Wild Canyon Games 2014

I participated in the Wild Canyon Games – Lost Canyon earlier this year. It took me a while to get around to uploading the photos. I’d like to claim a technical difficulty or something like that, but truthfully, I just got lazy. I was part of a corporate team selected by my company because we had foolishly emailed a willingness to do it. Never volunteer, kids.

This is what it looked like when we arrived:

Julian Birthday and Grand Canyon 059

Julian Birthday and Grand Canyon 060

Julian Birthday and Grand Canyon 062

Nice, right? I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. We arrived at around noon the day before to get acclimated to the elevation. I did a three mile run up and down some hills. It was a simpler time. A happy time.

This is what we woke up to:

Julian Birthday and Grand Canyon 076

Julian Birthday and Grand Canyon 077

Julian Birthday and Grand Canyon 078

That is snow. It snowed. It was snowing. And it kept on snowing. This is Arizona. We don’t do snow. I don’t do snow, anyway.

Julian Birthday and Grand Canyon 079

Julian Birthday and Grand Canyon 080

Julian Birthday and Grand Canyon 081

Julian Birthday and Grand Canyon 082

Julian Birthday and Grand Canyon 083

Julian Birthday and Grand Canyon 084

Julian Birthday and Grand Canyon 085

My 9 mile trail run was essentially being done in a blizzard. A blizzard I was woefully, hilariously unprepared for.

My glasses fogged over until I couldn’t see. I actually took them off and luckily another runner was willing to play my seeing eye dog. Thanks, Tyler! I stumbled and bumbled my way through over six miles when a race director appeared.

She told us the race was cancelled. For safety reasons. It was 28 degrees outside. 15 with the wind chill. It had been that way since before the race started. For over an hour. Now suddenly it was deemed dangerous. It had dumped over four inches of snow since the race began. I had frostbite. I had been taking turns alternately sweating with my jacket on, or freezing with it off. My hair was icicle dreadlocks. I couldn’t feel the left side of my face where the wind was blowing from. It was finally over.

She told us to take the shortcut back. We were three miles from the finish. I was eager for the shortcut. Excited, even.

I naively asked how long the shortcut was.

2.5 miles she replied. Oh, and for safety reasons we could no longer run.

Thus began a 2.5 mile freezing walk through the woods. Every part of me that had been sweating froze. Every part that was already frozen froze worse. By the time I got back to camp, I was mobbed by the race volunteers. I’d like to tell you it was because they wanted my autograph, but far more likely it was because I looked like death. I assume if I had looked like one of the white walkers from A Song of Ice and Fire (A Game of Thrones for TV fans) they would have run the other way. They wrapped me in towels. They gave me hot chocolate. They performed my last rights when they thought I wasn’t paying attention.

I heard everything.

Mercifully, it was over. Or so I thought.

They decided to continue on with the games. So we did all the challenges. We got wet. We got cold. We went to bed.

The next day was the relay race. I would like to claim we put on a good showing, but… Nike brought in two pro teams. Adidas brought in two pro teams. The Christian organization that owed the camp brought in their college track and field team. We were a group of weekend warriors and desk jockeys against people who did this for a living.

We got destroyed. Not even destroyed. We were annihilated. They scribed our names in the firmament so future generations would know how badly we had been beaten. It was not a loss. It was a SHAMING.

That said, I would do it again. Just, you know, hope for better weather. Or bring appropriate gear.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *