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Salomon Adventure Challenge
Ottawa River Valley
(Esprit Rafting, Fort Coulonge, QC)

Saturday July 15, 2006

Welcome to Frontier Adventure Racing's 9th season of staging Canada's most exciting wilderness adventure races!




1 Simon River Sports 1 adidas divas 1 XPLORE- MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR
2 Archipela/ 2 Salomon Women Will... 2 Last but not least
3 adidas Canada 3 No Woods but lots of Bush! 3 Constremely Exfused
4 Suffer in Silence 4 Muskoka Trail Blazers 4 cling-ons
5 Hunger/Dead Reckoning 5 Should NO Better 5 Had No Plans

DETAILED RACE RESULTS - Analyze your stats.

COURSE MAP - an overview of the course on a satellite image of the area.

PHOTO GALLERY - view some great shots of the race.

TEAM PHOTOS - from registration. Download yours, a gift from Frontier to you!

TEAM LIST & BIOS - Congratulations to all teams that competed this weekend!

Click here for the pre-race information.

Team Hit the S.A.C. would like to thank you for the most ROCK'IN AWESOME EXPERIENCE!! We are hooked!

We went into this without any experience in AR at all. Crazy, I know but FAR's website said "no experience necessary". We kept repeating to ourselves as we were on our way to CP1 "over 90% of teams finish".

We all work, have kids and spouses that thought we were crazy! We were in average shape but stepped it up a bit a couple of months before the race...because of the great host facility, friendly staff, great race organization, the willingness of experienced team members to share info and tips etc etc, our intro into AR gave us a high that we are still riding!!!

We are spreading the word of our experience and may already have two more teams for next year!

Great Job Everyone!
Marc Bisson, Stephane Grandmont, Kim Barnes
Team Hit the S.A.C.

Nice Day for a Swim?!

Saturday July 15th dawned hot and humid at the Esprit Rafting main lodge on the Ottawa River. The weather guessing people were claiming that it would be 30 degrees with a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. So of course we got a brief but torrential downpour exactly at 0830, which moved the race briefing indoors. It wasn’t quite enough rain to cool the temperatures, but would guarantee near 100% humidity for the race start and initial mountain bike leg.

At 10:00am Geoff Langford counted down the start and then had to scamper for his life as the pack took off like a bunch sprint in the Tour de France. Andrew Cameron of adidas Canada seemed determined to draft the pace vehicle the entire way, only letting up a bit when he realised that he had gapped the entire field by 100 metres. Maybe he was just looking for some face-time from the borderline insane videographer hanging from a rope out the back of the van.

The race settled down on the road ride leading to the ATV trail, with all the usual suspects hammering in front: Simon River Sports, adidas Canada, Hunger/Dead Reckoning, Beowulf XXY, and the adidas divas. Added to this mix were some newer teams that were also showing big engines such as XPLORE- MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR, Muskoka Madmen, Archipela, and Sports Performance Centres. These were the first teams into CP1 which was located at a spectacular scenic lookout after lots and lots of steep “wait ‘til we get our hands on the !@#%* course designer” climbing.

Simon River Sports had a narrow lead at this point, but several teams were right on their heels so the pace at the front was pretty much pedal-to-the-metal. It is doubtful that any of the lead teams even noticed the fantastic vistas which were the highlight of CP1. Further back in the pack, however, several teams stopped to soak in the view and even snap some pictures.

After some exhilarating downhills, the teams swung onto a gravel road beside the Riviere Noire and rode a few kilometres into CP2 where they transitioned onto the trekking leg. It was still closely bunched at the front, and Simon River Sports pulled in just 10 minutes after Geoff Langford had left to hike CP3 staff in to their checkpoint. After some frantic radio calls, Geoff abandoned the volunteers to find their own way and raced for CP3 on his own, arriving just ahead of Simon River Sports.

At CP3 teams could either trek around the Sauriol Lakes, or swim the 50 metre channel that connected them. The latter choice was much faster and way more fun, especially given the heat. Teams all seemed to really enjoy the cooling swim, and there were fewer death threats directed at the course designer from this point on.

The trek from CP3 to CP4 was the crux of the regular course from a navigational standpoint, and it shook up the standings a bit. Even some of the lead teams ran into difficulties and ended up taking rather creative routes between these checkpoints. As a result there was a mad scramble for some teams to make the 1330 advanced course cut-off at CP5, which was the start of the paddling leg.

The adidas divas temporarily forgot they had a watch and didn’t realise until they were on the advanced trek that they had only made the cut-off by 10 minutes. Beowulf XXY overcame the Murphy-esque scenario of a flat tire combined with both their bike pumps breaking. They sprinted into CP5, completed the fastest transition in Salomon Adventure Challenge history, and pulled out with 1 minute to spare.

