There's a great report on September's Sea 2 Summit race in eastern Canada on the ARIO website. It's from Team Vampire's Night, and is reprinted here courtesy of ARIO:
Sea2Summit 27/28 Sep 2003
For people interested to read our long story about the 2-nd adventure race (after the Salomon Adventure Challenge- Frontenac – this year)
Team Vampire’s Night – for the:
• 5-th time in a canoe (during the S2S race)
• 4-th time on a mtn bike trail (during the S2S race) – after a couple of hrs spent on Gatineau hills.
Everything started with ... meeting these great AR people that somehow they manage to carry out their enthusiasm about "adventure racing". So that's how it happened that I decided to try one race that had to be: reasonable short, geographically not far from where I live and to be announced as "for beginners". It happened that Frontenac - Salomon Sharbot Lake was announced and I decided TO GO!
After "giving a try" with my first race in Sharbot Lake - at the end of August and being able to finish … I knew that I'll be back and I'll race again.
On top of this , was the Adventure Clinic that I attended were Tobin and Mike were talking for two days in a row (all about AR-AR-AR)… hard to not develop interest in AR when you listen to their stories but is even harder after, to not remember some of their... "quotes"
Anyway… decision to go for the upcoming S2S race was final.
Calling myself "captain of Vampire's Night team" again, I've got into the racing mood - that I love so much and start looking for support crew.
Finally I found a great pair of friends that said "yes" to go with us as a support team - we didn't know what their job would be exactly during the race… so… that's why I appreciate even more that they said YES to this "surprise - weekend".
We (me and Adrian) entered the race with no other goals but finish the race with no injuries (I simply hate to be OFF during the winter… loving so much to ski) and we promised to ourselves not to forget to have FUN.
After departing Mt Ste Marie ski lodge on our mtn bikes… we found ourselves at mid-end-end-end of the pack. Was cloudy and extremely windy… somehow we managed to have the wind, most of the time against us. I have to admit here that I am NOT a strong biker at all.
I knew that is going to be a long run and I was mentally prepared to not feel very good there for about 40 Km
Oh well, as my theory says that "all the roads that goes uphill will go downhill as well"… I didn't lose my smile for long time. We've ride together with couple of solo racers, making jokes, encouraging each others… and sometimes pushing/walking our bikes. We knew that we'll go for a long paddling in the afternoon… so we've been mentally prepared for a rough day - considering the windy weather.
When we arrived at the CP3 - point were we suppose to trade our bikes for the canoes... SURPRISE:
Everybody was screaming to leave our bikes down, on the grass and run for our time to the check point to register our team number. Here was the point were I've heard Tobin's voice : "Adrian, don't let her beat you again!!!! Run!" - Of course I did notice something like that comming from the crowd! Yeah, he knows these sort of "encouragements" works for me
Yes, surprise was there… the canoeing was cancelled for that day. High winds and extremely wavy conditions caused this cancellation… than the decision was to start again at 1:00 PM with the 8Km trek .
Trekking was… actually "clean" hiking, on a very well marked trail. We always feel good on this part. We started at the end of the pack but I guess we managed to finish way better.
The trail finished into the Lac St Marie Rd… close to Ch de la Montaigne… So we decided to run as much as we can the last road up to the finish line… and enjoy a "short day" of race.
We did it… and again, I would say, is amazing how the brain "fails" when you're tired. To be honest, I noticed couple of athletes on the ski hill going up… and, you know what, I said to myself… " these are the crazy guys (marathoners-/real runners going for a light hike to cool down) people that I'll never consider my "real competitors"… This was my thought - I still cannot believe I had this in my mind…
Everything was sort of clarified when I arrived at the check point desk to register our team number ad the girl there said "guys, we have a surprise for you: the race is NOT finished!".
Well, "of course is not finished" - I said - "tomorrow is another day!"
And it happened that I noticed THAT smile on her face saying like "you, poor thing, you didn't get it"… "TODAY is not finished! You, guys have to go up on the ski hill ... up to the tower".
In between our support crew's indications/ questions and the "messages" from my crushed brain… I remembered Tobin's "quote" in both: English & French… and I felt sorry to not know the translation in other languages too… to release that frustration faster. Took me about 20-30m to digest this "surprise" and… we started to hike looking fwd to find a good peace to be able to keep up moving.
We passed lots of teams there, on that hike… And yes, this was the first moment were I understood why this could be a "mentally challenge" sport.
