Stop #10: Canada, eh?
Vancouver, Squamish, and Manning Provincial Park
After Smith Rock, I stopped in Seattle for a couple days, dropping off Jess to stay with Geoff and Michelle. It was great to see more friends, and stay with Sarah and Lukasz (and their kitties Cow and Runt). Wednesday, I packed up again and headed north, this time to Vancouver. My friend Katie lives their with her husband and one-year old baby, Helena. I had seen Katie last year while pregnant, so I was excited to meet the babe in person. I drove to Katie’s house, just south of downtown Vancouver. We caught up, walked around the GIANT mall next to her house, played with the baby and watched Christopher Robin after Helena went to bed.
For this leg of the trip, I was meeting up with my friend Mike, from NYC, who would be in town to run a 70(!!) mile trail race in Manning Park. Mike wrote such a great, hilarious recap of the trip, that I’m going to use his version so you can enjoy it as much as I did. Here we go!
Part I: Following
I took an early morning flight Thursday on no sleep after baking Mexican hot chocolate cookies all night for Grace. I made a few too many, as I’m now on my way home with half the batch, but that first bite while crossing the bridge into Vancouver made them worth lugging around.
Grace picked me up at the airport fully decked out to climb or rave in a neon pink tank top and green Nectars (sunglasses). Her black Subaru Outback was 3/4 packed with gear giving an organized hoarder feel and still leaving a nice sized hole to add my bags.
We were on our way direct from the airport to Squamish via the Sea to Sky highway. Minutes north of Vancouver, the road rises and falls over mountain passes jutting up from the Sound below. Even at sea level, the PNW’s mountains make the Catskills look like hills. Bright greens and teals fade to deep blues in the water, with evergreens rising from the shore until they’re out of frame from the passenger seat.
Grace and I took the time to cross check all our mutual friends’ most recent life updates, and Grace filled me in on the details of the adventures of her cross country trip: WWOOFing on a horse farm, hiking in Yellowstone, climbing at Smith Rock, all the while cycling through a veritable friend relay meeting and leaving her at different points throughout. I’m glad I took the baton where I did.
Our campground in Squamish was just past the Chief, a world-renowned, awe inspiring “big wall” that is beyond Grace’s and my technical know-how to climb safely. From the ground, climbers would be nearly invisible, if not for their own sets of neon outfits and purposely conspicuous gear. Seeing the 800 feet of air below them is an instant palm sweat.
We got to our campground at Mamquam by following signs for “slacklife” past the town’s last condos and up a green creek with a bike path. Squamish is sort of squished between the coast and immediate steep alpine mountains, some crusted with snow even into August. Our campsite was on the east side of a hill full of ripe blackberry bushes and across from an outdoor gymnasium of four slacklines. We popped up our tent and headed to Woodstock Wall in Murrin Park, a 60-foot wall with some 5.6-5.10 sport climbs, beginner to intermediate level.
A climber should know more about how to describe rock, but the granite cliffs were golden crusted in warm sunlight that would turn to shade throughout the afternoon. Grace flaked the rope on the 5.6 and we were on. She tied her harness with the figure eight knot seminal to climbers, clipped a bunch of quick draws to her belt loops, did some final safety checks and stepped onto the side of the rock.
How fast can you feed a rope through a device designed to hamper movement and arrest sudden pulls, kind of like a seat belt? Not fast enough for Grace. She walked up the side of the wall, pulling a quick draw off her belt and fastening it to a bolt in the wall every 8 feet. The quick draws are made by attaching two gated metal clips to both ends of a short nylon runner, or “dogbone.” Clip one side to the wall, then clip your rope to the side hanging off the wall, and move up until your feet are where your hands were. Then repeat.
In sport climbing, the lead climber pulls the rope from underneath and is only as protected from falling as height of the last draw. Clip too late, and your fall will be past the last draw by as much extra slack as you have in the system. Clip too early and risk falling with an extra armful of that slack. You’re really looking to clip in a whiffle ball-sized strike zone. Nothing to worry about if you don’t fall.
After breezing the climb like it was an escalator, Grace removed the quickdraws so I could also “lead” as I slowly gave slack to lower her.
My turn. Fun fact, I had never led a climb before, nor had I “followed” and “cleaned” someone else’s lead.
