Team Bushwackos has a great report on the SAC Buckhorn race in Ontario. The report is on the ARIO website (a great site, check them out!) and is reprinted here courtesy of ARIO:
Adventure Racing Report - Team Bushwackos
Location: Buckhorn Ontario
Date: Aug 9, 2003
Race: SAC Long Course (10-14hr)
Team Members: John Ranson (Captain), Patti Ellis, Cynthia Waugh
At the beginning of the summer I formed a team of potential Adventure Racers and myself to work towards a goal of doing a race. I love the experience of a race, working as a team and crossing the finish line together. It was a great experience to work towards and accomplish our goal of finishing a 10-14hr Adventure Race. Patti Ellis and Cynthia Waugh were the interested ones willing to make up the 3-person team. Our team name
was 'Team Bushwackos'. Very fitting because we are a little wacko and our favourite section is the woods. The scheduled race was Aug 9th in Buckhorn. The SAC long course as they called it. It was the perfect race I thought for the team, as it gives a good feel for what a 36hr race might feel like. We were also hoping for a tough and long trekking section in which we would excel. We are not triathletes, so the more strategy involved, the better for us. In preparation for the race Patti, Cynthia and I communicated alot, did some paddling, biking and hiking together. Patti and Cynthia also took the Synergy AR clinic to get a good basis. Patti and I went out to BC in July and did some back country hiking and plenty of day hikes. I am in my 2nd year of Adventure Racing and was also preparing for a 6-day race in mid August. I was a little anxious in doing this race too soon before the Extreme, but the Extreme team only came together a month ago and I was set in doing this race with Patti and Cynthia and if everything worked, it would be a perfect end to the build up to the Extreme race.
We arrived and registered by 7pm Friday. We were informed that we would be catching buses at 2:50am Saturday to the start line @ 4am. Beauty! We went out for a great dinner. I have never seen Patti eat so much in my life. I would have bet money she couldn't finish that Hoagie dinner, but it was gone before I could blink. We went to the race briefing and hopes of a long trek diminished once we saw the maps. The bike was going to be the long section, the discipline that the team as a whole has least experience.
Anyway, we didn't really think of that and focused on preparation. We drove 30min to Patti's friends place near Lakefield. It was so nice to have a bed to sleep in for a few hours and a nice table to look at the maps. Thanks Rod and Judy. You guys are the best.
The alarm went off at 1:30am and we were out of the house by 2:05. How Patti did it, I am not sure, but she took a shower, fixed her hair, put three coats of cream on her feet (make them more water proof) made us coffee and had breakfast. She was so focused on feeding the team, which is so important.
We got on the bus and headed off. There were 70 teams and 4-5 buses. Patti had brought this awesome fruit concentrate and cinnamon rolls to eat on the bus. We drank the juice and we were all too full for the rolls. We gave them to the bus driver. As usual during a bus ride when the bus ride ends, it's a very funning display of over 100 people (male and females) going to the washroom on the side of the road, side by side. In an AR all properness is thrown out the window.
The race started with the trekking section. We ran 3km to CP1 where we had about a 5-6km bushwhack to TA1/CP2 (canoe stage). We had a nice run and arrived at our first CP all warmed up. The plan was to take a bearing SE and go for 2km then start heading S to the road. The challenge was to stay on the high land and avoid all the swamp. We did it perfectly and estimated our 2km to a tee. Patti kept reminding me to check my compass and we plodded along. The next 3-4km South was dry and fun. Hiking through small trees and on lots of rock. We new we were close when we came across an abandon cottage and an outhouse. Patti took the opportunity at the outhouse to get rid of that Hoagie. It was funny and a team that we saw were jealous when they saw the outhouse after they had just gone to the washroom in the woods. We made our way out of the woods to the road and found the TA immediately. This took about 2.5 hours. We wanted to do more. With the exception of me slipping and falling into a puddle, we were dry. Other teams were coming out of this stage soaked and talking about being up to the neck in swamp.
We replenished our water, had some food and set out in our boats. We decided to do the single blade paddle thing and it worked out fairly well. We didn't spend enough time perfecting the 3-kayak paddle option. Patti had formulated a system to make the middle person more comfortable. Cynthia and her took turns at this position throughout the canoe. The canoe was beautiful. It was a nice morning canoe along Long Lake and then into a few small lakes (Cox Lake and Cold Lake). We navigated the canoe stage very well and held our positioning throughout this stage. We did a good job with the first 1km portage and choose to do the extra portage option to cut off some paddling time. It worked well. Next thing we new, Team Endurance Junkies, the team I raced with for the Race for the Cure 48hr race in June (Rory, Ann and Mary-Ann) were zooming by us at the end of the paddle. They looked good, especially with that big smile of Ann's as they pushed by us. We all made a few fun remarks at each other and continued to race hard. We got to TA2 at 10:15. This was to good to be true. We were done 2 of the 3 stages. However, I think we all new that the challenge was just beginning. Our transition was good. We were all so aware of each other’s food and water intake. We were working really well together.
We weren't able to use the topo's that much as they gave us snowmobile maps of the trails we would follow and the trails weren’t on the topos. I was estimating about 45km of very technical trail lasting about 5 hours. It ended up to be 40km of very, very technical trail and it took us 5.5 hours (memories of RTN Parry Sound). I got us off to a bad start by taking Patti and Cynthia off course for a few minutes into some mud. We got back on track and continued on. Things were going well and we were all getting more confident on this terrain. Patti was leading and setting a good pace. Next thing I new, she disappear into a ditch on her way down a steep hill. She was bruised but still smiling. I reminded her to not take any chances. It was just not worth it. We continued on at a steady pace. This was what was really great about our team. There were few stops, sometimes to take a picture but this is what is so important in Adventure racing, a consistent pace. The bike was mostly snowmobile trails with a pleasant surprise of 6kms of gravel road. However, 20km into the bike I knew we were still in for the worst. The 10km before the last CP gave us a maze of puddles and single track around all these seasonal lakes. It was slow going. We walked at least half of it. Most people did. We rode with two local dirt bikers (father and son). It took them close to the same amount of time to do this section. There was a team ahead of us frustrated with how unridable parts were. I wanted to tell them that this is not a MTB race, this is an Adventure Race and to expect the unexpected. We were happy to see the last CP at the quarry. We had a sandwich and some water and headed right off. I had my hopes and Patti and Cynthia’s hopes up that we had about a 10km of gravel road to Buckhorn and the finish. Wrong. We had about 4km of unbelievable rocks and and uneven gravel. It was very painful for Patti and Cynthia who didn’t have front suspension. However, they just sucked it up and continued on. The last 4km improved and we continued hard into Buckhorn to the finish line.
We were all very happy to have finished strong in 11.5hrs. It was a great day with great teammates. Thanks to Patti and Cynthia for being part of the inaugural race for Team Bushwackos. Patti and Cynthia brought the attitude and qualities that make any Adventure race a success: determination, laughter and teamwork. Who knows what will be in store for Team Bushwackos next year. Next stop, the world