Kayaking 6:34:56  41.0 km (9:38 / km)
shoes: Books Cascadia 10
WT Paddle leg
Beer Barons WT v3. One member substitution this year as we had two guys MIA and therefore added one new racer (JFM)...a marathoner with running legs better than I'll ever have but not much bike experience to speak of.
The paddle leg was hands down the most I've ever enjoyed a paddle on a race. Typically the paddle is something to be endured to get to the trek and bike, but this year's winding course through the Magnetawan river system was spectacular.
We paddle right alongside Adrenaline Rush most of the way through and chose the south route since (as was said by our race companions) we prefer paddling our canoe to carrying it.
I drew the middle seat since I had to check the maps now and then and my milk crate covered in a yoga map was as comfortable as I could have hoped for.
The bachelor party at the cottage just before the turnoff south was hilarious as they were clearly on a very different type of race for the weekend, but were no less dedicated than we were. There should have been a supplementary CP on their dock ... half hour time credit for a selfie with a drunk frat boy.
We pulled into the TA right in the middle of the mid pack (as always). Right on time and feeling good.
Biking 2:13:23  25.0 km (5:20 / km)
shoes: Garneau MTB LS-100
WT bike leg #1
Quick leg on the bikes to get from paddle to trek along a trail Bob had thoughtfully labeled as 'rougher and wetter' on the map. Rougher and wetter? Than what??? I scoured the map looking for a trail marked 'dryer and easier' but no such marking existed...anyway...
JFM struggled on anything technical but proved (as he did many times over the weekend) that he had no 'give-up' in him and fought through the atv trail to the road where we towed the rest of the way into the TA.
Side note...this was our first experience with a bike tow and we're idiots for never using one before. We moved much more quickly on the road and equalized effort really well going into the trek...well, at least until our tow broke .... If you've never tried one I strongly recommend it. You may just want to use better PVC than we did.
Trekking 12:19:12  28.0 km (26:24 / km)
shoes: Books Cascadia 10
Very similar to last year the whole overnight was going to be trek and we were DETERMINED to make DIFFERENT mistakes than last year. Not trying to avoid mistakes...just trying to make different ones than last year.
Side note...last year we ignored Bob's advice to use only large easily identifiable features and to remember that you're always moving slower than you would during the day. As a result of that we moved slower to CP11 than we thought and we wandered around the lake before CP11 for hours which almost torpedoed our race.
So this year we plotted a route with only a very few HUGE features. And we had a great split into CP5 (our best split of the race) after running SW to the crossroads and trekking to the river. Then we dropped probably 4-5 teams at the swim who were all doing full wardrobe changes and went straight south and ran the road into CP6 again with a great split.
Running south again from CP6 (with JFM carrying my pack....sure was great to have a marathoner on board with us) we overshot a little bit which means when we cut SW towards Grouse lake we ran directly into a swamp and had to come back north. But we stayed true to our conservative bearing and hit the coast north of CP7 and then followed the train of teams into the CP along the coast. So far everything was going great. It was about midnight.
And it was after 7 that things went south. I mean figuratively...if we had actually just walked south, we would have been fine. The problem was we didn't.
The issue was, our original plan had been to follow the coast all the way south to the road, then use that as an attackpoint to come back up to CP8. But the going along the coast north of CP7 had been really slow, and so we thought we'd have the same thing south fo CP7. So we decided to cut a few hundred metres inland and head straight south. And by cutting SW around any obstacles we thought we'd either hit Imrie lake or come out on the road very close to the coast.
Well.......that was the plan anyway.
Reality was, somewhere in the fog of 3am trekking we kept wandering south EAST, instead of south west. And as a result, over a course of the next 3 hours, we managed to walk right past (on the east side) Imrie lake and all the way south to the road, through several totally avoidable swamps.
It's sad to say but I had no idea how east we were until we hit the road and I saw bike light coming towards us from the west.
Morale was low as we trekked right past the TA and back up the road to get CP8 before coming back down to arrive somewhere around 6:30am.
All in all I think the lack of focue and our east wandering cost us probably 2-2.5 hours, maybe more.
Biking 4:13:49  52.5 km (4:50 / km)
shoes: Garneau MTB LS-100
short course final bike leg
Morale started low as we got into the TA...my team members were both struggling with a night of wet/dry/wet/dry and the resulting discomfort....and the cold had really gotten to me.
I knew from looking at the maps that the final bike was actually probably tougher than the trek (a fact which most teams who did the full bike confirmed) and so we'd mapped road routes in case a short course was the answer for us - which it turned out to be.
We took a full 45 minutes to rally, change, warm up, and mount up for a long slow road bike to the finish. The wind was brutal until about 9am when the sun finally started warming up. But it was fun to ride through Parry Sound.
Climbing the last hill was cruel punishment (riding past the car and up the hill...) but cheerful volunteers welcomed us in to the finish and all was good.
Overall we finished right in the middle of the mid-pack (21st of 47) and happy with our performance despite being slower on the bikes than we'd like and our serious nav problems (my fault) overnight.
As always, WT was really well run, a great course that walks the line perfectly between being very challenging and too challenging...and the Parry Sound area was spectacular as always.
Thanks to RB and JFM for racing really hard, and being positive, and having fun.
Until next year!