Adventure Racing (Wilderness Traverse 2014) 16:00:00 
My teammates on BiT provided very good recaps so I won’t go into too much detail other than navigation.
We had an aggressive route on the paddle to CP1. It was not too tough navigationally, just had to make sure I kept tabs on where we were, island by island, bay by bay. Finding the channel to the Naiscoot River was tough and we lost 10 minutes locating the mangrove like channel that dumped us into the wider Naiscoot –reviewing Google Maps after the race, I should have looked closer at the satellite image for this area as I would have found it instantly. The rest of the paddle was just a grind. Chris and I had a hard time keeping up with Rob and Mike.
We arrived at TA1 in 8th place and quickly made work setting out on the trek. The bushwhacking to CP4 was probably my favourite part of the race, consisting of a couple feature tracking sections plus a longer bearing section which dumped us right on top of the CP at my estimated time. From there it was mostly bushwhacking. I used Google Maps the night before to ensure my bearings would thread us through some swampy sections – it worked out very well because I don’t think we had to cross a swamp or swim much at all. I did have one major hiccup on route to CP5 when we were on trail. I missed the cut off east to the CP and ended up too far north close to the road. We corrected by running down the road to another north-south trail that would take us directly to the CP. There were a few north south trails to choose from, but luckily we chose correctly. We arrived at CP5 in 6th I believe, 20 minutes behind 5th.
The trek to TA2 was straight forward, once again taking a bearing that skirted some marshes very nicely. We made up a lot of time here and were able to arrive at the TA along with the 5th place team and left 1 minute before them. It was a pleasure to finally have some of the breaks, that the top teams enjoy, accrue to us as well. We had daylight for the entire trek and 1.5 hours on the bike. In addition, we were spared from the massive rains until after the big bike.
The bike was easy from a navigation point of view. We just kept going south. Biking might be my weakest discipline (maybe paddle?). But Mike and Rob are stars on bikes. Especially Rob who picked some great lines for us to follow. Half way down the hydrocut it started to drizzle. I made a rookie mistake when prepping for the race in that I did not waterproof my maps. My team does not know it, but I was very worried that the maps would get ruined and unreadable. Luckily I was able to keep them fairly dry. The final section of the bike was very tough, but luckily it ended just in time.
The final Trek was interesting, in that the deluge of rain started just after we left TA3. We took a conservative route to CP10, but in hindsight we should have swam or packrafted (we seriously considered taking our packrafts). We lost about 30 or 40 minutes here. The rest of the trek and final bike was fairly simple.
It was great to cross the finish line. I felt that the team really fought for that 5th place ranking. We were very much aligned in our focus of always making forward progress. We were pulled by the front runners to try and catch them and we were pushed from behind, always worried that another team would fly past us. The final section of the bike and the final trek was tough, but I firmly believe that the top teams should expect to be pushed to the edge. While we encountered some tough conditions, especially with the rain, teams behind would have to encounter the same, or worse, conditions. I also like to suffer, so this got me going.
I am usually very quiet while on course and my facial expression may be fairly neutral. But I am usually smiling inside, and there was no exception for this race, at any time. Chris was a pleasure to race with, as usual. He has lots of muscle and kept me well fed. Simpy helped me plan the route a lot and was key to getting us out of transitions quickly. Also, it was good to see that he did not do any additional damage to his knee or ego :) It was my first race with Rob and he is a machine, especially on bike and paddle. He had a lot of external distractions going into the race, but he showed up fit and prepped. I hope we all race together again. There are always places for me to improve, but for the most part I was happy with the navigation. Improvements needed include: not shutting off my brain when I get to a trail (both when on foot and on bike) and trying to pick up my speed on the bushwhacks. I should also probably invest in a wing blade paddle and some abs.
Huge thank you is reserved for Bob and Barb for putting on this well organized race. Racing in north-eastern North America would be deficient without this premier race. The course was well laid out and took us to some very interesting locations. In addition, I noticed that the short course options were well placed. The volunteers were excellent as well – they allow us to partake in such events. Thank you!