Icefields Parkway

10926355_10152494640201193_7363740462449083702_oA couple winters ago good buddy Leighton Poidevin from Canmore and myself road 205 km of the Icefields parkway from just north of Lake Louise to Jasper in preps for a big year of 24hr racing.   It’s arguably the most scenic highway in Canada as it runs over high mountain passes through the heart of the Rockies via Jasper and Banff National Parks.  That year we lucked out with some warm weather around -8 degrees but 8 inches of snow at the start which made the journey into a 13 hr slog.  This year we had an urge to revisit the ride but were having a hard time finding the right weather opening to make it happen.

The mission is pretty solid in the winter and takes a lot of convincing to get the mind on board. After some humming and hawing I finally convinced it this was a good idea and gave Leighton a call.  He’s a real trooper and up for anything We made a little plan and soon I was piling some stuff in a pack, hopped in the truck and left Jasper late afternoon.  Driving 140 km south to Rampart creek hostel, I ditched the truck there and set off at dusk for a 60 km ride south to Mosquito creek hostel, just north of Lake Louise.  The rather short ride turned into a nippy one as the temperature dipped from -17 to -24, requiring  numerous stops to adjust the clothing.  The body was holding up pretty good except for the legs which were getting frostbitten as the bike shorts and gore tex pants weren’t meeting the requirements.  It was a bugger stopping in the middle of the highway, stripping down, putting on long underwear and redressing but it was needed and after that the ride improved.   Traveling through the dark was a crazy sensation as I had no ide_H7A2088a where I was but after 4 hours I finally checked into Mosquito creek hostel for the night.  After a quinoa dinner and short visit with some ice climbers from Victoria, it was off to bed for some shut eye before meeting Leighton in the morning for the 205 km back to Jasper.

Meeting Leighton in the parking lot at 7:30 in the morning there was a bit of silence as we both new were in for a shocker.  All he said was, “hey, it’s -21.”  It was a comical situation as I had been the trip coordinator and was waiting for the right weather pattern to move in, but unfortunately I had been using a Norwegian weather website which turned out to be a dud and I unknowingly pick the coldest day in weeks.  The -12 temps it was calling for didn’t turn up.  We were frigid leaving but soon warmed up as we road over Bow Summit under a gorgeous sunrise.  A couple photographers had passed us on the climb to the summit and were set up a10896201_10152494641176193_7632963729539252404_ot the top to snap some rad pictures. These rad shots can be found at www.docnickphotos.com.  Thanks Nicholas for letting me use some of your sunrise pictures in this blog! Also Thanks to Karolyn George for the skidoo picture down below.

On the descent down we started to chill and were soon a couple of frozen ice cubes as we road along Waterfowl lakes.  We were both thinking, “what the hell are we doing” but neither of us wanted to be the one to wave the white flag.  After riding in silence for a while I looked up to see Leighton with a big patch of white frost bitten skin on his right cheek.  It was scary looking and I thought possibly our ticket out of the doomed mission.   As he stopped to put on a face mask he froze his fingers good, my feat were also turning to ice blocks so I started to run around on the highway like a chicken with his head cut off to get some blood back in them.

It was a nasty 1 hour or so of riding, the bikes weren’t really working great either as the grease in the bearings was getting gummed up from the cold.  Heading up one hill it felt like we were biking through sand with our brakes on so I got off and started walking at the exact same speed we had been riding.  It was a struggle, but finally the weather started to turn as we neared my truck at Rampart creek after a fre10918958_10152521396591193_158367937702596718_oezing first 4 hours of the journey.

