MOMAR Cumby 2013 Race Report
Wow. That was a good one!
I have had the gift of competing in many (many many many) MOMAR events since my first adventure in 2003 (10 years wow!). I have surely made every mistake in the book. From losing my map and 'misplacing' my passport, to riding right off the map and setting my compass declination backwards...and so on and so on. But the more you screw up the more you learn and so I have a pretty good toolbox to pull from by now. I love sharing these tricks and tips with my ELM and MOMAR 101 students- and getting to see them in action on race day. So proud of all of my students for working hard, playing smart and getting great results out there. Way to go Team ELM!
A few members of Team ELM the eve before the race at the Riding Fool Hostel... trying to sweet talk Mr. MOMAR into revealing his secrets...:)
Adventure Racing's motto should be: Expect the Unexpected. Because as soon as you start 'ass' uming things, the Adventure in Adventure Racing will surely rear it's lovely head. The unexpected really is my favourite part of AR and what brings me back year after year. I just love surprises:) And that is what we got once again at this years one and only MOMAR. This years course was a bit longer, more technical and required more route selection then recent years. That added up to make it a real challenge for the majority of racers to get all of the CP's in time. As a result only about 1/3rd of the teams avoided cut off's. I heard the runners saying: "That was a hike a bike! That was a hard biking course!". I heard the bikers saying: "That was a tonne of running! That was a runners course!". LOL- it was a good split then, no? One thing is for sure, MOMAR is always full of surprises...
Do you want the play by play or the final numbers? Well, here are the numbers...photos are popping up here or you can read below if you want the details of my personal experience at this years Cumby MOMAR...but I'm warning you I didn't edit anything so get comfortable...
Friday monsoon. Saturday clear blue skies and sunshine. Sunday monsoon. Hee Hee:)
Saturday morning I couldn't sleep so I got up at 4:30am. I was UP and ready to GO. Jumped in my car at 6am to head to Cumby with coffee in hand and my absolute favourite song cranked on the stereo. Woot woot it's MOMAR day!
Wooowoooowoooo- Sh*t...that's a policeman!
And yes I really am getting pulled over for speeding on my way to MOMAR at 6am.
Mr. Policeman: "Uh...you were going pretty fast there."
Me: "Sorry officer I didn't realize."(frantically trying to find my wallet and drivers license in the pile of gear and crap in my car and ready to pay the toll as fast as possible so I don't miss the bike check)
Mr. Policeman: "Uh...(flashing light into my wee car crammed with biking, running paddling gear and topped with my boat) where exactly ARE you going?"
Me: (trying to figure out how to say this without sounding like I was racing to my race which I obviously was) "Ummm...to Cumberland...for an (*whisper*) adventure race..."
Mr. Policeman: "Well...I'll let you go this time. But next time it's $190. Good luck;)"
OMG! Did that really just happen? And off I went, trying to squash my 'fear of authority adrenaline' into a manageable ball in my stomach. And yes, I did the speed limit all the way to Cumby.
...drop off bike...put kayak on the beach...
7:30 got my race map and got pumped for a new format from recent years! We were to start at the lake but finish downtown Cumby and run and ride our way to some newer and lesser known areas off the map. Looked long and looked fun from the outline. I went to work measuring my legs, planning my route and considering my bush wacking options.
Question for my MOMAR 101 students: What is the FIRST thing you do when you get a map? Become familiar with all of the clues on it. Correct! Well...I got a little excited about planning my route and failed to actually READ the clues on the map. You know the BIG bold text that yells out at you all of the really important details? I missed a big one and paid for it about 4 hours later lol;)
8:50am- out onto the lake for the 10k paddle! "Holy crap it's white capping out here! I don't paddle in whitecaps! I stay home on windy days!" Sploooooosh- big wave goes right over boat and floods my cockpit. And so...I turned directly around and paddled back to shore with my tail between my legs...to go get my spray skirt from my car. I ran back to the parking lot...dug around in my car...found my skirt...flailed about...ran back to the beach...jumped back in my boat...paddled to the start line...boats crashing all out of control in the wind...Ready...Set...GO!
I caught a ride with the ELM Fearless Leaders and tucked into their breakwater which absolutely saved my arse. They have been paddling more this year and I had to work quite hard to stick with them, especially when we turned around and had the wind at our backs. 1:10ish off the water...and not at the very back! Maybe we are actually getting faster ladies? Bahhaaahaa!
T1 Run- 11k? 1:32ish...
up up up to the base of Queso...then it was a self navigation from CP to CP through some nice steep terrain - all the way up to Bucket Lake and then back down down down to town. I loved that we had to choose our own route from A to B. There were a few decisions to be made about which route would be faster, so everyone was challenged with a bit of route selection. I got some right and some wrong for sure.
For example: Down Bear Buns or down Bucket of Blood? Which way would you go to get to Sykes Bridge on foot? Well...I went down Bear Buns as I had decided to try bush whacking across the river to the top of Teapot:) I can't say I've ever gone that way before! I wanted to take as many shortcut options as possible and take some chances so I saw this as a good opportunity to cut off some distance. I found the spot and jumped the bank down to the river, waded through to the other side and came to a messy section of mossy rotten log piles, thorns and eye poking branches. I could hear racers on the road/CP at Teapot so I crashed on through and was pleasantly surprised to find myself a few metres (completely unintended destination) from the Checkpoint and the giggles of Teresa and her fellow volunteer. Covered in ferns and brambles I collected the CP and Teresa let me know that Bart (top solo male and one of Canada's top navigators/adventure racers) had done the same thing. I thought that must be a good thing but who really knows if it was any faster for me...at least it was fun:)
Next we had to get to the bottom of That Dam Trail near to the Lake...and I chose to head down 42nd (not the fastest but I was trying to avoid a known wasps nest) and Off Broadway... then it was back to town where the main drag was closed down for the race...to get on our bikes...
