Our wine weekend started with a trip to the race expo on Saturday afternoon. There wasn’t much to see and no race kit or free samples, but we each took home a pair of etched wine glasses, which was a pretty sweet deal. We took advantage of being in wine country and drove into Niagara-on-the-Lake for lunch on a patio. We also stopped by the Hillebrand Winery for a tasting.
After making the hour and thirty minute trek home, we spent the evening wining and dining at our friends’ house. We pretty much broke every pre-race rule there is – ate a lot of junk food, drank copious amounts of wine and stayed up too late. We stumbled into bed around midnight, knowing we’d have to be up early to drive into Niagara.
We all felt surprisingly okay this morning as we woke up to a beautiful sunny day made our way back to wine country. We arrived at the designated area in plenty of time to pick up our chips, get organized and attach our “props”.
We caught the shuttle to the start line, just 10 minutes or so up the road at the Malivoire Winery where we had about an hour to relax before the start. We enjoyed the scenery and used the time to discuss
race strategies wine consumption strategies. It was hot and sunny and we were all relieved to have decided against the half marathon and settled on the 10K.
Soon enough it was time to head down the road about 400m to the starting line. We were stoked and ready to go. And we were off! First stop: Malivoire Winery! Yep, we were already stopping for wine within the first moments of the race. We had to make a pretty significant detour off the route and run all the way up the driveway into the winery for our tasting. Most people ran right by and in fact, we were the first people in there. We were not missing out on any tasting opportunities! *The Malivoire Chardonnay Musqué turned out to be our favourite and we actually drove back to the winery after the race to pick up a couple bottles.*
After sampling a white AND red, we were back on the road. The route was absolutely beautiful with vineyards lining both sides of the road. It certainly wasn’t an easy course and it wasn’t long before we hit the first monstrous hill.
We continued on our merry way and pretty soon it was time for our next tasting! The Tawes Winery had some incredible landscaping and this time I sampled a rosé.
But soon enough, we were rewarded with more wine: Vineland Estates was up next.
And then, you guessed it, another hill.
I was ex-haus-ted and sweating like crazy. Not to mention, feeling a little tipsy. It’s amazing how quickly a few sips of wine will go to your head when you’re running!
Next stop was Featherstone Estate Winery for some more cool and refreshing white.
Shortly thereafter, we headed into the Ball’s Falls Conservation Area for some much-needed shade… and yes, more wine! This one was just set up on the side of the road and I have no idea what kind of wine it was. Oops!
Pretty soon we were heading into the finishing chute and the 4 of us tried to do some crazy jumping thing as we crossed the line – it will be interesting to see how/if that turns out.
# of wine stops: 5
It was a personal worst by a long shot, but not too bad considering all the stops, alcohol consumption, the difficult course and hot day. It was by far the most fun I have EVER had in a race and this will definitely be a tradition. What a weekend!
Thanks for reading this long-winded report and I apologize if it was incoherent – but, well, I’m sure you’ll understand why. Cheers!