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Attackpoint AR - performance and training tools for adventure athletes

Training Log Archive: Mr Wonderful

In the 2 days ending Jul 13, 2014:

activity # timemileskm+mload
  Biking2 10:55:01 46.55(4.3/h) 74.92(6.9/h)655.0
  Orienteering1 6:57:00 18.64(22:22) 30.0(13:54)834.0
  Canoeing1 6:13:00 24.23(15:24) 39.0(9:34)746.0
  Running1 1
  Total5 24:05:02 89.42(16:10) 143.91(10:02)2235.0
  [1-5]3 24:05:00
averages - sleep:5 weight:201.2lbs

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Sunday Jul 13, 2014 #

12 AM

Biking 1 [0] 0.0 mi
shoes: Jamis Dragon Sport 29er

Balance of "bike".

Saturday Jul 12, 2014 #

7 AM

Running 1 [0] 0.0 mi

WT paddle, trek, and first part of "bike". Breakdown later, probably should sleep before work.
8 AM

Canoeing 6:13:00 [2] 39.0 km (9:34 / km)
slept:5.0 weight:201.2lbs

2014 Wilderness Traverse with MarkVT, Greg Vantol, and Double M.

Bus ride to the start, a little hard to sleep. Greg went to tracker start up and the rest of us tried to find boats. We aimed for two 17'ers but got a 16 and a 17. No big worries, I didn't think it would be a deal breaker. Greg and I took the 16, with me navigating on the nautical chart. Mark and Maria were in the 17.

Quite a lot of crowding at the start as an impressive fleet of boats stood ready. Some local fisherman trolls yelled go and a bunch started to tear off until Bob restarted us.

Speedy Canadian paddlers meant we were very quickly in the bottom 10 boats or so. No worries, some of this will come back later. Plus we can use some of them for suggestions.

Eventually I realized that the green thing in the water was on the map to indicate the turn into the channel that would lead us to the open spot to turn to the correct island. That made it easier. Then following the narrow bit was easy. I thought things were going well, but it was hard to understand the islands once it opened back up, so we held our bearing and when we hit the next island, we made our turn and ended up along the correct island. It was very satisfying when the island looked right (esp. after being nervous during the more open bit) and we curved around to see Hammer and Starr.

Exiting the CP bay, I made a bobble misunderstanding the scale, and started to take us one extra island over, but then we saw the channel out and on we went. We followed a bearing to the large land, came out perfectly for the bay.

The nav challenge on the balance of the paddle was finding the right stream exit from the Naiscoot Middle Channel. Somehow we got the middle. I didn't see the first, and a team had disappeared into the correct middle. We saw someone (o store?) portaging near the third, and after verifying the point was not the island (kind of subtle in the marsh I guess, not easily identified as "oh yeah, island), we went for it and with the good amount of water and no team coming back it looked promising.

On the larger rivers, we noticed Mark and Maria struggling to keep up while I lily dipped. We tried towing, but the steering team were satisfied. For reference, when Benoit passed, they were towing (paracord it looked like). We waited for the portage to switch, but that was taking forever so we finally stopped for a bathroom and swap break. Of course the portage was just a few hundred meters past the next bend!

On the open water, Maria and I in the 17 struggled to keep up with Mark and Greg in the 16. So on a random dock, we switched Maria and Mark, and then Mark and I struggled to keep up with Greg and Maria in the 16. I was going hard and not able to get the boat moving as fast. The only configuration we didn't try was Greg in the 17. Either Greg is a paddling beast or the 16 was faster than the 17. Which would be funny, given the mad scrambling for 17s at the start.

Finally the portage arrived, and wasn't terrible, but the distance neared the limits for shoulder comfort. Last year must have been crazy!
2 PM

Orienteering 6:57:00 [2] 30.0 km (13:54 / km)
shoes: Brooks Cascadia 8s

The Trek

We executed our route to #4 well, even if unintentionally. We intended take the trail to the lake chain, then bear from the last lake to the CP 4 lake.

But the east end of Spectacle Lake is more of a marshy canyon, so we missed the end. We saw teams exiting a low spot in the trees, and presumed that was the stream to use as an attackpoint. Track says we were early, which explains why we hit the marshy bits west of the target lake. Close call!

I need to improve distance estimation while bushwhacking - that would have been very good. I get so out of habit on detailed maps where pace counting isn't crucial as the features are so countable.

For some reason we got more conservative. We had planned a more direct trail jump to #5, but ended up just going on the trail and roads. Which was looong. I'll have to compare splits to see if faster/easier on trail travel compared against off trail higher risk.

