Adventure Racing 5:39:30  ** 25.0 km (13:35 / km) +500m 12:21 / km
spiked:22/26c slept:9.0 shoes: North Face Gore-Tex XCR
Raid the Hammer 2007: Sad race for Silence Beckons as TD retired earlier from racing! Had a replacement but she became sick on the Saturday night so It looked like we were not going to field a team. However, the Foreigners were also sick so GM agreed to race with SB. The race started with the temperature just above 1C but with sunny conditions. Sudden played rabbit for the field though we never saw him. through a woodlot and up a ravine to a trail on a powerline SB started about mid pack. The trail led to a subdivision and an uphill road run to a trail. GM was not used to the subtle planning approach of SB as the Foreigner run on precision navigation. Leaving the trail SB makes the first mistake of the day going up the wrong ravine. Soon realize we kitty corner to the corner though an extra hill climb was involved. Heading north, SB hits a trail and runs it to an open field, heading across it to Kern's Road and the Kerncliffe section. The woods are easy running here so SB jumps from trail to trail towards CP2. Teams can be seen here going every which way as the trails can be confusing. EM is seen in the woods. SB makes a route choice error on going to CP2 but soon corrects. It is decided for GM to do matrix controls 2A & 2B, KS 2D & myself 2C. Returning to CP3, I arrive with GM as KS is already there. We run the field edges to the road crossing and the trails opposite to CP4. We leave the trail a bit early at a spur but careful looking at the map shows the control is just passed this trail. The control is at a rock cut and we have to climb down a crevice before heading towards CP5. The trails lead to CP5 though it is hidden behind a clump of shrubbery.
From CP5 to CP6 is "Walk the Line". We spread out and walk through the dense brush as it is unclear the route choice to the hydro line but not control. It is then just a matter of following the power line trail past a stream curling north to a clearing aback over the stream. We see the Tree Huggers past the turn but still not control and travel up the sides of the stream. At the top we loop past a pond, carefully checking the rock pits for control but not luck. Back down a ravine we are getting antsy without see any control but notice one on a spur just above. Once on the spur, we quickly see the second control and happily scale the escarpment to CP6.
CP6 starts the second matrix. KS will do 6A, myself 6B and the faster GM 6D and 6C. I will trail GM as 6C looks difficult. We run past a road, GM heads for 6D on the cliff edge. After 6B I head down the middle on a bearing for 6C. Many people can be seen all over the place approaching 6C. GM approaches having trouble but it is noticed 6C is in a small rock pit about 25m away. GM gets it as I start to run out with a host of fast people EM and DB and JB of the Lost Bearings, our Masters rivals and Smash of Tree Huggers. Sean Roper starts to past but asks if we have found 6C. Answering the affirmative Sean, reverse. The team units at the road and runs to the red X on the map on on the CP7 and the advanced map section. GM's pace is started to wear out the older SB racers.
At CP7, we load up on M&M's, licource, viewed the Waterdown Falls and head down the scenic trail. We receive our second set of maps. The trails have been quite muddy and slippery all day and I regretted not wearing my football spikes. We crossed the river and climbed the opposite bank to a control at a small waterfall and then have a monstrous climb to the railroad bed. The captains briefing mentions the toughest climb in Raid history and this must be it. It was large rocks though so may be easier than some of the later ravine crossing. All are at cardio maximum on summiting though. The map scale has changed so once on the railroad bed we run south looking for a major corner. We agree we have reached it and head off on a bearing into the woods for CP9. The map has just contours here, not vegetation or water. We reach the correct distance but not control. We head down the valleys to the south but still no luck. Reversing we realize something is wrong and head back to the rail line. Once on top we realize we have not gone far enough as an out of bounds area is to our left. There is a very distinct rail corner which seems misrepresented on the map though. Continuing to the correct corner we soon hit the control but lost :30 for our mistake. Reversing, we hit CP10 on the other side of the rail line and ran trail to CP11. From CP11, we travel down hill to the next adjacent trail, across a swampy area to the next adjacent trail and follow this trail across the river and to CP12. Here groups of 2 hit each control marked M , C1 and C2. KS & I do M which is up a small valley after a wet river crossing. GM and KS run the trail up the hit to C1. Jaime Follas and his team come up behind and pass us here. TriHarder also soon show at CP12. GM and I do C2 which is straight up the ravine opposite the river. Again I curse my lack of cleats as the hill is difficult to climb and descend. We end up using a green section with small saplings as they give some purchase and braking.
Reunited, SB heads along the trail to CP 13. We overshoot an obscure side trail and climb the hill to backtrack to CP13. Jaime tells us in passing we have not gone far enough, wrong! Back on the trail it is just a matter of climbing the trails section back to CP7/14. Once there Mick checks our punch marks, and evidence of a emergency blanket and whistle. Again we stop for snacks and pictures before heading down Waterdown Road. GM remarks that with Foreigners, he never gets a chance to stop and eat and fill up his water bottle. Rarely do they carry over 500 ml of water while SB about 2 l. The Waterdown Road run shows the fatigue in the older SB members as we lag and get passed by 3 junior teams on the Old Waterdown Road section. We hope to pass them in the woods as I have local knowledge. The trail extension from the road has dense bush on the left so we run down until it clears somewhat before heading east. Down to the river, we start to head up from the stream junction but notice the control is past the junction. While still in the circle, it does not seem at the centre. Running the river bed, we take the trail up to the main trail junction, jog south to a side trail and soon hit CP16, just above a stream. Knowing the terrain, I take us on a bearing towards the next control crossing 2 streams, crossing just below the open fields and hitting CP17 in a second ravine. One control left but it is nasty one. We run up the trail to a open field and all the way up the field to the top and travel just below the out of bounds. The terrain is rough with many cuts that are difficult to climb down and up. We pass a couple of younger teams but have a few running us down also. Over a large cut, we soon find CP18 just down a small reentrant. We were hoping others might miss it but no luck. We decide to take the next valley to the main stream and travel the contours on the south side to King's Road. Not a bad choice only the vegetation is mega dense for the 100m before the road. Popping out we see one team ahead and one behind. Running down the road the team behind passes us and we notice they also passed us on Old Waterdown Road. We have been better in the bush. Kitty cornering across the ball diamonds we arrive at a bush section passable to the finish. 2 teams are ahead of us as I try to sneak us into the bush but they notice. We cross a dense green section, another ravine and summit in the school backyard. One team gets ahead but the other has a senior member like SB. We run to the finish, elated!!
Silence Beckons finished 2nd in the Masters category. We would not have moved up a place without the error at CP9. All and all a good race. Thanks to GM for having us traveling at a faster clip than typical. We will feel it tomorrow though.
Had an Epsom salts bath and ice knees and ankles after. Monday felt good and picked up 3 control. Tuesday, back to weights. Leg strength seems good.