While many of the 63 Coed and Open teams had never heard of Warsaw, Ontario before (Kawarthas Salomon Adventure Challenge host site), all were quickly introduced to the area's adventurous and challenging terrain. Teams were faced with 3 separate biking sections, 2 portions of trekking, a 9 km paddle, and a quick jaunt into a cave…yes, that's right…a cave!
The list of registered teams included three past SAC Series winners - Priority One
(Bark Lake), Hunger
(Parry Sound), and Three Twigs in the Bush
(Elk Lake) - and a host of other experienced teams such as Everest Expedition 2003
, Jimmy's Night Out
, and Running Free
After shuttling 189 bikes and competitors to a remote, starting location, the race began with a rousing cheer. Racers tore off toward CP1 on a variety of mountain biking terrain and teams Three Twigs in the Bush
of Ottawa, Jimmy's Night Out
of Toronto, Kinetic Konnection
of Windsor, and Running Free
of Toronto lead the way. CP1 to CP2 required some decision making through the sometimes 'muddied' trails which allowed for the keen navigators to shine - Team Wolfpack
moved from 14th to 8th and Team Outlast
went from 52nd to 30th.
Muddied but smiling, the teams emerged from out of the trails just west of Quakenbush Provincial Park and made their way to CP2/TA1 within the boundary of the Petroglyphs Provincial Park - home to the oldest aboriginal rock carvings in North America. Team Out of Energy
of Toronto should be commended for their time between CP1 and CP2 as they 'scootered' a lame bike with a broken chain for most of this section.
From CP2/TA1, there were several routes to take while trekking to CP3, CP4 (at High Falls), and CP5/TA2. While some teams chose to bushwhack their way, others stuck to the matrix of trails in the park - more than a few teams were caught doing circles in this area. During this section, Team What the Hell?
of Toronto/Vancouver showed their true spirit and took the time to rescue a lost group of boys in the bush - hats of to this team!
The start of the canoeing section, CP5/TA2 was only a short trek from CP4 and most teams blazed along the east side of Eels Creek. Three Twigs in the Bush
continued their torrid pace between CP4 and CP5/TA2 and added 12 minutes to their slim lead over Jimmy's Night Out
. This lead increased further while on the water and they were rewarded with the e load Fully Loaded Award
for the Fastest Paddling time.
Stony Lake, entered from Eels Creek, gave teams a chance to rest their feet and experience the heart of Kawarthas' cottage country. The 9km section was a beautiful paddle and provided some opportunity to navigate through the collection of islands. During this part of the race, Team Out of Energy
continued to climb the rankings after their biking fiasco and moved into 8th place (26th at CP1!).
Teams were then required to bike 10km south to the lookout over the Warsaw Caves Conservation Area to begin a unique part of the racecourse. Choice is always something FAR Inc. likes to give racers and this was noticeable in this section - teams had to trek to two checkpoints (CP8 and CP9) after dropping their bikes and could do so in any order. This created an interesting number of route choices for teams as they negotiated a cave, the 'kettles', and the Indian River. In fact, a number of ranking placements changed here - the most significant of which was Team Running Free
, who managed to capture back their 4th place ranking from Everest Expedition 2003
Getting back to their bikes at CP7/10, teams had only a short (3km) ride along Rock Rd. to the finish line at the Lion's Park in Warsaw.
Similar to the Elk Lake event, Team Three Twigs in the Bush
hammered to a commanding victory in the Kawarthas (by 31 minutes over 2nd place) - Congratulations to the boys from Ottawa! At day's end, 57 of 63 teams reached the finish line and 39 teams experienced the entire racecourse.
This day in the Kawarthas was a very special race in the brief history of the Salomon Adventure Challenge. Most of the competing teams (AR rookies and seasoned veterans alike) had not experienced FAR Inc.'s newest Series to date and the response was INCREDIBLE!
We have received dozens of unsolicited emails to thank us for a fun day and a fantastic, adventurous experience - thanks for your kind words! We're excited to continue our momentum in 2003 with more Salomon Adventure Challenge events.
See you in Elliot Lake next weekend!