Some young team jogged by hard, passing our AR shuffle jog. Wow, lots of energy. Then a few kms up the trail they were all sitting down.

Great to see Gibbard out at #5, at least once we figured out we overshot the trail and backtracked a bit. I had noticed the Michigan plates on the trail down to the checkpoint, and then I saw his sweet beard and recognized him, it was a welcome sight.

We probably should have bushwhacked to #6, but for some reason we got really afraid of screwing it up, and didn't think we would progress well - we had been slow getting out of 4 to the trail, it felt, and we thought we could move faster on the roads. We intended to take the trail Bob said was too wet to bike, but we missed the small signs buried in tall grass, and the locals said it was waist deep so maybe it's just as well. I'm eager to see how much time our brainless flat Euro AR style route compared.

My team likes to jog. Sometimes I could walk as fast as their jog, sometimes I had to jog, and I need to get in better jogging shape to go when they are up for jogging. But the biggest potential improvement is distance estimation, increased ability to handle vague maps, and fast bushwhacking on a bearing.

10 PM

Biking (Bike Pushing) 10:55:00 [1] 46.55 mi (4.3 mph)
shoes: Jamis Dragon Sport 29er

Holy heck.

First part of the bike was great, high speed on the road, high speed on typical MI style gravel, and right back to CP1/2013 CP7/2014.

I wish we had left our bikes at CP7. I don't think we would have been any slower, since we did not have the technical ability or willingness (lack of self-preservation?) to bike much on the hydrocut. The first bit was alright, but then as darkness really kicked in, it was hard to find good lines or trust all of the water pits. (Maybe on flat pedals it would have been a tiny bit more confident, or been able to use the bike as a scooter better?)

And then it started raining. I thought about my rain jacket, but I was pretty warm so I didn't bother.

And so we rode and pushed, pushed and occasionally rode. And eventually were overwhelmingly pushing. I pictured people following our tracker, seeing "Biking, 5 km/hr" and wondering what was going on.

And then since everything sorts of blurs together, and maybe because I estimated the distance off the wrong bridge, we kept wondering when we would finally encounter the private area. But it never came. And never came. And then the rain got heavy. So we suited up in rain gear and pushed our bikes some more. And more. And more. Then we finally found it - a private sign...facing north of the marked area. Huh? Screw it, lots of bikes tires turn here, "C" seems to go this way, keep at. Tribe was restless so I gave Mark the map to make it less my fault they were getting worn out by this bike pushing slog.

Wrong timing for the map giveaway, shortly after we make the bend, find the power station, exit the hydrocut, and arrive at the CP.

The very nice volunteer with a tasty snack told us 8-9 was much more bikable. I disagree with her assessment.

But first we had to find it! I got confused by the "private" signs, not remembering anything about it from the briefing (I think so? but can't?), and we took a few detours before resetting. And then took one more detour, having missed the "C" turn off sign. Whoops! Onward and upward.

It was fun riding briefly, but then that trail turned in a similar mess as before, but this time with even more elevation. I swear some of those hills deserved an extra 20 m contour line. Wow. And no relief on the downhills - they remained beyond our comfort zone so we walked bikes back down.

We weren't sure what to do with the "do not cross" bridges, so we crossed them. We picture our next entry into Canada will see our passports trip facial recognition warrant alerts from the Ontario Trail Board and we will be detained on the basis of the silent cameras.

Yikes, the hills were steep. We were wondering if we needed to sandbag to make sure we missed the cutoff, but soon that was not an issue as we were frequently down in the 1-2 kph range pushing our bikes up the massive hills. Nice to see some of the teams hiking back to the TA, although only BiT looked happy about it. One team joked about the biggest climb, as they knew we were approaching it without any idea what we were in for. I had two mild hallucinations on this climb, once seeing a cabin and outbuilding which turned out were just trees, and later a chair that was not there. Hm...items dealing with rest....

As expected, we reached #9 well after the 9 am departure cut off, so we took a leisurely 23 minutes to freshen up and then bike back to the finish. Although I have to call it a "bust" for no full course, we had certainly worked hard and accomplished a lot, and were not especially heartbroken to miss the trek back over those hills. And even if we had made it out by 8:59, we could have at best finished only one spot higher, and at worst DNFd for being overtime (four hours with bikes, and only five hours to run back, while bushwhacking and swimming, and biking 10km on trails to the finish....looks tight for us).

Super happy with 11th place. It is the highest Michigan finish I'm aware of (happy to learn otherwise?). Beforehand, I thought w4j's predictions were pretty close, something middle ish with maybe more if things went well, so a top 15 chance barring issues.

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