Hopping in the truck we sat there for 30 minutes or so, warming up, having lunch and discussing the meaning of life.  We didn’t figure much out but did warm up a little. We were both in a crazy state of mind, already blown, but still knowing we had another 140 +km to Jasper to go.  Finding a bottle of Yukon Jack in the back seat lifted the spirits and soon we were back on the bikes trudging along, the weather had even warmed up to -17 which was a nice bonus.  From that point on the ride was unreal as the temperature warmed up further to -11 and there wasn’t a breath of wind in the air.  The bikes started to roll better and we were soon cruising down the highway, taking in the crisp fresh air, enjoying the endless spectacular mountain scenery unfolding in front of us.

Rolling into Jasper 11 hours later was a rad feeling and to top it off my Mom had a huge spread of wicked homemade food on the table topped off with a fresh apple crisp for desert.  Moms are the best!   That night we plugged in our Garmins to check out the ride stats and felt less like wussies when we found the temperature had dropped to -28 for the stretch when Leighton nearly lost his face and my feet wanted to fall off.  Next year we will try to be smarter and stick to the Canadian weather channels when planning this ride.10926782_10152494641691193_3540726150844797868_o

The following day my Mom dropped us off at Beauty creek flats and we had another unreal ride, this time just under 3 hours cruising by the Columbia ice fields back to the truck at Rampart cr.   Getting early season base miles in on the Icefields Parkway is a perfect way to kick off the year as it is dead quite this time of year and the mountains are looking great all dressed up in there white winter coats.

The following day any left over energy was spent on a 4 hour Fatbike ride with Mike Vine and Derek Anderson through Jasper’s extensive trail network.  Trainin10668799_10152521396451193_434882828030238780_og in the winter has really changed with the addition of Fatbiking and opens up a whole new possibility of rides.  They are a great training tool, requiring a lot of effort to ride and some real good balance through the icy conditions.  Freewheel Cycle had lent me a Kona Wo for the duration of my 3 week visit in town and it was used extensively.  If your in town this winter make sure to check out there Fatbike group ride leaving the shop at 7 PM tuesday nights!

 

The fat bike highlight of the year was riding up a side valley near Valemount BC on the Skidoo trails to Dave Henry hut over New Years.10914989_657826635912_3210309167733652065_o  After a couple solid days of skiing with some old & new mountain friends it was time to head back to civilization.  Thanks Karen, Reiner and the Mckirdy family for organizing the trip!   The ride down from the alpine was unreal.  Cruising down the skidoo trail in the dark weaving between trees was a rad luge run and faster then the skidoos, that was until I would hit the side of the track and get sucked into 3 ft of fresh powder causing some spectacular pile ups.  It was awesome.

As much fun as winter riding can be I was still stoked to get back to home base in Victoria to hit some dirt and above zero temps!   A good balance of freezing and not freezing on the bike seems to help keep the winter base training in Canada entertaining year after year.

Big thanks to Wild Mountain for supplying all the clothing needed for these winter adventures!

Over and out._H7A2071

Bouncing Around

Nov 4th:  After humming and hawing about whether to listen to the doctor and keep my arm in a sling for 4-6 weeks after dislocating it in the Jungles of Australia and head back to Canadian soil I  made a stubborn decision, to stay on course and head back to Timor for a 2 day MTB festival and then onwards to Sri Lanka for the inaugural 4 day “Rumble in the Jungle.”  Thanks to some masseus work from my friend Kathi and some magical physio work by doctor Chet Collins in Timor, my shoulder was back to functioning form although rather unstable still.     10688309_10152415333401193_4682319394442220770_o

After a nice 1 day break around Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia with my friend John Da Costa, it was off to Timor for a 2 day UCI trial race, a 60 km marathon on day one followed by a 24 km XCO on day two.  With over $30 000 on the line a few big hitters showed up in the likes of both Japan and Kazaksthans National Champs as well Peter Pouly, former France national champion who has been banned for doping and then moved to Thailand to race there.  On race day I awoke after a poor sleep as the stomach wasn’t happy after a fruit salad dinner the night before and required constant visits to the toilet.  I’m not sure what I was thinking eating from a fruit salad bowl in a 3rd world country which had been sitting out all day, but when you stay in 4 star hotels you sometimes forget to put your guard up.

