Adventure Race

Rockstar 2016!

We had a great time this weekend volunteering at the Rockstar Adventure Race. Injuries and family commitments prevented us from participating at the race but didn’t stop us from volunteering. We had a great time, volunteering lets us feel involved and connected with the race.

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Storm Racing out did themselves this year. There were a few technical difficulties, including a devastating fire at Bark Lake just weeks before the race but I’m sure the racers didn’t notice a thing.

Our job this year was to man the swim area where racers jumped into about 8 feet of murky, fishy water looking for a silver CD. Some racers just loved jumping in the water and others not so much.

This year there was a family category. It was great seeing all the kids out trying an adventure race. This race wasn’t easy and although not everyone walks away with a medal, all the participants are winners.

 

Check out the video below!

We had an amazing day with two of Bark Lakes finest lifeguards, Laura and Elana. There were the best, professional and fun!

Perfect summer weather (for sitting on the dock in the sun) great racers and the sisters together, we couldn’t have asked for a nicer weekend!

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Categories: #happydays, Adventure Race, Volunteering | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Raid the Hammer 2015

The Blister Sister and the Bandage met up again to run Raid the Hammer put on by Don’t Get Lost. We had a great run on a beautiful November Sunday!

blister sisters and the bandage

Blister Sisters and the Bandage

The race took place in the Dundas area, just outside of Hamilton. I actually recognized where we would be running from the maps handed out, we ran in the same area a few years ago. Luck for us this area was also our team member Jean’s (the bandage) old stomping ground so we had the advantage of knowing which way was up on the map!

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We did really well, we weren’t last, we found all the controls and we defiantly had more than a few laughs. Isn’t that what running with friends is all about!


I’ve posted a few of our photos here and there are more great photos on the Don’t Get Lost Facebook page.

the team

the team

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Peak to Peak Adventure Run

Weekly Smile!
The Blister Sisters were at it again! So much fun stumbling around in the forest! What at beautiful day for a run!

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Today was the Peak to Peak hosted by Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running Club. We really like their races, they are fun, challenging and well organized and they give us great maps! We save them all, you never know when you’ll need an orienteering map of somewhere near Hamilton, LOL

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This run was in the in the beautiful Dundas Valley near Hamilton Ontario. I love running in the fall!

You might guess from the name of the run that all the check point are on top of peaks in the Dundas Valley. It was a lot of fun, a butt burner getting up the hills and a butt burner getting back down!

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Happy Days! The Rockstar Adventure Race!

This post is a little late but the Blister Sisters were at it again in the Rockstar Adventure Race that was held on July 25th at Bark Lake. I think that was the 7th time we have done this race and we still love it. Race director Sean Roper does an excellent job keeping this race fresh and keeping racing teams guessing.

The rain clouds were out at sun up.

The rain clouds were out at sun up.

After a grueling 25k mountain bike ride down rocky, hilly and wet ATV trails and Ontario cottage country backroads, we rolled in to the trek and paddle portion of the course. We chose to trek first and saved the paddle for later on in the day. Going forward with our new found but unpracticed compass skills we felt positive that we would find this new course a breeze and that controls would appear right where our compass pointed us.


He he, not so! The first control was the paddle board. Glenis did an outstanding job of getting through that task quickly. Then we moved on to an over grown trail to find 2 more controls. That’s when the trouble started. Its all fine to know what direction to go but the problem was we didn’t really know how far to go in that direction. That’s a skill we haven’t mastered.
After wandering and back tracking on an all but non-existence trail, having not seen a sole for what seemed like hours, we stumbled on a control. We were back in business.
With our new found sense of accomplishment we trotted off to the next control by a beaver dam. Success! After looking at the map and our compass we stumbled across the dam to bushwhack to the next target.


We hacked and stumbled through the dense undergrowth, pausing to take readings with our compass to stay on track only to find ourselves at the edge of a large marsh. Once again we need to back track, through that bush that has probably never seen a human. We took a reading that should have intersected with a trail only to find ourselves back at the beaver dam. We probably couldn’t have done that if we planned to end up there. So we tripped back across the dam and onto a trail. At this point we decided to chuck the compass and go back to just reading the map. Apparently we need a lot more practice before we rely on a compass to get us anywhere.


