Tuesday, June 27, 2006

back from the races

On the weekend Mike and I helped out with the Quest for a Cure 48-hour adventure race. An adventure race, for those who don't know, is a multi-stage race that incorporates all kinds of outdoor activities - canoeing, bushwhacking through the forest with only a compass for direction, mountain biking, ascending and/or rapelling cliffs (with ropes), etc, etc. Apparently, this race was a little more structured than usual, since most of the legs had instructions on which trails and routes to take (except for the orienteering one, which gave only vague ideas of which way to go) - 4 hours before the race started, the teams got a list of instructions and a stack of topographical maps; it was up to them to figure out the exact route that they were supposed to take. along the route there is also a list of checkpoints that they have to get to - some of them are just checkpoints, and some are also transition areas, where the team can pick up a new set of gear for the next stage - usually its where they drop off/pick up bikes, canoes, food, water, dry clothes, etc. Most adventure races are just for fun (its a sport, really), with each team paying an entry fee in order to be allowed to enter. this particular race is a charity event - each team paid a minimal entry fee($500 for a team of 4, as opposed to the ususal $1000-2000), and also had to come up with a minimum amount of donations that go to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation (about $1000 per team, I think).

Our friends Aaron and Kelly had put together a team for the race, so Mike and I went along as their support crew. They raced and we chased them in cars, arriving at their transition areas before they did, setting up all the gear they'd need for the next leg of the race. It was fun really, because we got to be involved in the racing, without actually having to go out into the wilderness ourselves... I'm not much of a mountain biker/orienteer-er/rock climbing/swimming through swamps kind of person, so being on the support crew side was as close to the racing as I needed to be - Mike, on the other hand, would've been more than happy to be out there racing along with them! (he used to race too, but hasn't been able to do it much recently, due to lack of money/holiday time/time to prepare).

The team we supported was called Lunatic Fringe - Aaron, Kelly, Peter, and Chris... you can see their race times here. They did really well, and came in 2nd - they finished in only 32 hours (the race started at 4pm Friday, and they finished at 12:19am on Sunday; team number one actually crossed the finish line 2nd, but they ranked lower because they didn't do the advanced course option). The winning team was about 2 hours ahead of our team, but the 3rd place team, the Adidas Divas, finished only 30 seconds behind them! The Divas are an amazing team - its an all-female team, which is really rare (most teams have 3 guys and only the mandatory 1 woman); one of the girls was Peter's girlfriend - Originally, Peter was supposed to support their team, but he changed his mind and wanted to race too, so he joined Aaron and Kelly, and they changed their 2-person team into a 4 person team. The Divas are so strong in their racing - and they're always in a great mood when they race, which is an amazing psychological weapon - apparently, they often sing and joke and wear flowers in their hair as they race... so they never look exhausted or worn out when other teams see them. just imagine how frustrating it would be to feel completely drained and dead on your feet, only to run into their team, and see them all laughing and joking and looking fresh and energized! it just makes their opponents feel that much worse! :)

anyway, I'll stop my rambling now, and show you the photos from the race:

First there were the pre-race gear checks and preparations:
here's kelly preparing her gear

every racer has to demonstrate their knowledge of ascending and rapelling skills

pre-race briefing on the rafting portion (this guy is from Wilderness Tours where the race started - it ended at Calabogie Peaks Resort)

Kelly and Chris, 5 minutes to race time!

All teams to the starting line

Mike with fresh water and lifejackets at CP/TA 1: the race started with a swim/run and then about 15km of mountain biking. the next leg is a run to the river, then a whitewater rafting section (this is at about 5:15pm Friday)

unloading at checkpoint 2 (just past 6pm)

here comes our team!

the team getting food and water, and swapping gear

Waiting for the team at CP/TA 6 - at about 2am, Saturday.

Aaron at CP/TA 7, 4 hours later, replenishing for the upcoming trek through the woods

part of being support crew is doing on-the-spot equipment repairs... Mike took advantage of the lake at TA/CP 7, and bathed the bikes in the lake before fixing them

resting quickly at TA/CP 10, about 2:30 in the afternoon on Saturday

Peter portaging the canoe, on his way out of CP/TA 10

Here's one of the guy's shoes, taped up with duct tape for the second-to-last leg of the race - a 54km moutain bike ride that would end up on Calabogie Lake, about 1/2km across the lake from the Resort... they passed through that stop right before midnight on Saturday night, and then we all made the mad dash back to the finish line - the team in the canoe, and mike and I in the cars... we got there just in time to see them run up from the beach, and then go through the finish line - much to the relief of everyone! This photo of Chris, about 2 minutes post-race, sums up the feeling of everyone pretty well:

But don't worry, after crashing on the floor of the chalet for 7 hours, and then again on the grass outside for an extra hour or two, we were all in great spirits for the post-race dinner on Sunday! now all I have to show for it are the ant bites i got from falling asleep on an ant hill on Sunday afternoon!! :)

Argh.. but now i have to go back to work so i can get a ton of work done - I have to write a few thousand words, then another few thousand, and then I have to pack so that everything will be in boxes when the movers come tomorrow morning! When next I post, I shall be in brand-new (to me) digs!

1 comment:

The_Add_Knitter said...

Wow, looks like it was totally exhausting but a lot of fun...