|Gear explosion out of car|
We arrived at HQ Friday in good time, unloaded our gear, sorted through our gear, and got front row seating for the course reveal.
The course starts off as a paddle, we all get into our canoes and line up at the start line, just in time for some early morning fisherman to yell "Start" at us....many teams did, until Bob told us to NOT start. Seconds later, he gave us the go ahead.
|View of the Islands from above....tricky navigating!|
We moved through transition fairly quickly, a quick shoe change, food in mouth, food and water into packs, and a heavy dose of bug dope, man the mosquitoes were bad there! (they only got worse) Trotted down the trail until we hit the creek we intended on following towards Spectacle Lake. Had a fun group crossing at a set of rapids (some old river rescue courses coming into play here) followed the north shore of Spectacle and set our bearing to bushwhack our way to CP4. We felt pretty good moving through the bush here, knew where we were, and moving at a decent pace. Then another team caught up to us. When asked what bearing they were following, they responded "yours!" Ok, so we have followers. Not to be rude or anything, but we weren't really looking for company. We came out on the shore of Trout Lake, found another team who asked if we knew where we were, we answered yes, they asked where and we said at CP4, it's right over there.
|CP4 team shot!|
Our intent was to bushwhack to the power line from CP4, rather than follow the shore to the trail. We moved along the shore to where we were going to start our bushwhack, but a bunch of other teams caught up to us, and we stepped aside to let them pass, and double check our map. I guess we got all caught up in the traffic, and second guessed our intent and thought, well maybe we should play it safe too. So we continued on past where we were going to turn off, found the trail (or so we thought) but it was wrong. We figured that out rather quickly when the trail veered off in the opposite direction we wanted. So we trudged back to the lake, set a new bearing and set off for a bushwhack, our original plan. Which was not the best plan. We spent the next 3-4(?) hours bushwhacking our way slightly northeast hoping to catch the trail before the hydro line. Finally, through the treeline I spotted what I thought was the tip of a hydro pole. Candice and Gerhard confirmed my sighting, good not a hallucination. We went for it, and then hit the first bog. OK, we can cross this, it's all Labrador Tea and mossy bogginess. Kind of like walking on water bed. I had visions of going through, and not re-surfacing. That just made me move quicker. Ok, through the first one. To have another stretch in front of us. OK, let's do that 3 more times. And then a really deep, mucky 5' "water" crossing. To deep to walk, to short a distance to swim. I'm not sure what you'd call what we did, but somehow got across it.
|An example of what we swam across|
|maybe not this bad....but heh, it was |
dark and the middle of nowhere!
|Not the one we saw....but they blend in well!|
We arrive at CP6 to a pile of teams there. Catching some shelter under the tent. Munching on watermelon that Heather brought (Heather is Grant's wife, she came to volunteer at the race, and to drive us home) No one seems overly happy at this point. We call in that we will continue on as a team of three. We then are told that our options are to go on the full course (we have made the time cut off after all!) short course ourselves (which still involved a 35-40km road ride back to HQ) or to simply quit . Well, that was not an option. The three of us get ourselves ready, and mull over the other two options in our heads, before we get together to talk it out. I have no dry clothes left. Candice had an extra tank top in her bin. So, I'll continue in a tank top and gore-tex, no worries. I'm thinking of potentially (probably) walking my bike through much of the trail. My feet don't relish that idea. I think of my kids back home, who need me not broken. I think of a friend who was recently in a bad bike accident that happened during a race. And then I say it out loud "I think we should short course" A moment of silence, and the other agree with me. Thank You. It wasn't an easy decision, and I hope that the feeling of quitting will go away. Cause it kinda felt like that. We report to Heather that that is what we are going to do. Apparently everyone is (except the Speed Bunnies.....but then again they RAN past us on the road, so I wasn't completely surprised, man I admire them, and it looks like they rocked the hydro cut, nice work ladies!!)
We jump on our bikes and start the ride which felt really, really good. And then the deluge began, the kind of rain that makes you pull over in your car because you can't see and your wipers won't work fast enough. But we made it, got back to HQ a bit before 5am. This time, unlike last year, we got to see many other teams come in, and hear bits of their stories. And yes, I think we'll be back next year. I just want to know one thing: how do the pro teams move so bloody fast while bushwhacking?
|This is what we got when we finished.....empty though.|