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The four day RAID International GaspÃ©sie begins today
By Ryan Stuart As you read this, comfortable and relaxed, 35 teams (including our very own Brad Jennings) are struggling through the opening stages of the RAID Gaspésie International, a four day adventure race in eastern Quebec. Organized around the town of Carleton-sur-Mer, on the Baie-des-Chaleur, the adventure racers navigate an unmarked course each day, sometimes by daylight and sometimes in the dark, riding, running, paddling, ziplining, rapelling and orienteering to various check points with a minimum of gear, sleep and support.
"The teams will need an unbreakable team spirit," says Jean-Thomas Boily, one of the organizers. "The hardest challenge in this kind of adventure are psychological not physical, though these are tough, too."
The race is broken into two courses, the 150 kilometre distance and the 300 kilometre distance. Both began with a 20 kilometre prologue on Thursday September 11, raced with 87 youth from the Baie-des-Chaleurs area. On Friday the RAID racers set off for more punishment. Both race distances begin together but when the short course is nearly done the long course will head out for more. The short course racers travel about 45 kilometres per stage, while the long course is more like 80 to 100 kilometres. Saturday's stage begins later in the day and includes a bivy, where racers will have to spend the night out along the route, before returning for the final, gruelling, stage on Sunday.
The 35 teams of two or four people came from across Canada and around the world, with entries from France, Brazil, Columbia and South Africa. Daily results will be posted on the RAID International Gaspésie website www.raidinternationalgaspesie.com. Watch for our complete race report after the event.