Sinister 7 is bearing down on me. Or rather, the snippets of information about the race that have floated through the interwebs are bearing down on me. On the eve of my departure for Canada's Crowsnest Pass (which I keep mentally pronouncing, "Crown-set Pass"), here are some of my favorite quotes from the official race materials and the discussion on the facebook page:
From the racer info packet:
There are definitely bears and cougars in the area. If there is reported activity around the course prior to, or during the race, we may modify the course. We cannot predict random animal activity so please stay alert. Take note of the information pamphlets, which will be included in your race package, on what to do if you approach a bear or cougar on the trail. We may dress up in bear suits to “motivate” runners; please do not pepper spray bears if they are wearing Sinister 7 t-shirts and running shoes.
We strongly recommend that you be prepared to drink from streams or rivulets if you need water when higher up in the mountains. The water in the area is generally very clean, and besides, illnesses like Beaver Fever take about two weeks to manifest symptoms so you should be fine for the duration of the race![Note: As someone who has experienced Beaver Fever, I can confirm.]
From the race director's update e-mail:
Two weeks of consistently warm weather has brought down a lot of snow and most of the course is now clear. This means a few different things. First, the streams and creeks are running high so some of you will be getting wet feet, especially on the longer stages. Don't worry though - it only helps your toenails fall off that much faster.
A lot of the trails are now quite muddy but we hope a week of sun will help that. Not that we care about the runners; we're just worried about trail damage!
There will still be snow on leg 5, guaranteed. So that does make the race directors feel a bit better - you are not getting off scot free.
From the facebook page:
[Leg 5] is worse than you can imagine. I did it completely in the dark (actually had daylight for the first bit but no light on the climb). Took me forever. But I am slow. It was horrible. So wet. It was like hiking up a waterfall at time...s. It was so wet. There maybe creek crossings but I never noticed any as the whole friggin trail was wet. A couple guys passed me running without poles (It think last year a couple fast teams got lost so ended up behind me) those guys were flying, have no idea how they could do it. The decent is brutal in the dark. When I did it is was misty, no moon, I had glasses on, I could barely see the frigin ground. Took longer to go down then to go up. It was hell. Poles saved me from certain fractures and sprains and incredibly helpful on the steep climbs and even more necessary on the decent. PLEASE NOTE THIS there is an aid station somewhere on this trail, one aid station, last year they had sweet nothing except for water, not a gel, not a granola bar, not a peanut.
See you on the other side!