Monday, June 18, 2018

Epic East Gate Ultra

The final couple miles of an ultra I'm told are the longest.  The trees and forest surrounded me and seemed without end.  It was hard to imagine that somewhere soon my eyes would view the open prairie and I would run through the East Gate to the finish line just beyond.

The day began at 6 am to the singing of birds and the smell of open air.  There is such a peacefulness to camping and even the excitement and preparation for the day couldn't mare that.   Our arrival at Riding Mountain National Park the night before was late and we got the camper set up quickly with the help of a million mosquitoes.  The campground was very quiet and we slept well.

Quick shower, prepared my nutrition of NUUN with F2C glycodurance in my hydrapack.  A couple UCAN bars packed along with the other necessities- kleenex, bandaids, lip balm, advil, tum.  Breakfast was oatmeal and later an Ensure drink and some UCAN drink. We were on the road before 7 for the 45 min ish drive to the East Gate entrance.

Just parked and walking to East Gate entrance.

 Thick, morning fog impeded our drive but we had glimpses of the rolling hills, farm land and dense forest as we made our way around the south part of Riding Mountain toward the east gate.  We arrived with time to register, use the washroom and attend the race meeting before the start of the day's events.  The 50 km event start time was 8:30 and the 25 km event at 10:30.

Terry and I, Sue and Manon.

All runners were herded out of the park (toward our vehicles parked on the road) so we could run through the East Gate as our official start.

Race start

And we are off!  Terry is bringing up the rear with a wave.

The first 30-45 min was all uphill.  Serious, constant climbing.  Morning temperature was 12 C and the heavy fog/high humidity was keeping things from heating up too much, it was the perfect temperature for running.

It was also the perfect recipe for some heavy sweating.  My clohes and hair was soaked very quickly and I was hoping the liberal amount of anti-chaffing cream I applied this morning would work its magic until I was done. Others around me were commenting on how hard it was to keep their eyes clear from the steady stream of sweat pouring down their faces.  Thankfully, the hard effort of constant climbing was mostly walked.  I was sweating like crazy but not overheating.
The trail took us to a gravel road with outdoor/seasonal bathrooms.  Racers slowly started to spread out a bit now.  Most of us were all packed together on the single track trail up until this point but now had more space.  We ran along the road for about 15 min before heading onto a trail once again.  Aid Station A came soon after.
Aid Staion A

I filled up my hydrapack with NUUN and ate a couple amazing power balls.  They were soft, oozing with peanut butter and tasted fabulous.  There were also perogies (both balls and perogies were homemade by the race director's mom) as well as the usual stuff; coke, pickles, chips, candies, bars.
I was running with 2 ultra friends from another community and hubby ran with us sometimes, ahead of us at others or sometimes behind.  This part of the course seemed easier; double track, lots of talking and laughing and not as technical for awhile gave a break on concentrating on our feet and the ground.

The course was like a figure 8.  Start was at the bottom, with the first section going left and up and around to aid station A, from A heading straight down the middle to aid station B then to the right and around and up back to A then back down the middle to B and 3-4 miles out to the finish.  The middle part had 2 out and backs on it. So generally, the first section until aid station A was increasing in elevation, from A to B aid stations felt like running on an escarpment that was an elevation loss.  Aid station B back up to A was elevation gain and then back downhill.

The first out and back was more spectacular than I have words to describe.  Lots of elevation change in a very short distance but so amazing.   I have lived in Manitoba for a long time and had no idea there were views like this!  There was a hole punch/stamper that we needed to punch on our bibs so we didn't just run to the lookout but all the way along a very small escarpment to the edge.  I was very pumped and excited.  It was running on the edge of a mountain what's not to like?

The second half of the middle part was single track down hill and decently technical meaning I needed to pick up my feet or I would end up on my face.  Aid station B was a welcome sight with the same goodies as at the other aid station.  I satisfied my hunger with a couple more energy balls and refilled my hydration once again.
Sue and Manon doing a great job setting the pace.

The next section after leaving the aid station was uphill.  A lot of uphill.  There was some rocks jumping through a small stream.  A group of us (5) helped each other get across with only 1 booter.  This section I found the hardest.  It was warmer temperature wise and the uphill climbing was relentless.  The spring water runoff had carved trenches into the path so footing was tricky in spots.  You could never get into a rhythm.

