Hosted by Horseshoe Resort in Barrie, Ontario (March 3rd, 2002), the first of nine Salomon Adventure Challenge Series races in 2002 saw teams cross-country ski, snowshoe and mountain bike their way across a 40+ km unmarked course in and around the Horseshoe Valley area.
The event drew a field of 13 teams from as far as Montreal and Thunder Bay and began at 10 a.m. on a rainy and mild Sunday morning. More than one person lamented about having to ski in slush all day - little did they know what the weather had in store for them!
The first leg of the race involved a 7 km ski through a maze of trails starting from Horseshoe Resort's Nordic Centre. The intricate trail system forced teams to make some important route finding decisions, and as a result teams appeared at CP2/TA1 from several directions. Team Silent Rage
led the pack into this Transition Area arriving at 10:47 a.m. Right on their heels was Team Supplierpipeine
at 10:49 and Team L.U.S.T at 10:58. Team L.U.S.T.
made great time as they had mistakenly gone to CP6 and had to back track to CP2/TA1. While all teams reached the first Transition Area with smiles on their faces, most cursed a mistaken navigation decision or two. Fifth place team, OM MANI
arrived at this transition with a broken ski - the result of stepping in a hole (off-trail we expect). When asked how he was planning to repair his ski for the last leg of the race, he commented, "I'm considering using duct tape
" - an adventure racer's best friend.
From CP2/TA1 teams headed out on snowshoes for a 5 km trek through dense hardwood forests. Making up a lot of time during this leg of the race, Team L.U.S.T. took over first place arriving at TA2 at 12:26 p.m. with Teams Flying Dogs
and La Maudite Equipe
close behind. This portion of the race was where many teams lost their way and took more time than expected to reach the second transition area. As a result, the third leg of the race, a 21 km mountain bike on snowpacked trails and roads, was shortened to 18 kms mainly on rough back roads. It was during this leg of the race that the temperatures dropped significantly (-20C with wind chill) - rain turned to snow and slush to ice. Tired muscles had to cope with balancing a mountain bike on slippery terrain and the 30+ km/h headwinds were quite a challenge to negotiate while riding to the third transition area located just south of the Horseshoe Valley.
The two lead teams maintained their positions going into TA3 with leader, Team L.U.S.T.
arriving at 1:50 p.m. Heading into the final leg of the race, teams once again put on their skis to make the 7 km journey back to the finish line at the Nordic Centre. Team L.U.S.T.
from Thunder Bay, Ontario braved the downhill slopes for extra speed enroute to the finish line and hung on for first place overall with a time of 5 hrs, 1 min. Shortly thereafter, Team Supplierpipeline from Belfountain, ON crossed the finish line to take first place in the coed category. A total of 11, of the 13 teams competing, completed the race, including four unranked teams. See below for a complete list of the final results.
When asked at the finish line how they enjoyed competing in their first winter adventure race, Raid the North veteran Mike Popik of Team F.A.R. out
had this to say, "I liked it, except for the skiing and snowshoeing.
" Perhaps not all adventure racers are made for the snow!
We'll see you at Bark Lake on May 4th for the 2nd Salomon Adventure Challenge of the 2002 season.