A (likely not short) Raid the Hammer story
I knew this Fall would be brutally busy, with Meghan gone I purposely made this course to be as straight forward as possible. No buses. Areas I know well through ARK, but also a few areas we've not used for races in my 10 years with DGL. (Also a quiet homage to the Waterfalls of Hamilton run)
July: Put in permit request for Rosseau Elementary School for registration as soon as the booking system opens.
August: Set course, flag sites, get covered in burrs, trapped in thorn and nettle clusters higher than me. Change 50% of locations to avoid the worst of it. Note to never go off trail in August ever again. Update Ancaster Heights map.
September: Visit new locations. Submit CPs on HCA land for environmental approval.
Custodian strike looming. Public school board cancels all permits. Book St. Anns (Catholic School board not effected) as back up.
Late October: Rosseau permit still not reinstated with 2 weeks to go, when asked when it would happen response is 'What sort of race is this? Is it a bike race? Cleats are not permitted in gym. Why did you move from Waterdown' (site of last years race). Cancel permit and confirm St. Anns.
November: Replan courses. Slight urban matrix changes (definitely a downgrade from Rosseau start). Full Raid loses a 1km road run in the middle of the race and bunch of thorn whacking so a positive there.
Half Raid simply gains an extra 1km road run at the end. It was already on the long side so that was frustrating.
A week before the race: Car accident on Friday night (why I missed Ontarios). Nobody hurt but weekend where the bulk of the 'busy work' (map and notes prep) was meant to be done was lost.
Thursday during ARK: HCA gets back to me. All CPs are OK to use, but one is on private property. Did you get permission?
I did not get permission. Confirm with baloney that night that it was on private land (Sherman Falls) - I always thought the property boundary was between the Falls and the bridge. No problem, just remove the checkpoint and make Luca the 'photo checkpoint'
Now the photos have been released this was an absolute net positive as runners were ready for the photo, 99% are people looking up, smiling, posing instead of those awkward running/looking at ground or map photos.
Thursday after ARK: Check out St. Anns to find where to put finish line (all good) and make sure the new start is OK. Discover the Ancaster Raid Trail is closed for construction (the opposite of good). Change matrix again.
Friday before race: Get all the busy work done. With the Matrix changed for the 3rd time I am checking answers by headlamp in the dark. Send everything to printers around 3am. That's my fault, I spent a couple of hours at Alchemy's final Friday Night lights for the Open after rechecking the matrix checkpoints.
Saturday: Collect all printing. Put out Iroquois Heights CPs. Drive around the matrix CPs again by daylight with the printed map to make sure no major errors. Only 3 minor errors.
Text message from Jay. Can't find the ribbons in Ancaster Creek. Head out with him. Yup 3/7 ribbons had gone missing. Put out the last one (perfectly placed and labelled by AG!) as darkness fell. Pack car.
Sunday: Parking issues with church goers. Call from 50 Pesos truck, they've broken down and probably won't make it. (they eventually make it)
Get to the start line for Full Raid and discover the Rail Trail has reopened for Sunday (sign say closed until December). My face :|
Everything thing else works fine thanks to a plethora of volunteers. Kris and Courtney especially. Only one person complains about the Half Raid distance. You know who you are :)
This isn't meant to be a' woe is me my life is hard' post - it's really not. Just the irony of this meant to be an 'easy to organise' race, I just needed to document it.