Trekking race 14:30:00  40.0 km (21:45 / km)
shoes: Salomon S Labs 4
We transitioned as quickly as we could and had a short debate about taking the swim or back track along the road to the trail. I voted trail but was out voted for the swim, so we got wet. This is where things started to go wrong. Once we crossed the channel we started to trek and find the nearby trail to the south. For whatever reason we could not find the trail. We relocated to the east and shot back in and still could not hit it. Relocated to north and again couldn’t find it. This time however we just kept walking and eventually found the small ridge to the south. A quick handrail and we found the trail and headed south to CP4 via a portage trail and hand railing the lake. From CP 4 we headed east to try and find another trail to take us north of CP5 before bushwhacking south to CP5. Again we had no luck with the trail and continued to a ridge further in our direction of travel. We eventually came across a trail after hand railing the ridge but it looked nothing like the previously well groomed trail that we were on. We decided that the trail in question might be a secondary trail so we followed it to the west hoping to hit the “major trail”. We quickly figured out that we were on the trail we wanted to be on and moved east again.
By this point it was dark and we hooked up with team 14 and 21 (also rookie teams) and we decided to work together to get to CP5. We bushwhacked further east to a lake and then headed south and got on the Gordon Lake Access road. Took the road further east hoping to follow it most of the way to CP5 but it disappeared well before the location indicated on the map. We relocated to a junction north of CP5 and had a quick chat.
At this point the moral for most had been broken and my team was starting to hurt (I had some large blisters on both feet and one of my mates was also having feet problems). Since we were to late to make the canoe cut off at CP6. We gave G’Stix a call and announced that we were considering withdrawing from the race. He gave us a bit of encouragement and said we wouldn’t be pulled off the course if we got to CP6 by noon but we decided that our race was finished. Team 14 wanted to keep going and they eventually finished the Short Course. My team and 21 started the 20kmish trek off the course via the Gordon Lake Access Road. By this point I was walking like an old man and moving slow but after 4.5hrs we made it to Hwy 69 and got shuttled back to base camp and concluded our adventure.
Lessons learned (sadly these are lessons that I have learned before):
1) Get everyone to Base Camp early to prep and prepare. Despite lots of planning via emails my team wasn’t ready to pack TA bags once they go on site (this was mainly due to super busy work schedules and a minor car accident on the way up north).
2) Don’t count on man made features on a +15year old map. We wasted too much time searching for trails in the hopes that we could save some time on them. The much better decision would have been to just do straight bushwhacking and select features that are easy to find.
I would like to thank G’Stix and Bash for organizing an awesome race. Also thanks to the volunteers, you guys were awesome and I am grateful that you donated your time so myself and others like me could go and get lost in the woods.
Already looking forward to next year to redeem myself!!!