 

The race itself started in fine 3rd world style with the lead police car dusting us all out as it tried to set the pace up a dry river bed but instead got bounced around like a rag doll and caused us all to sit up and put the race on pause for a few minutes until the dust settled.  Once the race continued we soon hit a big 14 km climb straight from sea level up to 1300 meters.   It was a struggle as the pistons weren’t firing on this day as Peter Pouly and a couple Portuguese riders put the hammer downt.   It was a beautiful race over ridge tops and down dusty descents back to the ocean through some of Timors rural populated areas with hundreds of locals out yelling at us aliens.  I had one of those days where I questioned whether I could get to the finish in one piece without walking as  I would’ve likely been better off in a bed for the day rather then a bike seat.10515131_10152415335371193_8698674689796465261_o

Day 2 in the XCO went much better as we raced around a 4 km ocean side  circuit in +35 degree heat.  Peter trounced us all again, while I fought back from 7th, up to 3rd on the last lap to claim at least part of the prize pot.  It is always frustrating racing against x-dopers, especially losing to them.   There’s scientific research showing there are adverse positive effects years after a rider has doped which makes me wonder why these guys are ever allowed to race again anywhere.  Nonetheless it was great being back in Timor for another week and we had a great time hanging out with the local riders as they pushed themselves into the international cycling World.  The Timorese Cycling Federation is doing a great job at promoting competitive cycling in there country and treated all us international riders like royalty for the week.  I look forward to returning to this building country in the coming years as they are striving full steam ahead and its an honor to be part of.10834902_10152415331751193_9208228954230705445_o

This is where the trip got interesting as I had  booked myself a start at the Rumble in the Jungle in Sri Lanka starting on Wednesday.  If everything went perfect I figured I could perform well at both these races back to back but things went sour quickly.  Feeling a bit off following all the travel, racing and shoulder injury I had another sleepless night the day before I took off from Timor.  This was starting to become a problem since I wrecked my shoulder which I can’t seem to pinpoint a reason for as the shoulder no longer hurt.  Getting up Monday morning with 36 hours of travel looming ahead I wanted to fire whoever made these travel plans but decided not to when I realized it was self inflicted.

Sometimes you start digging yourself a hole and you don’t realize how far down you are until it gets to dark to see back up.  This was one of those moments as I limped into travel mode.  After a short flight to Bali, there was a 9 hr break to head to the beach and get some Balinese food and massages before boarding a red eye flight to Malaysia.  Landing at 2 am in KL airport I quickly found a perfect dark , quiet hide out for a sleep, but as soon as the thermarest and sleeping bag were pulled out a security officer  wandered up and escorted me out of my gem  spot and into a noisy lounge with 40 other lost travelers.  After a pretty average 3 hour sleep it was back into travel mode catching a  flight to Sri Lanka.  Skipping the huge line up and heading to the first class counter with my cardboard bike box which was falling apart was rad as Sri Lankan airlines was the title sponsor of the Rumble in the Jungle and had hooked a bunch of us up with first class tickets.  This part of the trip was top notch and soon I was on a 6 hour bus ride to the race start in the middle of the Sri Lankan jungle.1271799_10152415332556193_2360632928004027599_o

The Rumble in the Jungle was one of the highlights of a highlight reel 2014 race season with 4 days of racing through Jungles and tea plantations with a great group if riders.  Top notch hotels, great food, a true Sri Lanklan cultural immerssion, and some stunning geographical landscapes.   This was all capped off with the ultimate beach party to end the season which is going to leave a smile across my face for the rest of the Canadian winter.  The race itself was alright as I was a bit tired the first couple days and not in top form any longer but slowly came around to claim the Stage 3 victory and 2nd place overall in the GC.    A full race report is cooking up on the fire right now and will be published soon!

