Strangely epic race boxes on my front doorstep

We get a lot of boxes on my doorstep each week.  Some related to product reviews, some related to The Bakery, and some related to completely random stuff.  It’s probably a box every day. So it probably comes as no surprise that I don’t always know what will show up, or what’s in the box.  Sometimes orders I place don’t get filled immediately and end up showing up weeks or even months later.  And other times I may not even know a package is arriving from a given company to review, until I open it up (many in the industry have my contact info).

So the other day I found this on my doorstep:


The writing in and of itself pretty much confused the heck out of me.  What threw me for a loop was not only the suspect outer packaging (I expected the other side to say “BOMB!”), but the customs declaration, which noted that it was tourism literature.


So, now I have a box from Nova Scotia with theoretically a big pile of tourism literature.  Now obviously I enjoy Canada, after all – The Girl is from our cousins to the North.  But she’s not from Nova Scotia (instead, Newfoundland), and I only know a handful of people in Nova Scotia.  None of whom would have any logical reason to send us tourism literature (not that logic needed to be invoked here of course).

Nonetheless, I went ahead and opened it.  I figured that there probably aren’t too many dangerous Canadians from Nova Scotia sending things to Americans.  Or really too many dangerous Canadians at all for that matter.


After reading the first line of the letter, that’s when it clicked.

I remembered back some time ago (probably a month) a race director had e-mailed asking for my address.  This is fairly unusual since there isn’t exactly much that I would review from a race director.  But, nonetheless he was friendly (like most Canadians) and so I didn’t think much of it and sent him my address.

The only statement worth noting in his e-mail was as follows:

“Hoping we can entertain/amuse you, and get on your radar for a future year.”

And with that, I forgot about.

Well, until I opened up the box and found one of the more bizarre gadgets I’ve seen to date.


What is it you ask?

Well, three things actually.  First, there’s a 3D puzzle wrapped in a scarf.  Well actually, I suppose it is possible that a confused Irishman could use it as a very skimpy Kilt, sorta Borat Mankini style.


And below the first two items was that pile of tourism literature that the declaration form noted.


So, about this ‘3D puzzle’ thing.  You know that maze that’s on the tilted wooden board where you tilt the board in different directions to get the ball to the end?  Well, it’s like that – except instead of a board, it’s a ball about the size of a volleyball, and the ‘track’ is in 3D and you have to constantly move it upside-down and all over the place to make it work.


Just getting to the ‘starting line’ is work, let alone mastering any of the 125+ steps from that point forward.


It says it’s ages 8 and up.  Which, it likely is.  The problem is as I’ve found out – it’s incredibly difficult.  And by implying that an 8 year old can do it, that in turn means that it should be easier for me.  It’s not.


After trying to ‘master’ the 3D puzzle while trying to make dinner, I’ve decided that this will definitely be going out in some sorta of giveaway.  Like a “here’s a sport watch plus the 3D puzzle” type giveaway.  Merely because the more I attempt to get past step 3 (of 125), the more I find out how bad I am at it.  Which in turn reduces my self-esteem.


So, in summary – yes, the folks at Epic Dartmouth (which, btw, is an Iron-Aquabike/Triathlon event up in Nova Scotia) have definitely succeeded at getting my attention and ‘amusing’ me (though, that barrier is usually fairly low). 

On a sport level, I did however think it’s interesting that they offer a Iron-distance Swim/Bike with a side of half-marathon run as an alternative.  I’m not aware of any other event doing that, but I could see scenarios where if you wanted a longer training day/brick without the full impact of a marathon run – that might work out.  Typically speaking the run portion is the piece that takes the greatest recovery toll after the event (hence why in the past I’ve actually done a full Iron-distance Aquabike + a few extra miles running as a Ironman training day).  And, since it’s held on Canada day, it’ll be one big party (a lesson I learned from my Canadian in-laws the day before our wedding last year).

On the blog side, I’ve got another product review coming up this week, plus I think one of the elusive non-technology mailbags as well. As always, thanks for reading!


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  1. Very intriguing indeed!

    I wonder if the WTC doesn’t have as much sway over protecting their trademark in Canada as they do in the US (using the “dot” and same font)???? I’m volunteering for an iron distance event in MI that was originally call Michigan Iron until we got a cease and desist letter from the WTC for simply using the word “Iron” (They tried to stake claim over using the numbers 140.6 and 70.3 in advertising as well). Rather than spend time/money/resources fighting it, it is the Michigan Titanium. I’ll be interested to see how much interest they get in the more unusual distance. We originally started with a full Iron and 3/4 Iron (1.2 swim, 85mi bike, 13.1mi run), but have changed it to a half Iron based on low numbers.

  2. Tim

    To your question about WTC and Trademarks, WTC did send us a friendly letter asking us not to use any IRONMAN trademarks.

    We replied that we were happy to comply, and also that we didn’t think we were? But, if they felt there was an issue, and they had a trademark that covered the use of the word ‘Iron’ or letters of the alphabet that looked like people, to please send us a copy, as we had no wish to infringe, but we really didn’t think there would be any confusion between our EPIC Dartmouth race and IRONMAN.

    We asked them to get back to us if they had a problem with our reply, even invited them to the race and said we’d be happy to help promote one of their events if they wanted to work together, but never heard back from them…

    Race Director
    EPIC Dartmouth

    PS We are going to run some fun promos for next year’s event – if you are curious, ‘Subscribe’ to our page, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook, and we’ll keep you posted.