My friend Erin twisted my arm into running leg 4 (Mt. Hamel) of the Canadian Death Race. No, I’m just teasing, she didn’t really have to twist my arm. I’m from Grande Cache and love the trails around the town, so I didn’t need any convincing.
As a former employee of the Death Race, I knew what I was getting into…however, I always seem to forget that the legs don’t get any easier from year to year. This year will be no exception.
Lucky for me, I was able to convince my Mom and Dad to head up to Grande Cache on the July long weekend for a chance to train on leg 4. We also found out that Mom’s good friend’s grandson JJ (16 years old), is training for the race…aiming to do it solo…that’s 125kms in under the 24 hour cut off. He was interested in doing a portion of leg 4 with us, so Dad, JJ and I headed out to the start of leg 4 bright and early on Saturday.
The day sure started with excitment, as soon as we started climbing into the trees, we came around one of the first corners, and saw a black bear right ahead of us. We must have spooked him (or were stinky already) because he took off pretty darn fast. We couldn’t believe our luck at seeing such a beautiful bear…then we headed around the next bend and AGAIN, another bear! This time, it was a brown colored black bear, likely a sibling of the one we’d just seen. And just like the other, it took off like it saw a ghost. We decided at that point that it was probably a good idea to take the bearspray out! We didn’t end up needing it though, because the biggest critter we saw the rest of the way, was a hoary marmot. The remainder of the climb up Mt. Hamel was spectacular…the trails were fairly dry and the company great. When we reached the summit, the wind was manageable and the scenery, amazing as always.
Once we were at the summit, we scooted down the backside of Hamel, across the muddy cross over trail, and wound our way down the long gravel road back to our car. Felt good to get a good portion of leg 4 under our belts.
I’m looking forward to seeing how JJ does in the race, he sure had no problem on Hamel. Keep up the great work JJ!!!