Frontier Adventure Challenge - Fall Classic & Champs
Sept 27, 2007
Land O'Lakes Region, Ontario, Canada
"On September 29th, I watched an unprepared novice runner, non-paddler, with a brand new bike, struggle through cramps, blisters and ever-tightening muscles; only to come within 10k of completing a 90k race. All because he didn't want to let his teammates down. Now that's adventure racing."
- Wayne Simpson, Team Shab
This weekend capped off an exciting 2007 season of the Frontier Adventure Challenge series with a 10-14 hour Fall Classic and Series Championship held at Bon Echo Provincial Park in the Land O'Lakes Region. 27 teams checked in Friday night for an early map distribution and pre-race meeting just in time for a few hours of sleep before the 4:00 am race start. With many of the top adventure racing teams in Canada represented in the line-up, Race Director and Course Designer Geoff Langford tried to put together a course that would highlight the area’s natural features as well as challenge both new and experienced teams.
With temperatures nearing freezing on Friday night, there wasn’t much time for standing around when the racers congregated at South Beach at 3:45 am, where they were given a special set of instructions to start the race. Before hopping into their boats at CP1 for a short paddle across Mazinaw Lake, racers had to run to one of two CPs (A and B) in the park and collect relevant information from them. Teams came into CP1 fast and furious, with Salomon Suunto (male)and the Salomon Bobkittens (female) leading the pack. After paddling across the lake, teams left their boats and hiked up to the top of Mazinaw Rock for the trekking section of the course. CPs 2, 3 and 4 were all located in the woods surrounding Bon Echo park. This section saw the Mallory clan of team Adrenaline Rush pull away and establish a lead in the race before the first transition.
"Congrats again on a fantastic race. (Leanne, Carolyn) and I LOVED it. Leanne kept saying: "This is so beautiful -- I would take pictures if we weren't going so hard..."
- Nicky Cameron, Team Salomon Bobkittens
At CP4/TA1, teams transitioned to paddling for an approximately 21km paddle, portaging through Marble Lake, and connecting to beautiful Kashwakamak Lake. Simon River Sports, Salomon Suunto, Adrenaline Rush, the Salomon Bobkittens and Beowulf were the first teams into the boats. Most of these teams were paddling as the sun rose, but for others, the trekking section proved to be more time consuming. Kudos go out to Teams JIM and The Three Newbies, who chose 90+ km course for their first adventure race, and who both came into CP4 late in the morning, but with smiles on their faces.
After a long paddle, the transition to bikes at CP5/TA2 was a welcome relief. At CP6, teams had the option of doing an advanced biking section which tested both their navigation and confidence. Remote CPs 7 and 8 required accuracy, as both were unmanned and asked racers to identify local features. After more than 50km of biking, at CP/TA3 racers hopped back into their boats (some more willingly than others) for another 9km paddle back to South Beach, where they ran back to basecamp and the finish line.
The air was abuzz with excitement as organizers and volunteers anticipated the arrival of the first team. Several teams had been jockeying for position throughout the day, but it was Salomon Suunto who crossed the finish line first, almost 20 minutes ahead of second place team, and 3-year reigning champs Simon River Sports. Proving that they are a force to be reckoned with in any category, the all-female Salomon Bobkittens came in an impressive third overall, only one minute behind SRS. Teams Beowulf and Adrenaline Rush rounded out the first top five teams. Over the next few hours, teams trickled in, exhausted but thrilled with the course and the scenery. A barbecue put on by the Friends of Bon Echo and a campfire that evening rounded off the day and a successful 2007 season!