TransRockies Quest 888 is number 8 in my "Quests for Kids" initiative. My objective is to complete 888 race kms over 10 events from May to October and raise $25,000 for Right To Play.
It's been a rocky start. The first event, in May, was the Skirt Chaser 5km. More people wanted to talk about the race name than the fact that 120 women and 40 men were actually doing something to keep fit. Event 2 was Rundle's Revenge, planned for June 22nd and 23rd. This trail run / mountain bike challenge was to be held at the Canmore Nordic Centre. However, the Alberta floods put an end to that. Up until this weekend I had completed 5 kms and had 883 kms to go.
Event number 3 was the Fernie Ultra and Enduro. My plan was to complete the 80 km run solo, through the trails around Fernie, then tackle the mountain bike Enduro. I'm pretty new to mountain biking and the Enduro consisted of four timed sections down steep mountain trails. Even getting to Fernie was a challenge. I normally take highway 22 south but due to the flooding, the road was closed just beyond Turner Valley. High River is still a lake so I took Highway 2 south and bypassed the devastation. Arriving at the Fernie Ski Resort I met Aaron and Jonathan from TransRockies and picked up my race package.
On Saturday morning, I had my usual breakfast of oatmeal, blueberries, banana and coffee, before heading to the start. This race is an 80 km ultra with 6 legs, ranging from 10 kms to 17 kms. At 7.50am, Aaron gave some final instructions to the 50 soloists and 30 teams that had registered, with a warning: Watch out for bears on the trail!
At 8.00am, the gun went off and we were away. Each leg had a cut off time and right from the beginning I was under pressure. On legs 1,2 and 3, my time was under but, on leg 4, which had a 6.00pm cut off, I was right on the wire. One of the organizers told me that if I wanted to finish before the 16 hour deadline, I had better pick up the pace.
This got my butt in gear and I pushed through leg 5 in good time. Another reason was the gunfire I heard up and down the valley. It sounded like the "Terminator" meets "Dirty Harry". I was a bit concerned as dusk was falling and I didn't want to be mistaken for a moose. Fortunately, it was a firing range at the end of the trail. Leg 6 was 13 kms and I had 2 ½ hours to do it. Night had fallen and I turned on my head lamp.
Time was ticking and I finally raced across the finish line at 15 hours 51 minutes and 32 seconds, just 8 ½ minutes to spare. Luckily, we finished at the Fernie Hotel, so the first things that were placed into my hands were a slice of pizza and a glass of Guinness. Waking up on Sunday morning I knew that if I attempted the Enduro race I would badly injure myself, so I decide to give it a miss.
Event number 3 is completed and 80 kms have been deposited in the TransRockies Quest 888 bank account. Now, only 803 kms to go.