I am in British Columbia at the moment so missed the RockStAR race. Speed Bunnies, Lisa Davey & Amber Panchyshyn had a great time & Amber wrote a gret report on the experience.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Gosh, really, do I need to be getting ready for a race at this time of the day. No one should be awake now. Do I like racing that much? Oh well, here I go. Car is packed, food is ready. Let’s go.
A stop and a detour later, I arrive at the race site. Lisa is already there and getting prepared for the day. We register, get the maps, get the bikes ready to be dropped off and hand in our planned itinerary.
I am told I most certainly would not be allowed as a team member of Bugs in Teeth since it is 9:30 and I haven’t even started putting on my race gear yet. I figured the race doesn’t even start to 11 so what’s the rush.
We’ve got our race gear, bunny ears on our head and we head to the buses to be shipped off to the race start. As we arrive, there is a small panic that I’ve lost the dibbler already but nope, I’ve packed it in the vest all ready for the first checkpoint. That was very forward thinking of me.
After Lisa and I find our bikes lying on the side of the road, we’re off. We’re not in a rush to place first off the bike so we let the speed demons go in front of us. It’s hot, the trails are dry and dusty, there is no need to tire ourselves out at this point. The heat gets to Lisa. The people riding three abreast on the trails gets to me. We maintain a steady pace and stay for the most part within the same pack of twenty racers. At one point, while trying to skillfully avoid the centre of a mud puddle, I take a large branch square in the boob which sends me flying directly backwards into said mud puddle. It’s not really a race until you get muddy so now we’re in it for sure.
We arrive at Checkpoint 1 in The Hub within our 2 hour time frame so yeah for us. We take a quick dip in the lake to help Lisa cool off a bit as she’s very heat intolerant. As we are getting to the lake, Lisa has a huge leg cramp from dehydration/lack of salt. Potato chips and a Hot Rod seem to solve that problem. Unfortunately, the water at the shore is about as warm as bath water so the cooling affect is minimal but it was something anyway.
We head out to get our first checkpoint on foot. We’re off on a “distinct” trail which means it’s not overgrown. We determine we are in about the right place to start heading off on a bearing which of course would take us right through a swamp. It is against the rules to swim in the lake, creek or swamp but we decide that the swamp looks pretty walkable. We take off and the moss or whatever the plant is is very spongy and we only really get wet up to our ankles. Awesome!
Lisa does a great job with the navigating and we hit the checkpoint almost right on. The team we were crossing the swamp with are nowhere in sight. At this point we head straight south following the lake/swamp shore. What a mess. Downed trees, tall ferns, everything was conspiring to slow our progress. As we come out to the edge of another marsh, I notice that it seems to be the same spongy stuff that we crossed before so we should walk across it again. It certainly will speed up out progress. In the end, we crossed all the way down to our second checkpoint without having to bushwack too much.
I made the fatal mistake of not wearing long pants. It was going to be hot you know. So by this time, I have a number of scrapes on my lower legs. Not only that but apparently the deer flies love me. Lisa not so much, but me, OMG. It’s going to be a long day.
Checkpoint 3 is at the end of an indistinct trail. This means there are signs but the actual trail is very overgrown. As I said to Lisa, I’m no Mantracker but I can usually find the trail alright. A couple of times we had to stop and back track a bit but we got there no problem.
We skipped the last two originally planned checkpoints as everything was just taking far longer to get through. The bushwacking was really crazy. We headed back to The Hub for a quick pee break and refill of water then it was off in the canoes. Finally, a leg that both Lisa and I could excel in. With the kayak paddles and the bunny ears, we cruised across the lake to the next checkpoint then headed down the shore to the next. This checkpoint was one where a team member floated in an inner tube across to an island to get the checkpoint. I gave Lisa the job since I figured she would like to be paddling about in the water. I waited on shore cheering her on.
Now we were cruising right along. Part of the rules was that teams had to check back in at The Hub between 4 and 6pm. So after the inner tubing we headed back to The Hub. While I picked up the underwater checkpoint, Lisa had to contemplate which of the last three land checkpoints we were going to get. Knowing what we now knew about how long it is taking us to go over land, we knew there was no way we were going to get the three that we had originally thought. We gave the volunteers our planned route and headed off.
The floating checkpoint was pretty easy to spot. Along the way, the water safety team dropped a couple of iced teas for us which at that point in the day tasted absolutely amazing! We went to our next planned spot to drop the canoe and go pick up a checkpoint but decided that it was just too crazy and decided not to go for it. We went up to the end of the lake and beached the canoe there. The map said there was a trail but apparently we walked right over top it so that we ended up bushwacking our way all the way to the next checkpoint. My legs were killing me. Every new dead spruce tree I walked into was like running through a stinging nettle plant. Ouch.
On our way back, we actually ended up on the trail which was terrific except that we ended up passing the canoes and heading farther south. By the time we checked at the shore, we were near our first skipped checkpoint so we thought we might try to find it again. After 5 minutes or so we decided there were no way we were going to have enough time so we turned around and headed back for the canoe.
Hopping back in the boat, we went to the next checkpoint on the water and then cruised into shore. Still the deer flies are driving me crazy. I killed two of them in the boat and they left little splatters of MY blood on the bottom of the canoe!!
There were two quick checkpoints on shore. The RockstAR portrait which involved fake guitar props (and of course bunny ears) and one more quick run through the grasses to a marsh-side checkpoint Luckily, by this time, so many teams had run to this point the trail was well trampled and I don’t think I got too many extra cuts on my legs.
Cruised into the finish line with a couple of minutes to spare. Woo hoo!! Earlier in the day, Lisa and I had set our goal to be in positive points. This meant that we couldn’t be late of we would start losing points for every minute over time. Success. 760 points all together. Not a huge amount but that put us in the middle of our category so we were pretty happy.
The mosquitoes came out in full force after sundown and still seemed to find me even though I was in a room full of other people. We headed back to our cabin on the edge of Bark Lake. As we went to sleep the water was gently lapping onto shore. It was the end of another great day in the woods.
Great job bunnies!!!