N.L. triathlete steps things up with 580-km adventure race. Yes, you read that right
Corner Brook's Carl Barrett still resting up after 6-day race in which sleep was optional
A well-known Corner Brook triathlete recently pushed the limits of his endurance even further, in a 580-kilometre adventure race in British Columbia.
Carl Barrett, as part of a four-person team, took part in Expedition Canada's Adventure Racing World Series Qualifier in late May. The event includes trail running, mountain biking, paddling, orienteering and rappelling. Participants have up to a week to complete the course.
Barrett, 52, and his Team, Four-ward Motion, placed first out of the three teams in the masters' category, and 10th overall out of 20 teams from all age categories.
"I guess it's the epic nature of it. It's one of these things that is going to take you outside your comfort zone," said Barrett, in explaining why a long-distance adventure race appeals to him.
No stranger to endurance races
For many years, Barrett has participated in triathlons, which combine swimming, cycling, and running, and he's promoted the sport of triathlon to novice participants.
His first standard-distance triathlon was in 1998 in Corner Brook, the first year the city was on the circuit for the ITU Triathlon World Cup.
In more recent years, he's competed in two World Triathlon Championships — in Chicago in 2015 and in Abu Dhabi in 2022 — as well as five marathons, including the Boston Marathon in 2021.
But a three-sport event that takes place in a single day is quite different from an adventure race that takes place over many days, in which sleep is optional.
"Pacing yourself over six days is a very different experience," said Barrett. "You end up depriving yourself of sleep in order to continue moving."
Barrett estimates he slept about 10 hours total during the entire six-day endurance race.
"You're learning to function and move as fast as you can while being very sleep-deprived," said Barrett.
Finding their way
The other thing that sets the Expedition Canada event apart is that racers don't know the starting point or the route of the course until a few hours before the race begins.
"You can't plan for these events the same way that you would for an Ironman race, because there's so much unknown there," said Barrett.
There's also an orienteering component to the event in that racers are given checkpoints but they decide how best to link them together by biking or running or paddling.
"So there's this kind of treasure hunt element," said Barrett. "It's like being a real kid again, only it takes six days to do it instead of an afternoon."
The other members of Barrett's team were Chris Ford, Jeremy Green, and Pavla Lounova, all of British Columbia.
Plans to do it again
Barrett said his lowest point came about halfway through an 85-kilometre leg of the course, during which his team had already done about 4,000 metres of climbing, with no end in sight.
"That brought about some, I guess, darker moments, mentally, for me that I managed to push through," said Barrett, who admitted several days after the end of the race that he was still tired and looking forward to catching up on his rest.
Still, Barrett is fairly certain he'll be taking on the challenge again before too long — he's just not sure where or when.
"I would love to do another race like this again," he said.