Don’t Forget the Jigsaw Puzzles and Crossbows

esar-2007.jpgI just read Rob’s race report on Team Wanderlust’s blog about the Emergency Services AR we competed in last week. It’s a great write up, but he missed two of the coolest bits about the race (apart from coming second in a field of racers from The Police, Military, Fire Service and Paramedics, which, if I say so myself, is quite cool). But he didn’t mention the jigsaw puzzle OR the crossbow!!

Half way through the first mountain bike leg, we had to get off our bikes, were handed a jigsaw puzzle of a scene from Walt Disney’s Cinderella and told that, as a team we had to complete it. With a thumping heart, a slightly race-crazed brain and a serious concern for my ability at jigsaw puzzles, we all sat down and started to work at it…and we were absolutely amazing. We worked so smoothly together, no-one getting in the other’s way, coordinating our efforts effectively and finishing the puzzle two teams ahead than when we entered that checkpoint.

The crossbow, though, has to be the highlight of my day.

I’ve never shot a gun, slingshot or even a bow and arrow, in my life. We rocked up to the final leg of the race, really tired and with very high heart rates (i.e. heaving chests) and were told that we couldn’t leave until every member of the team hit a a bulls eye with a cross bow. I groaned. I can’t hit the waste paper basket with a toilet roll from 3 feet away, never mind a bulls eye with an arrow. Rob on the other hand competed at a National Level in the sport of Biathlon (very weird sport in which you have to cross country ski and shoot at things with a rifle), so he had no concerns, and Tim has had enough of a strange past for me not to have any doubts about whether he has done the odd bit of target practice. But me, well, and under this kind of pressure….But I hit it!!! FIRST TIME!!! If we weren’t in a race, I’d have asked for another go. Shooting things is a lot of fun

I wonder what they’ll have us do in the 24hour race we are doing in July?

Major Catch Up

Well, I know that at least some people read my blog, given the fact that one or two people have noticed that there’s not been much activity on it in the last few weeks. With the weather turning nice almost overnight, we have jumped into Spring with a vengeance and are spending a lot of time outside. I have netted three major races already, starting with the Paris to Ancaster. (The link to more photos of the Paris to Ancaster are here, thanks to Jeff G for the link).

The next two races in the last two weeks have been short course adventure races. The first was The Huntsville Solomon Adventure Challenge in Muskoka, with our all female team “Team Wonderlegs” and then last weekend was the Trek, Storm the Trent at Rice Lake near Peterborough. I raced as one half of a a two person team (myself and a friend) called “Team Wonderbra”.

The Huntsville race was an absolute epic, and I loved it. We were out for ten hours, and, thanks to the combined efforts of our awesome team, and the diligent navigation of our Captain, Sue, we didn’t get lost once (which was really our single most important race objective, since neither Sue nor Heather had ever raced for this long before).

We were also still racing when many of the other all male teams had dropped out with hypothermia, after being dunked once too often in the class 2 rapids that we had to navigate at the end of the race (all bloody 20km of them!). We were all still speaking to each other after finishing, despite the stresses of the day (including a 45 minute bushwhack/portage which had us running around with the canoe on our heads crashing into trees and wondering how the hell anyone in their right mind could possibly call this fun). We were all humbled by the performance of each of the other members on our team. It was a really great experience.

Rob was there to support us and took some photos. As soon as they are up on the web I will include a link.

Stunning Image

Iraq SoldiersUS SoldiersLately there seems to have been so much news surrounding death and killing. The loss of the Canadian soldiers on the day dedicated to Vimy Ridge two weeks ago, the reports about the mass shooting at Virginia Tech and then the personal experiences we have had closer to home.

I was browsing this website, called 3191. It is a photoblog by two women (Steph and Mav) who live 3191 miles apart. It shows their different lifestyles on a day to day basis. It’s worth a look for the gorgeous photos they take of their mornings. As I was checking out Steph’s website, I came across this link. It is a photo of an art installation in Portland, Oregan, where she lives, whoch gives you a visual reminder of the number of Iraqi soldiers and civilians killed in the US war on Iraq, as compared to the number (at that time) of US Soldiers who have lost their lives. Loss of life in any situation is dreadful, but this does put the war into some kind of perspective.

This isn’t really funny but..

Our friend’s dog, Murphy, a teenaged Golden Retreiver that simply LOVES EVERYBODY, got a bit too friendly with some rather angry wasps at the weekend and the poor fella ended up like this…MurphyFace0001 1

Apparently, in the true nature of a seriously happy dog, with his eyes swollen shut and his lips at three times their normal size, it hasn’t stopped him from wagging his tail, or taking advantage of sympathy in the form of food..I love dogs! Get well soon Murph.

Great Weekend

P to A 2007bSo, all the excitement was absolutely worth it. We had temperatures into the 20’s for the Paris to Ancaster race and everyone (with the exception of Dave, more about that later) had a great race.

Right, is a picture of me with (l-r), Lisa, Tecla and Sue (in front), all doing the P to A for the first time, and all doing incredibly well. Not only did they all bring home respectable times on an event where we saw plenty of big, burly, men collapse in wobbling heaps from heat exhaustion, frustration and general pain, but they also made it to ours afterwards for a BBQ and a few beers. Role on the next race…

Not in the picture is Debbie, who came 1st in her category, Carl, who came 80th overall in a field of 2000 people, which included Olympic cyclists and Professional racers, Helen, who came third in her category, Wayne who came 7th and Rob, who lept straight off the couch (where he has been firmly planted all winter), onto his bike and came in 18th in his category.

