Yup...you guessed it...that is the view from the top of the CHIEF! What a climb!
OMG that was quite a weekend!
I headed over to Squamish on Friday afternoon with team mates Andy, Shawn and fellow racer Michelle to race the MOMAR and get in one final training weekend before the FMIJ race in 2 weeks. The weather couldn't have been better and we had a fantastic time playing, training, eating, racing, laughing and sharing ridiculous race tales...
Big THANK YOU to:
- Bryan Tasaka for putting on another stellar course...the organization required for this event is mind blowing! Great job!
- Jen Segger Gigg for designing a fantastic course! Don't worry about all the whining...I LOVED the course! The longer and harder the better!
- The selfless volunteers who spent the day supporting us! You ROCK!
- Mountain City Cycle for putting me on the best little race bike ever! Giant Athem was born to ride this course!
- 9am start with a 4km trail run around Alice Lake with a little climb in the middle.
- Transition to bike for some dirt track and single track and super fun brims...(sp?)
- O-course 3-4km...1hour with megga bushwhacking fun
- Get on my bike and go off course for 25minutes...GRRRRR....
- Tonne of biking...like 35more kms or something silly...bike to the CHIEF!
- Hike up the Chief- pathetic stair climbing attempt against the flow of thousands of tourists...
- Rappel off the face of the Chief!
- Hike back DOWN the chief...1hour and 3o minutes later...get sewing machine legs...
- Ride back to town ... via a waist deep river ... through a backyard ... away from a barking dog ... over a neighbouring fence ... into the wrong street ... back on track ...
Finish downtown ::
- 6hours 31 minutes of pleasure and pain
- 45km mountain biking
- 4km running
- 4km o-course
- 2km 650m elevation gain on the Chief
- 1 100 foot rappel
- 10 sweet blue bruises
- countless cuts
- 2 chocolate Gu's
- 1 Fruit bar
- 1 pack Cliffe Blocks
- 1/2 cup pretzels
- 2 coconut, lime, date chews (homemade...recipe to come)
- 3.5litres of water/gatorade (forgot my e-load at home)
- FIRST SOLO FEMALE!
- Back up the Chief but this time over to Peak #2 and then up to Peak #3...2:20minutes
- Back on the bikes for a 2hour ride from Alice Lake back to the Chief via many of the race trails and roads...couldn't get enough:)
- Veggie Burger and Yam fries on the 3pm ferry home!
The map above shows CP1-CP5...what it doesn't show is this:
Leg 1: 4km Trail Run around Alice Lake, up a logging road and home via Jacks trail. I warmed up for this one cause I planned to giver full force on the 4km run. It's only 4k was my thinking. Well, when the gun went off EVERYONE seemed to have the same idea and it was a full on cattle run around the lake on a double track trail. Within 200 meters I saw a guy drop out with a brutal ankle sprain and I saw 2 more after that. My team mate Andy was another casualty and ended up completing an 8.5hour race on a badly sprained ankle. I can't say I love these mass starts into tight areas...a bit dangerous going top speeds, shoulder to shoulder, when you can't see the ground beneath your feet. But, I came out pretty quick and had a moderate transition to the bike...not record breaking by any means...
Leg2: CP1-CP3 Mt Bike to O-course was super fun. Up a road and then we were in the trails including some super fun birmed corner runs called 'Cliffe and Robs' corners under the power lines. If I lived in Squamish I would ride this trail over and over! It is super fun and helps with cornering big time! I let out a few whooooops and giggles catching air and leaning into the corners. I am not a speed deamon but I definitely have fun:)
Leg3: CP3-CP4 O'Course was straight forward. Followed the crowd for the first few CPs as everyone seemed to be running the same way. Then made a call to take a big bushwack down and back up a ravine to hit the last CP and it paid off big time. Got some serious cuts and bruises in the process giving new meaning to the orienteering HACC system. Kept on bushwacking and came out ahead of everyone who took the long route around. So the bruises were worth it.