On a first climb of the day, your head swims: is the gear set and knotted properly, is my belayer going to catch me if I fall, where's the next damn hold, should I clip here or is there an easier spot just a bit higher that will save some needed strength? But on your first outdoor lead ever, there’s a bit more of a focused thread: what the fuck am I doing, what the fuck am I doing? And that’s just the climb.
5.6 is about as easy as it gets while needing a rope for safety, so getting to the top was a given, but that’s where it got death-defying, legs-shaking scary. It’s important to focus with some self-soothing words: "you know how to do this, or you’re dead." The top anchor is set on double bolts at the end of the climbing route and you clip your rope into a set of two draws. Leaving gear behind is an expensive habit, so you need to undo the anchor, the only thing that is keeping you safely on the wall.
Take your personal 3-foot sling and attach your harness directly into the bolts, or, if you’re me, take your two personal slings. Now undo your climbing rope from the anchor and thread it directly through the “rappel rings” chained to the bolts. Knot both ends of the rope and drop it down so both sides hit the ground Easy peasy. Stop shaking.
Now take your ATC device (short for Air Traffic Control) and thread both sides of the rope through, and clip it to yourself. This is your rappel control device, providing friction that will be necessary in a few minutes when you jump backwards off the wall and into the air. Now tie a cinching rope “third hand” from your harness to the rope underneath the ATC and pray it will cinch if you let go by accident. How long have I been up here? Have I breathed once since I got here?
Okay, now “weight” this new rappel system and see if it will hold you. Double check, triple check, and, if you’re me, quadruple check your system to make sure it will hold. Think about your loved ones, say out loud, “nothing matters,” undo your personal safety system and lean back.
When I found I had made it to the ground slowly rather than quickly, I apologized in Canadian fashion for my tardiness and asked, "what’s next?"
We did three more climbs ranging from 5.7 to 5.10 and were joined by two local carpenters and their “dog party” for one of the pups’ birthday. I’m pretty sure Grace was put on this earth to pet every dog here, so I figured she’d be okay with my slow cleaning pace, which I would have to do three more gut-wrenching times before we were done. Did I mention I’m afraid of heights?
Truly one of my favorite parts of climbing outdoors is packing up to go home. Typically, I’ve accomplished a few climbs and can take that moment to appreciate that no one got hurt. This time I was pretty satisfied with my first times leading, cleaning and rapping, and oh my god was I beat.
We hit the grocery store to stock up and headed to the campsite. Grace is tremendously efficient and had rice and a curry dish cooked up by the time I gathered a few blackberries. Between that and some guacamole, we were stuffed at nightfall and ready for bed.
The morning took us to Area 44, a new-ish, alien themed climbing area, first bolted in 2011. Themes or climbing areas are about as nerdy as I care to get, but alien seemed safe to me. At least they’d beam us up, not down, right?
New climbing areas means choss. And choss means loose rock that could break off and kill your belayer beneath you. A dead belayer means no one to stop you from hitting the deck. So watch out for hollow rock, believe the caution of climbers before you who have written big Xes in climbing chalk on what falsely look like great climbing holds, and use your fist to check for other potentially loose or hollow holds, marking them as you go.
We punched through a 5.6 and 5.7 before anyone else even made it to the crag. Up top there were tranquil views of a ravine below a mountain facing opposite us. A prop plane flew through the valley beneath us and back. Such a cool morning.
Then Grace set off to lead a 5.9 arête route, a huggable outcropping with big ol' jug handle holds. Well it turns out that the entire garbage route was riddled with choss, and the only holds were little itty bitty pockets, moving side to side around the arête and back again with high exposure. All of us on the ground got a nice taste of a testy Grace when I was taking pictures of what I thought was an easy route while belaying (Grace asked me to!) and the rope I was supposed to be feeding got caught under a rock. Oops. Grace is strong though and wasn’t going to let herself fall and swing sideways around the arête on her way down. I fixed the rope so she could finish.
I followed or “top roped” the route, meaning the rope was tied to the top of the route above me and, with Grace pulling the slack out every move, I couldn’t fall down if I slipped. But even with top rope courage, the route felt sketchy. One final clean and I was in that happy place to pack up and GTFO. Luckily, there was a puppy parade of crag dogs and their climber-owners making their way to Area 44 at that point, and the constant stop-and-pets kept Grace from showing any signs of disappointment in only completing a handful of climbs all weekend.
