Fall Classic & Championships
Red Leaves Resort, Muskoka, ON Saturday, September 26, 2009
...the fact that 6-7 teams kept on switching leads, and the winning team actually came up from way back, and there were so many options to get lost, is what adventure racing should be all about. Congratulations on designing and running a great race. - Martin Rydlo, Team LSN-7Systems
Photos by William Young, Deanna Young, and Steve Meyer
...we had an awesome time doing the race. Starting in the water was quite the experience in the pitch dark. We made a few navigational errors... and did a LOT of swamp swimming (HA!), so we definately got our adventures worth! I can't wait to do another one!
- Katie Miller, Team Deep Fried Mars Bars
Red Leaves is a pretty swanky spot. I think you should have had one more CP in the lobby. Have all us dirty racers tromping through would have been funny.
Looking at the maps, and looking around the room to see the "first timers" who put up their hands, I had a suspicion that it might be a long day for a lot of people. Turns out I was right.
Getting any pre race sleep is pretty much a useless exercise for me. Lie there for a couple of hours listening to my teammates snore.
Long time since I've started on the water in the dark. Worked out pretty well. Also showed how weak we are on the paddle, although being further back allowed my on-water navigation strategy to basically consist of "following the fleet".
Off the water, time for a quick change of all upper body layers. A dry toque does wonders to warm me up.
Loved the trek. Just the style we like: real bushwhacking with good handrails that you just plow through for a couple hours.
We've had great success the last year with the 2 compass system on treks. Put the stronger bushwhacker (Jason) out front, but make sure he has his compass and a bearing. Slows him down a little as he checks to stay on bearing, but allows me to monitor and tweak our course and move a little faster. Good teamwork system.
The classic philosophical question: "Does a fart smell in the woods?" Yes, Ray, it does.
Bombing through the bush, sun just about up, the sky is all orange & pink and I say to myself "this is what I love about this sport". 5 minutes later, I'm swimming across a river and saying to myself "this part, not so much." Out of the water and off we go. You can't get cold if you keep moving.
Heard quite a few trains over the course of the day, but luckily don't come face to face with any. Was surprised how far away we could hear the traffic on the 400.
The great debate: swim the Moon River or go the extra few hundred metres to the snowmobile bridge. Thankfully, dryer thinking prevails and we go around.
Not our fastest transition ever, but after that trek with a big ride ahead, important to take a few minutes to ensure I have the right (dry) layers on and reloaded food & water. We couldn't have been that slow, because Ray didn't yell at Jason & I to get moving.
Ah, the powerline. Good riding. Would actually enjoy riding it when I was a little fresher.
Note to self: the GPS tracks are very helpful on the map but remember they aren't the ONLY trails there. Got caught snoozing and ended up dead ended in the middle of 2 lakes. Went back and forth twice before finally going back to find the missing turn. My bad.
It shouldn't make me excited to travel across a fold in the map and get to flip it over, but it does. After staring at one section of map for so long, it's nice to move on.
We had a strong ride, but you can really tell the power is going away when you get to some hills and instantly drop to granny gear. Always remember, granny is your friend...
Adventure racing is a horrible thing to do to a perfectly good mountain bike. Don't you just love the sound of a bone dry chain...
The moment of truth as you bomb through a puddle: is this one shallow, or is it the one that finally swallows me whole?
2nd half of the bike and we're really on our own. Race has stretched out so we haven't seen another team in a long time. We move steadily, but wonder how far ahead and behind everyone is.
Meet Beowulf making a "course correction" which breaks us out of our funk. Nice to ride with them for a few minutes and compare notes. Also makes me wonder if we're closer to the front of the race than I thought. They move ahead when we decide it's time for a mandatory nutrition stop. Everyone is out of gas.
Riding roads to CP8, I look at the time and convene an impromptu rolling team strategy discussion. Ray makes his case rather strongly: if we make the cutoff, we do the advanced. I make weak strategic arguments about not being able to change our ranking, yada, yada, yada. We decide to table the decision until we reach the CP and see if we have a decision to make.
Good (bad?) news is we make the cutoff by 2 minutes, so we have the option. Ray is right: if we can do the full course, we have to do it. If I wanted to play it safe, I should have just stayed home, right? Bad news is our trek bag hasn't arrived yet. We decide to wait a few minutes (off the clock) but eventually decide to trek in our bike shoes. We don't know how long before the bag arrives and Bob says we'll get some time credit for the bike shoe trek, plus anymore standing around and I'll be done. Keep moving or else.
Beowulf brightens our day again by tossing us the remains of their day-old muffin bag which gives the nutrition boost for the final trek.
I'm amazed that we are the last of 9 teams into the advanced and that none of them had come out yet. Running Free comes flying out and goes on to victory.
Decision made, I stride off down the trail in my cleats, with the sinking feeling of not being confident in the provided trail map, yet not willing to ignore it and stick to the topo. We head past CP A but luckily Ray spots it. Decide to head up to C and cross paths with 2 solos. Find CP C okay and cross the boardwalk, but allow myself to get thrown off my strategy coming down to get CP B. Eventually take a chance on 1 "flooded area" but realize too late we aren't far enough east. Decide it's time to go and head back to the bikes for a quick finish ride.
Happy to reach the finish in the light rain, but soon realize everyone has had a very long day and a lot of teams are still out on the course.
Our warm shower and beds are at a cottage 60 minutes away, so decide to take off the first layer of race grime with a dive off the marina dock. What's one more cold swim before calling it a day, right?
Decide to forego socializing at the finish area for a fast dark rainy drive south. I'm at a cottage tucked into bed asleep by 8:30 pm.
Kudos to Geoff and the entire crew for a well run, fun event (save for 1 tardy bike bag delivery, but we'll let that one go).
Thanks to Bob for underlining the CHALLENGE part of this event. I've enjoyed all three FAC events this year, but this course was well thought out and demanded that you step up with your best effort.
Well done to the top teams for great races. Seems like everyone's race had a wrinkle or two, but that's what makes it fun.
For teams who had a really long day, I hope you'll try again. We've all had those days.
Send us a link to your photos, videos or race stories and we'll add it here!
Had a great time at the race...that was one of the best Frontier races I have done yet. The course was excellent - especially the biking! Real gnarly ATV trails! The trekking was great, too.
- Tom Martin, Team Milton Basement Racers