Adventure Racing (Wilderness Traverse 2021) 21:45:00 
WT with Tarno, Milla and Ed. We never got to train or even meet as a team first. This was Milla’s first overnight race, and Ed did WT once but DNF. Both very strong athletes, but M hasn’t been in a boat for over a year.
The competition wasn’t the other teams, but the heat and crazy humidex in high 30s. Would take some careful work not to lose my stomach.
We started with a trek. After some early errors (voluntary prologue for extra training) we settled in. I tried to manage the pace, sit or jump in water wherever possible and fill our filters, although the water was like a warm bath. We had a route that avoided swimming, but in hindsight it would have been faster and cooler to swim some sections. We did one swim from 3- so good! Tarno has cracked the code of swimming with hand fins and a pull buoy.
We finished with a fairly long trail and road run. I ran out of water (drank 3.5L) and had to dial the pace back, until we finally saw a bay which even Tarno dived into! Also filtered more water. We met Hammer’s team TNT, who had been well ahead of us until the heat sadly got his stomach.
The paddle was wonderful, if still a bit hot. Dead calm, and every portage I’d just walk out into the lake. We started with Milla and Ed in 1 boat but it was more even to put Tarno in with Ed and Milla with me. Both Tarnos navigated.
I had to deal with my eye medications (4 breaks in total- contacts out, then meds in, then other meds in a few hrs later, then contacts in- sigh, my team was very patient with me) and some teams caught us including the Steeles,TNT, and a 4-dude team.
My portage training helped and we made time on the portages, but not as much as we could due to traffic, and we were a touch slower on the water.
The heinous 1200m mud portage was good for us and we passed the teams, but kept leapfrogging. I jogged too far ahead on the big 3km portage and had to go back to find everyone, but trying to refill water at the end was time consuming for me so we all ended up finishing the night paddle fairly close.
The big lake paddle ar the end was spectacular- dead calm, full moon emerging and the Steeles’ lights blinking ahead.
I drank 4L on the paddle, mostly Infinit, so I was nearly rehydrated, and able to eat some real food including noodle soup and LD cookies at the transition.
The night bike started well. I had worried that the others had done lots of hilly gravel grinding, and Ed is a World Cup DH winner, but it turned out I could hold my own on the ‘bent no problem. Tough navigating in rain, fog and dark with an ambiguous section of map had us doing more extra elevation training, but we eventually got on a snowmobile trail.
Much spicy language from Tarno as it was full of deadfall and other unrideable sections- he hates MTB. (His bike hadn’t been ridden since 2018). Back on the dirt roads, Tarno was back doing well with the nav and we left other teams behind. Bit of a suffer fest with very steep gravel grinds, and sections with thick gooey mud. My ‘bent was working really well on the technical sections, but with 15 km to go I pranged my rear derailleur badly on a log or rock, and immediately lost my 3 lowest gears and all my big-ring gears. I had to walk a couple of hills and only coast down the big ones but it worked out OK. It also started to pour, which made for gritty contact lenses.
I couldn’t eat on the bike, but drank 1.5l Infinit.
By now the sun had come up and we’d missed the cut-off for the Leg 4 trek, but we were pretty worked, so not exactly unhappy to realize it. We took one 5 minute nap break earlier and got passed by a team, but finished in good spirits.
Just by finishing 3 legs in the heat we were 10/33 teams.
Everyone was great to race with and despite suffering (and a fair bit of profanity from someone about the course, maps and falls) my team was consistently able to suffer patiently and cheerfully, and we had a great time. They are one strong bunch!
First place Peaks and Trails (Shannon, Scotty, Harps and JackVD) just finished behind us, the first team to do all 5 legs! Superhuman.
It was good to see the Steeles and TNT come in, but sadly Hammer had to drop.
Bob, Bash and the gang did a phenomenal job reinventing WT for the pandemic. Thanks guys!