Headed out of Squamish we stopped for a burrito, my final meal before what I thought was going to be death by ordeal. The taco shop/fried chicken spot was decorated with retro murals of Ol' Dirty Bastard and Rampage the video game, with pictures of album covers and stickers everywhere. There was a cool mural outside.
But inside, their pace was slower than my cleaning pace. They were definitely quadruple checking whether they put the beans and cheese in right. When told there was a 20 minute wait, Grace deadpan asked the high school girl at the counter, “it takes 20 minutes to make a burrito?” (That was my NY attitude coming out! Now I feel kinda bad I said that. 😆 -G) It was worth every second for a vegan spicy cauliflower burrito, even if it meant we would hit some extra Vancouver weekender traffic on our way out west to Manning Park.
Part II: The back 35
“Shit, those are steep.” I tried to hold onto denial that the Fat Dog 70-mile course wouldn’t be as bad as the mountains I was looking at, or that switchbacks would at least lighten that burden. As we drove through the northern Rockies I thought about how bummed I was to leave Squamish, with nature so starkly rugged and beautiful, and so many recreation options. But then these mountains—seemingly endless, coated in evergreens with the occasional break for an alpine meadow or rock outcropping. Manning Park was going to be a playground.
Grace crushed the driving. I crushed the napping. It was very fun to learn what a Bon Jovi fan she is, hailing from Ohio and solidly in the millennial age group. As a New Jerseyan, I love Bon Jovi by default, even if I never listen to them. (Ok ok, I like Bon Jovi, but I’m not a super fan, I just like some good ‘ole classic rock! -G) Grace made me take some pics of doggos flying their heads out of car windows in the afternoon sun as we rolled into Hope, our town for the weekend.
It’s a small town with an outdoor tourism feel—lots of diners and motels serving a tired and hungry bunch—perfect for us. As we would later find out, there’s a trailer in Hope that houses the town visitors center and plays First Blood on repeat 9 hours/day everyday, because it was filmed there. It puts a smile on my face knowing that statement is true.
We checked into the Slumber Lodge motel with no time to shower (despite two days of climbing and camping) and headed to the pre-race check in, a full 45 minutes over mountain passes to the other side of Manning Park. We packed a single drop bag with a change of clothes and some sugars and split up—Grace to go shopping at the park visitor’s center and me to the pre-race meeting.
The room was in the basement of the wooden log lodge. The room was small but intimidating—lots going on between check in tables and drop bag piles, but moreso, there were a ton of fit-looking people with top of the line running gear. I was in a puffy coat and some joggers looking like a real noob street runner and smelling like an abandoned halal cart in August.
Heather, the 65-year old race director took over, telling us how to survive the next day’s expected lightning and potential bear and cougar encounters. She then talked a little about the course, mentioning that some of the trails were designed for horses, not humans, meaning that there were no switchbacks. My heart sank a little—I had trained pretty hard for this over a short period of time since my first 100-mile race 3 months prior, and I had overdone it and pushed my body too far. The whole week prior I had been in bed unable to eat with a stomach flu, a gift from my cute and dangerous niece Jules. That prior weekend was worth it to hang out with her and my nephew David and the rest of the fam, but man, I was walloped. I figured I was in shape to finish and if I took it easy enough, and paid close attention to hydration, my body would hold up to at least mile 40. But I was sore—from climbing and from barfing all week.
As soon as we were dismissed, I found Grace and hit the road for Hope. We got in late and started packing. Her skills came in handy again as she stuffed the pounds of required gear into my little runner backpack. I was ready to go—just had to fill up my wa... Woah, my camelback was leaking all over the floor. Grace immediately came to the rescue to head off my forthcoming meltdown with a “just use mine.” Crisis averted, I checked and rechecked well-wishes from friends until I passed out.
I woke up before the alarm feeling as sore as if I had already run. This’ll get better, I promised myself. At Tim Horton’s there was no line but a 10 minute wait for coffee and a doughnut because there were only 6 people working at 6:05 on a Saturday morning. Grace spent the drive convincing me that I maybe if I left New York like her I’d be less of an impatient asshole. Right, Ms. 20-Minute Burrito. (You might’ve got me here, but since I hadn’t had coffee yet, I wasn’t really awake. Also, that Apple Fritter made up for it later. -G)
At the starting line people were milling about with their compression socks and running hats, looking grizzled and anxious. Me too. Grace immediately found a doggo and made friends. Heather announced an imminent start, but first a gear check. Reach into the bottom of the bag Grace packed and pull out your two headlamps. Now your raincoat. Now you have 50 seconds to put all that shit back together and line up, single file by what you think your pace is. It’s time to start!