Dave, who still did a respectable time, had an encounter with an over-zealous female rider, who apparently did not understand the meaning of “Get out the Bloody Way” at 45km per hour, and was involved in a huge pile up. He really is quite hurt, and we hope that it has not ruined the Ontario Cup season that he has trained so hard for all winter, whilst the rest of us have been drinking too much and eating lard.

Things to do before you die

ZorbingLast week I heard about a ‘sport’ called Zorbing. It was conceived in New Zealand, but, according to their website , is taking off all over the world. Basically, you strap yourself into a large, clear, inflatable sphere and roll down a hill.

I was in a room full of suits at a conference when I heard about it. At the time, like everyone else in the room, I harumphed in an adult way and joined in with the “Oh, God, how STUPID“s. But now I am not in that environment, and I have had a chance to think about it….well, wouldn’t you like to know what a hamster in a ball feels like?

The people at Zorb call particpants in this unusual endeavour ‘Zorbonauts’. Apparently there are three different ways to experience the Zorb. Here, I quote from the website :

Zorbing2Harness Zorbing
The Zorbonaut is strapped into a harness and rolls down the hill. This gives you maximum G force as you tumble head over heels. There is a sensation of weightlessness at the top of the Zorb, and the view of green grass followed by blue sky followed by green grass followed by blue etc etc.

Hydro-Zorbing
The Zorbonaut is not harnessed in the Zorb but free with a bucket of water. You and up to two others slide on the bottom of the Zorb. In winter we use hot water, giving you a sauna on wheels. Its like taking a spa traveling at 50km along the highway. Its incredibly refreshing and a great way to travel to work.

Zylinder
Developed just for children who are too young or small to go into the big Zorbs. Nice and safe, you can run around on the flat ground and with an opening at either end, get in and out easily.

All sounds perfectly sensible.

An eventful few days

P1010020So in case you were one of the few people who I did not tell on Sunday – I ran the Around the Bay Road Race last weekend. It is the oldest road race in North America. It follows the shoreline between Burlington and Hamilton for 30km with some interesting hills right at the end, when the only way you know you have feet anymore is because of the constant pain at the end of your legs.

Usually people run it in biting winds, at least a foot of snow and the odd ice storm, but this Sunday was a balmy 6 degrees and, well, it was actually a very pleasant experience, (although not one I’ll be repeating again in a hurry). I did it in 2 hours 42 minutes, which is great for a hack like me, and about 30 minutes faster than I expected, but nothing compared to the elite runners. The fastest female time being 1.45 (that is 3.5 minutes a km).

The ATB, as we athletes like to call it, was not the highlight of the last few days though. The weekend before we were up in Collingwood at Steve’s surprise 40th birthday party. Silvia and Terry had hired a big yellow school bus to take us all from Jozo’s (the bar) to a restaurant in Collingwood. On the way there we all did a shooter of Steve’s favourite tipple, Apfelkorn. I felt like I was in an old skool rock video. I kept expecting Aerosmith to jump up from behind the back seats and start playing ‘Walk this Way’.

It was awesome to see everyone up there again and somehow (I think more to do with Rob than me) we ended up with some great photos of the night. I have edited them this evening and they’ll be up on the website soon.

Spring Gremlins

Apparently tomorrow is the first day of Spring. I think my electrical equipment thought it was today and that was an excuse to go bezerk for no other apparant reason. When I came down to my office this morning, it was like a scene from the bloopers reel of the movie Toy Story.

My GPS was happily switching itself on and off every ten seconds in it’s recharge cradle, making an endearing little ‘beep’ each time. My ipod software crashed, as did my ipod, so that it wouldn’t switch on or off, and just showed a ‘Do Not Enter’ sign all morning. My telephone headset wouldn’t work and it sounded like the person on the other end was sitting at the bottom of Lake Ontario, and the electric heater that I am using to heat the office during the day decided to turn the temperature right up for no reason in what seemed like a determined attempt to roast me in my own fleece pants. The 21st Century is a scary place to live.

The Wonders of Spam

Yesterday I received an e-mail offering me drugs for which, given my gender, I will never have a use for. Usually I just delete them, but this one made me laugh. Firstly, it offered a bonus package of Viagra + Cialis at a discounted rate if you bought both. I didn’t know what Cialis was so I looked it up and it is essentially the same as Viagra. I started to wonder if people took them both at the same time in case one didn’t work?

Underneath the advert for the drugs and their price there was a paragraph of text. If this represents an example of the way your thoughts flow when your are under the influence of either Cialis or Viagra, I am truly thankful that I have periods:

I have recently experimented with the AutoCad – they’ll go nuts and they’ll lop off real peoples heads. No matter the monologue about the many possibilities of the potential come. Bull heads, three red snapper, one pink snapper substitute for the drugs I’ve never done though overloads do other little yet significant things that split trust in our North evolutionary principles created on a computer.

Neighbours with Different Approaches

Yesterday I received this picture that someone had taken in the city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Western Canada.

gods creatures

The province of Alberta is right next door to Saskatchewan, to the West. Here is a photo of the crossing that has been built especially for the Elk, where they had always crossed before this turnoff was built to the #1 highway from Banff to Calgary.

Elk crossing

Isn’t Canada wonderful?!!