Squamish endurance athlete Jen Segger ventured into new territory in the Rock and Ice Ultra last week, a 225 km point-to-point race in the Yukon Territories. You could either compete on cross country skis or snowshoes, and Segger went for the snowshoes.
She showed up with an injured Achilles tendon, but managed to overlook the pain over six days of racing in the freezing cold, dragging a sled behind her.
Segger finished second among women in the Diamond Ultra race with a total time of 34 hours and nine minutes, 28 minutes back of Denis McHale - arguably the top female adventure racer and endurance athlete in Canada, and a resident of the Northwest Territories. To put that time into perspective, the third place finisher in the category was out in the cold for 68 hours and five minutes.
Segger also placed third overall for all athletes, including the men.
"What happened is that I kind of crammed my training in a little bit, I only had a couple of weeks and I tried to get ready too fast," said Segger about her injury. "I knew I was doing it wrong, and would never do with a client what I tried to do myself."
Segger is happy she stayed in the competition and won three of the six stages, although she lost a lot of ground on a hard section when the snowshoes came off. "My injury didn't do well on hard surfaces, but I pushed through it as best I could."
Although Segger's not sure she would sign up again, she was glad she had the experience.
"It really made this winter to have some different winter races... but I think I really love the hot races, that's where it's at for me. It was cool to see Canada's north, and see the Northern Lights, which I had never seen before," she said.
"At least I made her work for the diamond, and kept up the pressure every day."