Tim and Eric left their final layover in Churchill at 9:19am. Our support team #2 had gone ahead to the Ranger checkpoint and we had stayed back to get Tim and Eric out of Churchill. As soon as they left, we booked it towards the Ranger checkpoint. We saw them cross the road on the Trans Labrador highway 500. It is funny to call it that because it is a dirt road in the woods and the only road in and out of Labrador. We gave them the thumbs up and headed to the Ranger checkpoint. We made it there and waited about 45 minutes for team 31 to come in. The ladies at the checkpoint were so nice. They fed our support crew caribou soup while we waited. Tim and Eric ran in the cabin and signed their passport without a word spoken. They ran out and put gas in the snowmobiles. Tim wanted to go without, but Eric wanted gas because his was using more fuel than Tim’s was using. They took off and so did we. We got to Miron River where the last checkpoint was and debated hard. Do we send a support crew out to make sure they were good or did we go. We decided that with the bogging troubles Tim was having with his snowmobile that we couldn’t do anything to help anyways. So we kept going to Labrador. I was going crazy worrying and wondering what was happening. It is so hard not knowing what is going on, especially since I knew Tim’s snowmobile wasn’t running right. We had the satellite phone sitting on the dash next to the window and I don’t think I ever took my eye off of it. Sometimes we would lose our signal. We had no cell phone signal, so we couldn’t even call anyone to check on the computer to see where our team was. We knew that they had planned on not fueling up in this last checkpoint in Miron, but did not realize that was how they had gotten the lead. We arrived into Lab City and went to the White Wolf Snowmobile club. We got inside and looked on the screen and saw that Team 25 was in first and our team was in second. We were psyched because when we left Ranger Tim and Eric left in fourth place. We weren’t in there more than 5-10 minutes when a Cain’s Quest official announced that the winning team would be crossing the finish line in 20 minutes. We went outside and got the snowmobiles out of the trailer, dressed up and took off to the Wabush Lake. It was freezing on the lake; the wind was blowing so hard. We waited about 25 minutes when we heard someone yell, “Here they come!” I looked up and saw the helicopter on the top of the hill and was fully expecting Team 25, who was Aucoin and Frechette, to be on the top of that hill. When I saw the orange coat and black snowmobile I yelled, “That is our Team!!!” It was unbelievable…. We were all yelling and shouting and jumping around. They crossed that orange finish line and we all ran to them to congratulate them on winning the 2009 1400 mile 6 day long Cain’s Quest! It was the experience of a lifetime for all of us. Below are pictures of Tim and Eric after they crossed the finish line and then of the snowmobiles being inspected in the garage after the race. The final picture is of all of us; Team 31. We would also like to thank Todd Smith, Denis Carrier, and Chelsea Newman for flying out to Labrador and celebrating with us! And a big thank you to all the Cain’s Quest volunteers and people of Newfoundland; you were awesome. Also congratulations to all the teams that entered and finished the Cain’s Quest endurance race.
After the 24 hours of suspension were over and the trees were cut out of the trail, Tim and Eric left Goosebay at 2:05pm Newfoundland time. Team Maine #22 headed out about 2 hours ahead of us, followed by team 25, then team 27. The other Team Maine team which is #44 from Labrador had some mechanical problems. Team 31′s support team #1 waited until they reached the Cache River checkpoint and then headed out towards Churchill. Support team #2 left for Churchill right off in the morning. We are all in the Midway Inn watching their progress now. When they reach Churchill they have a 6 hour layover and then its the race to the finish!
Well, yesterday started off promising. Tim and Eric started off right after the 3rd and 4th place teams. They were about 34 miles out when sabotage! Eric said there were about 30 trees dropped in the trail. Tim and Eric tried to find another way around. The helicopter came in and told them the race had been suspended for 24 hours and they had to go back to Goosebay. The officials and the drivers had a meeting to discuss the situation. There were some upset teams to say the least. The support crew had taken off and headed to the first checkpoint of Cache River and we received a satellite call from Eric. He said that they needed help because there were trees cut down and blocking the trail. We got to Cache River and found out that the race had been suspended and we had to turn around and drive back to Goosebay. A 2 1/2 hour drive. It was stressful for us support members who had no cell phone signal, no computer to track our team and our sat phone was going in and out of reception!!! We got back to Goosebay and got some rest. Tim and Eric are doing great. They are a little sore, have numb fingers and frost bite. Just some Cain’s Quest battlescars! Eric has a pretty good frost bite stripe on his face, and has tried to pick up a caribou antler. Tim would never let him put on any extra weight anyways. ha ha I have to say that our support crew has been wonderful doing everything they can for the team. A big thanks to Russell Griffin, Chad Dow, Tim Pottle, Matt Richardson! We would also like to thank Bob & Sheila, Broderick Barney and Edmund Rose from Goosebay for helping us out with hose clamps. And thank you to Jay and John McCrum for giving us their head phones for the communicators. Ours were malfunctioning. I will post about today, day 5 when we get to Churchill.