After 90 days on the road my travel insurance was running out and it was finally time to head back to Canada!  As much as I love traveling I’m always more excited then ever when the time comes to head home.  Leaving Canada in late August on a one way ticket to Mongolia I had a few plans outlined but was pretty sure I’d be back home within the month.  After stops in East Timor, Singapore, India and Bali, the trip just kept going with Australia, East Timor round 2, and Sri Lanka all tied in there to cap off what was a stellar 3 month journey.  The energy reserves stayed really good for the first two months but the last month the engine was starting to sputter a bit but the races just kept piling up and left little time to recharge!

After 34 hours of travel I finally found myself at the Vancouver Airport getting picked up by my buddy Chris Ganeff. We headed straight down to the water to get some fresh Canadian Salmon and bacon for breakfast.  Next up was a quick trip to Victoria to check on the pad, down some deer steak and YJ’s with my Bro and little cousin, and then it was off North to head to Work.1599532_10152415334606193_7004015495435147946_o

My Mom had met me in Victoria and spent a couple days sprucing my condo up before we took off together on a road trip up to Jasper.  After an overnight pitstop at my Dads in Mcbride to pick up the work truck, quad and chainsaws it was off to Saskatchewan.  On the way back through Valemount we picked up a puppy for my Mom.  It’s a wicked little dog named Neve who grew up on a farm just outside of town and is going to be one tough dog!

It was a bugger leaving for work with a new puppy bouncing around but the trees (#banckaccount) were calling…    Working in the seismic fields of northern Canada as a faller is the perfect off season break from the bike.  The weather can be a real bastard sometimes but getting paid to rip around on quads and shred stuff apart with chainsaws for a while is a good gig.  Mentally it is a great way to freshen up for another year on the bike.  By the time race season hits it is like going back to heaven to leave the frozen North behind and hop back on my Kona.10679563_10152416919856193_2836727689886416114_o

This year things are looking really bright as my high school buddy from Jasper and current Canadian Ski Mountaineering champion Reiner Thoni is my work partner.   We are already a week into our 12 hour shifts and it feels more like a high school reunion then physical labor.  Off to continue the daily routine of eat, cut, quad, eat, sleep, repeat, that is until the body is fully recharged and ready to tackle another year on the race circuit!

Over and out!  Check back soon for the full Rumble in the Jungle report..:)10679758_10152415351411193_6131190668689238095_o

Crocodile Trophy #4

Every year the Crocodile Trophy gets better and better and I have gotten closer and closer to the overall title.  The 9 day race through the outback of North Eastern Australia is a blast and a real engaging challenge with its variety of hard courses and great outback experiences.  With it becoming classified as a UCI S1 race this year there were lots of valuable UCI points on the line for the World Ranking system which is part of every Nations Olympic qualification process.  What was already a tough race with the rough outback conditions, heat, tough mining roads, twisting single-track and deadly creatures now become a real battle with 10-12 of the Worlds top marathon racers taking part in the 100 competitor race to battle it out over 700 km.

The days leading up to the race were spent relaxing at the Tropic Days backpacker hostel and had me feeling refreshed and fired up for stage 1, a 5 lap, 30 km cross county race on some really easy trails in the same area were the Cairn World Cup was hosted earlier this year.  Lap 1 went alright but by lap 3 my head was over doing circles in the bushes on what was a very dizzying course with little technical challenges.  By lap 4 I had a full on meltdown and lost nearly 5 minutes to the leader by the end of the race as there were loose connections in my system some where.  No worries though, every stage race there is a rough day and I got mine out of the way on day 1!

