There we were. Braving -2 degree temperatures. Facing ferocious predators that wanted to devour us - whole and alive. Surrounded by snow and ice, with the smell of fear and death pungent in the air. Feeling like raw friggin meat. Thinking to myself, has hell finally frozen over? What *exactly* are we in for here...will we escape with any shred of life or limb?
Yes. [Flashbacks - shivers down the spine; hair standing straight up on the nape; and goosebumps all over my body - just remembering.] Hell yes! I’m talking about the National Toboggan Championship. Camden, Maine. February 9-11, 2017. That was one for the ages. And I’m finally ready to share some of that fateful occasion with you.
Rising up to challenge and looking death right in the eye with a laugh were my Teammates from Hell Freezes Over. Each and every one a baller badass. Our Fearless Leader was Dr. Andrew ‘Evil Eye’, and our Team included Brian ‘Poseidon’s Wrath’; Kyle ‘Thunder n’ Lightning’; and Sal ‘Very Very Frightening’. This group of All-Stars, along with yours truly (‘You Ain’t Seen Nothin Yet, MF!’), represents Hell Freezes Over, and we were in it to win it! And how can I forget the star of the show, Crystal? Our beautiful, handcrafted toboggan. She’s a beauty!
Dr. Evil Eye led the way with a vengeance, embodying the ethos of Hell Freezes Over. He hired a physicist to consult on aerodynamics; a yoga instructor to teach us barbarians how to stretch into ideal toboggan positioning; and a master craftsman to construct nothing but the finest toboggan this earth has ever seen, she-that-was-respectfully-dubbed-with-the-stripper-name-Crystal. Dr. Evil Eye did extensive research on the best woods to use, the best wax to use, and the optimal techniques to wax under different temperatures. He led us in meditation sessions and copious amounts of hoppy ‘hydration’.
I have to say, we had a lot going for us. Not just our leadership and general badassery; not just diligence, athleticism, and discipline...we had some really kickass gear! From Arc’teryx LEAF, Alpha Jackets and Drac Pants; from Combat Flip Flops, custom U.S. Elite Shemaghs, proudly showcasing the American flag; from Outdoor Research, the Ninjaclava, Crest Hat and Sensor Gloves; and from Salomon Forces, 4D Quest Gore-tex boots. As many of you Warriors know, it’s not just how you perform - it’s how you look! Applying the ‘CDI’ factor (‘chicks dig it’), I’d say our boys were oozing sex appeal, they were practically eaten alive. I can’t swear it was the gear. Then again, I can’t swear it wasn’t…
And then we took the plunge.
With the spirit of the ancient warrior, Kyle ‘Thunder n’ Lightning’ penned this about our battle with the Great White Whale:
Ode to Hell Freezes Over 2017
Andrews cottage right there in Camden
Offered shelter to these five madmen
Brian hauled the rig in snow filled Jeep
Couldn't wait to ride her down the steep.
They mounted her gently in the snow
Trying so hard to be in the know
Then gathered 'round in the kitchen
Gear from US Elite was all ass kicken
On Crystals' bottom they screwed skids
And buffed on wax as if still kids
To Mariners first for a Pancake and egg
More coffee and hash their stomachs beg
Donned the gear for the freezing cold
With rig on rack they drove to the bowl
Climbed the hill to top of the chute
Toes all toasty in those Salomon boots
Then four guys on the rig they'd jump
Heads leaned back on another man's junk
With a tilt, they'd drop from the dock
Tucked in tight, a race against the clock
The nine five eight looked real nice
Only until it came up twice
They prep'd and planned with all they know
Just to learn of the great big of nose
They'd dine and drink until all full
Then laugh at stories about the bull
Was that sound from the chili rumblin'
Or someone on the stairs a tumblin'
All the fun and memories they'll hold dear
Then gather again to kick ass next year
Postscript: Getting home was a lot of fun. Got to drive my Ram with a sense of purpose - 10 hours of fighting a blizzard that left over 2 feet of snow :).
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Today is our final piece on layering. Ed discusses the base layer, which keeps warmth in and wetness away from the body. . . . .#tactical #gear #badass #outdoors #hiking #lawenforcement #arc’teryx