Change #68: -27 Degrees Celsius: Back In The Cold For Red Bull Crashed Ice

Because I had warmed up sufficiently after my 10 KM run in the morning, I decided it would be a good idea to head back into the cold for an evening event.


Absolutely not.

I was freezing for the rest of the day after my 10 KM run. But the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championships came to Ottawa for only a couple of days. I didn’t want to miss it.

Last last night was the last night. It was neither warm nor convenient – but time was limited for this event that lit the downtown core up of Ottawa with an array of red/white lights and then switched later on to blue/white lights. Music pulsed through the city streets, where politicians walk on weekdays.

The crowd was a mixture of everyone. Our downtown core is dominated by civil servants and politicians on weekdays. But that night, I’m sure there were people that held different occupations: bakers, janitors, civil servants, high-tech workers, retail workers – all positions, all people – were included.  There were no differences between us as we braved the cold to see and celebrate this event.

And the four of us were there: Dan, Sheila, hubby and me. The four amigos.

But let’s back up a bit. My friend Sheila had suggested this event to me last weekend when the temperature wasn’t nearly as cold. At the time it seemed like a good idea – probably because it was warmer. I did not think through of what a marathon day it might be – but said excitedly to her, that I would check with hubby to see if he wanted to attend.

As it turned out, my husband heard of the event already, and was going to suggest it to me. So, he was already on board with the plan. I texted Sheila on Sunday and said we were game for it. Immediately, she texted me back with a link that outlined the schedule. I promised I would take a look at it and get back to her the next day.

Alas, last week was a series of hiccups. Sheila and Dan’s dogs (they have 2) disappeared on Monday night.  They were found a couple of hours later safely. The search party assembled that consisted of friends and neighbours to locate the two delinquent canine drifters were delighted with the happy outcome. (My hubby and I were two of a much larger group.) The pups back in their parents possession, some of us stayed and had a quick celebratory drink to savour the moment of the happy reunification of the family.

Tuesday night was the last scramble to complete The Beautiful and Damned. (Why, oh why, do I always wait to the last minute to get stuff done?) 

Wednesday morning I drove to work, arrived early, and browsed in my car on my phone obsessively checking my graphs.  When I went to leave my car, it gave the dreaded ding! ding! ding! that indicated the idiot (that’s me) left her lights on (again). In a panic, I turned the lights off and then attempted to start my car. Nothing. I tried again a few seconds later – there was a little blip of something – but mostly, there was nothing. I bowed my head and thought, great I have a dead battery – AGAIN!  

I texted my husband and informed him. He planned to come out at the end of the day, we would have dinner, and he would help me start my car with the portable battery booster that I now carry, thanks to the dead battery mishap that I had a few months earlier.  (Yeah, it’s happened a couple of times.) After dinner, I thought I would try the car before we used the booster. Magically, my car purred to life.

Thursday night I was jut plain tired. So tired,that I forgot how to zip my gigantic ultra-warm purple coat that I use when I walk Hershey.

I’m not kidding. In the morning, before the sun had risen, I struggled with the zipper for some time, accepted defeat, and opted instead to wear my smaller, less warm coat. (Thank goodness the cold snap had not gripped Ottawa yet.)

When I arrived home in the evening (I had told my husband that the zipper was broken on my super warm purple coat in the morning) he informed me that he tried both zippers on both coats (they are the same colour) and the zippers both worked.

I was so tired, I couldn’t zip a zipper.

Friday – was like HURRAH! I made it to the end of this week! Whew! I need a drink!

Friday night just before bedtime, I went to text Sheila reminding her I was not available for our scheduled morning walk with our dogs because I was scheduled for the Hypothermic 10 KM. When to my horror, the link she sent on Sunday night providing the details to the Red Bull Crashed Ice event popped up. It was the last thing that she shared with me. I never replied. The link stared back at me with accusing words that said, yeah, this is your fault! 