Stage 2 is a classic Croc stage climbing out of Cairns through some very steep rough jungle roads, briefly into the dusty outback and then back over a 10 km climb through the jungle before descending down to Lake Tinaroo for the finish.  It’s always one of the most decisive days in the Croc and was very important in this years race as it was guaranteed to eliminate at least half of the overall contenders and I didn’t want to be one of them.    Heading up the first climb, 2012 winner Ivan Rybarik, Portuguese Olympian David Rosa and myself had a descent gap over the rest of the field before I hit a rock and lost my climbing gear, losing valuable time trying to fix it then having to run up the steep climbs without the easy gear at my disposal.  Soon after I would come upon Ivan you had flatted, David who was cracking a bit, thus leaving unknown Norwegian rider Greg Saw alone in front.  After losing another minute at the feed station trying to fix the gears, it was into chase mode to catch up to the chase pack of 3 riders behind Greg.  Things would shuffle a bit more by the end of the stage with Greg taking a 3 minute win ahead of 3 of us chasing hard behind.

Stage 3 was a 3 x 20 km loop on some very typical swooping Aussie single-track.  This sort of course is all about carrying your momentum around endless berms and has little areas to really put the diesel down and is all about swooping.   We let the smiling Portuguese flyweight David Rosa take the lead early on as he was already an hour down on GC after a wheel malfunction on stage 1 and not in contention.  My body was offline this day, not sure what it was but I was hurting right from the start and made sure to get into the singletrack ahead of the rest of the contenders to try and slow the pace down.  This worked for the first lap before they attacked on the 2nd lap, leaving my smoking body to push through two more laps of the fun but unrythmic course.  It was another meltdown which I tried to manage as best as possible but still lost around 7 minutes to the top contenders and was nearly 15 minutes back from the leaders jersey by the end of the day.    It was De ja vu to the Croc Trophy in 2013 when I spotted the overall winner Mark Frendo a 10 minute lead in the opening stages after trying to recover from a 24 hour race 5 days previously.  In these Stage races it is really important to grab the lead early on as trying to come back later on is nearly impossible as all the leader has to do is suck your wheel and stay out of the wind.  I had dug myself a big hole again this year and was unsure whether or not I could get the body back online before the deficit was too large to overcome.

Austrian friend Martin Wisata and I had a big Bar-Bar with the physiotherapists this night.  We started a tradition last year in which we all dump are bags of protein bars on a table and do tradeoffs and eat till were primed for another day on the bike.  Sometimes it works, other times it leaves us with gut aches.

Stage 4 started with a steep 4 km climb from the start.  I was dropped early on and then the legs magically came back on line and it was game on!  Heading over the top I had a small lead over race leader Greg Saw but started to run into troubles as a herd of 4 cows were in the middle of the dirt road stampeding ahead.  I tried to get around them but they were stubborn and kept in the way.  It was sort of fun as I began feeling like a cowboy on my Dad’s ranch in Mcbride as I marshalled the cows along for a couple minutes before one of them, a big bull got pissed, turned around and faced me with his head down.  Already too close to stop or turn around I was a bit screwed as the Bull shook is head and stomped his feat.  It was a shocker but my Dad being a true cowboy had always taught me we are higher up in the food chain and to never be afraid of a Cow so I rode straight at the Bull and last second vered to the left into the ditch,  just out of reach of its flayling horns.

This had stunned the bull and now it was super pissed, turning around trying to kick me and then taking off down the road in a  full charge towards Greg who was about 200 ft behind.  Greg yelled as he dove off his bike and ran into the woods, just nearly missing becoming the Bulls rag doll.  The Bull finally took off, and Greg came back out of the woods nearly as fast as he went in as he had jumped into an infamous stinging tree.  We would ride together for a bit after the incident before I managed to drop him and would ride 60 km solo through a great mix of steep climbs, bushy jungle tracks and rough mining roads.  It was one of the best Croc stages ever as I gained nearly 3 minutes by the finish line over Greg and his riding companion Ramses from the Netherlands.

