We decided to participate to Untamed New England for a third consecutive year. This time it was not for an expedition race but for the 24 hours edition on June 22-23rd. We were racing as team Clinique du Pied Équilibre and the team was composed of Jonathan Dionne, Nathalie Long, Benoit Letourneau and myself Jean-Yves Dionne. We were quite happy to have Benoit along with us because he has been in the adventure racing community for more than 15 years. He is a strong teammate with very good navigation skills.

Gear in action this time
Osprey Talon 11 + 33
Thule bike racks
Light in Motion Seca
Icebreaker tops
Suunto Vector
Nuun hydration
Swiftwick compression socks
Suunto M-3 G compass
Julbo Eyewear Dust - Pipeline
Dynafit MS Feline Superlight
Platypus hydration systems
Fruit2 energy bars

The maps were given to us on Friday evening. The course looked pretty straight forward. In fact, I always find it funny how simple and easy a course can look from the hotel room. After spending a few of hours looking at our 10 maps and drawing the «most logical route» we decide that it was good enough and got to bed at midnight.

It was a 90 minutes bus drive to the start line. GO! A short run of 1 mile and we were in the canoe for the next 3 hours. Even though we struggle to keep up with Nathalie and Benoit up we still managed to get out of the water as the first coed team. After punching CP1, we were off trekking. We got to CP2 and CP3 quite easily. We made a few mistakes here and there but nothing major. In fact, nothing in adventure racing will ever be perfect. Of course you need to be in good shape to win, but I believe that the teams that win races are the ones that recover quickly from their mistakes.

CP4 was located at the top of west carry peak. We probably lost a good 15 minutes there making sure that we did not miss something... We were looking for a road that we saw on google map the night before. We never found it and decided that it would be faster to just bushwack. We got to the top but not much time to enjoy the view. We bushwacked again to CP5. It was a bike transition and also the only time in the race that we saw our gear bin. The trails were super nice at the start of the bike. Benoit did a really good job with the navigation and brought us to CP6 in less that a couple of hours.

That's where it got interesting for our team. Just before arriving to CP7, Nathalie notice that her bike pedal was not in perfect working condition... In fact, it was not looking good at all. Her egg beater pedal had fallen off the axle. The only thing that we manage to save was the shaft of the pedal. Apparently egg beater pedals do that quite often... After realizing that we couldn't do much about it, Benoit suggested to change his own pedal with Nath's pedal. After a good 15-20 minutes of switching pedals and shoes around we were off to CP8 for the orienteering course. From that point, Benoit wasn't feeling to good. The effects of pulling and   pedaling with only «1 good pedal» were starting to affect him. Then it was down the mountain to CP9 and CP10 and back up to CP11 to get to our bike. Nathalie did a good job on the way up pulling the team. Before taking off on the bike, Jonathan sacrificed himself and took the egg beater for the rest of the bike section. Joe was strong and never complained or slowed the team down on the looong hills to CP12. It was a brutal climb! We had to walk beside our bikes for the last 500 feet. It was just too steep to stay on the bike! After punching CP12, Benoit told us that it was downhill all the way back to CP13 where we would drop our bike. At that point it was close to midnight and it started raining quite hard.

While looking at the maps the night before, we knew that this last trekking section would be difficult. We followed a road for about a kilometer, then it changed to a trail... and disappeared. We eventually got to a creek junction... but it was not the right one. We started moving up the river. It was raining, the rocks were wet and slippery. At that point, we were moving really slow. Nathalie was having trouble with her right ankle (she injured herself while training a couple weeks ago). The plan was to get to 1400 feet of elevation and from there to bushwack to a 'road'! Thank god we eventually found the road, but we were not to CP14 yet. After searching and bushwacking in dense forest for much longer than anticipated, Jonathan spoted reflective tape on a tree... CP14! He found it just in time because we were really close from turning back... From there, we had about a 7 or 8 kilometers to CP15 uphill to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain at 4 250 feet. We got up there as the sun was rising.

Once we punched the last CP, it was downhill to the finish. Does anyone like to go down big hills after 24 hours of racing? Well, we don't! It was painful, but we managed to cross the finish line at 6:27am in 4th place coed.

Thanks to all the team members and all our amazing partners: Clinique du pied Équilibre, Untamed New England, Icebreaker, Thule, Suunto, Rollerblade, Swiftwick, Nuun, Osprey, Light in Motion, Raid Pulse, Camp de base, Dynafit, Julbo, Platypus and Fruit2.

Thanks to dedicated race director Grant Killian and all Untamed New England volunteers and staff. Great show once again.

All photos credits to adventure racing photograph extraordinaire Vladimir Bukalo.

Next race for us will be the Equinox Traverse in Pennsylvania. It should be a challenging course that will test teams skills for 46 hours.

Results: http://www.untamedne.com/Media/2013-24hour-results.pdf

Pictures: http://photobukalo.zenfolio.com/p533590962/h65EF5E63#h65ef5e63


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