Salomon Adventure Challenge
|1||EAS/Hammer||1||Charlie's Angels||1||Simon River Sports|
|5||Dead Reckoning||5||deep woods barbie||5||Breakfast Television|
Bon Echo Provincial Park boasts a collection of extremes
amongst the Addington Highlands of southwestern Ontario – one of
the deepest lakes in the province, a massive 100 metre-tall slab
of granite stretching two kilometers in length, and 500 year-old
pictographs illustrating the life stories of Native Canadians.
Surrounding these highlights, is a backdrop for adventure racing
that can only be described as epic.
On a sunny and warm May 7th, 2005, Frontier Adventure Racing returned to Bon Echo P.P. in the staging of the summer season opener for the Salomon Adventure Challenge Series. A sell-out race of 100 teams from Ontario, Quebec, and the USA created an electric atmosphere at Race Headquarters as most teams camped out both before and after the race. An additional buzz was created by the presence of City TV’s Breakfast Television as they planned to follow their own Dave Pinton, competing in his first adventure race!
Upon the completion of the Race Briefing at the Park’s amphitheatre, racers gathered underneath the Salomon arch for the beginning of the race at 10:10 am. With a 2 km Le Mans start to the canoeing portion of the race, it was quite a scene. Imagine 300 lifejacket-wearing, kayak paddle-carrying crazy adventurers frantically running along Park roads as the summer adventure racing season officially kicked off.
Once in the canoes, teams were treated to a 15 km circular tour of Bon Echo’s easternmost landscape. Beginning at South Beach, the route traveled south past Rekr Rock and then upstream to the east end of Semicircle Lake where CP1 was located. Teams Lather. Rinse. Repeat. - No One Gets Left Behind of Toronto, EAS/Hammer of Hamilton, and RunningFree.ca of Toronto were quick off the mark, establishing an early lead. The most fun aspect of this section of the race was negotiating the upstream drag of canoes (and teammates!) through some swift water and then attempting to move quickly through the shallow, sludgy waters just before the CP. Thankfully, no one lost their shoes in the muck!
The paddle continued on Shabomeka Lake and Kishkebus Lake to the
1.6 km portage to Upper Mazinaw Lake. Teamwork was tested
through the boat carry – some canoes were heavier than others –
and a bit of rocky terrain had to be negotiated. The final
descent at the end of the lengthy portage was a welcomed respite
as were the cheering locals in a few motor boats that
congregated in the area.
Racing hard to CP3/TA1, teams Machine of Parry Sound, Beowulf-Reloaded of Toronto, and Simon River Sports of Chelsea pushed the leaders as they paddled their way under the ominous Mazinaw Rock, through the Narrows, and around the Lagoon to the start of the first biking section. At races end, this paddling route was lauded as one of the most beautiful paddles ever featured in a Salomon AC event.
Volunteers from Friends of Bon Echo encouraged the teams to transition quickly as this next biking section was a mere 2 km long. Teams cycled west toward the start of the trek where Bon Echo Creek intersected a trail head.
What lay ahead at this stage of the racecourse, was a regular and advance option trekking section. Teams making their way over land to CP6 before the 2:30 pm cut-off would have the option of either course. Those completing the advanced trek would automatically rank ahead of regular course teams in the final standings. In an increasingly competitive Series, having this option caters to all levels of racers.
From CP4/TA2, teams
Dead Reckoning of Oakville and
HolisticClinic.ca #1 and
#2, both of Ottawa made up
some time by chasing each other along the trail run to CP5, just
south of Bon Echo Lake. At the post-race festivities, CP5 race
staff received a rousing applause from the teams as being the
most enthusiastic volunteers – nice work guys!
As teams moved off-trail from CP5 to CP6 through varying Highland terrain, 20 years worth of work by the area’s relentless beaver population created a dose of havoc for the race logistics. CP6 was meant to be at the east end of Pearson Lake where the Skootamatta River begins. However, Pearson Lake has grown eastward since 1985 – the time when this area was last mapped by the government – and the CP was off the UTM grid coordinate by about 400 metres where the present Lake now drains. Nevertheless, teams continued on toward CP6A at Rainy Lake, the advanced course checkpoint, or CP7/TA3, where the regular course and advanced course meet up again at the east end of Joeperry Lake.
As with any FAR event, route selections were a-plenty as there
were no discernable trails in this westernmost region of Bon
Echo P.P. The various routes taken by each team were a point of
much discussion at race’s end; exactly the flavour that sets FAR
From CP7/TA3, it was an 8 km biking leg to the Salomon finish arch at Race Headquarters. The pace was fast as only 11 minutes separated the fastest team and the 59th fastest team throughout this final section.
Congratulations to teams Charlie’s Angels of St-Augustin-de-Desmaures, Quebec (SalomonWomenWill), Simon River Sports (Coed), and EAS/Hammer (Male) for winning their respective categories.
A sell-out race, amazing landscape, and incredible weather – what an awesome start to the 2005 Salomon Adventure Challenge season!
See you June 11th for the Salomon AC Long Course!
What a great day
that we had at the Bon Echo race. The weather was fabulous and
the course was an interesting deviation from the normal layout.
Team Desk Mambies
Our team thought it
was an amazing race. The paddle was awesome...better than some
of the paddling we've done in 36-hour races. I have no problem
with the minimal biking...it's my worst discipline! It was a
good 8-hour workout for us.
I have some nasty photos of my legs for you to use to warn new racers why not to wear shorts.
Team Dead Reckoning
Let me congratulate you on a great race and fantastic weekend. The course was much more difficult than we had imagined but we loved it! The Park was perfect for the race since we did not have to contend with traffic or ATV'S (a big bonus!).
Talk to you soon.
Ken Hook (Reeve, County of Addington)
Team Cedar Strippers
Just to let you know
that Team SHOULD NO BETTER really enjoyed the SAC Bon Echo race.
We certainly felt challenged. We are runners and appreciated the
trek. We are not strong bikers and loved the biking section. The
water and swamp sections have left us with some great stories to
tell our non adventure racing friends.
It is a huge task to put together this type of race. You and your crew did a great job. Keep up the good work.
Hope to do another race
Should NO Better