Salomon Adventure Challenge
|1||LSN||1||Dirty Girls||1||Children's Wish Foundation|
|3||The Racing Rams||3||WildCorps||3||Milton Basement Racers|
|4||RLC Mad Dogs||4||4||Hans Brix|
RACE PHOTOS: Click here to view race photos.
RACE REPORT: …and then there was SNOW!
During the last few days before the 2006 edition of the Winter Salomon Adventure Challenge, Southern Ontario looked nothing like winter at all. Rain and unseasonably warm weather melted away the snow and much of the icy base underneath. In fact, upon arrival at the Mansfield Outdoor Centre on Friday, January 20th, competitors, volunteers, and organizers alike were set for a trekking and mountain biking race only - no snowshoeing, tobogganing, or cross-country skiing.
…and then there was SNOW!
Overnight, the racecourse turned into a winter wonderland with over 25 cm of snowfall welcoming everyone on race day. It was a truly remarkable site to see and the 45 teams (not to mention Frontier Adventure Racing staff!) were glad that the snow gods had answered their prayers.
Amidst a continuing snow squall, the race began with a quick le mans start whereby teams had to make their way overland, or by ski trail, to CP1 before making their way back to the start line (outside of the Mansfield Outdoor Centre’s Main Lodge) for the beginning of the cross-country skiing section. Kudos to the CP1 staff who quickly and efficiently punched teams’ passports and hurriedly recorded times amongst a flurry of excited adventurers.
Once back at the start line, teams were free to decide the order in which they were to hit the next four CPs while cross-country skiing the newly groomed Mansfield ski trail network. The routes decided upon by the teams were as varied as the terrain on which they were skiing. The Oak Ridges landscape provided for some interesting challenge as it boasts an extremely steep pitch as well as a collection of gullies to climb upwards within.
This was definitely the day for skate skiing as opposed to classic skiing. Skating teams whizzed along the trails with ease while the classic skiers negotiated the continual sticking of wet snow on the bottom of their “misery sticks” – an apt name for the classic skis on this day to be sure! Team LSN of Hamilton cruised through the 10km~ ski in only 51 minutes and were off on the mountain bikes 9 minutes before Team Children’s Wish Foundation of Sault Ste. Marie ended their skate ski. This was an impressive time given the 45 team average of 2 hours within the cross-country skiing section. Meanwhile, the rest of the field managed the sticky conditions as best they could, with many teams opting to run as much as half their overall skiing distance due to their waxless ski frustration. A definite highlight for some teams was the hairy decent from atop the Ridge to the ‘Green’ trail, 50 metres below.
Given the continuing snowfall, the mountain biking route was now very white, with surrounding flora glistening with newly fallen snow. As well, the ambient temperature was relatively warm, making for a beautiful ride along the region’s country roads. Regular Course teams had only 6.4 km to ride while Advanced Course teams were treated to 16 km of continual climbing and descending. Teamwork played a role here as many teammates who had put a great deal of effort into the cross-country skiing were now in need of a tow or a push. After running half of the skiing portion, Team adidas Canada of Bolton moved up from 10th to 5th by the mountain biking route’s end. As well, Team Hans Brix of Ottawa hammered well and completed the bike in only 53 minutes. But it was still Team LSN and Team Children’s Wish Foundation gunning for the overall win, 18 minutes ahead of 3rd place Team HolisticClinic.ca of Ottawa.
On the Advanced Course, the 26 teams who decided to treat themselves to more racing distance left their bikes for a trek amongst the deep Mulmur Hills snow. The objective was to reach CP8B at the highest point in the area. Teams Hunger of Woodbridge and Screaming Carrots of Toronto moved well through this part of the trek and commented on the luxury of having a few teams’ packed down trails before them to choose from.
Descending off the hill and just before joining back up with the remainder of the Regular Course, Advanced Course teams had another 1.2 km of trekking through a large field of Christmas-sized evergreen trees before a snowy decent to CP8C/CP9. More than a few competitors found themselves trying unsuccessfully to catch up with their quickly moving legs, landing headfirst in the deep snow as a result. Luckily, Chris Owen Halper of Odyssey Productions was there to capture the high-speed comical falls in digital!
With only 4.5 km of trekking left in the race after CP8C/CP9, Team LSN turned up the heat on Team Children’s Wish Foundation. The two teams continued moving east, back toward the Mansfield Outdoor Centre where the finish line awaited. Navigation was relatively straight forward here but time could certainly be wasted by not choosing the most efficient route along the Pine River and amongst the marsh-laden terrain further east. Once back across Airport Rd., a quick negotiation of the ski trail network led the teams to the finish line where Team LSN continued their 3-year streak of taking the overall gold – this time in only 3 hours and 35 minutes. Shortly thereafter, Team Children’s Wish Foundation came first in the COED category and Team Dirty Girls of Michigan/Ontario won the All-Women category later in the day.
By day’s end, 43 teams of the original 45 crossed the finish line with eager anticipation for the Post-Race Party. With a Running Freaks concert, a Rock Star competition, licensed premises, and a few sets of Raid the South underwear, the resulting buffoonery was impending. Good times at Mansfield!
For a comprehensive statistical summary of the race, including your teams’ CP Rankings, CP to CP Rankings, Moving vs. TA Time, and Discipline Rankings, CLICK HERE. Don’t forget to use the tabs at the bottom of the page to get to the different spreadsheets.
Stay tuned for the upcoming season schedule announcement of Spring, Summer, and Fall dates of the 2006 Salomon Adventure Challenge Series racing season. If the past few years are any indication, your team will want to sign up fast or risk missing out!
See you at the start line.