2nd time up the road to Searchmont for the race. Long drive, but worth it for a great event. They are great hosts and it’s a beautiful spot.
Over the weekend, my kids got more bites than I did. Seems the bugs do like that sweet toddler blood.
Course looks pretty straightforward, including some areas we are familiar with from last year. Although not my favourite map of all time.
Prerace, I thought I had plenty of time, but as always, end up frantically getting to the start line. We even left the passport in the transition bag and had to grab it after the start.
Last year, I remember telling Geoff “I was sure you were going to send us up the ski hill and you didn’t.” Careful what you wish for. Nothing like sending the heart rate into the red zone right off the bat.
“Which route should we take to CP1?”. “I dunno. Up.”
What do I hate more than climbing across rocks in my cycling shoes while carrying my bike? Crossing a fast river in the same shoes, carrying my bike. Went down once and found a rock with my shin, but managed to keep the bike and the hubs out of the water.
As always, too much trail information isn’t necessarily a good thing. Flagged? Unflagged? Decided to trek our own way keeping the river close on our left and following the bearing and eventually found trails that went where we wanted to. Very surprised to meet the top solos as we left CP5. Must be doing something right.
Once again, Goulais Falls SOUND very lovely. Someday, I’ll come and spend some time looking at them.
Coming out of CP6, feeling pretty good about our race so far, which means the Karma gods are due to give us a smackdown. We make good time and find CP8 right away. Note to self: after 6 and before 8 comes 7! We sort of forget about CP7. About to backtrack to get it when Ray realizes the beauty of unmanned CPs and a bike leg that loops back to the same TA. We could pick it up on the way back. Dumb mistake, but damage is minimalized thanks to Ray.
Coming around behind the big hill, we ponder following the leading solos up the back or riding around to the front to the road up the front of the hill off of Whitman dam road we hiked up last year. Decide to go with what we know and are able to ride a good part of the way up.
NOW we pick up CP7 on the way back to the TA and grab our canoes. As we had trekked close to the river, we were confident the loooong portage eventually went to the river (Jeremy didn’t seem so sure). Next year, I say we put in upstream and run the falls!
The first five minutes in a tippy canoe is terrifying. Finally settled and underway, but not before a couple close calls. But are VERY happy to not be in an inflatable.
River is much higher than last year, which means we miss out on the sandbar windsprints.
Ray has one job: paddle with the guy in front of him. Is it that hard?
Wind. Wind. Wind. Wind. Wind. Wind. Wind. Did I mention it was windy?
Finish a good paddle leg, survive the post-canoe leg cramps and then actually run the road (yes, I ran. Doesn’t happen often) to get ADV CP B. Miss the trail entrance, but are able to jump in and loop around the back to the CP. Didn’t get enough bushwhacking in this race so we cut across a swamp and pick up the final trail and run to the finish.
Thrilled to cross the line 3rd (well done, Jayme & Adrian) and get the champagne as top team. Nice to have a big cheering contingent welcome us at the finish, although my son was more interested in the cookies. My mother figures her being at the finish line made the difference for us having a great race. (It helped a little, mom.)
It’s a long drive from Toronto, but worth it to race with great teammates from Wawa. Ray was solid as always and Dave was out front pulling us forward. He was also the cheerleader, encouraging us along the way. Of course, Ray & I mocked him for that, but it was appreciated. Apparently Dave can’t race in Sept. – some lame excuse about his first child being born around then. We’ll work on him…
Great to see lots of first time racers with smiles at the start and even at the finish line. We saw the young lady from team Lost Boys (I think) on the climb up to CP1 and later at a TA and she didn’t look very happy to be racing at that moment. I hope she had a good day and will be back for more. And congrats to the Suicide Rooster boys. We’ve had days like that – finishing after everyone else has had dinner, but crossing the line makes up for long days.