Once we reached the top and headed left toward the aid station, it was flat and double track once again.  We were still in the bush but there were more open areas, some swampy spots and hotter as now the cloud cover we were lucky to have had up until this point was gone.

From aid station A, there was a short 3km out and back so we left our hydrapacks and ran naked.  Well, not quite naked but we sure felt lighter without our packs.  It was just Manon and I running together now but 2 other runners started the out and back same time as us and making new friends and chatting made the 3 kms fly by.

Hydrapack filled up once again back at the aid station along with a couple more balls and a pickle.  I put ice in my hydrapack and drinking cold NUUN for the next 45 min was heavenly.
This was the last section before the aid station B and from there, the homestretch to the finish.  It felt as though we were running this section faster than the previous time.  There was a few of us running together off and on and again, meeting and talking with new people makes the miles go by.  I could tell I was getting tired though.  My feet were hitting roots and stones more often now.
Manon's daughter was at the aid station and they shared a hug but it was a quick in and out.

The final stretch.  So exciting but very challenging mentally.  More stumbling and tripping.  Caught myself twice from falling.  Manon not so lucky.  The single track gave way to a more groomed trail with boardwalk paths, bridges and plant identification signs.  A runner behind us pointed out the poison ivy along the trail which kept me busy trying to avoid it.  She gave us instruction to not touch our legs and feet until washing off well.
And suddenly, the trees gave way to a road.  We cheered in excitement which was very premature as it was back onto the trail 30 seconds later.  Then all at once, back onto a gravel road.

If you have ran road races, the finish line is so visible.  You can see it, hear it from quite a distance away.  Not so in trail running.  It literally feels like I am in the middle of nowhere, no civilization, no finish line, nothing.

All we could see is a 1/2 to 1 mile of gravel road with a stop sign in the distance.  No finish line no indication that we were anywhere close to the end.  I felt myself somehow slipping into an emotional state where tears were threatening.  I wanted to walk, maybe have a fit or melt down,  but Manon said in her stern teacher voice, "let's go" and she wouldn't slow down or stop.  I knew she was in some discomfort as she mentioned she has back/hip troubles and I also knew she got a good jolt when she tripped.  So, I told myself to suck it up and stop being such a crybaby.  I wasn't really hurting, just tired. With new determination, I picked up my feet and picked up the pace. 

And then there it was.  The East Gate we ran through to start was right before me now again to finish.  One of the race directors (Clayton) was standing there cheering, gave a high five as I crossed the line and told me I was epic!  I was given a great looking trucker hat as well as a special finisher item for completing the Manitoba double of 2- 50 kms in May.

My husband was also there with the go pro recording my "epic" finish.  As usual, I got pretty wobbly when I stopped running so I was weaving in and out, walking for a couple minutes then plopped myself on the ground to lay down.
A cold bottle of water went down really quickly and I was anxious to go to the truck to get my shoes and socks off and drink my cold recovery shake.  A hamburger (included in the race fee) was devoured soon after.

Overall, this was an amazing event.  The terrain, views, aid station nutrition, volunteers, organization was the best.  Big thanks to Kevin and Clayton and the Hound Sports Services team for a great run.  You can find the events they organize here.

I was worried leading up to this event.  The Oxbow 50, 3 weeks ago was a nightmare for me personally and I couldn't shake my fear of the same thing happening again.  I was very adamant to do everything I could to set myself up for a better outcome.

What I did:
-a couple days after the Oxbow 50 I went to a ART specialist (Active Recovery Technique) who found that my right pelvis was rotated in and down 1 1/2 inches.  He also found significant posterior displacement of the tibia.  This accounted for the incredible pain and locking of the right hip/leg.  The beauty of the active muscle release is that as you move the body part through the range in motion, pressure placed in specific areas releases the muscle which then allows the body to regain its correct alignment.  The pressure was applied on the muscle was in 5 different locations and it wasn't painful but was uncomfortable in certain spots.  The pain in the hip ceased immediately and no longer did it hurt my knee walking down stairs.  A repeat appointment 10 days later found the pelvis in the normal spot and the knee once again a bit displaced but much better than the prior appointment.  I highly recommend ART treatment.  This was the best thing I did.
-a physiotherapist applied K tape to the IT band and knee to give it more support while running
- I kept my nutrition very simple the day before and the morning of.  No coffee this time and more liquid calories (Ensure or Boost)
-used more NUUN in my water to boost the electrolyte concentration (as opposed to taking in salt tablets which I have never tried) as I wonder if I sweat salty
-worked really hard to drink more while running.  I wanted to have my hydrapack close to empty by each aid station.