Leg 4: CP4-CP5 This was where I LOST MY MOJO and it went wrong for a while...well actually for about 20 minutes. Came out on top of the O'course and made my transition to bike when I saw Gary Robbins coming into the TA at the same time. He beat me out of transition and started off down the logging road so I scrambled to get out and follow him as quick as I could. I did NOT look at my map. That's right. I broke one of my cardinal rules of AR: Don't follow other racers. And Mr. Robbins, I might add, would be the first to tell you not to follow him (without his teammate and superstar navigator Todd that is).
And then I discovered the 1 problem with my new bike: You can get REALLY off course REALLY fast on a FAST BIKE. HA!
Next thing I know there is Gary coming back up the BIG hill and yelling WRONG WAY! And I am yelling OH F*^#! Back track and still don't quite get it into my head as to what it is I am searching for. I climbed up a spur on my right thinking this was my way to the next CP based on a quick glimpse at the map at the last TA...and all the little clues around me are seeming to fall into place...up hill...creek crossing...pink FLAGGING! BUT no...this can't be right...there is no one here and where the hell am I? STOP. BREATHE. GET OUT THE MAP.
OOOOPS. Big ooooops. I just rode 20 or more minutes up some stinking logging spur when the road I was supposed to take was RIGHT AT MY LAST TA. That's right. GO BACK.
Can't BELIEVE the gals at TA let me ride away down the wrong road! They were giving me cheers and wishing me well on my race and I was yelling out big thank yous and have a great days and all the while I was riding away into no mans land...
Look at the map and you will say: How did she do that? It is SOOOO obvious....
Moron...moron...moron...moron...this was my little mantra for a while...as I had to try and find, catch and pass all of the SMART teams that I was ahead of out of the O'course. But alas..this is why the call it ADVENTURE racing:)
CP5-CP10 was all great biking through some super fun XC and downhill trails. I know when to walk so I didn't break anything BUT I saw and heard some major spills on those trails. I saw one guy cartwheel like 30 feet down a bank and his bike got hung up in a snag on the way down...he was fine but that freaked me out.
AND I saw a running shoe on one of the trails...one poooor racer lost a sneaker and wouldn't find out until he/she went to hike the Chief and switch from bike shoes to runners...I am just dieing to hear that story...so if YOU are the 1 sneaker racer please tell me what happened and how the chief was!
With helmet and race bib on up I went to climb the mighty Chief! This was my first time up and I was just tickled pink to get to check out the Chief! We had planned to go up on Sunday but what the hell...why not do it twice?
It was a sunny Saturday afternoon and I was like a salmon going the wrong way upstream in both directions. I bet there were a thousand tourists on the trail. Flip flop wearing, Chihuahua carrying, camera snapping city folk everywhere. I think I terrified them...we all did really. Excuse me! Pardon me! Would you mind if I snuck through? Then...I'm in a RACE! if the others didn't work. Over and over and over for an hour and a half.
Haven't been up the Chief? 45minutes of steady climbing on my tired legs... It is one LONG stair climb. Seriously! I counted 140 stairs in the first 5 minutes! Wooden stairs...rock stairs...metal stair ladders... then at the top chains! The view from the top was stellar and gave me a good case of vertigo so I didn't hang out too long. The crew up top were working on some might fine tans that day!
Down to the Rappel - a few meters down and over to a ledge right on the face of the Chief. Yup, you know the one I mean...the one you see every time you are driving to Whistler and think Woah...that's one steep rock!
I didn't look down or try to sneak a peak at the view cause I didn't want to make myself sick. Instead I just focused on my guy- the kind and patient volunteer from Squamish Rock Guides on the far climbers right side of the 5 rappel ropes. He humoured me when I asked him for the 10th time...are you sure? Im good? Im good to go? Im all set? Just go? Are you sure? Oh they must have had a good laugh at all of us non-climbers that day:) You'd never guess I have rappelled out of hovering helicopters 300 feet of the deck a hundred or more times...but it's different I swear!Down the rope I went slow and steady until I finally got the feeding right and then Wooopwoop! FUN! FAST and my hands were on fire:) The gal at the bottom was great, helped me off the rope and directed me to the next step...a little climb up to another ledge where we were clipped into a safety rope so we could scoot along a tight ledge beneath an overhang for 30 meters or so. Off the rope, out of the harness and helmet and then DOWN the Chief! WAY more fun and WAY faster too! I got to say hi and cheer on a mass of racers as they grunted their way up to the top...I could really feel their pain!
