Monday, April 13, 2009

Salomon Giant's Rib Raid

I had the honour of joining brothers Mike and Wil Smith on a three-man team at the Salomon Giant's Rib Raid 25K orienteering race in Milton, Ont. Mike and Wil have each won several national and North American orienteering championships. Racing with them was a bit like playing a round of golf with a couple of PGA pros. It gave me the chance to witness up close some spectatcular navigating through scenic, rugged terrain on the Niagara Escarpment. These guys can absolutely fly over loose rocks, slippery boulders, treaturous roots and loose branches, all the while plotting precise routes to lead us to checkpoints hidden in the woods (or in one case, inside a cave!). I had always assumed that orienteers spent a fair amount of time standing in one place poring over their maps. Wow, was I ever wrong. The pace of our four-hour-long race was merciless, with only a handful of brief pauses. Our team, Canadian Running Magazine, placed second, six minutes behind The Foreigners, led by Nick Duca.

Here I am climbing out of the cave checkpoint.