Snowshoe Racing…What was I Thinking?

I’m always up for trying a new adventure and that’s probably never going to change.  Because of this, I decided to enter a snowshoe race – actually, I entered two of them, but the first one was cancelled due to a lack of snow.  😦  Not to be discouraged by the abysmal snow in the majority of the Cascade Mountains, I headed down to Oregon Saturday night to visit with my cousin for a bit before Sunday’s main event, the White River Snowshoe 4k/8k put on by X Dog Events.

Saturday night, we went to dinner and then drove into town to go to see Saving Mr. Banks starring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P. L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins.  I’m a huge Disney fan and one of my favorite movies just happens to be Mary Poppins so I was super excited to see how hard Disney had to work to obtain the rights to the movie….and it didn’t disappoint.  If you get the chance to go and see it, I highly recommend it (though leave the young children at home as it is not really a kids movie).

Sunday morning dawned with bluebird skies and I headed east on the Mt. Hood Highway through Government Camp and down to the White River West Sno Park, the starting area for this year’s event.  After getting checked in and picking up my race number, I had some time to just wander around and admire the beauty of the day (and try to get familiar with the settings on my new GoPro camera I had just purchased)

You couldn't ask for a better venue to hold a race...

You couldn’t ask for a better venue to hold a race…

It wasn’t long before the parking lot was full and hundreds of racers were gathered around anxiously awaiting the start, but first we had to receive a few race guidelines (like make sure you follow the yellow cones and the orange flags in the snow).  And then, with a mighty blow of the conch shell, we were off….

Best starting gun ever!!!

Best starting gun ever!!!

After a fast start, it wasn't long before the field started to spread out

After a fast start, it wasn’t long before the field started to spread out

While walking in snowshoes is relatively easy – they say once you walk ten steps without falling down, you are a pro – running in snowshoes is an entirely different matter.  It’s like being a little kid and trying to run down the hall with your mother’s shoes on.  It definitely takes a bit of getting used to and I’ll admit, there was at least one face plant on my part (nope, no photo taken of that so you are just going to have to imagine it).

The snow wasn’t great as we haven’t had any snow for the past week and there were parts of the trail that were barely covered, but that didn’t stop us from having fun.  The course was a loop, the 4k event did one loop, while the 8k event completed two loops.  And while the course looks really flat, it’s more of a gradual climb for the first half as you make your way up the valley and then downhill for the remainder of the course

Course Map

One of the steep sections involved climbing out of the valley

One of the steep sections involved climbing out of the valley

Before long, we were making our way through the trees and back towards the start line…..and that’s when it happened.  One minute, I was jogging along having a grand old time and the next thing you know, I was missing a snowshoe and face first in the snow….Luckily there weren’t very many people around (I’m sure it looked rather graceful funny).  Oh well,  laying in the snow was a great way to cool off.

DCIM100GOPRO

One important thing to remember for next year, bring a water bottle as there wasn’t any water on the course (other than the frozen kind and the river, neither of which I was too keen to drink from).  While there was a “temptation station” on the course, the beverage of choice at it was Coors Light and since I don’t drink, that wasn’t an option either.

Temptation Station

Temptation Station

And just like that, we were back at the finish line…..definitely not first, but not last either, so I’ll count that as a personal win.  The way I figure it, I lapped everybody who stayed at home on the couch at least once.  🙂

…Until the next adventure

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