|By Susan McKenzie|
With only a week left before the start of the AR World Championships in Newfoundland, teams are already starting to arrive on the tiny island province on Canada’s East Coast.
On August 1st, some of the best teams in adventure racing will leave Corner Brook with the goal of becoming the world champions of adventure racing. Among them, reigning champs Nokia Adventure from Finland, who won the inaugural race in Switzerland in 2001. For six days, they will paddle and trek and hike hundreds of kilometres along Newfoundland’s West Coast on a course designed by veteran Canadian racer Lawrence Foster of Raid the North Extreme, the host race of this year’s AR World Champs.
In all, some fifty teams representing fifteen countries will participate. Between them, they speak more than a dozen languages, but it must be noted that only a handful are familiar with the language of Newfoundland. Officially, it’s English, but racers who came to “The Rock” for the Raid the North Extreme 2001 know better. Beneath the accent (a quirky blend of British, Irish, Scottish and North America) lies a language that rivals Cockney rhyming slang for sheer confusion and colour.
They know that “after going to the store” really means “I just went to the store,” and they know that “Buddy over there” isn’t a particular guy named “Buddy,” it’s just a way of talking about anyone in particular. And, to quote the lyrics of a song from the island’s Great Big Sea, Newfoundlanders “never say ‘Hello,’ or ‘How’s it going today?’ They just smile and say ‘What are ya at?”
Racers who were here three years ago have more than a linguistic advantage: they also have geographical and cultural advantages.