As most of the racers, we ran out of water when we've reached the top… so after a bit of "negotiation" I convinced my team-mate to try a bit of running (I trade my water for getting an "yes" to running … "Feels good and we'll finish faster… so to keep shorter this agony" - I said… Than we decided to go for an easy run downhill.
I couldn't resist not to ask for even more from my husband when we've got closer to the bottom of the hill and I said: "all respectable athletes crosses the finish line with a SPRINT… so… we'll do it too, can we?!" - and he was IN….YES!
HA- HA… was so much fun… everybody was screaming… cheering up for us…. It felt that everybody was there FOR US!
Of course, Tobin and his group came and gives us big HUG and smiles - apparently everybody loved the way we finished our first day… (6:04 hrs - we managed to finish the first day)
Few hours later… crazy/heavy rain started. I don't know… when it stopped… I think late- late in the night almost morning...
Second day I started with a "relaxed" approach: I found so hard to open my eyes at 5:30 in the morning… so… half an hour later I was… still in the "brushing teeth" stage.
Oh, well… Adrian came and announced that in 30 min… is the START from the CP3 point - were we suppose to start the 28Km paddling section the day before.
Was a very good wake up call… for sure.
Minutes later, we were in the car with our support team, finding our way to CP3.
When we've got there… we just got time to put the life jackets on and… run with the canoes to the water.
I was still packing gear (throw bag… and all kinds of other small stuff) while we were running. I ended up with this stupid plastic pail (?)…. In my hands that I didn't have time to hang it somewhere… and I found that could fit my had… S#@%, almost all the paddling section I wore this stupid thing on my head… people thinking that was "fun hat"… "crazy hat" ... whatever… All I can say is that was very ANNOYING to have this plastic on my head and was simply because I didn't want to waste any minute to look for a rope somewhere in the backpacks to tight this thing somewhere to have it handy in the canoe if we would need it
Paddling was long (28Km), with lots of portages (9/10?… I don't even remember the number).
We helped some solo people carrying their kayaks during these portages… (I would have never guessed how heavy are those sea kayaks … and to be honest, I'm impressed about their courage to race solo with such a heavy gear to carry!) They are great!
Some of the portages were quite long, in a deep forest… muddy trails with lots of logs and slippery rocks but the lakes were great, absolutely great - beautiful. This was the fun that I was looking for… and we had this part there in Mt Ste. Marie.
Events?... I don't know… we've seen just one canoe flipping over… (I guess from too much "excitement").
On the paddling part… I think (at this point, when I don't know the official results) that we were in the first 4-th of the pack - considering that the winners were always there with us, on the trails and water. I still don't understand how did we manage to keep this position for the whole section… On the other hand, I knew that if there is a point were we can gain some advantage… is the canoeing part… not the biking part… so… we pushed a lot there.
We finished the canoe section around 1:00 p.m. and we finally arrived at the TA were dry cloths were waiting for us… Unbelievable how much appreciation I had for a pair of dry socks… when I have wet/cold feet.
We took our bikes… some food and back on the road. First part was a combination of paved/gravel/sand roads, rolling hills… nothing major. Life was beautiful again, the sun started to come out of the clouds… feeling good… and ready for the worst.
Oh, yeah… didn't take more than an hour and we started to "fight" with our bikes hiking them on the trails again. Was still not very -very bad up to the CP 17… were those guys… told us that we have to expect "really hard parts"… I had no idea what to expect… and was a good thing (I guess) that I was so "innocent".
Yeah, that was the point were I figured out were this "adventure" word in "Adventure Racing" is really coming from. Yes, was hard, was miserable slippery… all I wanted was to finish… with NO injuries. At that point… the time was irrelevant for me!
Last part (going up again on Mt Ste Marie hill) was slow… was mostly like bush whacking… but nothing comparable with the previous part. The last check point was on the top of the hill were people told us that they are going to let one more team to go… was so close to the cut-off time… Hey! Big, thing for us… we were so happy when we finally realized that we are really going to finish this race!
We decided to calm down… to watch out carefully that grass mixed with mud on the way down (Serenade route - for people who knows Mt Ste Marie ski area).
We stepped on our bikes for some portions but we simply walked beside them most of the way… running a little bit… to not "waste our time"
On the last part of the hill… in front of the lodge… I couldn't resist not to carry some speed to the finish line so… the same way as the day before, we finished in "full speed". (11:38 hrs ONLY - was the time we spent out there "moving" - on the 2-nd day).
WE DID IT!
We'll do it again!
Vampire's Night - team