Stage 5 was another Classic Croc stage racing over a mix of rough mining tracks and hot outback gravel roads from Atherton to Irvinebank.  There were alot of snakes snaking around this day with one large black one making a few of us nervous as it slithered around.  The race itself was going to plan with Greg, Ramses and I riding together as I planned an attack over the last 35 km of the course as I remembered it as being very hard from years past.  Unfortunately as we arrived at the 2nd feed we were notified the course had been shortened by 30 km due to a missing bridge.  Immediatley attacking my riding partners I road away pretty easily but could only gain around 1.5 minutes over the last 10-15 km of the race.  Greg had been hurting this day after a rough sleep due to the pain from the stinging tree and was lucky the course had been shortened from 100km down to 65 km as some serious time could’ve been made up this day.

The small outback town of Irvinebank had traditionally been the heart of the Croc experience with it’s local pub and Hill Billy band but this year the pub had shutdown.  We had alot more sleep as a result but it was sad to see this place so sleepy.  Starting stage 6 I rode hard off the line as I tried to take advantage of Greg and his hurting state.   This backfired as the body wasn’t happy with this early effort and went into shutdown mode.  For the next hour I struggled, politely asking my body to come back around as Greg, Ivan, Ramses and Milton gained nearly 4 minutes.  It took alot of patients but eventually the body gave me the green light to start riding hard again and over a 30 km section of rough track I made up the 4 min deficit to the leaders and attacked them as soon as I got there.  Getting a small gap on a rough descent I pushed hard the final 30 km to the finish into a headwind.   It was hard ride solo but I managed to hold off the chase pack to claim another stage victory, but again just gaining over a minute on Greg and his leaders jersey.  He was lucky to have such good allies working for him as it really dampened my efforts to claw back large amounts of time on him.

One of the side stories of the Croc this year was the 4 man Japanese film team which was following Yuki Ikeda through the race to make a 2 hour documentary for Japan television.  I can’t wait to see there footage as they were everywhere.  Yuki was a trooper as he walked around with a video camera in his face during every waking moment.  It started to get hilarious as everywhere we would go there would be a Japanese video camera catching the action.   One day they even “accidently” followed Yuki into the shower room before turning around after seeing all the naked euro asses in there.   They also had two riders following us with helmet cameras every stage.  This could be the best race documentary ever once it comes out, minus the euro ass part!

Stage 7 was an old school flat roady type croc stage.  Greg stayed on my wheel for the stage as I tried attacking whenever the roads got rough but couldn’t quite shake him.   The stage ended at the Skybury Coffee plantation which specializes in Coffee, Papaya and bananas.  It was a splendid afternoon sitting up on the cafe deck loading up on Papaya and coffees and could be the best Croc stage host ever.

Stage 8 started with a long 60 km into headwinds which kept the race together before hitting some undulating hills in the jungle to the finish.  I kept attacking Greg as he was struggling again on this stage but the hills weren’t long enough to get much of a gap as on the descents and flat roads afterwards his allie Ramses with the help of a couple other riders would work together to pull me back in.  Eventually after the 5th or 6 attack we hit a real hill and Greg would be dropped for good, but once again I could gain just over 2 minutes in the last 15 km of the course as Ramses worked his butt off for Greg again to keep him close.   I’m not sure if Greg and Ramses were old teammates or if Greg was paying him but Ramses did an army load of work for Greg to keep him in the leaders jersey.

The stage ended at Weatherby outback station, a classic Australian ranch.  We ate some great beef and had another Bar-Bar as we prepped for the last stage of the croc, a 30 km time trial down to the beaches of Port Douglas.  With the gap to Greg down to 6 minutes it was unlikely I could catch him on the last stage but if he had a flat tire and I had the ride of my life it could be enough.   Being the 2nd last rider to set off on the stage I pushed hard and was getting time gaps putting me in the lead for the stage.  The legs were firing good, a little too good as I pedalled through a twisty jungle section at 30-40 km an hour, catching my pedal on a hanging vine which tore my bike right from under me.  As I flew through the air all I could think was “where the hell did my bike go?”  It was a rough landing, luckily resulting in no serious bodily harm but my handlebars were bent backwards which took a bit to get fixed before continueing on.  At this point it was time to get to the finish line in one piece without anymore dramas.  The  last 4 km of the race was unreal as we raced along the beach of Port Douglas to the finish line.  The croc always picks the best spots to finish these epic races.  There’s nothing like diving into some fresh ocean water after a long dusty week on the bike!