I think I was back down to the TA after 1.5hours but things were getting fuzzy by that point. I had skipped filling up my water at the TA before heading up and really knew that was a stupid move but did it anyways and ran out 1/2 way to the top. Silly silly girl. Once again I was caught trying to chew a mouthful of pretzels without one ounce of saliva in my body...it was like some stupid high school party dare...bad scene!Filled up my water at the TA and had a good laugh at my sewing machine legs as they were shaking uncontrollably after the descent...HA! I was thinking...I am going to feel that tomorrow! That is where I ran into my buddy and FMIJ teammate Andy who was in bad shape with a huge swollen ankle and some deep cuts on his legs. I wished him luck and crossed my fingers for him as he was setting off to climb the Chief with a badly sprained ankle...in the end he made it but he has some healing to do now...
Back on the bike for the final leg from CP13-16 and the finish line! A short ride brought us to a river crossing and before I knew it I was waist deep in ice cold mountain water with my bike on my back. My new bike is 7pounds lighter than my Reign and she was like a feather over my shoulder! THIS is what these light bikes are made for! No more downhill bike on my back squishing all the air out of my lungs, this was like a purse on my shoulder:) Well...ok...maybe a little heavier than that ... but close!
After the river crossing I worked my way along the Dyke in search of a small trail that would lead me into the next neighbourhood and back to town. The first trail I found took me and a fellow solo racer right into someones backyard. Hmmmm. We thought about it for a minute...but their fence didn't seem to have a gate and it was like 10 feet tall. So we backtracked to the next little trail to try again only to come into the next persons backyard. Hmmmmm. The fence looked like it had a gate but ...there was a dog sleeping just inside an OPEN sliding glass door... this was not a good thing for my dog attack phobia (is there a term for that?)...the dude wanted to go for it but I FREAKED out and rode away as fast as I could yelling something like DUDE I DON"T DO DOGS! with visions of the animal waking up and taking a huge piece off my leg as I tried to escape. Sure enough I heard the aggressive bark of the guard dog behind me as the other racer made his move through the yard...good luck Dude...
Back to the Dyke I went , trying to reassess the trail situation. It HAD to be it. And I didn't want to waste anymore time standing around wondering. So I went BACK to the first Dog-Free yard and made a full on fence leap over the OTHER neighbouring fence and into the NEXT yard- carefully chucking my bike over and then doing a bit of a ninja roll over it before popping out in the front yard and unknown street. Left? Right? I needed to know where the heck I was before making a decision on which way to go next. Luckily there were 2 small children playing in their front yard across the street so I yelled HEY KIDS! WHAT STREET DO YOU LIVE ON?
At the time it seemed like a logical thing to ask in order to solve my predicament. But now of course I can see how that could of frightened a small child and got their Dads attention pretty quick. The poor child stopped laughing, dropped his pail and shovel, froze stiff and stared in horror at me jumping over his neighbours fence. Dad popped out and he filled me in and sent me on my way to the street I was looking for- guess I wasn't the only lost racer on his street that day...
The rest of the race was smooth and I made my way along the final few kms to the finish for snacks and post race stories with the other racers that I had met along the way (the dog dasher survived without any bites it turned out).
After some snacks I got back on my bike and rode back to the Dyke to pick up some buddies Michelle and Shawn...then back to the finish...then once more back to the river to pick up Andy...but that is another story...and you'll just have to ask Andy about that one...
It was a looooong and tough race but really that is just how I like them so keep em coming Mr. Tasaka!!!
MOMAR Blog report, Race Results and Photos to come...