Course Report #3

2 weeks to go! Are you ready for some epic winter fun? We sent a team down to St. Malo this week to follow the Crow Wing Trail race route (and to stop in and meet with friends and race supporters from St. Malo Provincial Park, the Festival des Amis, and St. Pierre Arena). Here’s what we found out:

1. There is snow out there. We anticipate there is approximately 10km-15km (6-10 miles) of trail or roads that are drifted in to the point that it is probable that cyclists will be off the bike pushing, and runners will be reduced to power hike mode. This is perhaps a little bit more than last year, but not substantially. Many of the drifts are quite firm. For now. (Let’s hope it stays cold.)

2. As in the last two years, every kind of bike will excel at some part of the route. We anticipate seeing a mix of cross bikes, mountain bikes and fat bikes on the start line and on the finish line.

3. As in every other edition of Actif Epica, it will be important to choose footwear that can handle deep snow. Gaiters or something of the like would be advisable. Snowshoes might make for surer footing, especially when you’re tired. The average section of drifted snow is about 1 mile long. Last year the number one cause of people DNF’ing was issues with feet, so do what you need to do to look after them – bring extra socks, use talc, wear snowshoes, etc.

4. With a few high-effort sections in deep snow, it’s probable you’re going to get ‘sweated up’, as they say. The prairie wind is a real factor in this event, and staying dry is important to keeping warm, especially when it’s windy. Charles Burchill, who has finished both the 2011 and 2012 editions of Actif Epica, says he always packs an extra baselayer to change into if he needs to. “It only weighs a few ounces and it’s nice to know I’ve got it if I need it,” he says.

5. The Actif Epica checkpoints are going to be warm and welcoming. Thanks to some amazing sponsors including Gorp, Canada Safeway, Slice of Life Bakery, the Niverville Heritage Centre, Fair Trade Manitoba, Daily Bread Cafe and Tall Grass Prairie Bakery, racers will be supported with exceptional fuel. If you’re a friend or family member following along the race course on February 15th, visit these supporters to keep your energy levels up and extend thanks to them for helping to look after your racer!

Best wishes for final two weeks of prep!


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