Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mt. Washington #1 YETI Race Report

175 racers made the trip to Mt. Washington to kick off the first race of the 2008 Yeti Snowshoe Season "The Triple Crown". It was one of those rare days when it rains in town, but the sun shines bright up on the mountain.  A lot of questions were finally going to be answered:  Who was going to fill the vacated roster spots for the former championship team  TEAM SNOWRUNNING.COM? ,  How was 2007 Yeti Snowshoe champion Andrew Clarke going to perform after the January birth of his second daughter, Tessa?  Which new team was going to claim victory for the day, Gary Robbins' NorthShore Athletics or Team Helly Hansen Vancouver Island? 


As usual the race was brilliantly organized by Marc Campbell and his crew. Dave Howells and close friend to Helly Hansen Chris Birch had spent the day before and the morning setting the course. The 5km loop was similar to the year before, with a few positive tweaks.  There was a little anxiety for Team Helly Hansen VI, as four of the eight racers had never competed in a snowshoe race.  First timers, John Loewen,  Jay Latiff, Kristenn Magnusson and Jeff Riemer, looked like pros in their team edition Helly Hansen "Frost Hoodies".  The race started quick with Stefan Jakobsen of Helly Hansen taking an early lead.  Andrew Clarke and 18 year old Shaun Stephens-Whale kept pace with Jakobsen chased by Jeff Riemer, Gary Robbins, Justin Mark and Todd Nowack.  Meanwhile in the women's race Team Helly's Kristen Magnusson and Lina from Steed Cycles set the pace.  Ceri Merritt of Team Helly passed both women at the start of the 2nd lap and held the lead for the eventual victory.  In the men's race Stefan Jakobsen narrowly beat Shaun Stephens-Whale, with Andrew Clarke taking 3rd overall.  Members of the North Shore Athletics and Helly Hansen rounded out the top 10. North Shore Athletics ended up taking the fastest team honours by a mere 2 seconds of Helly Hansen. The difference coming down to Nowack strong performance as he capitalized on Justin Mark's downhill crash in the final stage of the race. 

On a brighter note Robin Dutton of Team Helly Hansen finished 2nd overall in the 5km race.  An amazing result considering he underwent major surgery on his left leg 3 weeks prior to the race.  

So in the end the big questions were finally answered.  Team SNOWRUNNING.COM ended up folding with the last second departure of their star Andrew Clarke to North Shore Athletics.  Andrew proved that there is life after kids for an elite athlete, and North Shore Athletics won round one of the four round bout vs. Team Helly Hansen Vancouver Island. 

Team Helly Hansen Vancouver Island would like to send out a big thanks to the organizers and volunteers of an awesome event.  See everyone at Mt. Seymour!   

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Another Awesome training weekend for Team HH VI!

Friday night the guys tossed on the head lamps and headed out for a night assault on Mt. Benson.   They were breaking trail, bush whacking, and using a tracking dog for route finding. They made it 3/4's of the way, and got a fantastic night view of Nanaimo before having to turn back.  Great effort and a good time!
Saturday we hit Parksville's awesome mountain bike park (the AMC trails) for a mountain bike ride.  Jeff modified the handi-cam (ha! handi-cam) to make it a helmet mount and voila we've got video footage (stay tuned for that post coming your way soon!).  The ride was followed by an superb trail run up along the slopes beside the magnificent Englishman River.  It's always an inspiring run when you've got more dogs than people!  
Sunday 6 of us crammed into Big Jay's big truck, yay! going green 
car-pooling! Ok, so some debate about the carbon footprint on that one, but really... 6 of us in there has to count for something!  Anyways our destination was Mt. Washington and a great day was had by all.  We ran a few laps of the Yeti course on the snowshoes, what a great course!   Next weekend's race up there is going to be a blast!  After loading up on double chocolate chip cookies back at the lodge, we hit the ski trails for a few hours of skate ski heaven.  The trails were in fantastic shape.
Great training team!  Yeti 2008 here we come!


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We forgot to take any pics on the hill...

... but here we are on the way home!  We did a day trip over to Cypress for a training run on the snowshoes!  What a great day.. except for the fact that Jeff was bounding up the hill like a gazelle and I was huffing it out like a rhino, but really who can't have a great time when your surrounded by friends and snow!