I texted her frantically with a thousand apologies that night. Post-run on Saturday, we sent a flurry of texts back and forth working out the details of who would drive, when we would meet, where we would park, and what kind of food we wanted before we went to see the event.

We went downtown, parked in the City of Ottawa parking garage, and settled on pasta for dinner. We braced against the cold, bundling up with scarves, hats and gloves as we quick-marched down Elgin Street to Johnny Farina’s restaurant. When we arrived, it was just starting to get busy with people donning enormous fluffy fake fur-lined boots with Parkas that hung on the back of their chairs.

Yeah, they were all going to the Red Bull Crashed Ice event too. Weather be damned.  

We ordered our meal, had a drink, eat a little bread. Our meal appeared a little time later as the waitstaff worked tirelessly to manage the people seated and ordering, bringing the food out, and managing the throngs of people that now, gathered at the front door waiting for a table.

Our meals appeared and everything looked fantastic with my Penne Johnny Farina steaming hot with vegetables, chicken, penne that were mixed together and topped with fresh parmesan cheese. My forkfuls were loaded with the mixture and it danced on my taste buds as it deliciously moved it’s way down to my tummy.

Then something terrible happened. I had heaved in possibly more than I should of (I was honestly a little bit full before this happened, but refused to stop) and then suddenly I found myself  incredibly nauseous. In an instant.  My mouth was still full with the chicken/penne/vegetable combo and I was stuck mid-chew. I honestly thought I was going to be sick right there. Right then. And I sat directly across from Sheila.

I chewed slowly and probably had the same look a child does before they throw-up their food. I managed to finish the mouthful that I had and Dan looked at me, not even a second later, and asked, “Are you full?”

I didn’t want to ruin anyone’s night but I had to be honest. If I was going to embarrass them, I should at least give them ample warning of a major catastrophe. I came clean and said, “I suddenly didn’t feel well.” As I pushed my half-full plate a little further away.

My husband turned to me with concern traced through his face and said, “It’s probably just because your tired, and you had wine first, with no food.”

I nodded agreement at him. After that I stopped eating. Apparently, that’s what it takes.

Did we go to the Red Bull Crashed Ice event?  

You bet.

We were four of the larger group of Ottawa people that rallied against the arctic temperatures that night. We made our way down Elgin Street, passing the war monument, past the Chateau Laurier that directly across from it stands the Old Train Station that is currently being renovated, on our way to Major Hill Park. I packed my mammoth ski gloves that kept my fingers warm. Once on Major Hill Park, there was music and so much light it lit up the downtown area. It was by far the most gleaming, party atmosphere that I have ever seen in the Nation’s Capital in my last 24 years that I have lived in this city.

We jostled at the fence to try to catch a view of the skaters. We snaked our way down the fence taking up various viewpoints along the way. At one point, we managed to see just a snippet of the race that contained a jump.

But we never made it to the very front. Hubby, Sheila and I abandoned Dan at one point and started making our way back to the car. The three of us opted to cross at Rideau Center so that we could have a few minutes to warm up in the mall, before going back in the cold to make our way back to the City of Ottawa parking garage.

True friend that Sheila is, she took the knapsack that I was carrying and carried it for a good hour when we were on Major Hill Park, through Rideau Center, and back to the parking garage. It was probably because of quiet concern for my well-being at the near-Penne-disaster at the restaurant.

Dan on the other hand, who was dressed in the least amount of winter gear, stayed out and made it to Wellington Street. He is apparently made of tougher stuff, than wimpy me. (Honestly, I think Sheila and hubby only left Dan because they were worried about me as I continued to look green for the rest of the night.)

From his viewpoint on Wellington Street, Dan managed to get some amazing pictures.  We reconnected as a group within an hour at the parking garage and made our way home.

Was it worth it?

A one time event, that has never happened before in the Nation’s Capital, with two of my closest and  kindest friends, and my hubby?

Of course.


Don’t knock the photos. We took these with our cell phones.

For better photos: Please See Dan



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