Sticking to a trail we found the next control. Then we waded through a creek and onto to an old ATV trail. We planned to hit a control on the edge of a large marsh. Fortunately for us, other racers had already been there ahead of us so a path around the marsh was already stomped out in the long grasses and through the bracken waters. It seemed like quite a hike only because there were storm clouds gathering all around us. It had been raining on an off but usually after a brief shower the sun came out. This was looking a little more ominous.
Our joy of finding the control was seriously hampered by the huge storm that blew in as we stood planning our next move. We were nearly blown off our feet, the temperature dropped and the rain pelted us sideways. We hustled up into the bush and contemplated our escape. The decision was to go back the way we had come in along the marsh, in the rain and lightning, bushwhacking wasn’t an option. The rain was pelting down in buckets, we were soaked through. We didn’t give it a second thought when we waded through the rushing creek that drained the marsh and climbed onto an ATV trail. The trail had a stream running down through the middle of it but strangely it was the nicest run of the day.
Time was running out but we decided on finding one more control. A sound control, we had to find it by listening for a sound in the forest. No easy task with the rain pelting down. Once again we over shot where it was supposed to be, but on the way back the rain had slackened off and we could actually hear the bush. There it was; a rock song,- the Stones I think; playing in the bush. Off we charged and Glenis ran forward to punch the control. Next thing I know she is yelping and holding her butt, she had disturbed some ground wasps, and one of them got her right on the butt cheek! With her leg going numb we hustled off to the finish line!

The Blister sisters! Thanks Heather for the Pic!

The Blister sisters!
Thanks Heather for the Pic!

We never did get in the canoe, every time we thought of paddling the rain came along with lightning and thunder. We did have a great time though. What a rush to be out in the bush wondering what is around the next corner. We will be back next year for sure, hopefully with improved compass skills!

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Where did June go! Our June Update!

Just a little post to update everyone on what we were up to last month.

June was a training month for us, lots of running and stretching. As June is bug month around here and it was pretty rainy, we were on the road a lot, not too much trail time just so we didn’t get eaten alive by the mosquitoes lurking there.

We did get involved with the Relay for Life. The Relay for Life is a fund raiser that the Canadian Cancer Society holds to raise money for cancer research and to help fund their outreach programs. We don’t usually fund raise but for this event we did manage to pull it together and raise a few dollars. We decided that everyone who donated to our Blister Sister team would get a thank you gift from us so we knitted up socks, finger less gloves and running hats to give the all great people who donated to our team. The event was held in the evening at a local private school’s track. We walked 17k in the 6.5 hours we spent walking around the track into the early morning. It was particularly inspiring when they lit all the luminaries remembering folks who had passed and those who were survivors. It reminded us that we were doing this not for the ones who had passed but for the people who weren’t even diagnosed yet.

Relay for Life luminaries

This is my dad’s luminary.

The very next day we were out having a great time volunteering at ESAR – Emergency Services Adventure Race by Storm Events. The race was held this year at Hardwood Hill Ski and Bike Park, the same park that will host the mountain bike portion of the Pan Am games this month. ESAR is comprised of team made of Police, Fire, EMS, Military and Civilian teams.

Of course we weren’t actually at this venue, we were some there “out there” at CP2 and 4 checking riders and runners in an out of the check points. Checking in and out of a check point helps the organizers keep track of all the teams. If someone checks in and doesn’t check out, we can only assume they are lost or injured and they need help. Try telling an EMS guy or a cop if they don’t check back in I’m call a search party of their co-workers to go look for them. They soon caught on about the checking in and out of a manned check point. We had great time with everyone. We love volunteering at adventure races.

Glenis at ESAR 2015

A Blister Sister in action!

This weekend we are volunteering at the Rebecca Run. For the last 14 years the Blister Sisters have been there to help out any way we can. It really is the best little 5k around, family friendly and very inspiring. Check it out.

My next volunteering roll with be with the Pan Am Games #Toronto2015. I’m tasked with being a floor manager with the Sports Presentation team at Hardwood Mountain Bike Park. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Among all this volunteering we are training. Our next event is the Rock Star Adventure Race. This is our all-time favorite event. There is something about being in the bush with no idea where you are and being able to find your way out that appeals to us (and knowing if we really do get lost someone will come and find us!) With our new found skills with a compass this should be a lot of fun. A race report to come!