After 8 seasons of racing, I still love this silly sport. Racing with and against good people. Every race you get to challenge yourself, learn something for next race (ie. I learned that 7 comes after 6…) and learn something about yourself.
Our challenge for this race was to find a female team mate so we could compete in the co-ed division of the race. Four days before the race, I discovered an old friend from high school was home from British Columbia to visit her family. Stacey was suffering from a bad concussion but was willing to give the race a try.
Come race day we all checked in and got down to plotting the check points on the map. I was a bit confused at first with some of the coordinates but quickly figured out how the map was put together. The race had some of the same CP’s as last year with a few new challenges.
We started the race with a quick run up the highest ski hill. Many people headed straight up the hill, while others took the trail up the hill. My team started up the short ski lift side and moved over to the other ski run half way up the hill. The hill was a bit slippery from the rain the night before but we made it up and down in good time.
Next was the first biking leg of the race. We ended up behind team MGM Maplewood, another co-ed team; they maintained their lead on us to the next TA. Team J.E.T. (co-ed as well) was nipping at our heals, it was a race to the river crossing. The crossing was a bit slippery but we made it across without any incidents and checked in at CP 4 / TA 2.
We were then off to CP 5. This hiking section started out easily enough following a trail along the Goulais River. We started to run into other teams, and everyone seemed to be having a difficult time finding CP 5. We ended up running all the way to the Whitman Dam Road so we quickly turned around and headed back before we started to try and figure out where we went wrong. We then decided to go to the river and see if we could figure out where we were. The trails were only causing us to get more turned around. At the river we figured out where we were. We set our compasses in the direction of CP 5 and in less then fifty feet we hit the trail that would take us straight to CP 5. We started to run into teams that already made it to CP 5 so we kept a steady pace to get back to CP 6. On the way back team J.E.T. showed up again and started racing us to the check point. We got lucky and they took the slower trail along the river and we took the four wheeler trail which took us straight to CP 6 / TA 3.
At CP 6 we jumped on our bikes and got out of TA 3 before team J.E.T. made it there. Then at CP 7 we caught up to team Lost Boys (another co-ed team). We followed them to the Whitman Dam Road where we turned left and they stopped to look at their map. CP 8 was uneventful but we didn’t slow down because we had a lot of competition in front of us and behind us. At CP 9 we took a few seconds to look at our map and compass to make sure we took the right trail. At this point we took the road less travelled which was straight on the bearing we were going. This caused a few other teams to go wrong and helped secure our position in the race. The grassy trail we were on turned into a skidder trail, and just about where we were going to drop our bikes a person called to us to carry our bikes up to a better trail. I am using better very loosely here, but either way he told us it was the way out after we picked up advanced CP A. This CP gave us a beautiful view of the valley. It is too bad that all the racers couldn’t get the opportunity to see it. After the short hike up the hill and back we made our way to CP 10 and TA 4. We made another quick transition to our canoe gear and quickly over took our old team mate who was racing with an all women team Destiny Calling.
The river canoe was a relaxing change from the biking and hiking. The only challenge on this leg was the steady head wind. When we saw CP 11 the river pushed us into a spruce tree that had fallen into the river. We almost got pushed off of it and the current pushed us back into the tree and we started to take on water. As the canoe rolled over we bailed out and floated our way to the CP. This cost us a bit of time but we enjoyed the swim.
There was then a quick run to advanced CP B and then on to the finish line. Solo racer Albert Johnson’s Nephew took off from CP 11 just in front of us. We did a little run through the bush to find the ski trail that took us to CP B. It was then off to the finish line to see if we won. We crossed the line at 4:46pm to win the co-ed division of the race.
This was our third adventure race and it will not be our last. We are finding out that every race has a new lesson in it to improve future races.
It is too bad that more Toronto racers can’t make the trip up to race in the beautiful and rugged Algoma country. The few that did come I am sure were not disappointed.
I also want to say it was nice to see all the new racers out. I hope you all try another race soon.
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