Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Rage 2009

Hilary and I wanted to get into the four-person category, so we teamed up with another two person team, Eugene, comprised of Cris and Jeremy. The large number of UTMs we had to plot gave us a good idea that this race would be long and difficult. Beyond the 50 or so UTMs, there would be a 12 point o-course that is pre-plotted.

The race started in Kensington MetroPark with a canoe leg. A mass start off the beach would mean a lot of confusion and jockeying for position. As paddling isn't our strong suit, a slow start would be expected. However, as it is a long race we had plenty of time to make up a few lost minutes. We held our own through the early paddle and small portages. We eventually took out at Island Lake for a mountain bike leg. We cruised around the Island Lake single track and found the various CPs. When we reached what we thought was CP9, the volunteer said that it was CP5. There were specific instructions as to what to do at CP9, take the blue route. Since she said it was CP5, we stayed on yellow. A couple miles down the trail we hit a spot that we knew was wrong. We doubled back and took the blue trail. It wound around back to the canoe TA. We lost a few more minutes, but kept moving forward.

Back into the canoe to paddle to Huron MetroPark for an o-course. We were trying to push to get as much done before darkness covered everything. One surprise was that there would be no reflectors on the CPs. We came across the landing of canoes where we would start the points south of the river. A little mud and some scrapes got us around these points in a timely manner. Back to the canoes and across the river for the rest of the o-points. As we rounded the bend, we saw a team pulling away from the shore. It turned out to be Infiterra, they were already done with the o-course. We pulled in and ran up to check in. They said it should take a little more than an hour. We started running to get as much done before dark. The cover of the trees brought darkness earlier than anticipated. But we kept knocking off the CPs. We were making good time until the last CP. It took longer than we would have wanted, but we finally found it. Many other teams were also running around the area in search of it.

Back in the canoes for a short paddle to the start of a monster bike o-course. We filled up with pizza before starting the biking. We had a plan to bike close to many of the points, then continue on foot for short distances to get the CPs. This worked well for us. We nailed the first four points before hitting the single track. We started with team Hafke who were ahead of us earlier. We didn't know how many points they had already obtained. The had to find mile markers and track the letters or numbers written on the back. We were tracking mileage and found the markers easily. There was a gamble to skip a small loop and guess at the letter on the marker. Hilary decided it wasn't worth the gamble, so we rode the loop. Good thing, as the letter we guessed was wrong. Jeremy's bike light was fading fast. The batteries just didn't have enough juice for all this riding. He was having problems and crashed several times on roots, rocks or trees he just couldn't see. Hilary lent him her helmet light so we could finish the loop. That helped a lot and we cruised to the end of the single track. On and off the bikes for the next few points. We made good time then headed further west for a longer trek section. We dumped the bikes and headed into the woods. Again, we nailed the CPs. Until we couldn't find the CP by the dead tree. We followed a trail into a swamp, but the CP was no where around. We decided to move along and come back later once the sun was up. Fifty yards down the trail we came across a dead tree, with a CP hanging from it. We hit a few more CPs then came to the last one on this section. A wall of brush and branches slowed our progress to a stop. Instead of moving slowly through this stuff, we decided to head around on trails and attack from the other side. A good move, as we nailed it in no time from the opposite side. A few more easy CPs, as it was light now, and back to the bikes. We rode to pick up the last two CPs on this leg then back to the canoes. Wow, what a bike leg.

Another paddle down to the final o-course. They gace us pre-marked 1:10,000 maps of Peach Mountain. This would normally be a good thing, but this map was just a larger version of the 1:24,000 map with no more detail. Our lines to the first few CPs might not have been the shortest, but we were hitting them. After the sixth CP, we made a major mistake. Instead of staying on the trail system, we decided to go to the road and try to find the unmarked trail. Our assumption was that the trail would go to the road. It didn't. After searching around on what we thought was the trail, we headed further east. Eventually, we found a forked trial and got our bearings. We had to decide on whether to go back for the four CPs we missed or just hit the last two before getting back in the canoes. We were starting to drag at this piont in the race and didn't want to miss the final cut-off. We opted to go for the canoes and the finish line. We grabbed the last two CPs and paddled the short trip to the foot bridge, which was the finish line. Shortly after we finished, Hafke and Vyster crossed the line, with all the CPs. Going back for the four missed CPs could have moved us up only one spot as those teams still would have beaten us on time. It was frustrating to have missed those CPs, but also exciting to know we were running the race in second place. We were proud of our accomplishments. Hilary and I are excited about what this means for Nationals in a month. See you in Texas! We finished the Rage 2009 in fifth place.


Post a Comment

<< Home