T2 Bike k? 1:19ish...
I popped into T2 in a better position then T1 and was happy to see some top racers leaving the transition just ahead of me...it was a big climb ahead and I was stoked for a little suffering:) My strength is climbing on the bike so I know if I am suffering then others are in even worse shape than me. That might sound mean but... I'm just a little competitive! On the way out I also got to see who was following close behind me and uh oh there was the next solo woman, Sandra Hardy, not too far behind! I put my head down and cranked up the hill...
I was in no mans land for most of it...only passed one or two teams on the way up...and rode/hiked the quad trail with a male solo racer which was good for motivation as we pushed each other to keep a good pace up up up...to the Quarry on Trent/Wookies from the 'Look Out'...which way would you go? Quad track and Wookies? Bucket Road and back on the Trent? Or logging road all the way around...? I went with the Quad track and Wookies and there were a few short hike a bikes but I was able to ride most of it so I think I picked the right choice for me...but who really knows! One this is for certain- the volunteer ladies at the lookout CP 10 were my number one cheerleaders. They chanted and cheered me on as I struggled to stay on my bike up the loose, rock filled ruts of the quad track...GO # 109 GO! Thanks ladies it really helped!
All the way to the top of Switchback we rode..
T3: Trek k? 1:12ish...ball...slipping...falling...ball dropped.
Ooops. Yes MOMAR 101 students your teacher blew it. I failed to read the instructions on the map about collecting these CP's in ANY order. Didn't even see that bit. Ooops. Ran from CP to CP in order and was stoked to see some of the top teams off the water running in the same area as I was so I knew I had made up some ground. What I didn't know was they were all going in slightly different directions. I should have realized my mistake right off the bat when I saw the top solo racer, Bart, climbing in the opposite direction as my descent. But what do I know? He is an orienteering superstar and probably found some 'fly as the crow route' from CP to CP without even touching the ground. Near the end I started to wonder...I have been out here for a while...where is everyone I was running with?
I had been completely out of water since the start of the trek...missing the water station details on my map as well lol...and I was starting to get tired...like wow this is hard tired. I had one final hill to climb back to the Transition area and I was actually dreading it. I tried to run. Nothing happened. I really tried. Nothing. Fast hike it is! Thinking to myself that I had probably blown this stage, I heard footsteps approaching from behind...Please please don't let it be a solo woman, I thought... "Nice day for a walk eh?". It was a mans voice but I was still choked to be passed because I was basically crawling up that hill. "These legs ain't got no run left!".
My legs were tired and I was sooooo thirsty...I took a final bearing from a logging road spur to Switchback trail via a creek...I was just dreaming of getting to that little creek... I second guessed my take off point for the short cut and ended up backtracking a bit before heading off into the bush which cost me a few more minutes...I hit the creek after crawling over big logs and ferns down into the little valley...I sucked back about a litre of the cool liquid and reminded myself that Beaver Fever takes 24 hours to kick in...I would deal with that tomorrow, I thought;). Up to Switchback and then another death march hike/run back to the transition...I got to see which teams had left ahead of me as they were ripping down the trail that I was hiking up...1..2..3..4...ugh I blew that leg! I ran into transition and discovered that YES, you could get those CPs in any order.
Then I did something terrible. I said a very bad word very loudly in front of the sweet team of volunteers who had been cheering their hearts out for me. I am so sorry! I had a weak moment! Thanks for helping me pick up the pieces and sending me on my way:) You rock!
In the end, collecting the CP's in order turned out to be sub-catastrophic but it did set me back a bit...as I was coming out of the transition and heading down Switchback on my bike I got to see who was right behind me...and there was Ms Hardy hot on my heels! She was only minutes behind me so I knew I had to finish with a fast, clean ride and not make any mistakes.
When I popped out on the road above Thirsty Beaver at CP18 all I could say was 'WATER!' I chugged back a full bottle knowing I was losing precious time but it was just what I needed to finish the race. Down down down the muddy, squishy, slippy, slimey but oh-so-fun series of sweet single track trails all the way home...passing thousands of dollars worth of delicious chantrelle mushrooms along the way I might add! Killed me to leave them!
It was a great feeling to know the finish line was right downtown and only metres from the trail...we didn't have to ride all the way back to the lake as we have most years so it was like a big fat present from Bryan...thank you! Drop the bike - really?- and run (or try to) the final (uphill:) 30 metres to the finish line. Ohhh jello legs...right at the end!
6:13ish, first solo woman and 10th team across the line.
I have to say I am proud of that win. I worked really hard for that one. Thanks for pushing me Sandra;)
A HUGE thank you to Bryan Tasaka and his team of amazing volunteers for your time, passion and energy in creating a ridiculously fun event/weekend/experience for me and 474 other silly racers. I look forward to the MOMAR every year...best race organization out there...hands down...well...the Perseverance Trail Run organizers are a bit more awesome... but I am a wee biased...;)