What actually happened during the race:
-very little hip/knee pain (the only time it hurt was after a lot of constant uphills where the calves worked hard and then immediate downhill sections)
-I did take advil 1 time when my knee started to hurt as mentioned above.  This was around 13 miles in.  I know advil is dehydrating so I wanted to avoid taking this if possible.
-the powerballs were very well liked by my stomach.  I am trying to get the recipe.  They were soft and would be hard to carry along in a pack but if I get the recipe, you can bet I will find a way to carry them.  I needed to eat more.  I have to work on this.
-being able to eat and drink after the event made a world of difference.  I use the F2C vanilla recovery powder.  Mix it with ice and water in a big shaker and I love it.  Hubby loves the chocolate flavour so I mix one for each of us after any long race or training session.

Air Relax Recovery Boots on in the camper

Replenishing electrolytes and figured to top up our calcium levels as well.

Recovery ride on the fat bikes the next morning beside Clear Lake

A great way to end a fabulous weekend at the White House.


Friday, February 23, 2018

Actif Epica 200 km

The first checkpoint at Ridgeville was at mile 23.  I was at mile 15, sprawled out on the gravel road after a fall on an icy patch, shaken, bleeding a bit, and in a full-on suffer fest with a mental battle that was threatening to overtake me.  I was in a bad place and was not expecting nor prepared to be at this spot so early in the day.

It was unthinkable to consider quitting but utterly overwhelming to imagine suffering for another 100 miles.

The alarm went off at 3:30 am but I was ready for it.  I saw every hour since crawling into bed at 9:30 pm the night before.  I just couldn't shut my brain off.  The next 45 min were spent mixing up the liquid calories (F2C glycodurance) that was going into my hydrapak, getting myself dressed and putting the final gear into a bag that was coming along with me (garmin, bike lights, extra nutrition, extra mitts).
A 10 min walk to the bus pickup and we encountered... no bus.  There were a bunch of vehicles in the parking lot with participants who were being dropped off, those who were leaving their vehicles there for the day and others like us who had a short walk from a hotel.
Long story short, the race directors were unable to make contact with the transport company to find where the bus was and it was evident that by 5 am, it wasn't coming so they made arrangements to transport us to either St Malo or Emerson (depending on which distance you were doing) by vehicle.

The bus was to leave Winnipeg by 4:45, arrive in Emerson by 6:15 and the event would start at 7:00.  I planned to eat my overnight oats and hopefully catch a few minutes of sleep on the bus.  With 3 of us in the backseat of a vehicle, making small talk about events, bikes, nutrition and gear, sleep was not a possibility.  I did eat a bit though. 

Our arrival at Emerson was then very rushed.  It seemed to me that we were the last to arrive and most of the others were almost ready and anxious to get going.  Rushing is not ideal.  Bathroom, final bike preparations, checked the air pressure, moved nutrition around.  With all the changes, sitting, then rushing, I was feeling a bit harried but was thankful the start was only mildly delayed.

We officially set off at 7:20 after a group photo of the 14 of us taking on the 200 km route. Temperature was around -16 C.  We were instructed to stay close together for the first few miles.

 Soon after, the sun crept over the horizon in breath taking fashion.  Though the distance and the length of this journey was a bit intimidating, I was committed to enjoying every moment and I knew this amazing scene of the shining sun dancing on the stark white landscape would be etched in my memory.  And I was very thankful I could have an adventure like this with my husband right beside me.

 Riding right on the international border between our great country and that of our neighbour was surreal.  It was a 8 mile ride and it was nice to able to ride as the minimal snow combined with the strong winds that Manitoba had experienced for a couple weeks prior to this day made for very hard drift that were ride-able.  Very jarring but no pushing.  In hindsight, I probably should have let some air out of my tires and it may have made the ride smoother and easier.

The first 20 miles were basically riding hard drifts or pushing and it took around 3 1/2 hours.
Ridgeville check point was at a small cafe in the very small town of Ridgeville with very nice people who offered drinks or food and any other assistance.  I was planning only to fill my hydrapak but upon taking off my jacket to get to my pack, I saw my shirt was soaked and decided to grab extra shirt #1 from my bike to change.  I ate part of my cinnamon bun and a banana and 15-20 min after arriving, we left.