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#HappyDays – Adventure Race Clinic

Saturday Glenis and I attended an Adventure Race Training Course hosted by Bob Miller near Hilton Falls Conservation area. Apparently this is one of the most difficult areas in Ontario to orienteer in. We found that out during Raid the Rib which was held in this area. Bob is a seasoned adventure racer and race director. His race the Wilderness Traverse is the only 24 hour adventure race in Ontario.

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The morning was a class session on map reading and using a compass with a map. The light bulb went on when we realized the disconnect we have been having between the map and the compass. It was great seeing the light. Bob also answered many questions about adventure racing in general. It was great just to pick his brain about adventure racing.

About noon we headed out to the bush, just as the first few drops of rain started to fall. By the time we have driven the 2K to the trail head the rain was pouring down in buckets! Sheets of it, accompanied with the distance rumble of thunder. Fearless, all seventeen of us charged into the woods to bushwhack to the first of the 6 controls Bob had hidden in the woods. Tripping over fallen trees and the hidden boulders that the escarpment is known for, we charged towards where we thought the first control was. Holy cow, we found it, by just using our compass, right were we thought it would be! We were elated. We adjusted our heading and off we went to find the second control, and what do you know, there it was!

It was a sweet jog up the trail, which was a small stream now because of the rain, to find control #3. We were one of the first to reach it, except it wasn’t there. We hunted around and were soon joined by others but no one could find it. The feeling of elation was slipping away. Not to be deterred we headed up the trail to find the next control. Slipping in the mud and over rocks we found it no problem, but it was right beside the trail. The next control would be more challenging because we had to determine where to plunge into the bush from the trail so that we would be in the general proximity of the control. Glenis took the bearing from my point of the trail and down in to the forest we headed. I was off the mark by about 50 meters but Glenis was spot on and we had the last control under our belt. We bushwhacked back to the trail and ran down stream to the trail head.

The next plan for the way was to hop on our bikes and look for controls on the bike route Bob had planned. By now we were sopping wet and our glasses so fogged up we could barely see the map. Off we went bouncing off of rocks and roots, hanging on for dear life in the pouring rail. It was quite the wild ride. We just noted where the controls were on the map and looked in that direction as we passed. We were just happy to ride and not crash!

Unfortunately the canoes portion of the day was canceled. The lightening put an end to that. We stripped out of our soaked clothes in the van and decided to call it a day.

What a great course, Bob was an excellent instructor, and the area he picked couldn’t have been better to navigate in. The joke was on us because someone had actually removed control number 3!

I think we are going to have a great time this year now that we have figured out the whole compass map thing.

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Happy Days – Storm the Trent!

We had a crazy great time at Storm the Trent this past weekend. You can’t beat that feeling of choking up a lung as you peddle like mad up a rocky, rutted ATV trail! We ended up doing just over 50K of running, cycling and paddling on Saturday. Hot, dusty and a ton of fun, everyone should try this race! Have a look at our slideshow.

The Blister Sisters!

The Blister Sisters!

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The Blister Sisters and the Band Aid at Raid the Rib!

We have been waiting three and a half long, cold months for our first event. It was worth the running in the brain numbing cold to be ready for it.

Yesterday the Blister Sisters and the Band Aid ran the Raid the Rib Adventure Race. To do this event we needed a team of three so we enlisted our good friend Jean to be our “Band Aid”. Jean runs like a gazelle over the trails but this is the second time she has joined our team so we must be doing ok to keep up with her. We had so much fun, we just laugh the entire time.

Blister Sisters and the Band Aid

Blister Sisters and the Band Aid

 

The event was held at Rock Ridge Ranch on the escarpment near Milton Ontario. This location was great, the escarpment terrain offers a lot of navigational challenges from rocky ground to cliffs and creeks, nothing about is it flat and rolling. Besides the spring thaw with mud and flooding, at the ranch location, you are also dealing with horse trails that twist and double back so there wasn’t an easy route to any control.

The Don’t Get Lost organization hosts great events always with little twists thrown in to even out the field. The Rib Raid was a scramble so every team could plan their own route. There was no set course, which is just what we like, if we couldn’t find something we could just move on. This time it was mandatory to head back to the start midway through the race and each member of the team had to do an individual navigation challenge.

