Monday, September 28, 2009


Team Helly Hansen Vancouver Island MOMAR Cumberland Race Report

One of the many great things about the Cumberland MOMAR is that the start line is only an hour from home, therefore we get to sleep in our own beds the night before this world-class event. That being said, I'm not sure any of us arrived rested, but what the heck.
Coming off the 'team of 4' win in Squamish, and with Carey out for this event, we were lucky to recruit Jay Latiff to race his first MOMAR with us. We split into two teams of two, Jeff and Jay raced together in the mens division, Justin and I raced together in the co-ed division. It was a beautiful day for racing.
Classic fall weather and the huge turn out made the event extra special. The gathering of athletes that takes place the morning of the event on the shores of Comox Lake is one of my favorite times of race day - socializing and buzzing around getting ready is fun. But before we knew it the maps were being handed out and we were having team pow-wows pouring over the course details and realizing what Bryan had in store for us.
Even though she wasn't racing we can thank Carey for helping us win more than half that battle with the kayak section. She reserved us boats with Sealegs Kayaking and Bud was super helpful getting us organized and the boats were awesome. Three cheers also goes out to MOMAR racer-on-hiatus Jamie Gauthier for lending me his carbon wing paddle. Justin and I had a great paddle... technique was a little lacking on my part, but with some coaching and tips from Justin we were moving along nicely, playing an agro game of bumper boats with Mark James and his kayak partner Matt. Both HHVI I and II managed to finish in the top 10 boats.
Off the water and straight into the first trek section we were running along the short bit of pavement when I turned to Justin and said "dude my legs feel solid"... (I was thinking they felt like logs after getting out of the kayak).. Justin replied "yeah! right on, my legs feel awesome too!". I decided not to clarify and told myself I was in for a tough race! The run turned out to be a quick stage for us - we came across some awesome fans at check point #4 who told us we were 4 minutes behind the leaders. woot!!
Next up was transition to mountain bike, we were excited to have made it into transition ahead of Jeff and Jay, and on the way in got some encouragement from Frontrunners friends Norm and Graeme. Knowing the mountain bike section is our strength we hit it hard. The bike course included a logging road climb, some sweet classic cumberland single track and a fast decent. We had a really clean ride and I was feeling empowered not having batted an eye at the technical stuff. We rocked this section & flew into the next transition ready to hit the pavement for the urban navigation.
Urban Nav was short and sweet and we were back on the bikes within a few minutes. Justin nailed the hidden check point on this last bike section and we flew down the road back to the bike drop by the lake.
This year the orienteering section of the race was the final stage, I thought this would make it more crazy and panic filled, but as Alice pointed out to me afterwards, it was nice to enter this section with the teams spread out. Justin did an awesome job navigating us through the orienteering, and as we ran into our teammates part way through the O course we realized just how close this race to the finish was going to be for HHVI. We started to feel a bit of the pressure and made a slight error on the 2nd last c.p. but recovered quickly, dive roll included. One more c.p. to go! At this point we could hear Norona on the mic at the finish line, announcing the overall winners and top finishing athletes. We knew that once we got this c.p. we were just a short sprint to the line. We looked for the c.p. and we looked.. and checked the map again... and looked... and JUST as I said "Justin it is here!!!" we heard our teammates being announced at the finish! We sprinted in and managed to cross the line within a minute of them.

Pretty great day for Team HHVI: 1st place co-ed team of two, 3rd place mens team of two.

The after party really was as great as they always say, made extra special this year with celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the MOMAR. With our victory we got some awesome prizes from our title sponsor Helly Hansen as well as Smartwool socks! ya! Three great big cheers go out to the MOMAR staff and volunteers for putting on yet another seamless race, can't wait for next year.

Next up: Cross on the Rock race #2 and... (can't believe the season is upon us..)... YETI races!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

More MOMAR pictures...

 Justin & Chase at Registration:
 Jeff in aero position leading the way:
 Carey & Kristenn ripping down a road section:
Justin shouting "encouragement" to Carey.  Kristenn looks like she's smiling but it's a grimace. We're at peak 1 on the top of the Cheif!  woot!
Team Helly Hansen Vancouver Island

BIG thanks to Mark Teasdale and Amber Thom for the pictures!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Squamish MOMAR May 23rd, 2009

Justin Mark, Carey Sather, Jeff Riemer, Kristenn Magnusson.

Total time: 
5hr 28min 09sec.

1st place in our 'team of 4 co-ed' category.  
5th place in the overall standings.