This was by far the best Croc ever, the organization is solid, the courses are great, and the camping and hanging out with other riders in the outback make this race second to none.  After two consecutive 2nd places here I will hopefully get a chance to come back one more time to try and finish this thing off.

As far as my bike (Kona Kina Kahuna) went it has been nearly flawless for over 4 stages races in the past couple months.  The SRAM XX1 is great for flawless shifting, the Maxxis Ikon tires are bombproof and the Kona frame is the perfect balance of light weight and toughness for these epic races!  Also a huge thanks to Stans No Tubes, Truvative components, Rock Shox, WTB, GIRO and Clif bar for supplying all the gear for this big trip!

 

A controversy arrised after the race when female race leader Imogen was notified here prize money was going to be cut in half.  This was unfortunate timing for this news as the UCI should have told Imogen at the start the prize money was going to be reduced.  She still received the overall winning prize of $900, but they wanted to cut down here stage winning money since she didn’t have to race anyone for it being the only Elite girl in the race.  In the end she would still be paid close to $1800, the 5th most out of anyone in the race which seemed fair.

 

If it was left the way it was she was going to make nearly $3500, way more then Greg Saw received ($2300) for winning the overall title.  This I don’t think would’ve been fair for Greg who had to battle 95 other guys for the title.  I understand why Imogen was upset though as the prize money should be settled before the race starts and shouldn’t change later on.  Hopefully things like this can be avoided in the future as it would be great to see more Girls in races like this as there is no reason they shouldn’t be here.  They add a lot to these races and it’s awesome to see them getting faster and faster every year and giving the guys a run for there money. With the small fields they would be guaranteed to win some descent prize money for there efforts as well.

 

The days after the race were spent up in Mossman with Steve Rankine and a few friends from the Croc.  We would spend the days up in the Daintree rainforest at the Mossman Gorge making like a bunch of seals, swimming in the refreshing Mossman river followed with crawling up on large boulders to sun bathe.  Toss in a few ciders and it made for a good life.  Everything was top notch until Kathi and I went for a 7 hour hike up to Devils Thumb peak.  It was a really cool hike through the Jungle to a huge rock outcropping sitting 1200 Meters above the valley floor.  We made it back to the bottom and were joined by Steve for a dip in a swimming hole before we were all headed to Cairns to celebrate Halloween.

It was going to be a real treat, but I was tricked on this Halloween as I slipped on a rock leaving the swimming hole and flung my arms back for balance, throwing out my weak shoulder.  Unable to get it back relocated into its socket it was a long 1 km hike out to the highway and by the time we hit the Hospital the shoulder had been dangling for over an hour.  The Doctor gave me some laughing gas and told me to suck on it really hard as he tried to twist my arm back into place.  It was an odd experience as I laughed and cried at the same time.  Still unable to get the shoulder back into place they had to knock me out for 30 seconds to relax all the muscles and finally get the arm back into place.  All in all it took 20 minutes, cost $2500 and after a couple hours of looking out for side effects from the drugs I was finally released.  After all the racing in the past year it is ridiculous the only two times I’ve dislocated my shoulder is via  canoeing, and walking.   It seems like you might as well take all the risks in the world and live your life to the fullest as it is usually during the down times that crazy things happen.

Off to chew on some more ibuprofren as I wait and to see if the shoulder is good for another race or if its time to call it a season.

 

PS  Big Thanks to Sayako Ikeda for all the feedzone support during the race.    Also a big thanks to Steven Rankine and his Dad for opening there house in Mossman for a week of post race recovery!