I am not partial to “loop-da-loop” races and so had never done Storm the Ten before, but was super stoked to race with uber star Shannon.
Storm the Ten http://stormevents.ca/stormthe10.htm is a race that combines all the disciplines of adventure racing (paddling, trail running and mountain biking) on a marked trail. The loops are just over 10km long, in this case about 13.5km, and you have 10 hours to complete as many loops as you can. It’s a great race in that you can do it solo, in a tag team or in teams of 2, 4 or 6. Shannon and I choose tag team. A little lonely, but a good way to push yourself.
The day was great although a little chilly, especially in the morning. As well when you are waiting for the team mate to do the loop it was hard to keep warm at times. Which made it difficult to go all out again once it was your turn.
Shannon being the stronger, younger, faster running took the first loop, which had an additional 2km run for 3 flags to spread out the teams. She did amazing, doing the first loop with prolong in 1:16:50. Just over a minute behind the first team.
I than took over. Knowing the course ahead of the time helped, as I was mentally prepared for that mountain bike climb at the beginning. I got caught on the up behind some walkers that did not get out of the way in time, so had to get off the bike. Bur cranked it and made it up the rest of the hill. Little bit of confusion, as a bunch of bikes were stopped at the narrow section where bikers and running pass each other. I stopped thinking it was the run already, but super volunteer Andrew told me go on.
The run was easy, only a slight up in the beginning. I opted to stay in my bike shoes the whole time, so save time. But not really sure if it did. As they were pretty stiff to run in. I hit my toe and did a Bugs Bunny slow motion stumbling act, but recovered nicely. No camera to prove it, so you have to take my word for it.
Finished the 2km run and as I hopped on the bike saw the female tag team ahead of us racing down the hill.
I hammered the bike and the paddle. Accidently taking some ones paddle. Luckily they hadn’t waited around as they were just getting on the water when I got off. I raced up the hill. That hill is brutal at the end. I punched in with a time of 1:04:06 and handed off the SIdent to Shannon for her second lap. We were now only about 30 seconds behind first.
Shannon had a fabulous second lap, coming in at 1:03:59.
I headed off. This time running in the bike shoes I stumbled and did not recover. I fell big time, scrapping my right shin, back of right calf and then landing hard on my butt. When I got up I brushed my backside off as I started running only to find slim on my fingers. Gross! I landed directly on a poor defenseless caterpillar. Oh dear. My first thought that is was bad for my karma. It could have been the dalai lama reincarnated. This was a bad omen.
But I soldiered on, in memory of that caterpillar. Did not steal some ones paddle and completed this leg in 1:03:32.
Shannon was off like a bullet and did a great job again, with 1:05:03. Although I was a little concerned when she ran down the hill towards the kayaks and gave the signal of a gun to her head. 🙂
It was tough to stay warm and know how much to eat in between laps. However, it was super fun to cheer on friends and other racers. Like BugsinTeeth, PhatChicks, LongSaults, Kura, Chetan, We Eat Squirrels, Don’t Call it a Comeback.
It was also great, but a little nerve wracking to have the times pop up right away. I think by now we were about 5 minutes behind the first place team. The one team mate a 19 year old mountain biker was doing the loops in 1:01. Not surprising since the ~13.5km loops were broken down, by almost 10km of biking, 2km run, and 2km paddle.
Knowing this I was so determined to shave of 2 minutes and make this a personal best. Unfortunately, even when I thought I was going faster I looked down at my garmin and I was slower on the bike to the run this time. What?! I tried hammer the run, but my shoes seemed even stiffer than the last two laps.
The paddle went well, but not well enough to even maintain my previous times. I came in at 1:07:43. Absolutely disappointed.
I couldn’t understand what happened. I decided maybe I’m not resting, keeping warm or fueling up enough. So I tried to focus on that.
The next lap would be my last unless I did a double. I had no idea how long Shannon’s laps were taking. Since when I got in it would show the last lap, which was mine and the fast lap, which for now was also mine.
So I was preparing myself for potentially doing a double to ensure we would get a 9th lap in. It was obvious at this point, since we were now about 15 minutes behind first that we could not catch them. However, we could out best, which would be to get in a 9th loop.
Shannon came running past to get the paddle and shouted, “I’m trying to get back by quarter too.” Which meant 4:45p.m. so that I would come in before 6p.m so we could squeeze in another loop. The rules were the last loop had to start no later than 6p.m., but would only count if the racer got in by 7p.m. With our current loop times either of us would need to start no later than 5:55p.m. to get back in the time.
She made just over 4:45p.m. I was off. Again with a grimace of determination on my face. However, to no avail. No major mishaps. No murdered caterpillars. Yet still no faster. I was spent. In my head and in my legs. That first big mountain bike climb was just worse every time. I’d think. Okay, I got a good rest. But as soon as I hit the up, my thighs would burn. I just wanted to ripe them off and hit myself over the head with them.
As I came through the tunnel as the end of the bike I saw the young girl from the first place team start their 9th loop. That solidified our second place. But were still going to pull of a 9th loop if I had anything to say about it.
As I dropped the bike and ran towards the kayaks, everyone was yelling, most especially Shannnon who said, “Wanda I love you, but I hate, ’cause now I have to go out again.” I was so happy she said that, because there was no way I was going to make through a double.
I grunted and grinded the paddle while Dorota of team LongSaults shouted tips and words of encouragement. The best part of every race by far.
Ran up the hill, coming in at a pathetic 1:07:51, but enough to give Shannon an hour and eight minutes to finish the last lap. Phew!
Shannon blew the course out of the water, completing it in an amazing 1:01:15. She said the only way she could was to do logs.
Just in case it was close. Chetan and I got her kayak turned around and a paddle ready. I handed her the pdf as she ran past. Shannon couldn’t zip it up, so I did and she was off. As she got of the paddle she pointed out that the pdf was on backwards. The hydration pack in the front. So funny. We both ran up the hill. She still faster than me. Everyone shouting. It was such a beautiful finish to a great day.
We may not have come first. But I am so proud that we did 9 loops in 9:53:52, giving us a great second place finish.
As Race Director, Sean Roper called our team name “We Don’t Do Logs” as the second place winners we had to correct him.
“We do logs now! Sean.” Shannon and I shouted. We had to on this course. And boy are we happy we did!