The fall I had was like the straw that broke the camel's back.  Everything just added up.  I kept telling myself that I knew I needed to eat and I would only look to getting to the first check point so I could get some food in me.  I was discouraged.  The ride so far seemed much harder than I expected and my legs were sore already.  While the stop didn't fix everything, it helped.  I wasn't great but I was better.
I'm not certain why I hit the bottom so quickly.  A crash and burn is expected but all my experience up until this point,  falling into the hole has happened at a much later point.

15 mile to checkpoint 2 Senkiw.  That was all I was going to think about.  Looking at the cue sheets, it seemed this would be a nice leg and I was very excited to see the swinging bridge.  The cue sheets show only around 4 miles that are not on gravel.  Looking at this even now, I am still stumped because this leg was anything but easy.  I was told by a fellow rider behind me that he thought this was the toughest leg. Though the pushing seemed to go on forever, the scenery was beautiful along the river and the sun was bright and warm. 

We were greeted at the Senkiw checkpoint by a couple cheerful ladies who offered us a hot drink from their tent.  We declined and continued to the bridge.  It was interesting getting my bike up the few steep steps under the guide wire to get on the bridge.  The bridge did indeed swing and it was better than I imagined.

There was another mile of pushing then gravel roads.  A few more clouds now, a beautiful temperature of  -9 C but a strong NW wind that came as a surprise to us.  I was sweated up again from so much pushing and was now getting cold.

Check point 2 Senkiw to St. Malo, checkpoint 3 was 11 miles.  We decided that though we probably had wet gear, we didn't want to stop for anything more than a bathroom break and a hot drink.  The offer of hot chocolate sounded so nice and I asked if it could have a bit of coffee with it.  I am not a coffee drinker but I thought it would help to have some.  I had been drinking water with Nuun energy and it works very well for me.  No big energy surges or crashes and no jitters.

There was a feeling of relief arriving at St Malo.  This is the start of the 125 km distance, which is what we did last year.  There is some comfort in the familiar.

St Malo to checkpoint 4 at St Pierre Jolys was 18 miles; one of the longer legs.  We predicted we would be there around 5:30-6 so it was the perfect time to change, eat a warm meal and get ourselves and bikes ready for the remaining ride in the dark.

This leg has an amazing beginning as you ride across a lake beside the town.  Last year, the ride was rough as the lake surface was deeply rutted from the warm temperatures and lots of traffic.  This year, there were vehicles, snow machines, ice fishing huts and quads all over the lake and the path was smooth like a highway.

There is a mixture of gravel roads, a bit of highway and trails on this leg.  Last year, there was a bit of pushing across a field and along a trail.  To our surprise, we were able to ride pretty much the entire way.  Some slower spots but minimal walking.  We picked up our pace as much as we could- both of us starting to get pretty cold.

I have a love/hate relationship with pushing the bike.  Pushing is much slower, usually tougher going and hard on the back, legs and shoulders.  But, pushing warms up the feet and butt when constant riding will get them colder faster and it is a nice change to sitting.

Arriving at St Pierre Jolys was a welcomed sight.  My feet were cold and I was hungry.  We were treated like royalty by the ladies there.  They were very happy to see us, congratulated us on making it this far and set about to help us with anything we needed.  We plugged our garmins and lights into a wall outlet first, got our boots and socks off, changed into dry clothes, reorganized our bikes getting the wet things packed into the back bags, bringing fresh stuff to easier access.  A couple ladies were getting us split pea soup with homemade bannock, another used a blow dryer to try warming/drying my boots.  (they are supposed to be waterproof but my outer layer of socks were slightly damp so I assumed with all the pushing and walking through the snow, some moisture got through)  We were also approached by the medic who checked how we were doing and she cleaned my hand and knee scrapes and bandaged them up. We didn't rush like crazy but didn't dawdle either.  They told us we were #5 and 6 to check in which was a total surprise for us as we thought we would have been at the back of the pack.

I had a moment of "oh my there is still so far to go" as I knew at this checkpoint we were at mile 67, only half way there, but those thought were quickly extinguished.  I had hit the bottom, slowly crawled out of the hole and could feel myself getting stronger.  My legs no longer hurt, my energy was good and I wasn't the least bit tired.

