Tuesday, September 25, 2012

One Eighty:: MOMAR Cumberland Race Report

Some of Team ELM at Friday night registration at the Riding Fool Hostel.  MOMAR really isn't just a race...it's a weekend!
THANK YOU TEAM MOMAR for putting on another awesome Adventure Race in Cumberland this past weekend!  You really outdid yourself with this years event!  From the killer course and 'unique' mystery events to the prizes and fun afterparty, MOMAR went above and beyond once again;)

 
And a BIG CONGRATS to all of the ELM Teams who rolled the dice and gave MOMAR a go this year!  We had a total of 8 teams with ELM Members on the roster - in both the sport and enduro and in most of the various categories.  Many for the very first time!  Your positive spirits and serious drive to cross that finish line filled me with inspiration and pride!  You are amazing and I hope you know it! 
one eighty

Pronunciation: (wun'ā'tē)
A turn or reversal of 180 degrees

  It is crazy what can happen in a year.  Blink and it is gone by so quickly- but that flash of time can take you to far far away places.
This time last year I was in a different place entirely- somewhere that I hope never to return to!  With a bizarre ankle fracture yet to be diagnosed officially (OCD- read the gory details here), I was in pain, in limbo-land with our medical system, and in fear of the unknown.  Pulling out of MOMAR was the moment I reached the 'acceptance' phase of my journey, you could say.  My reality check meant I suddenly found myself with a radio, a clipboard and a backstage MOMAR pass as a volunteer.  It was hard to be at the race but not in the race- but being part of the event made it much easier. 
Fast forward 1 year and helloooooo!  My wee bones appear to be thickening up.  My body has let me push it for the past couple of months.  My synapses are finally firing in synch.  The fog has liftted.  I was chomping at the bit and ready to race MOMAR again! 
I had a great race- honestly don't think it could have gone too much better.  I pushed hard and had a great day.  A clean race where I give my best effort is all I ever strive for and that is what happened this past weekend.  I didn't flip my kayak...didn't get tedinitis from being under-trained and over-enthusiastic in the boat...didn't crash on my bike...didn't get lost...didn't bonk...didn't cramp...and didn't even get stung!  What more could a girl ask for?  Well...first place AND a FREE entry into the 2013 BC Bike Race are pretty saweeeet too! Woot woot!

The nitty gritty details are below if you are looking for a reason to procrastinate working or doing chores. 

The moral of the story is this:  Life is full of 180's.  They are coming.  We don't know when.  It doesn't matter why.  When you are at the top of the world, soak it all in and appreciate every second.  And when you get knocked to the ground just hang on, knowing that there is another 180 just around the corner;)

MOMAR CUMBERLAND RACE REPORT
  • Weather- grey, cool, misty morning.  Perfect day for an adventure race!  Weather was a total non-issue.
  • Hazards: underground WASPS everywhere on course!  An anaphalactic racer (aka moi) takes his/her life in their hands stepping into that territory.  Unnerving to say the very least.  I got out unscathed but hundreds weren't so lucky!
  • 275 racers on the water between the Enduro 50k and the Sport 30k courses.
  • 8 Teams of ELM Members tackled this years course;)

Leg 1: 8k? 1:09 Kayak.  Water start on Comox Lake.  I would like to thank race director, Bryan Tasaka, for the shorter kayak leg this year.  You  made a lot of friends with that move!  Flat, calm water except for the start line insanity that always creates some serious turbulance.  Saw a solo guy flip is boat early and struggle numerous times to get himself back in his boat.  Sigh of relief that I was in my fun new ride- Current Designs Extreme.  Fast but familiar.  I am not sure how long the kayak leg was- but thankfully it was shorter than most years by about 15 minutes!  My new boat was quick as well, I had borrowed a wingblade paddle and I caught a ride with some of my MOMAR 101 students (thanks girls!) which allowed me to move at a good pace and I felt great coming out of the water.  I wasn't dead last which was awesome (I think there were 12 boats behind me LOL).  Moving on up perhaps!  I did, however, forget to take my passport in the boat with me and had to run to my bike first then head back to CP 1 to punch my passport.  Meh.
Leg 2: k? 29mins Bike.  All road and logging road up to the trek transition area.  I tried to push the fattest gear I could manage and take advantage of what I expected would be the easiest part of the day, shovelling in Cliffe blocks along the way.  Grabbed a CP near 'Two and a Juice' trail then jumped onto the main logging road and hauled up to the transition area as quick as I could.  I wonder if anyone took trails after CP 2?  I am sure the road was quite a bit faster... UP UP UP we went to 'Alien Rock'...I have ridden up that road countless times so I know when the suffering will end and I am sure that helps increase pain tolerance...
 