The advanced course was a single CP located about 1.5 km from the river, which teams could attack either from the east or the south. The challenge was to keep track of exactly where they were on the river when they started the trek, because they would then have to find their way back to their canoes.

Simon River Sports once again had FAR staff in a panic as course designer Pete Dobos raced to get uber-volunteer Laval Rossignol to the checkpoint in time. A fallen tree across the trail had turned a 40 minute drive into a 30 minute drive followed by a 40 minute hike. Pete and Laval arrived at the CP simultaneously with Simon River Sports, and only 10 minutes ahead of Archipela and XPLORE- MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR.

The advanced course featured some fairly thick bush, and areas of head-high raspberry canes which made racers look like they had been on the losing end of a fight with a couple of hundred feral cats. Of the 8 teams to attempt the advanced course, 3 would not be able to make the finish line cut-off of 1800 hours. Muskoka Madmen and Sports Performance Centres came agonizingly close, finishing at 1803 and 1805 respectively. Beowulf XXY saw Murphy have the last laugh as they suffered another flat tire during the final bike leg as they raced to make the cut-off. They crossed the line at 1819.

Simon River Sports won the race, taking 1st place in the Open division as well as 1st Overall. The only blemish on their day was top regular course team Suffer in Silence (4th Open category) who made some noise as they managed to beat Simon River Sports to the finish by 1 minute. Benoit Letourneau was later seen crying and pulling his hair out, and vowing to train even harder.

Seriously, Simon River Sports is one impressive team. Not only are they fast, but they are obscenely consistent in a sport where so much can happen. They will be in Sweden in August, racing in the AR World Championships. Worthy representatives of Canadian AR, and we wish them all the best. Allez! Allez! Now back to our race…

Archipela and adidas Canada battled neck-and-neck throughout the course and finished just 5 minutes apart for 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Open division. Team Hunger/Dead Reckoning had a solid race except for some problems in the initial trek from CP2 to CP3 which saw them drop from 4th to 5th in the Open division.

XPLORE- MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR is a team to watch as they followed up their impressive 1st overall at the Long Format SAC a month ago with a convincing start-to-finish win in the Coed division. They also finished 2nd overall only 26 minutes behind SRS. Last but not least completely failed to live up to their name by finishing 2nd Coed, crossing the finish line at the same time as division winners XPLORE- MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR. XMH was the only Coed team to officially complete the advanced course and so were placed ahead of regular course finishers.

Constremely Exfused – the team name that nobody can pronounce nor spell – rebounded from losing a team-mate to illness the morning of the race to finish 3rd Coed with a last-minute replacement from the volunteer ranks. They held off cling-ons who came in only 4 minutes behind them for 4th place Coed. Had No Plans and Vampire's night battled back and forth the whole way, with Had No Plans capturing 5th Coed just 4 minutes ahead of Vampire's night.

The Female category saw the adidas divas continue to impress as the only Female team to complete the advanced section. They finished 1st Female and 5th overall, and are the team to beat in the Female division. Simon River Sports factored into the Female division as well, as SRS regular Liza Pye helped team Salomon Women Will to a 2nd place finish. It was another close race for 3rd and 4th, with No Woods but lots of Bush! finishing 2 minutes ahead of Muskoka Trail Blazers.

Teams continued to finish at Esprit Rafting until 1930, as race management kept the course open past the official 1800 cut-off to allow teams to experience as much of the course as possible. Racers in this group were as likely to be grinning ear-to-ear as not, exemplifying the great attitude adventure racers tend to have.

Special mention has to go out to Jim, Erin, Dennis, and the rest of the Esprit staff for providing such a wonderful host site. We plan to be back, and you won’t want to miss it.

The first ever “golden cojones” award goes out to Esprit videographer “Nacho” who risked life and limb to capture some terrific race footage. The race DVD can be purchased directly from Esprit by phoning 1-800-596-7238 for an incredible price of just $20.

Finally, huge thanks to Muskoka Trail Blazers who were only a couple of minutes behind 3rd place in the Female division when they came across Trihardo Gilgano at the side of the trail: one of their team members had crashed and split open his knee. The Trailblazers immediately went from racers to paramedics, spending almost half an hour tending to the injured racer until medics could arrive on the scene. We’re pleased to report that the knee was successfully stitched up at the Pembroke Hospital, and the young racer will be back to 100% in no time.

Last but not least: Congratulations to all the teams, and thank you for a wonderful race experience! See you out there in the real wilderness, doing some real navigation and having some real adventures!

Pete Dobos

"Everyone did a great job on the race. I love the location! We took advantage of staying Friday and Saturday at Esprit and had a great time. Too tired to stay up late Saturday night but overall a great time!"

Stephen Nason
"Suffer in Silence", 4th All Male