I sent a quick text to our kids to let them know we were doing fine and out we went 40 min after arriving.

The next checkpoint at Crystal Springs was 10 miles away on almost all gravel.  We arrived to ribs still warm from the barbeque and a friendly welcome.  Used the bathroom and back on the road.

Checkpoint 6 Niverville was 11 miles away but we were very reluctant to assume it would be easy or  fast to get to based on the experience we had last year.  There is a very long stretch of pushing followed by the dreaded Crown Valley Road that consisted of the worst Manitoba mud/clay/goop you can imagine.  It was beyond anything I've every experienced.  I knew it wouldn't be muddy but wasn't confident it would be ride-able.  The field was rough with drifts but we rode the entire way and the Crown Road was just like any other gravel road.  Wow!

The only problem we now had was Terry's garmin stopped working and my light was already needing a charge.  The only navigation we now had was the cue sheets and the blue signs marking the path (if you could see them).  Fortunately, this happened only a couple miles from Niverville and we easily found our way to the arena.  We were not planning a long stop but plans changed.  It was a mistake to only load the maps on 1 garmin.  Next time, both will have them. 

This check in point was manned by men with lots of tools, helpful advice, great stories  (the pictures of Dallas's frostbitten toes being an exception) and perogies.  Garmin and light plugged in.  I removed my boots for a sock change as my feet were getting cold again.  Thanks to a couple gentlemen (Lindsay and Dallas) for fixing my front bag up for me as it was rubbing on the front tire as a strap had come off.  I mixed up my final bag of glycodurance in my camelback water bottle 1/2 full of warm water and drank it all while there.  Also enjoyed a couple perogies (who could resist) as well as a cup of soup.  Terry's garmin wasn't charging, seemed to be a problem with the connection.  A couple more riders came in a bit after us.  They weren't staying long and we decided to ride together to check point 7 at St Adolphe.

There was still some wind and it help with everyone taking turns in the front (except me for some reason) but I was very thankful the wind was much quieter than it had been in the afternoon.  The temperature was around -17C and the 8 miles to St Adolphe went pretty quickly.  A quick in and out stop, grabbing a drink and a GORP bar.  Terry tried again to get some charge in his garmin.  We were ready to leave and the other 2 riders decided to stay for awhile.  We had to decide if we wanted to go by cue sheets or wait.  Within the minute, 2 other riders (Pete and Tom) walked in and they were just checking in and leaving so off we went with them.

There was excitement knowing we were heading to the final checkpoint before the finish but also a sense of dread as it is a long 18 mile ride and the unknown conditions of the floodway could easily extend the time (estimated time 2- 2 1/2 hours in decent conditions) it would take to reach the U of M checkpoint.  Last year, the tough part was from Schapansky Road until the Floodway was crossed, a distance of about 6 miles.  It was a pushing, pole-holing in thigh deep snow experience.

Incredibly, this year, we walked almost nothing. We were met by some volunteers just before this section and then at the top of the Floodway, both offered assistance and hot chocolate.  It was also in this area that we caught up to some of the 100 mile runners. My heart ached and rejoiced with them.  They must have been so very weary.  The 100 mile on foot distance started at 10:00 pm Friday night and it was in the early morning of Sunday so those we were passing had been running for 28-29 hours already.
I had to stop once to change lights as my front light died but the spare was in my pogies so it took very little time and I was rolling again.

The next 7 miles until the U of M checkpoint was now in the outskirts of the city on sidewalks, trails or residential streets. I was truly chilled to the bone and was worried about my right foot.  I made a list of all the things I was thankful for from the last checkpoint until this one.  Was very happy to ride with others and it was great that Pete knew the entire route by heart.

So glad to arrive at the U of M checkpoint.  I took my bike right into the foyer (as did the others) and sat right on the floor to get my boots off.  I put on my insulating jacket to warm up my core and while pulling it out of my front bag, found my half froze cinnamon bun.  Mmm, a delicious snack.

I was filled with excitement upon leaving the U of M.  9 miles and we would be done.  Just as we were leaving, 2 runners whom we met Friday night at the pre-race meeting, Andrew and Kelsey, came in.  They came to this event from New Brunswick and I was curious if it was what they expected.  Kelsey said the wind was unbelievable but they were doing good.  I wished them well.

