This past weekend was the inaugural Summit 2 Shore Adventure Challenge, hosted by Innovative Fitness and North Shore Athletics, with all proceeds going towards the Canuck Place Children's charity.
The event was held in the Deep Cove area of North Vancouver and consisted of a snowshoe run, a mountain bike ride, a trail run and a kayaking leg. There were options for short courses, long courses and relay teams, with over 90 people tackling at least some portion of the race. All in all over $7,000 was raised for charity, and a great day was had by all.
We were fortunate to have such a beautiful weekend after near torrential rains throughout the week. Sunday started with some cloud cover and was a bit chilly, but the sun would have it's way and it proved to be a near perfect Vancouver Spring day!
I recognized many of the other solo competitors and was looking forward to racing against most of them for the first time this season. As mentioned the first stage was a snowshoe run. Some people, including myself run with more of a heel flick motion on snowshoes, which basically throws snow up and over my head while I run. I have learned that the best remedy for this is to simply run with a hooded jacket on. The race directors shouted go, I threw up my Helly Hansen Zone Jacket Hood and was off. We would start by running around a lodge before heading into some single track trails. I wanted to be in the lead for the single track and pretty much sprinted off the starting line. With my hood up I had virtually no peripheral and hence could not tell how closely I was being chased. About 10 minutes in we reached the first significant climb. I was finally able to turn back and was surprised to see that I was all alone. I was going out harder then I normally would, but for a fairly low key event I was more interested in testing my limits verses racing 'smart'. After twenty minutes of snowshoeing we crested our climb and came to a turn around point where I could now see that I had almost a minute on second place. From here it was all downhill back to the starting line so I just opened up and let loose!
I was later told that I had a four minute lead coming off of the snowshoe run. I have no idea of how accurate this information was, but I was out of transition before anyone else made it in.
From here we were on our mountain bikes for some fun yet technical, mainly downhill biking. Very few people were able to ride the initial trail, T.N.T. I simply grabbed my bike and started running! We then linked up with numerous other local favorite's such as Ned's, Hyannis, Bridal Path, Old Buck and The Baden Powell. Once past T.N.T. I was able to ride the better portion of the trails. I figured at worst I might be loosing a few seconds to a seasoned technical rider? I knew there were better paddlers in the field then myself and was trying to make it to the water with enough of a lead to ensure that I would not be caught. There would be nothing worse then being passed on the final stage, while kayaking. Of all the disciplines we race in, paddling is by far the hardest to will yourself to go faster. It's all about technique and gear, and there would be very little I could do if someone happened to catch me on the water.
I came into the bike to run transition with only three thoughts in my mind...take off helmet, switch shoes, grab bottle, run! OK, that's four, but I wasn't counting at that point. I had the fastest and smoothest transition of my entire life...it was the highlight of the whole race for me! It was so fluent that I was in and out in a matter of seconds. I heard some of the volunteers laugh as I was running away...I think they were almost as impressed as I was.
The run would take us up a trail called '3 Chop' which was basically a 30 minute speed hike until we plateaued and faced a 45 minute downhill run into Deep Cove. My legs were starting to talk to me, but I downed my Nuun electrolyte drink and thankfully my legs allowed me to ignore them until I reached the water. I have been on this section of The Baden Powell trail for so many big races in the last few years that I really do feel like I now know it like the back of my hand. There are a few climbs that used to sneak up on me towards the end of this run, but now I can anticipate and attack them as I know what lies ahead.
I made it to the water in just under three hours. It was a bit of a scramble to locate the boat that I had rented over the phone, but had not yet seen... and I then had to find my own paddling gear and set up the peddles in the kayak for steering the rudder. I'm sure I was looking just as stressed as I actually was about getting out on the water as soon as possible. Thankfully some friends noticed all the clamber and came to my aid, as they helped locate my boat, my gear and even got me to calm down...a little bit...but I knew I had to get on the water immediately.
I was not five minutes out when my legs just started convulsing! They were cramping up no matter what direction I pointed them in and I'm sure I looked like someone who was trying to avoid rodents running through the hull of my boat! Even the base of my foot cramped when I tried to just use my toes to steer with.
I ended up being very fortunate for the water was near perfect when I started and it was not until I hit the final stretch that I noticed the wind starting to pick up. I guess it ended up getting a bit rough out there and most other racers faced tougher conditions than I had to deal with. I was constantly shoulder checking but could see no one. With about 10 minutes of kayaking to go I knew that I would not be caught. I put my head down and hammered it home. When I jumped from the boat my legs would not function properly and I ended up having to run bow legged to the finish line. I could hear the amusement of many a spectator as they watched me struggle to walk upright.
I crossed the finish line in 3h40m, good for my second solo win of the season! I was right about being out paced on the water and my good friend Brian McCurdy finished 2ND in a time of 3h47m having put nearly 10 minutes into me during the paddling...damn surf skis!
My teammate Megan Rose finised first...and last in the long course female solo category...as she was the only girl brave enough to tackle the long course! She also raced The Suburban Rush Adventure Race the previous day and finished as the 3rd solo female there. So a big, successful weekend for her as well!
AND, our fourth teammate for Raid The North Extreme, Christiaan Piller, was racing a 24hr 'rogaine' orienteering event in Nova Scotia and he won the overall out there as well...solid weekend for ole Helly Hansen/MOMAR Adventure Racing Team!!
I'm actually taking a weekend off from racing this week...can you say GARAGE SALES, yeee haaww, I'm breaking out my rolled change!!
Oh yeah, and I had a Barenaked Ladies song going through my head for the entire race, "Afraid of change, afraid of staying the same, when temtation comes, we just look away...