Sunday, May 25, 2008

Island Cup XC Race Report: Cobble Hill and Wakeboarding

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I'm not a huge fan of racing sick. I picked up a nasty bug this week, terrible sore throat and headache that just wouldn't quit. Wednesday and Thursday were spent on the couch and in bed. I never imagined that I could sleep so much. Friday, stir crazy I decided to ride with Jeff for a couple hours. Nothing like feeling like crap and having to keep pace with a greyhound. Saturday we checked out some new trails at Sproat Lake in the Port Alberni area and rode for a solid 3hrs. The trails were great, but my head felt like a football. After sleeping an epic 11hrs Saturday night I awoke feeling better than I had all week, but still suffering from a foggy head. Despite having very little desire to race, Care, Jeff and I made our way down to Cobble Hill. A little community just south of Duncan. The organizers were trying out a new venue. In previous years the race had been held on Maple Mountain. The start of the race was rather unique, as just under 50 racers lined up behind a rock barricade with a 2 foot gap. The course organizer warned us that a group of 8 equestrians had refused to heed warnings are were somewhere out on course. Gotta love island cup racing. The race started in a civilized fashion and there were no crashes as racers yielded to each other through the 2 foot gap in the barrier. Jeff Riemer, wisely deciding to start in the bushes on the other side of the rock barricade and was off like a shot. Not feeling super spry I decided for a back of the pack start. As we started on the climb I was feeling surprisingly strong and started working my way to the front. Passing 2nd place Matt Hewitt at the top of the climb, I decided to try to wheel Jeff back in. It did not go well. 30 seconds into the downhill I missed a turn and took 3 other racers off course. A minute later we reunited with the trail, a little confused where we had gone wrong. Hewitt passed and I had the pleasure of following him for the rest of the lap. It was getting a lesson on how to be smooth. Starting the 2nd lap Matt pulled over with a mechanical and I was almost disappointed as I knew I was faster on his wheel than on my own. Feeling relatively strong I rode on my own for most of the 2nd lap, catching up to Jeff briefly only when his pedal fell off during the climb. I knew this would provide some good ammunition for some ribbing about his mechanical ability, he is after all a mechanical engineer, and quite meticulous about his bike repair. I faded a bit on the 3rd and got caught by Island Cup all star Andrew Kent. Finishing the lap on my own I cruised in for a 3rd place finish. I was knackered, much too tired than I should have been for an hour and a half race. The organizers provided generous draw prizes and I didn't see a single horse the entire race. The course was fantastic, great hard climb and fast flowy singletrack. Bill Macmillan a strong veteran rider who participated in the race, made our day by inviting us to his place on Long Lake for some swimming and wakeboarding. I've never wakeboarded before, but I'm hooked. With my sorethroat and headache receding I'm looking forward to a solid week of training and next weekend's marathon race in Campbell River.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Kristenn's race report; Squamish MOMAR May 10, 2008

What a race!  Many racers, including our fearless Team HHVI leader Justin Mark, are saying it was the toughest MOMAR yet!  With Jeff and I having just one MOMAR under our belts we can only agree that it was tough, real tough!  

For the guys race report see Justin's blog at

For the girls race report... read on...

It's always fun to enter a race with a new teammate, you never know just what to expect.  I knew that Bobbie and I would have fun, there was no doubt about that.  The great thing about Bobbie is that not only is she a super strong fit chick with a huge hurt locker, but she's bloody hilarious!  So there we were getting geared up to race together, her first AR ever and my first in about 4yrs.  I'd never been in charge of navigation before.  I knew I had some map reading skills, but just wasn't sure about implementing them.  Bobbie's comment when I asked her about her nav skills was "I know my role in navigation, it's to follow you".  Nice.  We decided that our #1 goal was to a) cross the finish line smiling and b) have fun along the way!

After we sorted out our gear, borrowed a pack from superstar '07 Squamish MOMAR female champ Carey Sather, and had a little "this is a compass" refresher from Jeff we were all set to head to the start for 8am.  With a sold-out event the start area was a busy place, everyone pouring over maps and trying to time their last bathroom break just right.  Lining up at the start with speedy people and some familiar faces it was nice to feel a part of it all!