Sidewalks, streets, cross a bridge, more streets and before we knew we were crossing the St Vital Bridge.  I wore my insulating layer under my jacket so I was toasty warm and truly enjoying the quietness of the city and the company of my riding companions.  We rode at a nice steady pace and for once, the miles seemed to fly by.  Upon crossing the St Vital Bridge, we had a steep bank to descend down to the river (I planned to walk but actually slid) then onto the river ice trail.  The river trail was so much longer than I expected it to be.  It was very peaceful.  I was cautious of the bare patches of ice, nothing like falling 10 min before the finish and breaking your arm or something stupid like that.

All of a sudden, there it was.

The Forks

On Friday, before bike check in, we rode down to the river and it was a very busy place.  People everywhere skating, walking and enjoying the outdoors and now here we were- not a soul to be found, lights twinkling, a train heard in the distance, the winter air crisp and my heart so glad.

We were there.  4:33 am, 21 hours after starting but we were there.

This was a big challenge.  It was tough in ways that are hard to describe.  Every big event has its own challenges.  There are the uncontrollable factors that change sometimes hourly in an event and no two years can you exactly predict what you will be facing that day.  It's not a case of if you will need to dig deep, it's a matter of when. 
I massively hit rock bottom very early in the day.  But an amazing thing happened; I forced myself to stay in the moment and not get overwhelmed by looking at the end and in doing that, I slowly emerged from my deep canyon and got stronger and stronger with each passing mile.  I was very happy to reach the end but honestly could have kept going.  I had changed, gotten stronger, learned a lot and emerged from a tough challenge a better version of me.
When you dream big, there is always a chance you could fall.  It is a long way down and then a long climb back up again but taking the chance is always worth it.  Adventure is always worth it. 

Part 2: Gear and Lessons Learned coming soon

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

An Unplanned Break

I haven't published a post in more than 2 months.

I don't know how it happened.  I do remember the months of Dec and Jan, I was alive, I was having adventures.  I guess I was too lazy to blog or maybe I was uninspired to share, or maybe I just needed a break.  Who knows.

The speed talking highlights version of the past couple months:

1. Went to Vancouver for a week to visit my son.  Had lots of bike rides, runs and hiked the Grouse Grind (dare you to google it!) Oh course also did the usual filling his fridge and cupboards, cleaning the apartment and cooking and dishes. Had a great time.

Downtown Vancouver

Biking at Pacific Spirit Park

Starting the Grouse Grind

Steps all the way up!

Found some ice at the top.
2. The 6 of us, hubby and I and the 4 kids, escaped the desperately cold weather at home to spend 8 days in one of my most favourite spots doing one of my most favourite things. Left boxing day and come home early Jan.  It was a perfect time to get away.

My favourite place on the PCH south of Carlesbad California

A foggy morning on the PCH
Hiking at Annie's Canyon

Last day on the beach
On the strand in Oceanside

Annie's Canyon Hike

Annie's Canyon Hike

Acai bowl in Solana Beach

3. Spent most of January cleaning every nook and cranny in the house.  Lots of sorting, giving away, purging of unnecessary things and selling a few things.  Goal is to purchase more adventure type equipment (tent, stove, bike trailer, heavy duty sleeping bag, maybe a jacket or two:))

4. Spent 4 days in Regina 2X with my other 2 kids.  Lots of fun: movie (The Greatest Showman- it was amazing!), watched University volleyball, cleaning, cooking, fixing and dishes.  None of the kids have apartments with dishwashers.  Hard to believe in this day and age but yes it's possible.  It has been a good thing.  They are much more appreciative when I visit and they get a couple days relief from doing dishes.

Walking our way around the city.

5.  Training as I feel inclined to.   Which has been a lot sometimes.  Many days of getting in 2 workouts a day just because I felt like it.  Strength training, running (all on the treadmill), biking on the trainer, cross country skiing and outdoor fat biking.  My body is feeling good right now.  A lot of people like structure and sometimes I do too but freedom felt good right now and I didn't sit around and get lazy but actually did more.

Hiking on the river with a load of wood

Skiing in my backyard- I am so lucky!!

Riding the trail on the fatties.  -10 C

Trying some cold weather gear -25 C with wind and my face was toasty warm.

What our Manitoba winter has been like- cold temps and lots of wind.
A chinook blew in for a few hours.  Got some fresh air on the trainer

That's the nutshell version.

Have a great week!