Leg 3: k?  1:40 Trek.  Drop the bikes, say hello to the friendly volunteer friends, and have a look at the next map for the trekking course.  I LOVED the format of this trekking leg as we were required to self navigate and select our own route.  Hometown advantage also came into play here and I could just put my head down and giver from CP to CP.  I went from 10-4 just because I wanted to get to the closest ones first...and was happy that I did as it ended up breaking the climb into two sections.  Personally, I think those who went the other way were troopers for tackling all of the vertical gain in one big go!  That was one big climb in that direction!  I had loads of fun running down Queso Grande I must say:)
My favourite part of this leg was CP 9- on a big bluff, with a beautiful view (on a nice day), smiling volunteers AND in the middle of absolutely no where!  No connecting trails to the bluff meant a mandatory bush whack to the next CP and I LOVED that!  Adventure Races are meant to require navigation and I think more bushwhacking and compass work should be included in future MOMARs;)  I am going to eat my words someday I know it...
The bearing off the top and down to CP 8 was good and I am glad I stuck with it (boys, you have to work on committment-you know who you are;) as I popped out literally 20 feet from my target, grabbed the punch and was on my merry way.  Trust your compass!
Down down down... it was a lovely trip down Queso and I managed to avoid the first of many underground wasp nests by bushwhacking down a small cliff.  The short climb back UP Stub trail from CP 4 wasn't too bad and after a few minutes of hands pushing quads and fast packing, I was on the main logging road once again and leaning downhill back to transition.  I would have loved to do it faster but I don't know if I could have on the day.  Managed to pop out of the trek stage in 8th place overall which is a lot better than back 12 so I was happy about that:)

Leg4: k? 1:50 Bike.  Again- this leg included more self nav and route selection- yipppee!  I chose the hike-a-bike option and I am pretty sure this was a few minutes faster to the top.  Pushing my bike slow but steadily up 'The Wall' up Miners was a blast from the past...I remember the last time Bryan 'made' us hike our bikes up there...

During the biking leg I was completely alone.  Not a soul anywhere to be seen all the way up and then all the way down until right near the end when I had the treat of coming upon another ELM Team- there was some serious hooting and hollaring going on at that point;).  Being caught between groups can have pro's and con's during a race.  The con's are that it can be very hard to keep up the same intensity you find when you are chasing or being chased.  I had to continuously remind myself that I was in a race not just a Sunday ride.  I played mental games on myself by pretending that I could see my buddy Genevieve racing ahead of me and just slipping around the next corner...making me dig deeper and push faster to try and catch her...even though she didn't race this year, she was with me all day- thanks Gen!

Bonus suprise..after climb climb climbing and looking for the trailhead of Switchback trail, which marked the start of the fun descent...appearing out of absolutely nowhere...a Lighthouse Brewery Tasting Station under a big tent?  Wha?  Really?  Beer?  Here?  Already low on blood sugar it took me a while to make the decision to actually drink the beer...and man am I ever glad I did!  I am not a big beer lover anymore (too many years tree planting and fire fighting ugh) but...it was the most delicious nectar!!  Soooo thirsty after the big climb- that was the best beer of my life- thank you!

After that it was a super fun continuous flowy single track explosion!  Woot Woot!  Great trail selection as we got to rip down my favourite Cumberland ride all the way from top to bottom! 

Down down down...love love love...fun fun fun...CP...CP...Swim...Wha???  Arrived at Allan Lake and my brain was already on the next trail and collecting my next CP...but I wasn't getting out of there that fast!  Mandatory swim to collect a CP!  OK I will admit it...I was pathetic...a snivilling whining mess...tried way too hard and wasted way too much time trying to get out of it! 

Me: 'What if you can't swim??'
Bryan:  'Take a floatie toy.' (read::sissy)

After complaining excessively to the boss (Bryan was watching over the mess of mud, grimaces, cramping screams and splashes with a big old grin on his face), tip toeing into the water, mounting an airmatress with nothing but grace, AND forgetting my passport on shore therefor having to paddle back and retrieve it first...I was at the lake for much longer than I should have been.  I am lucky I didn't get passed by anyone with bigger kahona's!  Lesson learned: suck it up princess you are wasting prescious time!

More fun trails...down Crafty and into town to collect the LAST CP at Seeds Market!  I had not eaten for a while and was in FINISH THIS mode so I was super lucky they had some yummy energy bar snacks for us there!  FYI Seeds those saved me!  Gave me the energy I needed to finish the thing.  Thank you!

Back to the lake, pushing hard and wondering what the final O course would bring...

Leg 5: k? 34min Orienteering course.  Collect CPs in any order.  Sprint to trail...climb up...realize it is wrong trail...curse...consider running back down...forget it...bushwack uphill over mossy rotten logs, fall between giant bolders into dark holes thinking this is really scary but really funny at the same time and curse as nasty poke you in the eye branches poke you in the eye..collect first CP.  Repeat 9 times and mysteriously manage to avoid getting poisoned to death by MOMAR tracker jackers en route...

Finish line!  5 hours 43 minutes...first solo gal...8th team overall...wooot woooot!

That was a crazy awesome race!  Again- HUGE props to Bryan and the entire MOMAR crew for all that you do.  BIG thank you to the friendly volunteers for donating your time, passion and energy so that we may quite selfishly play in the woods all day.  You ROCK.  Don't ever forget it.

MOMAR 2013...BE THERE!



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