Its an agonizing two days, but almost as soon as solo runners and teams cross the finish line of the annual Nike ACG Sea 2 Summit adventure race from Deep Cove to Whistler, athletes are typically planning a strategy for next year.
This year the race takes place on Sept. 7 and 8, with three stages on each day. Special challenges are also included at various stages, that test problem solving abilities and teamwork. Competitors wont know what these are until they reach the checkpoints.
In total, solo athletes and teams of two and four will paddle, run, bushwhack and cycle the more than 160 kilometres from Deep Cove to Whistler.
The race gets more gruelling as it goes, ending with a rugged 12 kilometre run up Whistler Mountain from Creekside and back down the mountain to the village.
Last years race attracted more than 550 competitors, and similar numbers are expected again this year.
Day 1, Stage 1 This is a 19 kilometre paddle by kayak, canoe, or any other sea-worthy craft that does not have oar locks. Competitors leave by mass start from Deep Cove at 7 a.m., travelling north up Indian Arm.
Day 1, Stage 2 Competitors get out of their boats and onto their bikes for a 55 kilometre ride up the Indian River Valley. The first 23 kilometres are uphill, climbing more than 900 metres. This is followed by a 10 kilometre downhill, and then some singletrack riding to the next transition stage in Squamish.
Day 1, Stage 3 If done correctly, this trek is about 15 kilometres. Participants will be given a map and have to navigate their way on foot over rugged terrain using their wits and a compass. If athletes miss a checkpoint, penalty time will be tacked on to their total time. A basic understanding of orienteering is required. Courses will be available to particpants registering for the race.
Day 2, Stage 4 The second day of competition continues with another 55 kilometre mountain bike ride up the Cheakamus Canyon and includes some technical riding.
Day 2, Stage 5 Stage 5 takes place in one section of Stage 4. It is a Score Orienteering challenge, sometimes called "Rogaining" after a hair regeneration treatment. Athletes will have an hour to hit as many checkpoints as they can if you are more than an hour, you will be penalized. Different checkpoints will be worth different points based on their difficulty level, and total points will determine what time penalty, if any, is assessed to the participants.
Day 2, Stage 6 The final stage is a 12 kilometre trek on Whistler Mountain from Creekside to the village on some steep and rugged terrain.
The Whistler Sea 2 Summit race is part of an adventure race series that includes events at Mont Ste. Marie and Blue Mountain in eastern Canada, and Panorama and Whistler in the west.
The deadline for registration is Sept. 5, and the race costs $325 per person. To get into the race, download the entry form from the Web site at www.sea2summit.com .