There are three things that makes me want to race in Barrie:
1. A spectacular network of trails – over 100kms of some of the best single track in the province. Surprisingly they are also well maintained by an army of volunteers. Who needs to go to Hardwood Hills, when the best trails are for free?
2. Bill Trayling – besides being an uber athlete, he also has been a constant teammate to many of my adventures, most recently at the Transrockies Challenge.
3. Bill’s hottub! – a life saver. Bill’s family generously hosted old TRF member Ted Jennings to a comfortable stay in Barrie. Being in close proximity to the race start was even better!
And so with those 3 elements in place, an opportunity to pull Ted out of retirement and reform Team Running Free 2003-2005 were reasons enough to get out and race ARC’s last race on the calendar.
Where was Noah and his arc when you needed him? 7 days of rain, and a constant rain on race day soaked the course. Cold temperatures did not make it any better but the lure of pristine single track, a 1000ft zip line and a cold beer in a hot tub were just too alluring!
The race started with a brisk orienteering section through the undulating hills of Copeland Forest. Bill led us through the 5 checkpoints with amazing accuracy. Whether it was on trail or running through the bush, the constant rain did not deter us. It was good fun frolicking in the woods – just like old times!
We headed into the TA with about a 10 min lead over Derek Macniel and his merry team of MTBers. We knew this is where our lead may evaporate through the slick, technical 20kms of single track. Not 10 minutes into the single track I wiped up hard on my now-close-to-busted collarbone. Confidence shot, I picked myself off the trail and continued on, only to hit an endless, rooty climb.
Ted, riding his MTB for the first time in 3 years hadn’t skipped a beat since our last race together at the World Championships in 2004. Meanwhile Bill, on home turf, whipped through the tight, twisty trail with ease, slick conditions and all. After a series of slides, slips and head-on collisions with trees we managed to maintan our lead to the zip line. WOOHOO good fun zipping along on the zip line before heading back to the Horseshoe Valley Ski resort and directly into Bill’s hottub to warm up our arthritic joints.
Good times in Barrie!