Sunday, September 25, 2011

Adventure Racing 101

Over the years I have done quite a few 5K runs, a few 10K's, a couple of Half-marathons and half a dozen mountain bike events. I have canoed, hiked, biked across Canada and climbed Kilimanjaro. However, I have never done an adventure race! This summer, one of my neighbours asked if I was interested in doing the STORM THE TEN race Sept 17th. A group of his friends were putting a team together and were looking for warm bodies they thought might not perish during the day. I said yes!!
Well it turns out there were 8 of us who thought we could handle it, and that meant that we split our group into two teams of 4.

The two teams, 404,"Livestrong" and 405, "Is it over yet?"

I was the oldest by quite a few years,and also the slowest, the one in the photo above wearing the helmet.
We started the morning wearing just about everything we had as it was chilly!!!.
The event involved running, cycling, more running and more cycling, and then canoeing! Then you got to rest while the your teammates did their turn at it all. If you were in a team of four, as we were, you went in pairs, and did every second lap. Teams of six did every third lap.
The first lap, which my neighbour Murray and I did, also involved an extra 2K run to thin out the field, so that 200 people weren't all "bumper to bumper" coming out of the bike transition area, and climbing the first singletrack hill. It worked like a charm! We got on the bikes with just about everyone else ahead, so that we wouldn't get lost! Murray and I are both working full time with wives and children and our training was spotty. Not ever having done this type of race, we really weren't sure what to expect. The first run took a lot out of me, and the first part of the ride involves climbing the Niagara escarpment, in a series of switchbacks. By the time we got to the top, I was truly huffing and puffing. The rest of the lap is really not that outlandish, if you could start at the top of the escarpment. A few photos from the day follow. Some are from Murray, and others are from the rest of the team, as I didn't carry a camera with me!

Murray and I in the Canoe

Jen and Fiona being helped up the hill for the last lap by their kids!

Murray running from the bikes to the canoes.

Myself running past the finish line to the the canoes and dropping my pack on the way!

Relaxing at our site between laps

Pat, who organized our group of 8, coming through the finish line!

Murray and I, after the race!

Next year(OK, there is a big "IF" associated with that) we will train differently, with a lot more running, and a lot more hill climbing, on our bikes.
I have to say, also, that many of the participants chose to do this solo, doing every lap, one after another. Two of them, one female and one male, completed ten laps each. I am amazed at the fitness level of these athletes! As for ourselves, Team Livestrong finish fifth in the Coed Four division, while Team Is It Over Yet was proud to finish eighth, in the same division, completing six laps, or three laps for each pair! Oh yeah, there were 8 teams in our division!
It was a great day and if you want to learn more about it go to their website Storm the Ten

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