Team 31 made it to the Postville checkpoint at 5:33am. This checkpoint is a 12 hour layover and we will not see them unless we have to send our support team up to help them. The teams will rest for 12 hours and I am sure they will need to. After their 12 hours are up they are off to the next checkpoint which is Makkovik and then to Rigolet. We see them here at the Goosebay checkpoint after Rigolet. We don’t see our team for long. They come in, sign out to get off the clock, and then they go eat and go to bed. They racers all stay together; they do not come to the motels with us. Once they have signed out, they can not touch their snowmobiles until their 12 hours are up. And all the layovers are for a different amount of time. The support team is not allowed to touch the racers snowmobiles at any time. The snowmobiles are impounded by the Cain’s Quest officials. They are everywhere and keep good control of this race. All the Cain’s Quest volunteers are amazing. Lots of hours and at all hours of the day and night. The Cain’s Quest website received over 25, 000 hits the day the race started! This is a very intense race and is definately not just about who is the fastest, but who is smart, has durable snowmobiles and can take riding for as long as 16 hours or more at a time. There is rough terrain with lots of snow, hard drifts and cold weather. At 5:30 pm Labrador time you will be able to start tracking team 31 again off the Cain’s Quest website. They will be off to the next checkpoint. Keep routing for Team Grip N Rip!!!
Tim and Eric made it to their fist layover in Churchill at 3:33am Labrador time. It was great to see them come in! They left around 11am this morning heading to Postville. Cain’s Quest officials put them up in rooms and fed them. We brought them dry clothes and left and slept for 4 hours. They were up and pumped to go this morning. They did not leave at 9:33am when they were allowed to, but fueled and geared up, and of course did some checks of the sleds. Today is a long section of the race, so keep routing them on!
Tim and Eric pulled #24 for their starting position. They left the line at around 11:48am Labrador time. Labrador is one hour ahead of our Maine time. We are in the White Wolf snowmobile club tracking their progress and routing for them!! They are very close to making the first check point of Miron. Yesterday we spent the day with last minute checks and gear packing. Then they had a 3 hour drivers meeting and a gear check in the Lab City arena. The arena had all the teams sleds and gear for us all to see. It was quite the site. Will update more later. Keep routing for Tim and Eric!
Left Jackman, ME at 11:30pm on Tuesday night. Made it into Lab City at about 5pm on Wednesday, quite a long ride up. Just beat a snowstorm which is a good thing because the ride from Baie-Comeau to Labrador was not as easy as the ride from Jackman to Baie-Comeau. It was a dirt/ice road with lots of hills, twists and turns. It was great that Eric had already driven to Labrador many times because he has a fishing camp here. It felt really good to get some sleep last night in a nice motel. This morning the guys are out riding a section of the race. It is windy and cold, but the snow has stopped. Tomorrow they have meetings for all the teams. Tim has met some of the other teams here at the motel. It is nice to associate a face with an email. We were interviewed by a Canadian radio show this morning. I am sure they will have other teams and some cool information about the race on the show. You can check it out at : www.cbc.ca/podcasts then click on regions and then Labrador and morning. I will post a direct link as soon as it comes out. It won’t be on there until sometime tomorrow. Only 2 more days till the start!!!!
Scott’s Recreation and Mission Trailer helped us out with a great deal on this 7′x18′ trailer. Pulls really nice and is just what we need for the race.
Worked on the sleds a lot this past weekend trying to get them ready. Starting to get down to crunch time. Eric came down for the weekend and we had alot of help from friends in town. The shop kind of looks like a bomb went off but thats what happens when you have five guys thrashing working on two sleds. We got a ton of work done on the sleds and Eric’s is 80% ready and mine is about 90%. We are getting there but still plenty to do with all the little stuff that needs to get done.