I just arrived home from another fantastic MOMAR race experience in the windy town of Squamish. At this moment I am taking a break from icing and elevating my right calf (more to come on that) to post a quick race report ... for those of you who weren't there to experience the drama for yourselves!
Long and Dirty:
Race morning revealed some serious competitors - both Lina Augaitis & Lucy Eykamp were onsite and in my solo female category. I knew it was going to be a tough day trying to keep these uberfit ladies in my sights!
Race started at Quest University with a 1km sprint around the school and back to our bikes to spread out the racers. Click clack click clack the dangerous sound of bike cleats filled the air!
Onto the bikes after a few minutes of hard running and straight into a serious climb on the bike chasing both Lina and Lucy who were fast out of the blocks!
Jen Segger nearly killed me with that race start! Adrenaline combined with steeeeep logging road and technical uphill single track led to unrelenting hike-a-bike near-hyperventilation and 200 beats per minute on the old heartrate monitor. Course designer Jen, did say the start would 'warm us up' quickly!
Soon we were into some steady riding and I was side by side with Lucy at the first CP...but lost my race quickly after that. We came to a fork in the road...blue and pink flagging that we had been following was on the left and went uphill...pink only flagging on the right and downhill...
I didn't skip a beat and followed the blue and pink...but Lucy went right on the pink and I thought she was going off course... Silly wabbit...pink was for the long course...blue was for the short course. I took off up the hill hard thinking I would make some time before she realized her mistake and caught me...
I gave er up that hill. Going the wrong way of course! And the faster you giver the faster you go off course, of course.
My first lesson of the day was that KHARMA works very quickly. And she got me right away for that one:).
Oblivious and climbing hard, I was lucky that solo racer John Markez came up behind me (in first place and probably wondering what the hell I was doing in front of him lol) and filled me in on my tragic mistake. A big THANK YOU to John for saving my hide from digging myself any deeper into that one.
Sheeeeiiiiittt! Back DOWN the hill and back ONTO the correct course...repeating pink pink pink in my head so I wouldn't redo that mistake. Disheartened to find out I had lost about 10 minutes to the girls ahead I had a little pity party on the road. But it didn't last long! After climbing the blue & pink hill for a SECOND time (and, yes, it was harder the 2nd time lol) I arrived at the CP and the start of THE BEST TRAIL EVER.
Yes, the newest addition to the Squamish bike network, HALF NELSON, is unlike any trail I have ridden before. 2.5kms of liquid gold- it is a smooth packed, park-like trail with overhead birms that rip up your speed and send you hammering up and over table top after table top. Seriously folks, I had to slow down to avoid getting too much air:) I had that 'tickle hill' feeling in my belly and was giggling like a wee schoolgirl the entire time:)
I have no doubt that there are riders who are doing backflips and all sorts of insane aerials on this trail. I am sure we will see a video featuring this trail in no time- although I am quite certain I will not be invited to perform lol:) At one point we actually went UNDER another trail and a quick peak upwards revealed a bridge about 10 feet overhead! Just go ride it and see it for yourself. Crazyness.
Huge thank you to Jen for including that one in the course this year:) That was the highlight of my race for sure!
After whoop whooping and chasing my new racing friend and fellow crashing cramper, Marshal, around the birms for what seemed like forever, it was back on the road and up to the start of the O-Course after about 1:50hrs.
Did I say this would be a short race report? Just changed my mind:)
I had been fighting off some twinges in my medial calves during the last minutes of the bike and was ready to chug fluids and stuff some salty margarita clif blocks in my belly at the Transition to the O-course. BUT the moment my right foot touched the ground I experienced a calf cramp like no other that sent me rocketing off my bike.
I tried to keep calm but the grimacing and stiffled yelps must have given me away cause I had some concerned looks from the kind volunteers at Transition:) Cramping that badly 2 hours into a 5.5hour race was not a good thing. And turns out that cramp did some serious damage to my right calf that has me looking for cruches today:(
My medial gastroc just balled right up and I had to kinda tear it so I could stand up and waddle onto the course. No bueno.
