Racing race 25:50:00  150.0 km (10:20 / km)
Race report for Wilderness Traverse 2013
I found myself racing with the very best teammates this year, with STORM, who is taking it easy in preparation for UTMB in 2 weeks, Bruce and Mike Van den Bosch. This was a team who fully respects the principles of adventure racing, moving together as a tight pack at all times, sharing resources, towing, pushing, carrying packs, ideas and laughing as much as humanly possible under the circumstances.
Despite starting well trained on a perfectly maintained bike, and all ready to keep up with boys this year, in the first 5km, a log shot out from a bike in front and sheared off my rear derailleur shifter. Mike got me immediately into coping mode and we decided to leave my gears as is in the back and that I would use only the 3 gears in the front and Mike's towing services. This, followed by a quick fix of a flat created by a massive gash in my front tire got us a surprising 6th place by CP2. This is an example of what makes adventure racing so great - coping with unexpected crap and still getting an awesome outcome.
After cooling off at TA Oreo Sandwich, the trek went well, although those blasted trails threw us for a loop once or twice. I think the trails appeared on the map to be of identical quality along its full length, but in reality they petered off into nothingness away from major roads, hamlets and marinas. Quite often we planned to hit a trail where it was in its state of nothingness, but STORM and Mike devised quick back up plans, and figured a way to get us on track at a new known location with minimal wandering or going backwards on course.
At CP Beer Chug, the totally wasted guys were awesome fun, chanting for everyone to get in the water to swim over to them, and when I accused them of being there randomly, they counter-accused us of being there randomly on their campsite. Stalemate, cheers, chug beer and we moved on to CP Cheese and Crackers.
I knew the paddle would be cold and wet, but still didn't bother putting on rain pants and hat and suffered for this immensely in the wet grasses that we had to portage through. Thanks to whoever the guy was who stayed up all night at CP Fire to greet us in the middle of the night. The best part of the paddle was the romantic silhouette of Bruce and Mike paddling along in the moonlight with the soft green glow of their light sticks, and the yellow eyes of a coyote watching us from the shoreline.
At Hot Chocolate TA, we were oh so happy to be off the water and took in the thermal blasts of hot air from the morning sunrise on the trail home. I knew from the time estimates provided that it would not be as staightforward as the map suggested, but STORM stayed focused and determined and we finished strong in 11th place sometime in the morning. CP Finish Line and Burger Hut really hit the spot.
Hats off to Barb and Bob and their amazing team of volunteers for making this one excellent race. I look forward to it all year. It is very cool coming home to see all the on line action that went on while we were out there. I have seen other races try to use the same software for expedition level races, with less success, and so I have no doubt that that took a ton of work to pull off. For an "unsupported" adventure race, I truly appreciated the completely unexpected bells and whistles (ie food!) that made this race feel like RockstAR - the 24 hour edition!