2004-03-01

Raid Avalon 2 Completed

I made it through the second Raid Avalon adventure race. It took me about twice as long as the other teams who finished, but after nearly 10.5 hours I crossed the finish line. Much of the excess time can be blamed on equipment. I had waxless traditional skis rather than skate skis, my bike had summer road/hard trail tires rather than studded winter tires, and I had an old pair of wooden snowshoes rather than the modern type. With the right gear I could have easily trimmed at least an hour off my time, and probably 2.

Speaking of trimming, I am not in the best of shape. According to the charts, I could stand to lose 20 or 30 lbs. I don't move overly fast at the best of times, and maintaining a high rate of speed, especially in the cold of winter, is difficult with my mild asthma. Then there was the fact that I was racing alone against 2 teams of 4, 1 team of 3, and 1 other single. Anyway, I knew all this going in and hadn't expected to be anything but last. My goals were to finish, and hopefully not be more than 2 hours behind the leaders. I managed the first part.

The race itself started out with cross-country skiing, interrupted halfway through by an Australian (attached on the back) rappel down a steep slope. That was followed by a bicycle ride through slush, mud and ice covered roads. From there the route went up a long, steep hill, through the dense woods, and over bogs. The final stretch involved crossing over the frozen harbour, and then down the road to the finish line. All kinds of weather was experienced too, but the worst was the 30 to 70km NW wind which blew in my face, and impeeded progress, whenever I was away from any shelter from hills or trees.

The organizers, volunteers and other racers treated me very well, and I was congratulated on my accomplishment time and again. I don't feel, however, that I achieved any more than the others racers who took part. I was just slower, but well, I guess there is something to be said for having done it without the benefit of a full team. Perhaps I'll have one for the next race. Wanna join me?