Anyways, sob story short, the worst was behind me and my legs loosened up so I could walk-jog on the o-course which was thankfully quite flat (compared to the Chief!). The O-course was pretty easy without any tricks or sneaky placements and plenty of trails to connect the dots. I decided to take some risks trying to make up a few minutes with a couple of bushwacks which didn't actually make up any time but were fun anyways:). Bushwack through an overgrown boulder field anyone? Tee hee:)
Popped out of the o-course happy and ready to get back on the bike and see where I was in the big scheme of things. I had managed to lose both my glasses and one of my water bottles and was beginning to think that lady luck had given up on me entirely when someone had turned in my glasses at the O-course! That made me happy and off I went down the Powerhouse Plunge on my bike.
CRAMPY crampy crampy...chug chug chug...munch munch munch...ahhhhh relief came at the bottom of the Puntledge Plunge with a water station. Along the way I met fellow wounded soldiers along the trail. Fellow cramper, Marshal caught up and passed me on the bottom of the Plunge. But then I came upon him in a yardsale in the middle of the trail and he pretty much summed it up: "Every time I crash I cramp!". So true!
Down to the water station/CP and a mandatory gear check was announced: "Whistle and space blanket please.".
"Whistle? Seriously? You must be kidding?" I think I actually said those words to the sweet volly as an insane smile came across my face.
Those who know me, including my well-trained students of the wild, know that I never go anywhere off road without a whistle. Rapattack nearly drilled that fox 40 whistle right into my skull back in my forest fire fighting days. We had to have one around our neck at all times (not to mention it had to touch the pavement when you were doing your punishment push ups in Bootcamp). So, now I never leave home without one.
I didn't have a whistle. Gasp.
I could have sworn it wasn't on the list...I was losing it! Only minutes before the race start I had spoken with my 'FRIEND' Andy to confirm this inconsistency. Our conversation had been something like this:
Me-"Andy, whistle wasn't on the gear list this year right?"
Andy-"Nope. No whistle this year.
Me- "Kay- just wanted to double check".
Then I took my whistle off my pack.
Sob story short...I lost 5 minutes (gained them really) for not having a whistle. Serves me right. Silly wabbit!
Getting over it and back onto my bike I took off for the Chief! Hammering down the logging road to make up as much time as possible...
The Chief was intense but well worth the climb of course! Up Up Up...the 'death march' went on...head down, hands pushing on thighs, arms grabbing trees and rocks and chains and long-weekend tourists and anything else to take the burden off the legs. Eventually the top appeared and the wind was fierce on the summit! Those poor girls volunteering up there all day... THANK YOU for doing that for us!
I don't think I actually stopped to look around. 5000 feet off the deck with scenery to die for and I just started running back down to the rappel site cause I saw Lina was only 4 minutes ahead of me! Turns out she had lost a few minutes on the O-Course and by taking a wrong turn on the way up to the top of the Chief and now 2nd place was insight.
The rappel ROCKED. Full vertical, great 60m from a nice overhang left me dangling and whoop whooping all the way to the bottom. Almost reminded me of rapelling out of the old 212...
Back on solid ground it was a scramble to get down the Chief as fast as possible and back to the bike...
Ripped through the river & into town with a local, Brandon AKA King of Valley Cliffe (lady luck was back:) and down to the main drag and finish line. BUT you aren't finished YET!
Amongst the cheers and jeers of chronic heckler, MC Dave Norona, we were told we still had to do a little 'urban navigating' through town. 2 CPS...sorry Bryan & Jen ... if there is one thing I dislike more than hike-a-biking...it is the urban nav! I am sure there are some people that love it...like my new race buddy Brandon who had friends and family honking and cheering him on the entire time!
Back to the finish and woohooooo! We did it! 5:37 was a good long race...seemed just as hard as last year even though we were out there for an hour less!
Post race gabfest with the other girls revealed the final twists and turns: Lucy was in the lead after the O-course...and had about 10 minutes on Lina after the Chief...but she got turned around on her bike on the way to town so Lina moved up to first and I finished only a few minutes behind both of them - I luckily managed to hold onto 3rd place even with my costly 5 minute whistle penalty!
Full Race results are online now!
Moral of the story:: ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. So never ever give up:). You never know...
Thank you to Jen, Bryan and the amazing team of volunteers that made this great event happen. Best race ever! Never stop doing what you do better than anyone Bryan! MOMAR ROCKS!Thanks for reading...now go outside and play:) Hopefully I will be able to (snif snif) join you soon:) Visualizing,