Inside: Course Update AR Tips - Trekking in the Dark Racing for a Cause with Outward Bound O-Store.ca
We've recently returned from our final course testing missions and we're very happy with both the current conditions and the unique terrain we've explored. Every time we finish one of our big testing days we're amazed at how lucky we are to have such great wilderness so close to our doorsteps. Below are a few pictures from last week. As for conditions, water temperatures are still hovering over 20 degrees Celsius, trails are in good shape, there are a few mud holes but overall they're making for speedy travel, and the forests are generally open making for decent rates-of-travel while trekking off-trail. The long term forecast is also looking promising with plenty of sunshine and seasonal to above-average temperatures. Things are shaping up for a great event!
For those still planning to attend and have not signed up registration closes tomorrow, Thursday September 17th, 2015 at midnight. We still have a few people interested in joining, or forming a team, so if you're in search send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). With 40 teams signed up so far this will be the biggest field to date!
Adventure Racing Tips - Trekking in the Dark
One of the most difficult tasks teams will face during an overnight race is trekking, off-trail, in the dark. This is where we often see many teams races go askew as they lose track of their position and begin to wander aimlessly in a fruitful attempt to relocate themselves. Every overnight adventure racing team has experienced this dilemma and it seems the only way to overcome it is to have the experience first-hand and then learn from those mistakes. Hopefully I can provide a few tips to help avoid, or lessen the impact from such a scenario.
1. Your pace will drop substantially and it will take longer than expected to reach your destination. This seems obvious, but it's incredibly hard to comprehend and apply in the field. If you've been following a consistent bearing and you're simply worried you may have passed your destination, KEEP GOING!
2. Only use very obvious, easily identifiable features to navigate to/from (i.e. big lakes, major rivers, major trails, or roads). In Canada and many other countries the best scale maps we have are 1:50000 and they're often out-dated. It's inevitable to find many features, especially decent size hills, marshes and flooded areas that simply don't show up on those maps. By choosing OBVIOUS, EASILY IDENTIFIABLE FEATURES to navigate between you can often ignore many of the smaller features that often throw teams off-course.
3. Avoid following un-mapped trails, or logging roads if you don't know where they go as they can lead you far off-track. Let's face it, traveling through the forest off-trail is an arduous task often ripe with branches thrashing faces, shins and equipment, it's tough going. When we come across a nice open trail it's human nature to want to follow it and avoid the painful torment we've been enduring. However, when you start off on an un-mapped trail, logging road, or skidder track you're setting yourself up to become lost unless it closely follows the bearing you've been on, or you know where the trail is going. Traveling only 5-10minutes on an un-mapped trail is often all it takes to drag your team off-course and set you up for the above-mentioned aimless wandering that often ensues. DON'T FOLLOW UNMAPPED TRAILS unless you know where they're going.
4. Practice, practice, practice. Off-trail, nighttime foot travel could be one of the least practiced, yet most difficult skills in our sport. The more we practice, the more we'll learn from our mistakes, which is of course the best way to drill home these tips.
Hopefully these tips will help your team on your next overnight, off-trail adventure. And if you've read this far I can tell you that all teams can expect to be trekking, off-trail, in the dark at this years Wilderness Traverse event. There will be a large, trackless trekking stage roughly 1/2 way through the event meaning all teams from the leaders to the tail-end will face part of it in the dark.
Racing for a Cause - Outward Bound & The Race For Breakfast
We currently have two teams raising funds for Outward Bound. Team Muck Dynasty is back aiming to build on the $3000+ they raised last year. And Team "The Breakfast Club" has also taken up the cause and could use your support. Please visit their respective fundraising pages and consider a donation:
Also racing for a cause again this year is team "The Race For Breakfast". They'll be competing in support of Breakfast For Learning, "Started in 1992, Breakfast for Learning is Canada's first established and one of the largest national charities dedicated to school based nutrition programs. Working to support communities in every province and territory, we help thousands of schools start and sustain nutrition programs each year." With my wife being an elementary school teacher she has attested to the importance and overwhelming need for this program in schools. Consider a donation, details can be found on this page.
It will be possible to buy Nordenmark Map Boards as well as orienteering pants at the event this year. One of our racers will be bringing some for those interested. A "Map Board" makes navigation and map manipulation much much easier on the bike. All the top and experienced teams use them. Orienteering pants are excellent for bushwhack sections. They are made to run in the forest, they are easy to put on and remove and dry extremely fast, perfect for what we do! If you'd like to pre-order anything from O-store and have it brought to the event (to save the shipping costs), simply call, or email the O-Store at: email@example.com 1-866-844-7687.
With just over 2 weeks to go before event day things are heating up behind-the-scenes with final preparations. Best of luck to those teams who are registered as they put finishing touches on training, gear accumulation and packing. For those not able to attend be sure to follow along online this October 3rd/4th weekend as we aim to provide the best online coverage of any adventure race around.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy fall,
Bob Miller Event Director Wilderness Traverse Tel: 416-735-4021