The morning started out on time for us, but Jean was a little late arriving at the Ranch. She was driving in from another direction than us. She got behind a Don’t Get Lost car and decided it would be easy just to follow it to the Ranch. Unfortunately it didn’t come directly to the ranch, so she was just a little lost (Get it – Don’t Get Lost! LOL) and little late arriving.

This left us a little less time to come up with our plan of attack, but we managed to pull it together and we felt we were good to go at least for an hour or so. This was a 4 hour event so we were going to have to plan on the run as well.

All was good until the start when the entire field took off running in the opposite direction than we wanted to go! We sort of stood there dumb struck and then trotted off to follow them, having no idea where we were going. Then our brains kicked in and we hauled butt in the opposite direction to find our first control. Now we were in charge of our plan again. The first and second controls were right were we thought they should be. We over shot our third control and got a little turned around. I even had to pull out the compass to see which way was north, I hardly ever do that. (We really need to take a navigation course). After some bush whacking, we ended up on a double track trail not really knowing where we were on the map, but three heads together, we took a good guess and we were right. We found more controls before heading back for the individual challenge.

found one

Oh Yea! Found one!

 

Now it was supposed to be 10 degrees C with some sun, but in reality it was windy and cold, I froze waiting at the individual challenge, luckily none of us took too long to find our controls and off we went with an hour to go to finish the race.

Now we were in those twisty horse trails I mention. They just seem to go in circles and they looked the same. The land is treed and rocky with a few outcrops and bogs. Tough going, we eventually, after a spectacular fall by Glenis, decided we had better figure out how to find our way back to the finish.

Needless to say we didn’t win, but we didn’t set out to win, just to have a great time together. We would defiantly recommend this event and any of the Don’t Get lost events to anyone interested in trail running with a twist of navigation thrown in.

After a nice barbeque (we even stayed for the awards) we gave Jean a hug and set November 8th, Raid the Hammer, for our next team adventure.

The sisters now have a month to figure out how to mountain bike again before our next race at Storm the Trent! I guess we better get our bikes out now! Oh yea and that canoe!

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Being Picky

Sometimes you have to be picky. As we gear up for another great year we are being thoughtful deciding which events we want to enter.

There are so many events available to enter now that we have to be a little picky. There are a number of things we consider.

Location – can we drive there in a few hours and return home the same day or do we need to stay overnight? Not that we don’t like staying overnight but for some events, spending hours in a car makes them a little less appealing.

Expense – there is another consideration. Event prices are going up every year. You would be hard press to find an adventure race or ultra; or even a marathon or half at the $50.00 range any more. The expense of running any type of events requires the organizers to charge a higher entry fee.

Then there is the sure number of events. We could do an event just about every weekend. We have to consider the type of event we enter and the time it will take us to recover from the event. We just aren’t as young as we used to be. After all bruises, scrapes and stitches take time to heal! Back to back events are tough to pull off.

That been said, we are having fun reviewing our favorite race websites, investigation new ones and marking on our calendar when every event takes place.

Registering for Raid the Rib

Registering for Raid the Rib

We are excited that we are planning to navigate through Raid the Rib Adventure Run in April. We have in listed our friend Jean to be the “bandage” to the Blister Sisters and the Bandage. In May we’ll be storming along running, riding and paddling in Storm the Trent – Ontario’s best adventure race.

Now we just have to plan the rest of May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December to complete a great year!

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#happydays Icebreaker Adventure Run

The Sisters competed in Don’t Get Lost’s Icebreaker Adventure Run down at Chedoke Golf Club in Hamilton this weekend. This event is the end of year event for the ARK group (Adventure Running Kids) as well as a warm up for the Snowshoe Raid in January. The turnout was great, lots of kids and adults participating. We both say we wish we would have known about this sport when our kids were young, we would have been out there with them.

We are ready to go!

We are ready to go!

Chedoke Golf club is a rolling little place at the base of the escarpment, so there were actually two levels to this event. We chose not to climb the escarpment and just find the controls along the base of the escarpment and around the golf course. That didn’t mean we didn’t get some great bushwhacking in or climbing, but we did get some nice running in across the golf course. With a few slips and falls we still managed to collect 430 pts that put us finishing right in the middle of our division.

Categories: #happydays, Adventure Race, Run, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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