Once a source of "Not all you want to know about Texas Adventure Racing," but now just some "leisure" adventure through the eyes of "The K-SPoT"

Saturday, July 07, 2007

RTNX: Run When You Can...

check the panorama i made from pics from our hotel room!

Run when you can, walk when you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.
-- Dean Karnazes

Wow, that definitely describes our race experience! This is gonna be one of those multi-part race reports, I can feel it...even then, I doubt I will do the race any justice. If you want to spare yourself my personal details, Team Adrenaline Rush has a pretty concise writeup on Sleepmonsters. Before I go deep into it, I think a bit of scene-setting is in order. The original race course for Raid the North Extreme was supposed to be entirely centered around the Prince Rupert area. However due to a large snow pack and a rapid and large snow melt this spring, flooding had reached the 200-year mark in the region, making any kind of travel in the wilderness hazardous at best. So basically, Geoff and Lawrence of RTNX had to scrap the first 2/3rds of their original race course.

gear box explodes onto our bedsAs crappy as that sounded, this actually turned into a great opportunity that the race directors I guess have been only dreaming about in years past. The locals stepped in to help with no delay and next thing you know we are starting the 2007 edition of RTNX on the Haida Gwaii Islands, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands. This remote chain of islands is inhabited by the great Haida First Nation community and they embraced us with such fervor that we were still rubbing our eyes in disbelief as we left the islands after the first stage of the race.

Phil checks out a cool totem poleEven with the racecourse coming together nicely, we still had dicey logistics to maneuver through due to the new format of traveling to and from the islands with limited ferry space. One huge change was with the gear bin assignments. Before the announced course change, we were allowed one personal gear bin per racer and one team gear bin. Now, since transportation resources were limited on the island, we had to now make each gear bin a team gear bin, each being strategically placed and moved around, being avaiable at certain TA's throughout the course. So basically we had to be a lot smarter about how we packed each gear bin since we would only see one of them at each of the TA's along the course and some we would only see once and then it would be gone for the rest of the race. We had gone over the bin packing strategy several times before getting to Prince Rupert, but still it was a headache once it came to actually loading the boxes.

Welcome to Prince Rupert

nick, i tried to get you a new pimp cane!Before we could even get to that stage, we were experiencing a team crisis. I had met Phil for the first time on the flight into PR from Vancouver on Friday and we were concerned about our gear and bikes getting on the small puddle jumper because of our short connection times. Thankfully, when we arrived in PR, our stuff was there. We rode the ferry from Digby Island (that's where the airport is located) onto the main island and rode the bus to the Inn at the Harbor. After checking in, that's when we found out that even though Paul had arrived safely a day before, his gear did not. This was extra bad since he had a lot of the team gear. Even more alarming, Jen, who was supposed to arrive the same time as we did, was not there. She missed her connecting flight and was now staying overnight in Vancouver. All this certainly made arranging our gear boxes impossible.

Lawrence imparts knowledgeWe couldn't do anything about it now, so we just did whatever we could while we waited. Paul did attend the opening ceremonies earlier that day and we received our maps, rules of travel, and coordinates. We jumped right into planning our course since that's all we could do. As we started plotting, we noticed that the trek right after the first paddle would be very tough. This feeling was emphasized as Lawrence, the course director, had forbidden us from taking certain routes that he deemed dangerous and even gave us safe waypoints to hit along the way to keep us out of harms way, or so that's what he had planned. In fact, as we were planning our route, Lawrence walked pass our door and we called him in for some advice. We were talking about crossing a certain reentrant and making our way gradually up to CP2, a mountain peak, but he said simply, "go up the reentrant." So that's how we planned our course. This would dictate our experience for the first trek of the race.

Helly Hansen didnt share their shots :(We worked through the night on the 4, big, 1:50 scale maps and eventually bedded down, exhausted. Since we were further north, sunset was at about 11pm and then sunrise was at a freakish 4am! This jacked with my sleep pattern, but I guess that wouldn't matter much during the next few days. We got up bright and early to good news. Paul had just talked to Jen who would be arriving in Prince Rupert at about 10am and she was almost 100% positive that she saw them loading up Paul's gear boxes. We still weren't out of the woods since we still had a strict time schedule to adhere to--we still had to register and go through all the skills tests and get our gear bins ready for them to transport to the island. As soon as Jen arrived, we were buzzing like worker bees, frantically packing each gear box. I had to ditch a lot of the gear I had brought since our gear boxes were filled to capacity now with each other's gear. My head was spinning at the end of it. We then lugged the heavy boxes over the Highliner Hotel, which was the HQ in Prince Rupert. We quickly went through the mandatory gear check and then the skills tests. After all that, we had to jet over to Farwest Bicycles for our bike check and then across the street to the Museum of Northern BC for a sushi meet and greet and then the final pre-race briefing.

our home before and after the raceAfter getting some food into our tummy and checking out the museum exhibits, we went over the race course one final time with Lawrence and got more detail about course cutoff times, which would turn out to be very important. We then headed back to our hotel to clean up a bit and then headed over to Breakers Pub for a bit of dinner and a couple of drinks. We had planned to get our food and get out of there so that we can get last-minute things done and get some rest before the start tomorrow, but apparently Breakers had different plans for us. We ended up waiting 2 HOURS for our food! They kept saying that the kitchen was slammed, but for some reason people after us were getting their food before us! We were so steamed...not a good way to start a race. Oh well. We walked back to our hotel and went to bed after dragging the last of our nonessential gear to the Highliner.

Next, Prologue...


Post a Comment

<< Home