Sheet Harbour Relay Race 2002

It is always interesting how any limited structure the Gonzo Kennel may have at the best of times breaks down over the summer, what with vacations, family committements, have to do this, have to do that, etc..

It is even more so that for a race, committed to a year ago, there is still lots of running around, reorganizing, even up to, and including, race day.

First there is the really old Gonzo team, using the moniker Grayhounds, that infamous group. A month before the race they find out Sean Amiault will not be able to bike, immediately picking up Wally Woodbury, immediately losing Wally when he finds out there is a $100.00 prize for the first palce 'solo' division, immediately picking up John Smith, 67 years old---but made a living bike racing when he lived in England as a student. The incumbents from last year, Scrounger (run section-7km) and Viking & Goat (paddle section-11km) were retained. The other Gonzo team, The Kennel, was ripped to shreds by non-returning Rocket Ronnie (bike) and I'm Selling Halifax (run). After being turned down by Lance Armstrong and a whole bunch of nondescript Kenyon runners, Kirsten Mitchel-first born of the Scrounger and Don 'Tri-Guy" Grandy were conscripted. The Sungod and Imax remained solid on the water. A new name was required--Three Gonzos and a Chickie. Comes race day and we all travelled down as a team--at least we all drove on the same road. Don, having to paint his house, drove alone to return early, Scrounger and Kirsten travelled together, to allow an early departure, and also to mentally work on each other. Imax, leaving for Toronto immediately after the race travelled with his bride, while Gordon, Malcolm, John, and Duffy had to take two cars because Malcolms roof rack is too small for the canoes.

Oh yes, the race.

This week has been a scorcher, and on the drive down the coast it was quite foggy--a sign it may be fairly cool--so much so, I was wondering if we would be able to see the shore for the paddle up the Harbour. It cleared and it was HOT, another day of 30* temperatures. The first thing both teams realized upon registering was that we would NOT be fighting for first when we said hello to Jodi Isenor, one of the top Adventure racers in Eastern Canada and one of his partners, Derek Jenkins-certainly a much better paddler than any of us.

The second thing we realized is that we WOULD be fighting for second place, since there were only 3 teams in the race. After doing all the math of the known abilities of our members, the two we were unsure of were the bikers. It was recognized that Tri-Guy would have to beat John by about 3 minutes over the 35km course and we may have a race on our hands.

Now remember John is 67 years old, but still in great shape, but he is 67. Don is around 50, also in good shape, but only 50. While, after the dust had cleared (literally), John ( who we just found out had competed a short while ago in New Hampshire in a time trail) had beaten Don by 8 1/2 minutes. Da man is amazing. Realize that Don was fast, averaging about 30km per hour on a very difficult, hilly, windy, course. I would have been another 10 minutes behind, minimally. Ross, for the Grayhounds, and Kirsten (Chickie) ran their sections basically on schedule, both looking great at the end. When Imax and myself dove into our craft we were 12 minutes behind Viking and Goat, and since we had lost the 11km paddling leg to them last year by 9 seconds, we assumed it would be very difficult to pick up and extra 12 minutes-actually we gave it absolutely no thought. Let's work as hard as we can and see where we are at the end.

Amazing as it may seem, at the end of the paddling leg, considering different tides/wind/cloud cover, and any training differences the four of us had over the past year-the difference was the same 9 seconds. Now if only on that turn if I had of........................................................................ ....................................?

Off to the reception, Pop, Pizza, Beer, etc. When we were called up to get our bronze medals Kirsten was surprised,saying to me she thought we were last--I told her we were both, 3rd sounds better.

Cheers Sg