I merged in to about 10th—my “seed” for the race according to Ultra Signup was 8th, and I knew I didn’t want to get stuck behind a slow caterpillar of people walking—my New Yorker impatience would never allow it. Up ahead was the first seed, a dude who bolted to the front, quads the size of bowling balls.
The start at Cayuse Flats was four miles of rolling hills just up from the road—not huge, but steep, and it was muggy. I was sopping wet by mile 2 and would stay that way for the remainder of the race. I got passed and passed a few, walking the uphills already and running the downs. I met up with Susan, a local who isn’t a city person and had no recos for Vancouver but did have a solid leg tattoo and some ultra experience. I’d bump into her a few times before the race was over.
Coming into Cascade Aid Station I felt actually better than when I started but had to dump out. I found Grace who introduced me to her new ultra running crew friends, Megan and Dianna, and pointed me towards coffee and an outhouse. It was super comforting knowing she’d have someone to guide her through the day. From the outhouse, I heard at least seven people go by via crowd cheers. Time to roll, but it’s a long race, and nothing matters.
The next section led us inland from the road to a hard right turn, which I saw someone miss, and then straight up a mountain for what felt like 4 miles. This was the horse trail Heather warned us about. I was climbing like I had in the gym ever week where I put the treadmill at 30 degrees on a hard pace and just crush. I knew my heart rate was up but not red-lining. I walked by two pairs and a group of three, including Susan, like they were standing still. Later, guys. I was probably back in the top 10.
The dense forest gave way to alpine meadows and steep mountaintop terrain. I was happy to realize we weren’t summiting but navigating around the peak I was actually close to the mountain pass. What a view, coming over that pass of a lake far below surrounded by fields of flowers and big stone mountains. On the way down past the lake, two city dudes caught me, one from Toronto and one from San Francisco. Toronto asked me if I had our pace from the start, which I thought an outlandish question given we were probably doing 30 minute miles uphill. I turn my watch off during races so I have no idea, I explained. San Francisco seemed more experienced in trail running, judging from his skeptical response to the question.
We rolled together for 2 miles downhill and separated, but not before Toronto told us his last ultra was tough to finish because his quads gave out. I advised chewing Advil, “which is terrible for your kidneys, but race saving.” San Francisco agreed. I also mentioned that a Fat Dog race testimonial in the guide book talks about blowing quads early because so much of the terrain is runnable.
I passed both of them back by only filling two waters at the second aid station (13 miles) and leaving. I knew from training I could survive on one camelback over 25 miles, and it was much less hot than Brooklyn this summer, though no less muggy.
The next part was dense, mossy old growth forest. I would eat it for the first time, tripping on a foot, rock, tree stump, or some other antagonist. I smashed my shoulder into a dirt slide, got up and moved forward. There were a few two-foot deep river crossings. Trying to find a way around slowed me down significantly, but I still caught up to Cranky Pants, a German who looked like he's been Cross Country skiing all-day everyday for the past four decades. (Guys, if you want me to remember your name during a race, it helps to wear your bib on your back. Everyone is looking the same direction!) He was jogging the slight uphills, whereas I was hiking every uphill, so I knew we would yo-yo a bit.
From there, a Jeep road took us up some major hills toward Dick’s Cabin Aid Station. San Francisco and Toronto jogged past me, almost out of view. Cranky Pants came roaring back and passed me as well. Oh well, I’m cooked. It was silly to try to outrun them early, being so sick last week. I stuck to my power-hiking until we reached a dense fog. I couldn’t see anyone ahead or any flags, so I took to tracking running shoe imprints in the dirt to ensure I hadn’t missed my turn.
At Dick’s Cabin—mile 25—San Francisco, Toronto and Cranky Pants all left before me. It got much colder at the high elevation and in the fog, so I grazed avocado and was stoked to see veggie broth mix. I warmed up a bit and moved on when I saw the next two guys come in, first Grizzly Beard and then Redshirt.
