I am giving myself ten minutes to complete this blog entry, consider this speed blogging...
Going into the MOMAR Cumberland race, the final in the three race MOMAR series Todd and I had a chance to accomplish what no one else had yet to do in the eight year history of the MOMAR...sweep the series. Questions surrounded us though, as our first win in Squamish was tilted with a home field advantage, our second win in Lake Shawnigan, although we lead from start to finish, was skewed due to the tough navigation in that race, and Todd's amazing map reading skills created a huge gap over any racers who were close to us, but Cumberland is a fairly well known course. This being the 7th year for this location, and as race director Bryan Tasaka put it,
"This one will be won on speed and speed alone."
To me, Bryan seemed to be implying that our time was up, that the fastest solo racer's would have their way with us on this course...it was all the fuel that Todd and I needed to push through our limits during this race.
The gun went off and over 200 racer's started the 8km paddle section. Todd and I use an outrigger kayak and were straining to keep up with the likes of Brian McCurdy and Sasha Brown in a double kayak, and Darrel Sofield in his surf ski. Just under half way into the paddle we started to loose the leaders as we had to turn across the wind and our outrigger was like a sail waiting to catch the wind. Todd had flipped this exact boat, in this exact area, just one year earlier with another racer. We had to off set our paddle strokes, which was awkward to say the least, and simply concentrate on not making the paddle stage a swim and paddle stage. As we rounded the turn that took us with the wind we were once again able to align our efforts and we went to work on tracking down the leaders. There was an older couple who blew us all out of the water and finished over a minute ahead of us in the 8km paddle. Todd and I put in a late surge to come off the water in second place at 46m09s.
From there we pulled our boat up onto the beach and started running the second stage of the race. My legs felt like jelly for the first few minutes but eventually the fluids started to flow again. Jason Sandquist was close on our heels and as I hurried to come out of the bush from the first CP Jason rounded the corner and followed my tracks right to it. Thankfully we choose different routes at this point, because Todd and I knew that we would have to gain ground on our competitors during the trek to have a legitimate shot at winning the race. We crossed paths with Jason again later, only to learn that we were now a full CP ahead of him, which helped us quicken the pace back to the boats again.
We returned to our kayaks holding first place. There was a short 1.5km paddle back across the lake before a 20km mountain bike ride to the finish. As we were launching our boat we noticed Darrel Sofield coming in just behind us. We put our heads down and hammered out the short paddle, hit the opposite side and had a solid transition onto our bikes. By this point in time the rain had started to fall and the weather was deteriorating by the minute.
Not two kilometers into the bike stage, when we hit our first climb, my legs nearly seized up solid! Lactic acid was having it's way with me and I commented to Todd that we may have gone out too hard on the run. I popped a few Nuun tablets and hammered back the rest of my Carbo-Pro 1200. As we approached our second climb I came off the bike early to walk it out, and by the time we hit the down side my legs had subsided and seemed like there were ready to go again. A few kms later it was Todd's turn to cramp up. The terrain was becoming increasingly more difficult to ride as the roots and rocks became slicker with each rain drop. If you came off of your bike, your momentum was shot and you were forced to walk for longer than would be considered ideal. As Todd put it,
"This is a cramping adventure racer's nightmare!!"
Just over half way through the 20k bike ride we came to a short 1km run to a lake and back. These are the sections of races that I hate, if you are leading you have to get out of there as quickly as possible, because if anyone who is chasing you happens to spot you, it becomes a very different ball game. We were not able to take full running strides but we did manage a decent time, and when we returned to our bikes I was surprised to see that no one had caught up to us yet. We jumped back on and tried to get up the small climb before anyone spotted us.
It was not until this moment in the race that I started to believe that Todd and I might be able to hold off our competitors. I had no idea how close people were behind us, only that Sofield was a few minutes back at the start of the bike stage. We were both still hurting, but the terrain eased a little and allowed us to get a good rhythm going. We hit the town of Cumberland just a few minutes later...the home stretch, you could smell the finish line...
"Whoa, hold up guys, mystery challenge here. You have to drop your bikes, take these addresses around town and come back with the business names."
What! We have to run again, sh#t, let's go!! I started calling out Streets and numbers while Todd navigated and one by one we picked up the clues, but we were both noticeably slowed and suffering with each step. While running between the second and third addresses I experienced something completely different to me,
"Ahhh, what the! Hooooly, my friggin back is cramping man, ahhhh, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts!!!"
My entire back was overloading with lactic acid, which made no sense to me at all after coming off of the bike. All I can figure is that my body was doing it's best to get that lactic acid out of my legs and it forced it all up into my back. I couldn't even bend my arms and ended up running like a scarecrow down the street, with a six and a half foot tall, straight legged, long haired dude chasing me!! Anyone looking out their window on that day would have been left wondering what these two freaks in spandex were doing running around their neighbourhood!
As we rounded the corner to our final CP my heart sank, Sandquist was right there...
"Oh hey Jason, yeah, how ya doing, or we're great, fun race so far, yeah bit of rain, great course though, couldn't ask for better really. See ya in a bit, good luck with the checkpoints."
Me to Todd,
"F$%K, WE HAVE TO GET THE HELL OUTTA HERE RIGHT NOW!!"
Back on the bikes and into the final few kilometers of the course. Todd took a route that he had used in previous years and he briefly took a wrong turn. He called for us to stop and started looking over the maps. I have learned my lesson in the past, this is his time and I really need to let him take it and not pressure him. I was biting a frikkin hole in my tongue, and after what seemed like an eternity (ten seconds), we were looping back and off again.
I was now able to recognize this section of the course from previous years and I blew through the final few turns until we hit the road ride to the line...less than two kilometers to go...heads down, adrenaline pumping, legs driving on the pedals, rooster tails of water streaming off behind us, this was it, it was going to happen...I took one final look over my shoulder and saw that we were clear. Todd and I hit the start-finish area, dropped our bikes and ran it in across the finish line,
3hr57m41s, THREE PEAT BABY!!!!!!
I kinda lost it for a few minutes, waving my fists around like a madman, jumping up and down...and for anyone who may have look at the online race pics, I DID NOT MAKE OUT WITH MY DOG! Yes, I did give my dog a kiss, but that pic, maybe a few of them are just bad timing and not indicative of what transpired there...I'm serious!! Anyways, the celebration was on, Todd and I had capped off an incredible season of racing by closing out our favorite race series in style...it was time to get drunk!
And drunk we's got...the MOMAR after party is always the highlight of the weekend and with a TOGA theme you knew it would not disappoint. I am still getting pics sent to me, of me, that I don't seem to remember all too well. A sign of a great time indeed!
I would just like to first off thank the incredible volunteers that make the Mind Over Mountain Adventure Races possible. You guys are awesome, thanks for spending the entire day in the rain and wind, and enhancing each and every racers experience out there!
Secondly to Bryan Tasaka and the MOMEC crew, I love you guys, you are the best, the races kick ass and the after parties make it all worth while!
Third, Helly Hansen, best gear out there. After a full season of testing our stuff to the limits in four countries and countless climatic zones, it all still looks like the day we got it. A jacket may not make you faster, but it a lot more enjoyable to race dry in wet conditions.
Bring on the down time...ahhhh