Thursday, June 21, 2007

Finally here…

After months of planning and training, it is finally time for me to fly off to Prince Rupert for my adventure race. I leave tomorrow morning. I am more calm than I thought I would be, although I do have butterflies in my stomach. Got the packing done just before dinner; a wonderful T-Bone and mushroom/veggie medley by Jesper - I am a lucky girl to have such a guy.

Packing - no matter how I sliced it, I would need to bring on extra baggage, which the airlines charge for. Adventure racing requires a lot of shit! My pack with the mandatory gear comes on as my carry-on. For my checked bags, I decided to go with the bike in the golf case, a big suitcase and the adventure gear box. Everything weighs under the 50 pound requirement, so no extra charge there. Airlines don’t charge for golf cases (go figure), so I will only end up paying an extra bag fee each way, much cheaper than the fee for a bike case and extra bag. Oh, you wonder how I can fit my bike in a gold case, do you?!?! There are benefits to being a small chica!

Work has been really busy, but I have finished everything I committed to accomplish before the race. It wasn't easy and I've had work on my brain a lot more than I like. Last night I dreamt I was appointed the Director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. I worked for the Ohio EPA for about 14 years and left as a senior manager, but it was still a pretty crazy thing to dream. Jenny Tiell, a former Deputy Director from my old days at the Ohio EPA, was in my dream and I was concerned that she would have issues reporting to me as her new boss. I wondered why my former colleague and friend Kate Bartter (a former Governor's Office Cabinet member) didn't congratulate me. I need to callboth those ladies after my race and tell them about my dream. In my dream, I delighted in thinking about the many changes I would make at Ohio EPA that I have always wanted to see happen believe me, there are a lot!). There’re a many people at Ohio EPA who would not be happy with my changes! I also wondered how I would balance this demanding job with FUN. I was working late and wnated Jenny Tiell and some young wonk to go home so I could leave the office too and go play soccer. That’s clearly what the dream was about, balancing work and play.

The race planning has been a roller coaster of changes over the past couple of weeks. Race organizers had to make some sweeping changes to the race location and format due to greater than normal spring snowfall and subsequent flooding. It’s seems the Prince Rupert area is something like a federal disaster area. First, the mountaineering sections were beefed up to account for the extra snow; crampons, ice axes, snowshoes, avalanche beacons, shovels and probes and such were all added to the mandatory gear list. Then, the whole mountaineering section was scrapped. Soon the snow began to melt and the rain began to fall, causing widespread flooding. Most of the area we were to be racing in was deemed too dangerous to even be in, even if we could get there. So, the race organizers found a new place, Haida Gwaii, an island in the Queen Charlotte Islands. We have to take a 12 hour ferry to get there. From what has been sent out to us, this area is home to some of Canada’s native peoples who rarely let outsiders in. So that’s pretty cool…

The downside to the race changes is the way the transitions areas (TAs) are set up. The race organizers cannot transport all our gear boxes to every TA due to limitations on the size of vehicles they can use on the island. So, we have to anticipate what we’ll need for each section and put that into the one gear box out of five that will be carried to each specific TA. Suffice it to say, it’s a planning nightmare that, if screwed up, could result in a big fat DNF for our team.

Regardless, I am stoked for the race to finally be here. I know the race will be super fun, even with the new format. It will still afford wonderful views and wildlife sightings. It will still be an opportunity for me to push myself to new levels and meet challenges. I will still come back with a fantastic story for all of you.

You can follow my team’s progress during the race at this link:

Click on the little camera devil that indicates the race report for the Raid the North Extreme.

Next post will be my race write-up!!!

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