 km was uphill and tracked up onto Riordhan Mountain. The trail was pretty cool, though I was miserable with weighted feet and stumbling. I took the snowshoes off for awhile and was equally as quick (or slow!) on the soft snow. Put them back on for the steeper climb.
My hip flexors were getting worked, and worse my right knee was aching. Guess an intact ACL is needed! I vowed to never snowshoe again.
Finally, the trail descended. The snowshoes were valuable in their larger platform surface to land on the uneven snow. I slogged along. It was a challenge to keep eyes peeled for the correct trail. There seemed to be just enough "Ullr" signs.
With 2.5k to go, a woman on snowshoes headed towards me which confused me. She got off-track, which was easy to do, and was backtracking.
Just descending out of the trails at the top of Apex, another woman fled by me like a deer. The last 2 km on Apex snowmobile descent was steep. Took the snowshoes off to run the last 800m to the village. My feet spun out like getting off an escalator fast. Ended up 3 min back of the fleet footed woman.
Even the lead cycling guy went way further than me on the cycling section (only other cross rider). The other guys knew to turn around as they did the event years ago. Checking over the bike times, I lost at least 4 min with missing "Mike". Oh well...
I would use a cross bike again. The fast descents were scary though the mtnbikers thought so too. Just had to have faith, and two studded tires would help.
The organization is attempting to bring back an epic event from the 1990's. A downfall for the price of admission was the lack of prizing, no race token like a toque, and no post-event food... making it primarily a lure for racers who like a challenge.
The scenery is outstanding! Fun to bike race in winter conditions for a change.