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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Race Report: Moraine Relay 2016

What a great day!  Actually it isn't over yet - but my stages are done and I'm in the comfort of home so why not a race report?

It's The People!

I've done a lot of races, but none warms my heart quite like the Moraine Relay.  It's not just about getting from point A to B the quickest, at every checkpoint there are smiling faces, war stories, wonderful volunteers.  Most other races we zip through, finish, and we're outta there... here you get to be absorbed for a day in the Moraine Family.

It's really special.

Beyond that you're always part of a team - and I've been lucky to have joined several, each time getting to know a few more people out there.  This time I joined a friend of mine on their Dracula's Shtafengers - one of the longest consistently running teams (7 years if I'm not mistaken!).

So enough with all my lovey dovey happy stuff - to the race report!

Stage #1 - The Canoe

4 a.m. I awake to the crack of thunder... uh-oh...

I decided to get up, just in case there wouldn't be many windows when I could put the canoe up on the roof!  Fortunately the rain stopped for about a half hour at 4:30am, manged to get the boat up and ready to go.

(Sorry neighbours)

The whole drive there, rain, right up until about 15 minutes before the race... then....... the clouds parted............. the sun came out........................ and what followed was the nicest weather you could have asked for!

Calm lake, minimal wind, it was wonderful.

My buddy and I cracked out a really good effort - he's not my usual canoe partner, but we got a rhythm down really well and kept it straight and fast.  We ended up being the 3rd canoe in... it's astonishing how fast the #1 team is, but someday, with age, wisdom, and paddling technique... we'll get them!  No we wont.

Stage #3 - Ganaraska Forest Run

I've pre-run this before, so I knew a bit about it... I actually feel like I've raced it once too, but I can't find any evidence of that, so maybe not.

I started too fast, and paid almost immediately - the hills on this one are tough.  But what really creamed me was the humidity... some people can deal with it, I can't.  I was pouring sweat and overheating from about 2km on.  It got especially bad during the long, long, long gradual ascent from about 2.5km to 4.5km... it is relentless, with the trees I wasn't getting any wind, and I just felt zapped.

I tried to keep up some kind of pace but after that it was really just keep it going zone.  My average heart rate was a staggering 178bpm... I mean that's nuts!

At the finish I was pouring sweat.  The humidity was so high I could see my breath... in +25C or whatever.  Crazy humidity.

Toughest Run?

It's a tough stage - tougher than I remembered.  My buddy and I were debating whether this one was tougher or stage 10... I think before they shortened it, stage 10 was still worse - really tough climbs and crazy swamp thing, and longest stage of the race.  But since it's been shortened to 8km, Stage 3 gets my vote.  Sandy, hilly, unforgiving.

The Team!

When I left we were in 3rd place, with about 5 stages to go.  Pretty decent result in the making, stay tuned...

Next Year?

Yes, definitely!

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