The first half hour of the race saw us transition quickly from run to bike and back to run again.  We were into the navigation section before we knew it and wow!  How the heck does everyone figure out where to go so fast??!  We headed off up the service road as I though we'd be better off on some easy terrain to start.  We soon ran into Frontrunners Norm Thibault and Jason Sandquist, which surprised the heck out of us.  We threw some jokes at them and managed to hang on behind them long enough to get lost... and then found... and then to all the checkpoints... so it worked out nicely for us, just added a few extra 'off the map' kms!

Near the end of the navigation I was running along behind Bobbie and noticed only one cycling shoe strapped to the outside of her pack.  "Hey Bobbie?  your other cycling shoe is inside your pack right?".  A startled "NO" came back at me.  Shit.  It was lost on the trail.  Shit.  Backtracking to find it was NOT an option, so onward we ran, wondering silently what the cycling stage would be like for her with only one proper shoe.  BUT, as I've witnessed many times in adventure racing, wonderful people do nice things even when racing... when we got back to the transition area Bobbie's shoe was waiting for us!! Another racer had found it and carried it into transition!  Whoever it was:  THANK-YOU!!!

We jumped onto the bikes and I felt happy again, we were passing teams and making up for lost time (no pun intended!).  The single track was more technically challenging than expected.   I took a header when trying to attempt to ride a drop I didn't time well.  That shook my confidence a little, and everything a bit challenging became ominous and potentially deadly.  I've become very good at getting off and on my bike quickly, I think it's a 'west coast wimp' skill I've picked up, so I put that skill to use and sprinted on foot the sections I didn't want to ride.  Bobbie was a rock-star on the technical descents and we blew past a number of teams.  About 2/3rd's of the way through that long cycling section we got a greeting at one of the check points that went something like "hey cool you are the first team of two women!".  We were honestly totally surprised!  We had just managed to pass experienced adventure racers Ina Ervin and Amiee Dunn on the 'furtherside trail', so I knew we were doin' alright, but I had no idea we were anywhere close to first!  OK game on!  #1 goal still was to cross the finish line smiling, but hey, first place is cool too!

We got to the next transition and back into our running shoes.  It was a challenging run through the Smoke Bluffs area, Bobbie & her power legs set and excellent pace on the climbs and I managed to keep the clip up on the flatter rolling stuff (surprise surprise prairie girl).  We made it through the rappel smiling and safe, and powered out the last bit of the run back to the bikes.  I've never looked so forward to getting back on my bike in an AR before!

The final stage of cycling back to the start/finish at the Quest University was a gift, mostly double track and service road.  We set a strong pace and felt like we were really going to do this!  One last transition to run up the final hill to the finish line!  With Jeff, Justin & Carey (& super dog Umbro) waiting for us it felt great to be done!  And great to be first in our category!  And great to hear the news that Jeff & Justin had finished first overall!!!  They devoured that course, and came in just 1 minute & 42 seconds ahead of 2007 MOMAR series champs Gary Robbins & Todd Nowack of Team Helly Hansen MOMAR !!  They had a super tight race, such an impressive battle between these two teams!  What a day!

A HUGE thank-you to our key sponsor Helly Hansen, who also sponsored the event and sent winning teams home with awesome new duffle bags.  Thank-you HH!!!   With the unpredictable weather conditions it's nice to have the warmth and wicking of Lifa on our side!   Another HUGE thanks to cycling sponsors Arrowsmith Bikes Nanaimo &  Arrowsmith Mountain Cycle Parksville for helping us out!  

The Mind Over Mountain Adventure Racing event organizers & course designers put together a killer event from start to finish, AMAZING job!  Next MOMAR July 26th!  Looking forward to it!  

For now it's back on the bike as we pile on the miles for Test of Metal and BC Bike Race with a few Island Cup races in between 

Over & Out.