Sunday, March 22, 2009

UTAH Training Camp 2009....

Well we decided to change things up a bit after hearing so many good things about the St George area and Gooseberry Mesa.  Instead of Moab, we went a little further southwest and wow, the trails were amazing.  First things first however Justin and I went down through Washington and stopped at Stevens Pass where there was another Helly Hansen Big Mountain Battle ski race.  The race was wicked and completely different from the Sun Peaks race where we were on all Blue runs.  Stevens pass did not disappoint and sent us down double black diamond runs.  The tricky thing was that the night we arrived, there had not been snow in about a week, so it was very icy....Not good for a green telemarker.  Team Helly Telly was in for a bit of a reprieve as we awoke to find about a foot of new snow in the morning.  This turned into a "dust on crust" kind of scenario and man, we were knackered by the end of the day.  This time we did not end up with the fastest hike (it was only 3 mins!)  Endurance athletes need more time to warm up (lol).  Anyway the awards banquet was pretty stellar as Mark Campbell had some pretty wicked sponsors on board.  Justin won some K2 skis as a draw prize.  Big thanks to Mark and Helly Hansen for an awsome race series in THe Big Mountain Battle.    Off we went straight after the awards to head down to Utah.  After a quick car nap outside of Salt Lake, we were down in St. George the next day.  At 4 pm we were up a Gooseberry mesa for a 1 hr ride (read 4 hours)  and did not get back to the car until dark.  We managed to find a turkey-trail that was not well marked and hard to follow in the fading light.  This year we decided to stay in Hotels as they were quite cheap down there and the camping was not as good as it is in Moab.  It was actually kind of nice to have a proper shower after a long days riding.  We ended up staying 2 nights in Hurricane, one night in St George and one at Gooseberry Mesa, camping.  The rinding in this are is unbelieveable.   To put it bluntly,we rode the hell out of the trails,  we found some trails that were not even on the maps yet and linked up three different trail networks in one ride, then had some food and went out for another ride.  Most of the trails are all pretty much 100% singletrack and every trail was amazingly different from the next.  We rode in packed dirt rolling jumps, desert moonscapes, sub alpine-like meadows, slickrock, rocky decents and picky climbs.    The one thing about this area is that you need to go tubeless with sealant, there are soo many thorns and cactuses that we had a bit of an issue with flat tires and on more than one occasion, wondering if we would be walking back the car.  We ended up cutting our trip short a bit on Thursday morning when I crashed on a small slickrock boulder and wrenched my ankle, at first I was sure that it was broken,   we  (I) limped back the car and loaded up to head home and called the team doctor, Iron Helmo for some advise.  With my foot on the dash in the passenger seat and justin in the drivers seat, we made an epic, non-stop drive back the border with Justin putting in a super human driving effort by not even letting me drive, wow!  We ate so much mexican food down there and discovered an awsome chain called the Cafe Rio, go there and order the Pork Barbacoa salad, it is delicious and filling in tyopical USA restaurant style...


Monday, March 9, 2009


Wow, snowshoe season is finally done, the suffering is finally over. It was another great weekend of snowshoeing for Team Helly Hansen Vancouver Island. Following another 5am start, Jay, Jeff and I boarded the BC Ferry where we were greeted by Carey and Chase at Horseshoe bay who had been spending the week at Whistler and skiing and snowshoeing in the Callahan Valley. KMag, had to stay home and continue her superhero duties, saving the animal kingdom one puppy at a time. Although a bit windy it was nice clear day, much better than the rain of previous Cypress Yeti versions. The 1okm race started fast with Shaun Stephens-Whale and Colin Dignam setting the pace. Jeff and I followed closely going into the 1st singletrack section. I was feeling amazing as Jeff had "Tim Taylored" my custom Atlas Dualtracks - with a new cleat. replacing the former titanium ones that had sheared off last season. I was blown away by actually having traction. Colin must have been having an off day, because after making a wrong turn, I was able to pass and gap him (Very Unusual). Coming around the lap point, I could see that Shaun was having another monster race, already minutes ahead. Fortunately I had built the same gap on Colin and the rest of the boys. Meanwhile, Sather who had actually decided to start the race on time and at the front of the start shute, was also ripping it up. Duking it out with Dave Norona's sister. Holding our positions on the 2nd lap both Carey and I finished with our best results of the series winning our respective categories. Jeff had another strong race finishing in the top 10 and Jay, Trevor and Norm all finished well. Jay had his best race of the series and the team did well enough to take 1st overall in the team category for the 4th consecutive time, claiming a sweep of the series. Huge thanks to the Yeti Team, Marc, Howells, Norona and Lisa and all the fantastic volunteers for another amazing season.

Written by Justin Mark, Team Helly Hansen Vancouver Island


Team Helly Hansen Vancouver Island members, Justin Mark, Jeff Riemer, Carey Sather and Chase Mckinley ventured off the rock to check out the Big Mountain Battle in SunPeaks. With a little trepidation, espeacially from Jeff, as it was only his 4th time on telemark skis, we decided to find out what the Big Mountain Battle was all about. The event was amazing, and we had a fantastic weekend. As best as I can describe the Marc Campbell created event, it was like a 4hr adventure race on skis. Going in to the race our only goals were to survive, avoid major injuries and win the timed hike. We were successful on all fronts and in addition had one of the best ski days in recent history. Not unlike the Momar's we did however struggle with the navigation. Diligently using the map and checkcard, we crossed off each checkpoint and run as we completed them. The final checkpoint on the map read "Back in Time". We confidently interpreted this as returning to the finish under 4hrs. Only later did we realize that "Back on Time" was a key run. Oh well, it was just as cool too see the excitement on the faces of the eventual winners who looked to be in their early 20's and were calling everyone they knew, informing them that they had won an all expense trip to Aspen. Super cool event and super cool use of the "FLAIK" GPS device to track results. We'll be checking the next race out at Steven's Pass on way down to Utah for a BC BIKE RACE training camp. For results and info. about the race check out the website