Adventure Racing (Wilderness Traverse 2015) 24:44:00 
Chris (aka Double_Downon11) provided a very good play-by-play of our race, so check that out. I will provide a little extra from my perspective. Patrick (aka Cramptonite, and subbing for Simpy) and Julie rounded out our co-ed team.
This year’s Wilderness Traverse was definitely a gathering of the who’s who of Canadian adventure racing. I knew we’d have a top flight team, and figured we had a good chance at cracking the top 7 co-ed.
The first four legs (run-bike-trek-bike) were an excellent easing into the race, in my mind. We definitely pushed hard to get CPs 2 and 3 quickly, with some excellent forest running or fast paced trekking exhibited by all of my teammates. I was stoked to hear that we were 3rd out of the forest. This also helped to reinforce that my nav was dialled.
The canoe was going to be a slog for us. I came prepared with a short tow system, which I thought was helping us move at a combined faster pace. It did not dawn on me that it was also helping the much lighter second canoe from blowing away in the winds. It was disheartening see a handful of teams pass us on the paddle – will have to work on my core and paddle technique. At one of the portages we untied the tow incorrectly and subsequently lost the carabiner. We resorted to a knot from that point onwards, but it came undone about 5kms from the paddle take out. Instead of fixing immediately, we figured we could get into the TA without it. That proved to be a very wrong call, and Julie and Cramptonite were swept sideways by big gusts near Georgina Island. Team Storm Beowulf reversed back to the tipped canoe and helped drag it to shore; by no means an easy task, as the waves were putting their own uprighted-ness at jeopardy. Anyhow, we were able to get Julie and Cramptonite warm again and in dry clothes and, without concern, they jumped back into the canoe, now firmly reconnected with a tow, to finish the paddle. The entire episode probably cost us 45 minutes. DD_on11 provided great steering at the back of the canoe and I know his muscles must have been spent keeping our boat in the right direction.
I knew we could make up some time during the trek, due to the great leg 3 we had earlier. Even with the tipped canoe and 30 mins lost to retrieve the tracker left at TA, we were still well ahead of our time estimates that we conservatively determined the week before. It would have been nice to have more light for the trek from CP10 to 11, but it was ok. In hind-sight, I should have realized from maps that the southerly route from Moon River to Kenney Lake would have been best. It was a good leg for us in that I knew where we were at all times, just had to find the best route around water features to keep us dry. The rough ATV trail Chris spotted, that ended up paralleling Vaughan and Buckhorn Lake was amazing. We should have taken better advantage of it and AR shuffled it, but my quads were killing at that point for some reason.
The last bike was not too bad, just a little never ending. Chris actually spotted the road route option to CP13 before the race started, and we were so glad we took it. It was pretty much all downhill and on hard smooth paved road. My feet became ice blocks that needed to be unfrozen at the CP13 fire, but it was worth it. The bike nav was not that hard, and I just kept track of turns and side roads/trails we passed. With an hour left in our race, I became extremely sleepy – something I have never had happen in a 24hr race. I mistakenly told the team I was “tired”, which I think they thought was physically tired (I was, but not that bad!). Chris took my pack from me after I tried to resist. It helped, but I nearly fell off my bike on the rail trail when my eyes started closing. Got my mojo back about 5mins from the finish line.
Satisfying finish for me, ranking as one of my best races. To come back from 20th at the paddle take out at 5pm on Saturday to finish 10th at the finish line at 8:45am Sunday morning solidified the perseverance my teammates exhibited. It also exceeded my goal to rank in the top 7 co-ed teams as we finished 5th.
Julie was so strong, keeping up with the power and stride of the guys. Patrick was so easy to integrate into the team and proved his worth. Chris was the mule of mules, keeping strong and fast. I am surprised that I am still racing with him as I believe one of the top teams could easily steal him away.
Thanks to Bob, Barb and all the volunteers (the ones I know: Alexa, Dwayne, Joan, Browner, Funderstorm, ‘Bent, Eco, Dee) for the logistically seamless and beautiful race course. Wilderness Traverse felt like the Canadian Championship of 2015 with all the top notch teams entered, and the venue, logistics, race course, and support confirmed it!