Name of Race: Don’t Get Lost Snowshoe Raid
Date of Race: February 24th 2007
Location of Race: Horseshoe Valley
Type of Event: Adventure Running/Snowshoeing
Distance/Length of Event: 3 Hours
Sunshine, blue skies and -3C weather greeted all racers to the first ever Snowshoe Raid put on by Don’t Get Lost up at Horseshoe Valley. Over 55 athletes, including 3 members of the Aurora High AR team and their coaches revved up for a great day of trekking through the Copeland forest in search of 25 deftly placed checkpoints. The stage was set for a great day of racing.
The team at Don’t Get Lost provided athletes with the opportunity to attend a free navigation clinic put on by Bob Miller, Canada’s elite Adventure Racer an hour before race registration began. As our students were rookies to navigation, we took advantage and learned all of the basics needed to survive the day. A short in-class session, which covered navigation basics such as compass work and reading the terrain, was followed by ½ hour of practical work in the forest. Training maps were provided and all clinic members were given the opportunity to get out and find a couple of checkpoints before the race began. It was a great way to learn the ropes and all athletes who attended the clinic felt much more comfortable with what lay ahead when it was all said and done. With the clinic behind us, we were ready to hit the trails.
A short trek to the starting line and a couple of quick high fives amongst team members and the race was on. Seeing that the 5 of us (myself, my wife Meagan and my 3 students) were new to the whole “navigation” thing, we decided to attack the race course as a team. A suggestion in the pre-race clinic led us to plan our route around chasing down checkpoint #1 which happened to be the furthest away from the start. As we raced along the route, teams quickly thinned out and we found ourselves leading out a group of 8 people towards the checkpoint. A duck of the head underneath an overhanging branch and a keen eye for the orange and white checkpoint and #1 was in the bag! Checkpoint #2 was also relatively easy to spot and as we coordinated our map and compass, we were off to checkpoint #3. Through the forest and across a frozen river, we maintained a solid pace and we soon had our 3rd and 4th checkpoints. We were feeling great as we took a moment to decide our plan of attack (and have a bite to eat) and headed back down into the heart of the forest to hunt down more checkpoints. As we did, the terrain began to change dramatically. Rolling hills and valleys became steeper and wider as we searched out and found 3 more checkpoints. A small error in judgement resulted in some lost time but with the help of ski patrol, we were back in line and quickly found 2 more checkpoints. Time, however, was starting to dwindle away. As this was our first race together, we had decided to pace ourselves and make sure that we finished strong. However, 2 arduous climbs and a couple of tricky descents left little time to pick up the high-scoring checkpoints we had planned on bagging. Instead, we focused on hitting as many checkpoints as we could before time ran out. Now this would be a good time to let you in on our one MAJOR error. We had made a mistake while going through the race rules and misunderstood the penalty for being late. We thought it was -10 points for every 10 minutes (of course, it’s -10 for every minute) so we decided to hit a couple of checkpoints and head for home, willing to take a hit to bag a couple more.
When it was all said and done, we had managed to hit 15 checkpoints and score over 550 points. Unfortunately, ½ of those points were taken away as we missed the 3 hour cut off time. But that being said, we were extremely proud of our accomplishments and celebrated our results.
Racers were treated to a pizza lunch (the pepperoni and cheese was pretty awesome) and after the scores had been tabulated, Bob and his crew presented the top finishers with fantastic prizes from race sponsors including Running Free!! In addition, because of the number of prizes donated, each racer was presented with a prize for their accomplishments! Our students walked away with DVD’s, hats and socks and were very appreciative and thankful to the race organizers. This was a fantastic event and our team is already looking forward to racing the Giant’s Rib Raid on April 7th.