This year Team House of Payne II (my race partner Michelle and I) finished the Sport Course in 5 hours and 1 minute. (Aprox 37km) Months of training, preparing, over thinking, getting excited all wrapped up in five of the craziest, funnest and muddiest hours of your life! That right...MONTHS of training. So instead of sharing my race day experience, how about a look at how a racer prepares for an adventure race?
It all starts in January when the emails and Facebook posts from MOMAR begin to appear and registration opens. This is when you start to think about committing. Conversations between friends start rolling. Who wants to race? Enduro or Sport? Teams of 2 or 4? Usually after a few beer, the details are hashed out and teams are formed. Then you wake up the next morning and wonder if that really happened! Once reality sinks in you start running and mountain biking in between the rainy days here and there thru February.
|Another rainy day run|
Weather on Vancouver Island begins to turn favorable around March and that is when the regular trail runs and mountain bike rides with your partner or who ever you can drag out begins. Yip, us Islanders have an advantage over those Albertan racers. (I was born and raised in AB so I get to rub it in every now and then)
The runs are usually in the rain, I mean sunshine, and start with easy terrain and short distances. But that does not last long because if you have raced before, you know there will be hill after hill. Couple trips up Mt. Benson and you are regretting those beer with friends back in January.
|Final trail run before Momar. No pictures of the rainy day runs.|
Juggling training with a family is always a logistical nightmare but fortunately my husband and Michelle's husband race together as well, so we switch off kid duty and training days with them. We lean on our family and friends to watch the kids while we train all together or go on training dates. (Those are special) Some times we even mix in family outings and call it training. The best is when the families come together and hike a mountain. That's training too!
|Hiking up Mount 5040|
|With this many bikes, family training sessions are a bit slower.|
|House of Payne I & II training together.|
Sacrifices are made as well. We have to miss events because the dedication to training is so intense. For example, I chose to skip an anniversary celebration with my husband and go ride the trails with 4 of the loveliest ladies I know! Priorities, right? Poor Joel, had to celebrate by himself.
|Having a little trailside "cheers" on my anniversary.|
While training it is important to mimic the race day experience as best you can. By this I mean pack the mandatory gear with you while you are trail running and mountain biking. Even better, know how to use the bike tools like a chain break and tire levers. After 7 years of racing, you would think I have this all sorted out!
|Fix a chain..anybody? Anybody?|
Nope. Here we are, broken chain and no clue what to do. We limped back to the trailhead disgusted with our attempt to fix a broken chain. Ok I lied, we slowly rolled back laughing the whole time at our complete failure.
If your lucky, injuries while training will not happen. But they might so adjusting training to suit your injury is key to even making it to the starting like. Luckily injuries have been minimal but a few pesky problem areas have shown themselves this year that required ongoing management. Thank goodness I have a great life partner to fix it all up.
The hardest part about training for MOMAR is keeping up with it during the summer. It's hot and the last thing I want to do is run when the river is calling my name! But I know the race director Brian Tasaka and his team of route makers will be ruthless yet again so you bite the bullet and run in the heat. We run while on vacation where ever that may be. Make up the missed anniversary celebration with a 27km trail run traverse. And be support crew while Team House of Payne I takes on the Juan de Fuca trail, 47 km of trail running bliss.
|27km Forbidden Plateau traverse with Joel. Happy Anniversary (finally)|
|Meeting the boys at Sombrio Beach, half way thru their Juan de Fuca trail run.|
In late August, we head to Cumberland and work in some "ride, stash the bikes and run" training days. Gives us a home field advantage to know the lay of the land and extra bonus is using old race maps to fine tune those navigating and compass skills. Put the red in the shed. Or something like that?
|Practicing with an actual checkpoint flag.|
For the second year in a row we missed the MOMAR crew in Cumberland scouting out the last details of the race route by a day! Damn...that would have been a huge advantage. There's always next year. Bonus training tip: Never, never forget about training for the after party either. Cumberland has this covered as well. Beer and Pizza!
|Riders Pizza and Cumberland Brewing. Best paired together.|
When September rolls around you realize, Shit...we haven't kayaked yet! Then it is a mad scramble between back to school, soccer schedules, and work to find time to get out and paddle at least once. Or wing it.
|It sure is tough training when the days look like this!|
During all these training session you are eating a wide variety of energy gels, bars, shot bloks, and whatever you can find to fuel your body. By race day I am so sick of them all I resort to packing cooked yams and sweet potatoes with me. If I never eat a Clif Bar again, I will be happy. And word of advice: Don't go to the dentist two days before race day...the same day you carb load. Not ideal.
Lets not forget about the financial commitment. There are race fees, food to fuel you, replacing gear, renting kayaks, renting accommodations, and the after party. It adds up but let me tell you, the rate of return is priceless!
Hats off to Bryan Tasaka and the MOMAR crew, the sponsors, and the volunteers for giving us racers a first class experience. We get swag, we get shirts, we get free beer, we get an amazing post race meal, happy positive volunteers, a true race atmosphere, race day photos while on the course, a fabulous course to race, a community who embraces us running wild down the streets, a finisher race medal and the most amazing feeling of accomplishment as you cross the finish line. Well worth the investment!
That is why we race year after year!
|Two very happy girls!|