On the trail I found the 120 miler in last place, who was giving out high fives and seemed in good spirits, despite having 85 miles ahead. The sun came out, which I hoped would dry my shirt (it didn’t) but not get too hot (it stayed fairly temperate). So much for the lightning warnings. Rolling fields turned into steep forested and twisty downhill. Cranky Pants popped out from behind me and passed, saying he had “stepped off the trail.”
We yo-yoed a bit more coming into Lake Nicomen Aid Station—mile 31.5. I was a little shell shocked from the new heat and that leg being a little further than I thought. The aid station was covered in Canadian flags and they offered shots to those who would pet their stuffed beaver, teasing that the guy in first took one. None for me, thanks. They were cooking up bacon wontons. I don’t eat those, but I appreciate the commitment to the theme. Cranky Pants came in real hot, pleading with someone to tell him what the next section is like and whether he needs his trekking poles out. I knew he was about to have a rough few miles. I wanted none of that hissy fit and pretended not to speak English. Grizzly Beard rolled in too, which scared me a little.
I took some espresso beans and chips for the road and filled my pack to the brim for the longest leg in the hot afternoon sun. I hope Cranky Pants kept his poles out, as the first three miles took us straight from the lake to the ridge line via a series of switch backs. I went back into hike crush mode and picked off my first 40-mile runners. No one else in sight as I proceeded over a gorgeous ridge line, rolling through alpine meadows with wildflowers of yellow, purple, pink, red and green. Looking back, that section, “Heather Trail,” was the most pleasant, even if I got hung up wayfinding a few times. Really the trail blazing was extremely well done and there's no way you could get lost if you're paying attention, but I'd take extreme precaution over running extra miles any day.
After the meadows came an alpine forest with a soft pine needley downhill. As I was curving around turns, I heard the familiar, “Hey bear!” which I too had been yelling and clapping all day. Then I saw three dudes at a standstill. They said they saw three bears on the trail, a mom and two cubs, but they had scattered to opposite sides of the trail. I proposed going around with a wide berth. Instead we grabbed rocks, and one guy took out his bear spray, and we got into a pack and moved through quickly. Toronto was in this group and he started to jog ahead before we yelled at him to stop running. Safely past the bear, we worried aloud about the poor soul coming next, shrugged and kept going. Toronto asked how I was doing on downhills. I had taken Advil at mile 31, so I was in a good mode. Downhill jogging was easy. I told him it’s continuing to get harder but I’m happy to still be moving and didn’t stick around.
About two miles later I bumped into a woman running the wrong way. When I asked what was going on, she said she saw a cougar. Given my previous experience, I had a game plan. Wait for one more person, and pass the cougar in a group. Flying down the path towards us was #1 in the 50-miler, Brian, with long bushy black hair and a beard with shocks of grey in each. We told him what was going on. “Oh, damnit, I’m leading this race.” We walked together and chatted for about five minutes and spilled out onto the roadway where we saw people, including Susan’s dad—who got scared he missed her when I told him she was running really well early on.
Brian and I rolled down the dirt road to Blackwall Aid Station—mile 44—on what felt like an endless series of switchbacks backed by an incredible view of snow capped Rockies. Fingers crossed that Grace would be there. I told her 6:30 at the earliest, and it’s only 6:25.
She was! First person I saw coming into the aid station at mile 44, with Megan and Dianna. Grace had my bag ready to go and filled my bottles and goofed with Meghan about how I don’t eat food. Meghan let me use her chair and gave me her sister’s Power Glide, but “not her butt one.” I scraped some off the top. With a shirt change I was dry for the only 5 minutes of the day. I recommended burning the chair as I got up.
I saw Toronto come through, then Redshirt, then Susan—where the hell did she come from!? Redshirt blew through the aid station, so I knew it was time for me to leave as well. We put on work vests and ran down the hill, spending almost all of the next 8 miles on paved road. I gambled. I was worried about blowing out my quads, but I ran the whole way anyway. Pavement is faster but would beat my quads harder, and my shoes weren’t meant for roads. I caught a bunch of 40 milers and 120 milers on the way. By now, with all the races going on, there were people visible on the route. "I can get these guys," I thought, channeling my former pacer Mike's style of competitive encouragement. I passed Redshirt like he was walking, because he was. The gamble paid off. I felt great at the next aid station, even though I realized I had forgot a second water bottle with Grace and I had a 16-mile hard leg to finish.