We had a great race in the first of a series of two 2009 Mind Over Mountain Adventure Races. We couldn't have done it without our fantastic sponsor HELLY HANSEN and our amazing network of support (big thanks to doggie and baby sitters!).   An extra-huge Thank-You goes to Marc Campbell of Helly Hansen for looking after us. 

The Squamish MOMAR race course was designed by Jen Segger, an amazing adventure athlete who also runs her own personal training company called 'Challenge by Choice'.  At times during the race I wondered why I made the choice to challenge myself in such a manner!  At other times I knew that there was no where else I'd rather be than pushing my limits alongside 3 of my closest friends.  The course was certainly a challenge but here is nothing more inspiring than being amazed by what you & your friends can push yourselves to achieve.

At registration Friday night MOMAR race director Bryan Tasaka pumped Jeff and Justin on why the weren't defending their title of 1st overall from last year.  A jovial Justin quickly replied that we were challenging, and that perhaps we'd be the first co-ed team of 4 to clinch the overall title.  I thought he was joking.  I had no idea how close we would come, surprising ourselves and, I think, everyone else.

The race started with a brisk trail run around Alice Lake north of Squamish.  The pace was quick, everyone seemed to be attacking this course hard. We followed the run with a quick transition onto the bikes and hit the road for the first of what would be many tough climbs.  We knew that the mountain biking portions of the course would provide us advantage over other teams, but we also knew that we would be struggling to maintain our cohesion in this discipline as the boys are just so incredibly strong on the bikes. We managed to stay married and gain some ground on the first long classically Squamish mountain bike section.  Success.  Next up, orienteering.  The orienteering courses are generally run in a pretty tight area, but even a few minor errors can result in huge inefficiencies and doubling back can kill you, not only physically, but mentally too.  Our orienteering started off with one small hiccup (where are we on this map?), but Jeff lead a great course and we collected all 7 of the orienteering check points without problem and only a few brief domestic disputes (which seemed to keep our fellow racers entertained).  Another success.  Back onto the bikes we soon hit another tough grind of a climb (is there a bit of a theme here?).  At this point we knew we had a solid lead over any other team in our category and we were starting to pull away from the top all-male teams... this was now a race for the top team overall, holy crap!!   As with almost any mountain bike climb in Squamish we were rewarded with an awesome technical decent.  The only trouble with a technical single-track decent is that even though you are not climbing, you are still working very  hard, there is no chance to rest!  Once we devoured the single track we hit the logging road and formed a pace line, flying into transition to find that there were only 3 bikes there ahead of us.  Only 3 solo male racers were ahead of us.  Huge success.  We transitioned to running and hit the climb up "The Chief", a huge granite monolith of a mountain!  The way up is a grind (what did I say earlier?) and we were working hard & cheered on superstar ultra-runner Gary Robbins as he came from behind to move past us.  After huffing and puffing to the peak and were treated to an absolutely jaw-dropping rappel!   As we went over the edge we heard the Squamish Rock Guides safety crew comment "wow this is so cool, they are like 2000ft off the ground!" (not really what I needed to hear as I was crapping my shorts a little already).  Once done the rappel (a.k.a. adrenalin surge) we had to decent the rocky terrain we'd just powered up... again, no rest for the wicked as a wrong step on the way down could be disastrous!  We knew that as long as we cleaned this section of trail we'd be back on the bikes for a short hard push to the last few check points & the finish line, this motivated us and kept us quick on our feet.  We reached transition and had a quick change back onto the bikes & were moving strong.  More success!  We found the next check point on the far side of a waist deep icy cold river...brrrr!   Working together with fellow racer Jamie Stewart we navigated back into town and to the glorious finish line just behind 4th place good friend Norm Thibault!  SUCCESS!  We clinched 5th spot overall and were the fastest team on the course. HUGE GRATIFYING SUCCESS!  

Kudos to everyone who raced this aggressive course.  It was an outstanding day and as always an amazing event!  Thank you to all of our sponsors and friends at Arrowsmith Bikes, Steed Cycles, Frontrunners and of course HELLY HANSEN!

Also big high-five to baby Chase who is the worlds happiest & cutest baby and an awesome travel companion.  He logged his first volunteer hours out at the last transition area with superstar sitter Shannon, and was still smiling at the after party & loved the cheering!  

The pictures below were taken by race photographer Marc Teasdale of us crossing the glacier fed river.  We managed many laughs along the way!

We're hoping someone out there has some more pictures of us, and if we find them we'll post them for all to enjoy!  

Friday, May 8, 2009