So I’d classify my experience at the 2016 Edition of the Raid International de la Gaspesie as a small success. If you look at the results (our team name is 2 paires de freres), you’ll see we did better than last year, especially on the overall time. But as always, there’s more to the story…
The race started off well with a cool prologue day, something easier than last year. Or was it that we knew what to expect?
The second day started off nicely as well, with a cool start in the middle of the woods near a underground cave. Then a quick 500m run to pick up our bikes. And then some gnarly hills with a lot of aggressive descents. Wet terrain complete with large loose rocks didn’t help the braking applications. I think that’s what did my bike in.
The day went well but we missed the cut off at the end of the day. We still did an 8+ hour day. Walking some of our gear and my bike back to our camp site, I noticed my back brakes didn’t work. Not good for a hilly course. I asked around for some tips or gear to repair the hydraulic brake but no dice. So that ended the bike portion of the race for me.
I still participated in canoeing and running/bushwalking stages in subsequent days but the final day was tough since there was a lot of unassisted transitions but I still got up at 3:30am to do the 2-hour canoe part starting at 5am. The boys carried on very well without me and had some great stories to share.
There’s actually proof I did something, see the photo above! I’m pretty sure that was the prologue which was a rainy day and in turn turned the course into a muddy mess…
All in all, it was a cool experience even if it didn’t end the way I wanted it to. I was in better shape physically and especially mentally. Although I didn’t do a lot of the tough parts, I never struggled with the mental part. Due to a great recent book, I simply repeated a cool mantra and pushed on.
I didn’t feel like I contributed to the team as much due to the mechanical breakdown but it was still amazing to be in the middle of the woods for 4 days simply running around a huge playground.
I think I’m done with racing in Gaspesie for now but I’m already looking at (shorter) alternatives a bit closer. Maybe a one day option? Anyone want to come on an adventure with me?