Grace wasn’t there at the next aid station so I wouldn’t get that bottle back. I just chugged a bit of coke and decided to leave. I spent three minutes total at the aid station, Grace would later tell me. I pushed for 2 miles and then it started: constant switchbacks up a mountain on a logging road. The sun went down and I put my headlamp on and immediately ate it again, going down hard on the same side but getting up immediately and moving on—not the last time that would happen. I knew I'd pay for those falls the next day with crippling shoulder pain, but for now, just keep coming—this is just like the first hill—I thought. It was getting colder and darker, but I felt like I was even stronger on the back 35 than in the beginning.
Pushing hard the last 16 was worth it with one scalp about seven miles from the finish. As I was pushing the climb up Mt. Frosty, I passed a guy and his pacer hard. Then, right after that, I hit a scree field (about 1/2 mile from the top of the mountain is all different sized loose rock requiring you to climb on your hands, and, coming down, you have to sit on the rock and put your feet down and try not to slip). There was a lightning storm just south, but no rain. It was freezing and windy, and I ran out of water and Advil by now with about six to go. At this point I’m pushing so hard at high elevation that I’m nauseous, and I can’t shake this dude. And I'm not sure how much I have left given the very slow pace. It was such a sketchy way to finish and I was so annoyed and stayed that way tripping down the the mountain switchbacks in the pitch black mist.
I passed a bunch of 120-milers who still had 20-25 to go. One of their pacers told me I had 4 left, which annoyed me, but IF she was right, I might be home before 12. That, and the prospect of everyone charging hard behind me and maybe another last-minute scalp, kept me moving. Finally, I could see and hear the finish line but couldn’t tell how much longer I had. That is until I heard “runner up!” and saw an aid station in a clearing. And as soon as I did, I hit a pile of rocks and nearly fell, again. I knew the station wasn't for 70 milers since it was so close to the finish, and I yelled out 721 and was directed around to the back. I heard people coming behind me and I had no idea if they were 70 milers, 120 milers, or figments of my imagination, so I booked it and started hyperventilating/sobbing. Thank god it was over. I came in and saw Grace and Heather, the race director, and got some congratulations from them. Grace took me to warm clothes and food and we watched a few finishers. Heather wouldn’t tell me what place I got. I finished in 16:53, over an hour faster than I thought I could go, with 2000 more feet of elevation than I thought there would be, and with an illness I didn’t factor in. I told Heather the race was great and thanked her, and she told me to stop shining my headlamp in her face.
**Update: I ended up taking 6th place. San Francisco smoked me by 15 minutes, placing 5th. I never saw him again after mile 25. But I put nine minutes over the final marathon on Redshirt, who came in 7th. Susan took 10th and 1st female. Cranky Pants and Toronto faded to 12th and 13th, respectively. (Hannah, the sister and daughter of Megan and Dianna, was the women’s second place finisher! -G)
After the long drive back to the hotel I took my socks off to find my feet totally wrecked. One painful shower later and I was ready for a few hours of sleep. That’s all I could muster before my adrenal glands woke me up. Not bad for my first real solo effort. I missed having the RIMboiz there and my pacer extraordinaire Mike, but judging by their reactions to the race, we may get the band back together soon.
Part III: Sexsmith Road
After a long day Saturday, Grace and I were DTE. We hit a diner for breakfast and stuffed ourselves, and hightailed it to Vancouver for Asian food. Based on her friend’s recos we went to a strip mall for bubble tea. From there we hit the tourist market at Granville Island, got some mushroom pot pie soup and a sourdough loaf and cheese to nom on by the water. On our way out we saw the cutest sea otter rip a salmon carcass to shreds, chewing right through the bone. Then, we grabbed some banging Taiwanese in a Vancouver strip mall. I had vegan spicy beef and Grace had three-cup chicken which looked fantastic. My favorite part of the trip, and Grace’s least favorite, was that the restaurant was on Sexsmith Road.
After a quick snooze and a ride to the airport, I realized Grace made that trip infinitely more fun and infinitely easier for me. I’m down to drag her to another ultra marathon and down to pace for her first.
I hope you enjoyed Mike’s swashbuckling account of the past few days. I want to mention how much fun it was to hang out with Megan and Dianna during race day. And how much I loved hearing their accents, eh? If you are ever in Chilliwack, Canada, go to Megan’s soon-to-be-opened brewery, Bricklayer Brewery!