Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mind over Mud Cumberland

Hello All! I am back to reality and have just not had a spare minute to update my blog until now. Stay tuned for my holiday update...
At this moment in time I am drinking a hot mug of tea, wearing my warmest thermal/fleece outfit and cozying up to the computer...as I have just finished MOMAR 3::3 Cumberland! My mucky bike and sopping racing gear is still in the car and I can't bear to go back out in that storm just now so I figured I would give you the race report while I procrastinate cleaning up my gear.
As you know...today, Saturday Sep 29th, we are enduring a pre-winter storm that is pure nasty. I would like to start out by saying THANK YOU SO MUCH to the unbelievable people who volunteer for these races out of the KINDNESS of their HEARTS ( and a free race shirt-woohoo). During the race today I was greeted repeatedly by checkpoint volunteers with big smiles, enthusiastic cheers, and kind words of support...even though they were sitting in their raingear in the wind and rain for up to 8 hours! As I drove home to a hot shower after my finish, there they were, still cheering in the rain. Thank you!

So, to the race:
7:40am Race Central. I arrived a few minutes later than planned this morning but still had plenty of time to get my transition gear and bike set up, find and set up my kayak from Comox Valley Kayaks and pick up my race map when they were released at 8am.

8:00am CP1. We picked up our maps and got to punch our first CP right then and there. The race had some suprises and these were explained during the pre-race meeting...

8:40am. Bryan Tasaka, race director/MOMAR owner, pointed out a few different things for this years MOMAR Cumberland course:
1. No 'Bucket of Blood' downhill mountain bike trail (and steep climb/hikeabike section).
2. New ranking for racers who don't collect all CPs. Racers will be ranked first by how many CP's they get and second by how fast they complete the course. So, someone who collects all 20CPs and finishes in 8hours will be ranked above someone who collects 19 CP's and finishes in 5hours. Capice? So, my instant plan was to collect ALL CP's regardless of how long it took me. I couldn't fall back on my strategy from the Shawnigan MOMAR of skipping CP's that would take longer to find than the penalty:( No matter, I would rather see the whole course...of course!
3. No Swimming!!!! So sad:(((

8:50am. Kayaks in the water for a warm up and getting ready for race start. SHITE. Big problem...my foot pegs are stripped and they will not stay secured into position. I try for 10 minutes to lock them into place but every time they slip free and go shooting to the end of the rail. My 10 minute warm up is not existent and I spend the entire time doing deep breathing exercises to try and keep my cool. Nothing works, the pegs are screwed, and so am I in a way. Let's just say I have NEVER paddled a kayak without a rudder. For those who aren't kayakers the foot pegs are how you control your rudder and turn right and left!

9:00am. Racers ready! NO! But what the hell I pull up my rudder and surrender to the fact that I will be starting the race with an added challenge of learning to steer just using the paddle. 3-2-1-GO!

Leg 1: Kayak 15-20km? The skies were threatening to pour down but at this point we were still dry...except for the chop that was blowing on the lake of course. An added challenge is stearing without a rudder in wind, chop, whitecaps and rollers:) It all worked out in the end and I don't think my kayak time was too much slower that last year-perhaps the rudder slowed me down! I learned alot during that leg and my right arm did 75% of the paddling as the boat seemed to really want to lean to the right...like a bad shopping cart. After paddling down the lake towards the glacier for 30 minutes we made the crossing to the other side and I really did paddle my heart out to get to the safety of the other shore. Once there we were heading towards the Fish and Game club with the wind, and rollers, to our back. Fun, except for the fact that each wave picked me up and tried to turn my boat sideways to the right....so I spent the next 30 minutes paddling 5 strokes to 1 with my right arm. I have a new respect for those kayakers who paddle rudderless...something to work on for those just in case moments.

Leg2: Orienteering/Trekking! Self navigating through the trails above Comox Lake Dam we were to collect CPs 3-10 in any order that we desired. I saw some of my Adventure Racing/MOMAR101 students at the start of this section and they were looking great! Confident and focussed, they had selected their route and were going for it. I did have a proud teacher moment I must admit when they exited the orienteering section at the same time I did 1hour and 45 minutes later ahead of the majority of teams!! Well done! So, this stage was awesome and hit some of my favorite biking/running trails. I did have a challenging time selecting my route however. It seemed there was no obvious best choice and I spent more than a few meters jogging along second guessing my route choice. But once I started collecting CP's I was committed to my course and just focussed on givin'er to cover the route as fast as my little legs would allow! There were CP's in the areas of Pain is your Friend, Cable Hill, Peckerhead, Puntledge Plunge, Upper Monkeys, Two Sheiks and a new trail for me, Dirty Jane. I have been wanting to check this new biking trail out recently so I was stoked to have the chance to run it during the race. Good, flowing downhill single track with fun rocky outcrop sections. Liz Tribe did a great job setting the course...nice work Liz! My last CP was at the Eagles Head and then I ran home on the river trail...

Leg 3: Kayak #2...back at the beach and I was suprised to see a tonne of boats still parked, meaning a tonne of racers were still on the course. Bonus! So, in the boat...back to the rudderless mission...but it was a breeze as the water was much more calm and we only had to zip straight across to the other side....20 minutes or so?

Leg4: BIKE! Beach the boat, Rog (Run/Jog) to the bike transition and do the following:
1. Take off hat put on helmet
2. Add a half litre water bottle to my pack
3. Grab bars/gels for the bike leg
4. Stuff a fruit bar in my face
5. Run my bike out of the transition area!
Good times on the bike leg. At first, I must admit, I was disappointed to see that the classic and challenging Bucket of Blood trail had been removed. Because I like to climb and my new bike makes it even easier for me I had anticipated making some good time on this section. HOWEVER, once I was riding my bike in the cross country trails of Cumberland I was SO HAPPY that I didn't have to climb for an hour and hike my bike for 20 minutes up to the top of Bucket!!! Every little climb on the course was a reminder of what my legs would have felt like time 1000 if they had sent us up Bucket. So, thank you Bryan, it was a brilliant idea:)
We rode my usual Sunday 'Rat' ride: Mama Bears, Two and a Juice, Buggered Pig, Short and Curly, Shaker, Soggy Biscuit, Matts trail and Space Nugget...my favorites!!! Then we had to find our way to the hostel where we were given an Urban Navigation challenge: Find the businesses at each of 4 addresses in downtown Cumberland. Made quick work of this challenge running a few blocks in all directions. Poor Poor dudes wearing bike shoes with clips on the pavement. I was happy as a clam in my Solomon sneakers. Back on the bike and then it was off to find one final bike CP on the 'Dump Side' of the trails. Easy when you know the quickest route, of course. Grabbed the last CP with some clues from fellow racers and then it was all downhill back to the lake!

5hours and ? 6 minutes? or something later....First Female across the finish line!
Now it is time for a nap to rest up for dinner and awards tonight...I plan to win a trip for 2 to Costa Rica! Pics to come...
S

1 comment:

Yan and Kim Senechal said...

Thanks for the great update! And congratulations! I'm sorry I didn't congrat you earlier this week...I've been too self absorbed to check the race stats. You have sure set a record to beat this season...way to go!